I didn't even see the SE in the theater (only went for EMPIRE, which I didn't have too many objections too that I can recall), but when I got a used DVD including the SE along with what I guess was the old LD transfer, I once put the new one in by mistake. Didn't watch all of it, but do remember jumping to the big battle, and really hated the start of the approach to the death star. Used to be separate forward and reverse angles of Rebel Fleet, now it is a big 180 shot (design of which is fine), but execution is pure BABYLON 5, very painterly and flat. I remembered seeing promos and 'making of' stuff showing this shot, and I think I must have figured it was W-I-P, but, sadly, it was not. Also the FALCON lifting off from Eisley has what I guess I would have to call too much detail, as it doesn't match the live-action the way I'd expect it too, either from lighting or how much stuff is visible on the craft. Maybe they needed a 'longer' virtual lens, to suggest some atmosphere between camera and subject?
I'm a little ship and space obsessed, so those are nearly always sticking points for me. I don't think it was till the SOLARIS remake that I saw CG spaceship stuff that I just bought off on completely.
I watched the Star Wars Special Edition twice in theaters and ESB and ROTJ once.
Yeah the approach to the DS from Yavin I loved it at the time. But, it is a bit apart from the camera moves we see up to and beyond it. They should have just kept the new shots but split them in tow like the originals. So this shot:
Goes then into the shot showing them from behind like the original edits.
Same goes for that cherry picker shot in Eisley where the camera starts at ground level and cranes waaay up to see the overview of the entire city.
This was a Yusei Uesugi matte painting.
This shot is a Paul Huston foreground miniature/matte painting background hybrid:
The Falcon lifting off from Hangar 94 is not just too detailed but there is too much happening with the storms below shooting at is as it rises up. It just doesn't hold together shot wise.
The other Yavin battle CG starship to starship combat stuff I thought cut very well with the original stuff.
ESBSE overall was fine but there were a few things I didn't like at the time:
The fly through of Bespin with the Cloud Car. That didn't look good at the time and again, it betrayed the new nature of the CG shots with it virtual camera that expertly followed the car as it whipped through the city.
The added Bespin windows shots I thought were mostly good. They actually expanded the environs of the city.
My main issue with ESB at the time were the dialogue changes: Luke screams as he drops from Vader's grasp in Cloud City and Vader's "bring my shuttle" is replaced with a line "tell my command ship to prepare for my arrival". Ugh. Plus it sounded at the time like it was recorded in a tin can. Didn't match up well at all with the other recorded dialogue.
The Vader's shuttle for the command ship cut into William's score as well and included some b-roll footage of ROTJ with Vader arriving at the DS2.
ROTJ was actually perhaps the most successful of all the special editions in so far as there wasn't too much new footage that stuck out like a sore thumb. One exception is the new dance number and Sy Snootles and Jo Yowza sticking their mouths right in our faces…literally.
But the galactic celebration at the end was cool plus it was cool at the time to see Coruscant for the first time.