I wonder how much of this is age related. ROTJ came out when I was three, so for most of my childhood we kids still loved Star Wars, but adults, having lived through the hype of the late 70s and early 80s, were pretty much sick of it. From about 1985 until 1995 there wasn’t anything Star Wars in the stores at all. Nothing. I got my Star Wars fix off of old Star Wars Marvel comics in the 25 cent bin at the local comic shop, and a couple of video games. It came on TV once a year, but mostly it was kind of a cult thing like Pulp Fiction; a good movie but that’s about it. Certainly not a major cultural force anymore.
I remember being amazed when they announced the Thrawn trilogy; for a lot of us this was as close as we ever figured we’d get to new movies. Then there were more books, new comics, new video games; the mid-90s were becoming a Star Wars renaissance. Then, believe it or not, they announced they were re-releasing them in theaters! Wow! That was news. My entire generation had worn through countless VHS copies on the small screen and we were actually going to finally, finally have a chance to see Star Wars on the big screen. This was truly amazing. Our long years of waiting and finally we could enjoy the big screen like our parents had.
Imagine our disappointment when it turned out to not be the movies we had spent the better part of two decades waiting for. It was something different, something kinda wrong. And that is why we don’t like the Special Edition. It’s because we spent years hoping and then were delivered something else. We felt like we were promised the fulfillment of our childhood dreams and instead we got a weird, adulterated version of our beloved films.
The young ones, they can move on to acceptance. Old folks like me, who waited with Jedi-like patience only to be given CGI junk, are going to not like it, but alas, c’est la vie. Enjoy your Blu Rays, kids.