Last night Brandi and I watched Return of the Jedi on DVD. I've now watched all of the feature films in their updated form as they were released on DVD last Tuesday. I have to say that they look and sound great. The people who cleaned up and remastered the films, both the video and audio portions, did an outstanding job. In no way did these movies look to be as old as they are. Someday I hope to have a home theater system that will do these movies justice.
The additional changes that George Lucas made for the DVD release were pretty minor. I finally got the subtitles thing figured out, so the alien speech translations are still there.
One change I liked was updating the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader speaks to a hologram of Emperor Palpatine. Palpatine was formerly played by Clive Revill; with the update, it's now Ian McDiarmid, who plays Palpatine in all the other films. This isn't a major change--aside from the look of the scene, there was only a slight dialogue change--but it really does help the consistency. Now Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine has the same look and sound throughout all the films, and that's a nice touch. It wouldn't have been a big deal had they not done it, but since they could, I'm glad they did.
One change in that film that I didn't like so much was the re-dubbing of Boba Fett's few lines. The dialogue stayed the same, but now it's in the voice of Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett (Boba Fett's father) in Attack of the Clones. This seems neither necessary nor particularly desirable. How many sons sound exactly like their fathers? The original voice had a distinctive sound that really seemed to fit the character. The updated voice seems a little bit off. That may be just because it's new, but it seems to be enough that the change was superfluous.
I'm undecided about the insertion of Hayden Christensen as the spirit of Anakin Skywalker at the end of Return of the Jedi. He looks nothing like Sebastian Shaw, the actor who provided the face of the unmasked Vader. It seems to me that Luke would not even recognize his father as a younger man. This seems like a change that didn't really have to be made, but since it was, that's fine. I don't really care either way.
All in all, I'm just glad that these movies are finally available on DVD. I've been waiting a very long time for them, and it turned out to be worth the wait. Now I can watch them as much as I want, and they'll look just as good years from now as they did this week.
Next up is the disc of extras that was included with the set. I haven't looked at any of them yet, but I'm looking forward to it, especially the Empire of Dreams documentary.