I honestly don't get why people get so butthurt over the remastered versions. Sure some of the CG aliens stick out like a sore thumb, but seeing them for a few seconds doesn't take away from the movie for me.
There are a few reasons-
First, it's because the changes were just BAD. This has some good comparison shots: http://www.screened.com/news/behind-the-scenes-of-harmys-star-wars-despecialized-edition/2917/
A) Lucas changed the story a lot. The remastered editions changed how the various characters interacted, which changes *who they are*. If you liked Han Solo before the changes, you probably don't like post-changes Han Solo, as one example. Changing who shot first, or (from that site) how many people are in the scenes, or what they were doing, is another example. A dude who charges like... four guys while shooting at them? Brave and/or bluffing. A dude who charges an entire ROOM full? Dumb as a sack of hammers.
B) In the same vein, the proportion of forces really just got silly. A few beleaguered rebels doing stuff, sure. Entire fleets just tooling around? Wha? Why did we need more ships/troops/etc?
C) Adding in extra cruft detracts from what we *should* be looking at, which is to say, the characters who are Doing Things. In the scene with the two characters in the curving (in the cloud city, if you know which that is
) hallway, Lucas added in a fuckwhack of bright, contrasting orange windows through which we See Things. And so the characters who *should* be a very important focal point are suddenly just kind of shoved off into a corner of Not Very Important. Similarly, the shot with the fellow standing watch under the giant red planet scene? He's just standing there alone, which emphasizes how insignificant he is in the scale of things. Adding in a bunch of godawful-looking clouds, and a wing of fighters... again, it distracts us. And more importantly, it breaks the story. Now we don't get an impression of a lone, insignificant group with no help on the way... now we just have Shiny Things Moving Around. Michael Bay would be so proud.
Second, it's the attitude that goes along with it. Lucas made enough money off of those movies to give everyone on this forum a few million dollars and STILL have like 90% of his money left over. But once he started making all of his changes, he seemed to adopt the attitude that everyone who liked the original cuts was dumb for liking them. Essentially, he's saying that we're stupid for liking what he made, and stupid for giving him our (or our parents') money in the first place. That he then spent on his 'better' shows.
If you don't mind the presentation style, Red Letter Media has a great takedown of how off-the-rails-of-sanity Lucas became with his episode 1-2-3 films. The RLM shows are fairly long to watch, but I highly recommend them as a good dissection of storytelling dos and don'ts. They address not only the story-writing, but also touch on how the movies were filmed, getting into the shots-on-set vs. shots-on-green-screen that Lucas wound up turning things into.
AP: Thanks for telling us about these, Outlaw! I've been wanting to show Jenny and Sammie the original versions and had no idea how to get ahold of them.