The funny thing is the thing he was complaining about was colorization of black and white three stooges episodes. And they were both released in the same quality in a boxset with the viewer being able to choose to see the original version or the colorised.
Unlike say including the inferior gout side by side with the 2004 cut of the star wars trilogy.
George is entitled to his opinion at least in the United States of America where democracy matters, even if his opinion is wrong. Plus he owns the movies and he created them, he has every legal right to do anything he wants with the films, and nothing we say as fans can change that.
But we can try to get the originals restored to an exceptable quality for dvd and blu ray, and make them viable again for theatrical exhibition and saved for future generations. Right now the film prints and original elements are rotting in Lucas vaults and could be lost forever to time eventually. The digital copies Lucas sent to Lowry where only 1080p, certainly good enough for the current blu ray format but no way near close to film resolution. The larger negative area on the 8 perf vistavision which is roughly 70mm could yield a 6k scan and the 35mm could yield a 4k.
But my question is what is the state of the negative nobody really knows it is a tight lipped secret that Only YCM laboratory in 1997 could say and they probably had to sign a non disclosure agreement.
So even if most of the film was restored the scenes that were not would need to be, that is a minimalist job. Then the other is what Robert Harris suggested a complete new restoration and overhaul of the original negative to return it to its original state. The new opticals and effects from the special edition would be cut out and the missing original footages would have to be spliced in from another source if george did not keep those peices of film he cut out of the physical oneg.
The real question is would a 4k scan show all the optical generation steps, and loss between the live action and effects footage. How much more visible would be things like matte lines that were mostly blacked out before or were not as visible in theaters.
The star wars movie was on such a deadline that their were effects that lucas felt were not good enough or dykstra and his people thought had not been matted properly but they ran out of time and money.
The matte lines around the falcon during the gunport falcon scene being one of the worst examples. They can have that excuse on star wars but some of the same mistakes where done on return of the jedi where the mattes are clearly visible.
Hey now that they have computer technology and digital manipulation things like fixing those would be easy but even back then they could have been fixed. They would have had to be painstakingly painted out of every frame back then however.
However it is understandable that they were on a schedule and timetable for release and that George basically funded most of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi out of his own pocket. Even the first film had been entirely funded by him until very late when fox finally agreed with the budget.
Fox payed the 20 million to restore the trilogy for its special edition 20th anniversary in 1997. Lucas did not have to spend a dime of his own money. So why would he now pay for a restoration when he never paid for the one in 1997. He was allegedly able to get all rights back to the first star wars and empire strikes back, and fox got distribution rights on the prequels and lucas finally got to finish the movies as he had always imagined them.
Oh and Ray Harryhausen has gone back and colorized his own films and the films he did the special effects on, and they have been released in Black and White and Color versions as a dual release.
The movie She had always been intended to be shot in color but the techicolor format was so expensive that they shot it in black and white and he went back in with computer colorists and tried to colorise the film as envisioned.
Even night of the living dead the original got a modern digital coloring job that looks much more natural than the original colorized print on vhs.