Fair warning. The rambling discourse that follows contains major spoilers.

I’ve seen Return of the Jedi more times than I’ve seen some members of my own family, but this may be only the second time I’ve really seen it. The first time I ever watched the trilogy was from the original video cassettes of the theatrical releases borrowed from a friend, but I grew up with the VHS tapes of the 1997 special editions; and by that time many changes irksome to long-time fans had already been made. The updated musical number and CG characters in Jabba’s palace, the Sarlaac’s beak, the soundtrack at the end, etc. these were all firmly a part of my experience of theĀ film.

Thankfully I snatched up the limited edition two-disc Star Wars DVDs while they were out – the ones that include the theatrical editions on the bonus disc. These are, as I understand it, ripped from the laserdisc and they are non-anamorphic letterboxed transfers that already look grainy and look moreso when you zoom in to make the picture fill your screen. It’s not ideal, but they are watchable and as you get swept up in the movie all over again you mostly forget the technicalĀ limitations.