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.
First off, a big hand must be given to musiced921 for supplying me with this edit. I was actually looking for the one without the Ewoks in it, but obviously it didn't satisfy Spence at the time, hence why he re-did it, and this is the edit I ended up receiving. Nevertheless, it was an interesting edit, running rather leanly at just one hour and thirty three minutes, it rearranges scenes, creating a more meaningful first scene for Luke that establishes his path.
In the original cut, he kind of acts a bit high and mighty already, almost as if he didn't need to go to Dagobah and complete his training, but here the crawl and the scene on Dagobah is structured to follow on from Vader's arrival, and we follow Luke on his journey to Tatoonie, not entirely sure of himself as Yoda says he must confront Vader to be fully realised. It's a very well woven scene, and gives both Luke and the audience less detachment from what Luke had been up to in between Empire and this.
The idea of placing the Emperor on the Star Destroyer is another great touch. After all, why would the Emperor risk making himself a sitting duck on the Death Star when chances are his plan could go tits up? Being on a Star Destroyer at least gives him the chance to take off as soon as things do.
The restructuring of the battle of Endor rattles along, there is more urgency, you feel this is a costly battle as good men die and Luke feels more entrapped with the walls closing in, his fateful duel with Vader is even accompanied by familiar cues such as duel of the fates!
I've seen a few edits that have utilised the ending with Luke burning Anakin's body as the fireworks rage on, but it's still powerful imagery to end the original trilogy on. I'd still somewhat like to see the Ewok party as it gives us all a chance to see the group of friends, now very much a family, a chance to be together one last time. Luke can always bury Vader after seeing the ghosts. Maybe the ghosts could have been watching Luke burn Anakin, there's an idea. Ah well.
And lastly the additional end credits are a hoot...though I do wonder who 'lordsidi' is and what he did to warrant an "absolutely no thanks to..." credit. Feels a bit weird to promote the DVD version of this in the credits when all I have of this is the MP4, but ah well...if someone could track the DVD version down, let me know what I'm missing, because it doesn't tell you anything here.
Really liked it. This is my go to edit of Return of the Jedi. Thank you. If I'm watching the OT, its gonna be Harmy's Despecialized Ep 4, Lucas' Ep 5, and this to cap it off. I always thought it was silly that Luke appeared to be skipping in and out of his Jedi Training. I was fairly ambivalent about moving the confrontation with Palpatine off the Death Star. It never bothered me before that this took place on the Death Star, and it doesn't really bother me to have it on a ship. I felt the parts where Luke is sensing the danger on Tatooine seemed a little jarring. The transitions between the two scenes felt too quick. I do believe this movie is better off with most of the Jabba and Tatooine nonsense cut out. Not my best review, sorry, but I did enjoy it.