Episode 4 was released in May 1977 with only half the effects completed to Lucas's satisfaction. Many of his changes have improved the movies by further fleshing out the futuristic and alien worlds, but other changes are simply self-indulgent and distracting. While the Special Editions are still fun after all these years, I began to realize then that my generation's opinion of these movies is strongly influenced by our nostalgia.
In January 1997 I drove from Portland, Maine, all the way to Burlington, MA, to see this Special Edition, because my friend Chet was obsessed with seeing Episode 4 on a THX-certified screen. We ended up seeing the movie from seats all the way on the right-hand side of the theater, so the picture was still great, but the stereo surround sound was a little crooked: When the Millennium Falcon enters the Alderaan system, and is buffeted by the remains of the destroyed planet, I thought the sound effects from the right surround speakers were gonna knock my head off! Nearly nineteen years later I would see The Force Awakens on the very same screen (with a major overhaul in picture, sound, and seating!) January 31st, General Cinemas Burlington, MA; February 8th, Flagship Falmouth, ME