I was originally going to compare it to your original edit, but as I have not required that yet (someone feel free to help) then I will have to review this first. This is a positive review and I believe this will be my "come-to-edit" whenever I decide to watch Return Of The Jedi, so here we go with the review...
First off, the editor does move scenes around in this final cut and I think it's for the better. From memory, the Luke and Yoda scenes appear very early on in the edit and it's much better placed for me personally. There isn't a long death scene for Yoda and the viewer can learn about Leia from the beginning, which I think benefits the pacing too. Obi-Wan is completely gone - for me that's a positive, as whenever the supposedly "wise" Obi-Wan opens his mouth in RotJ you just wish he had kept it shut. No force ghosts appear in this film whatsoever....I didn't miss them.
Jabba's Palace begins with Leia rescuing Han and that's how it should have been in the original as there's no dawdling 3PO and R2 and all the unnecessary padding is cut. I think the only cuts that did catch my eye was with Luke sensing that Leia and Han was in trouble whilst still on Dagobah. Did they need to be in the edit? I don't know. I'll be honest and say that for myself, they felt slightly out of place, but I think the editor may have wanted Luke's presence to be more announced to the audience, perhaps....
I personally loved there being no songs or dancers at Jabba's Palace. It somehow makes the palace look less trashy. But most importantly (or controversially I should say) is that the Rancor is completely gone. That may divide Star Wars fans somewhat, but I couldn't care less about the Rancor or his obese crying owner either. I think the absence works and quickens the pace as we are quickly led straight into the original (yes - the original!) Sarlacc Pit, which is personally my favourite part of the film. I think what was most creative about this scene edit in particular was that the editor made 3PO and R2 fall off the deck due to the explosion that Luke caused. I liked that very much. But best of all - there is NO Boba Fett - and it's a big plus, as his supposed "death" is bloody awful and still annoys me to this day. You'd think Lucas with his "brilliant remasters" would have done something with the much loved Boba Fett character? Ah well. One day....
Other scenes that I will say a few words on are:
- The removal of the Wicket scenes. I believe you edited most of the Ewoks stuff on the original edit, so I'm yet to watch and comment on that. I personally cannot stand the bloody sight of them, so naturally I thought they were in this too much! I personally think the whole Battle of Endor goes on way too long and is just a bit boring (even Death Star II could be cut further down).
- The Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader fight scenes were stunning and the editing work you did was stunning. They worked so well together! Somehow you made it join together flawlessly. The music was a surprise and managed to find a few more inches of suspense in those fight scenes!
- Having "Anakin's Theme" for Anakin's death was possibly the greatest thing you did with this entire edit. It simply worked. It's so much better than the original dull "Darth Vader's Death" score, which frankly makes the scene cold and an oddity. Instead you created the right tone and this tone should have been made originally when I repeatedly watched that particular bit again and again. You actually improved Return Of The Jedi as a whole with that.
- I didn't miss the original cheesy ending. I think you made the sensible choice with your edit.
A very bold edit that makes a flawed movie much more on par with A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Not every change worked for me (I’ve never had a problem with the Rancor scene for example) but a lot of the big changes were pulled off very well. The greatest change is taking The Emperor, Vader and Luke off the Death Star in the second half.
As well, Spence’s commentary and special features were a real treat. I had a blast watching it.
P.S. I can’t believe you left that terrible matte background in during the Han and Lando scene. Jeez…. ;)
Very Enjoyable, I’d forgotten about Old Ben’s mentor talk until I read it in the above review o_O
Some stuff can’t be completely edited like the Ewok cute factor but it was greatly reduced from what I remember (Having Leia appear at the village is plausible, I don’t need the scene of her befriending wicket.)
I liked the different opening, I think it works better this way, and the ending seems to have a degree of sadness that I always felt was missing previously.