So, here's the review: this edit is the best way to watch this show. Start to end, it strengthens the weak points and highlights the existing strengths. It cuts out a lot of fat and is, for the most part, seamless in its edits. It's what those of us who love the show already remember watching, and what those who couldn't get into it needed in order to have a chance to get into it.
To begin, some favorite bits:
- The decision to use the Mandalore story as a narrative spine is very good - it is definitely already a central story of the show (as evidenced by the finale), so this decision makes that more evident.
- The structure of each season is a huge improvement over the original show.
- It's just... fun to watch this way. So much of it just feels like how the show should have been, so it's almost hard to find individual things to highlight because when the edit is at its best, you're not noticing it.
However, I have the following criticisms:
- There are a few really harsh edits - some of them visual, but most often audio (especially at the ends of episodes). The audio edits are definitely far more noticeable than the video edits. I definitely understand how difficult some of the edits are to make, but I really hope we see some improvements in future versions! These are what hold the edit back from feeling completely polished.
- I'm not a big fan of the use of the Cinematic Captures video for the Anakin/Obi discussion. I find it very distracting to have such a huge shift in animation style in-episode. This isn't a deal-breaker at all, but I would love an alternate cut.
- I would love an extended cut of the Mortis arc. I know it's not for everyone, but I think too much was cut out, to the point where it almost feels more like watching a recap than the actual story.
- Others have mentioned it, but the Domino to Rookies cut is a little abrupt. This is easily my smallest complaint (as, on the flip side, it actually does a much better job than the original show at making it clear these are the same clones).
- The senate hostage inclusion in the holocron heist doesn't completely make sense to me. I know this isn't the only edit to combine them in this way, but it left me a little confused. Why did Cad Bane bother with the hostages? If it were a distraction, why weren't the different operations going on at the same time? I know that the reason is "these are separate episodes that were combined", but it'd be nice if this could be a little cleaner somehow.
I want to be as clear as possible that the above criticisms are not reasons to not watch this edit. This is the best way to watch the show - the flaws of this edit are, frankly, nowhere near as significant as the flaws of the original show. Further, this edit is still ongoing! I just checked the document today and noticed there was a brand new hour-long episode available. I'm confident that this edit will be near flawless by the time EddieDean hangs up his hat. I will return to this review when we reach that point!
To EddieDean: thanks for your hard work on this! I can't imagine the hours that must have gone into this project, but they have surely paid off.
Thanks very much for the review - that's all very fair!
Regarding some of your valid criticisms-
- I'm always eager to polish noticeable video and audio edits, if you (or anyone else reading this) spots any that stand out, let me know in the forum thread (ideally with timecodes).
- I think you're right on the Cinematic Captures content. A few have said this. What I'll do (when I next have time for a polish pass) is cut that out of the episode, so the full episode is just the normal style, and simply add a link to the CC video on Youtube as a separate item in the list.
- I'm personally very happy with my trims to Mortis - I think it makes it much more of an inexplicit vision built on dream logic, but I have heard the same. I plan to release a few optional extended versions of some episodes - and I'll do the same for this.
- I've also heard the same regarding the Rookies/Cadets/Troopers trilogy. I wanted to give the characters a bit more of an arc, but people have found those cuts a bit too severe. I'll look to replace this with one that adheres a bit more closely to the original structure, losing more of the arc but making for a smoother experience. And rather than explicitly call out the time skip, I guess I'll just wipe into it, and just imply it instead.
- As for the hostage/holocron episode, there's not too much I can do here.. Ultimately it needs to be read as a distraction to cause Republic security services to go into disarray, but I agree that ideally that would be a little more clear. It's unfortunate, but I think on balance we're still extracting the most quality from the source material this way.
Either way, many thanks for your input, and I'm really glad you're enjoying it!
Eddie put in a huge effort to condense The Clone Wars to its core and had done it with his heart. Never have i ever enjoyed TCW more. The music for the outro he created with Samuel Kim is a joy.
Sometimes it is noticable that he had to fade a scene (especially at the end of an episode) and therefore you‘ll notice the music didn’t belonged to the original series but that’s a minor criticism.
If you love SW, than you’ll be loving TCW Refocused.
I decided to start with the three Dooku focused episodes from Tales of the Jedi (a wonderful three act prologue that gives the character SO much more depth), then watched the two prologues; Dark Force Rising (a fantastic edit of the Tartakovsky series that fits perfectly into the overall canon of the series) and Life and Death, which introduces the character of Ahsoka before we get into the heart of the main story. I know the editor says these parts are optional viewing, but I would highly recommend starting with these as they're excellent and only add to the overall story (especially in introducing Ventress).
I've only completed the first season, but I can already tell the rest of it is going to be just as good, if not better. Moving up the introduction of Madalore and teasing Maul in season 1 is brilliant, and gives the series that ever present threat that keeps you invested and excited to see more. The editing is pretty seamless, other than a few minor audio transitions. Otherwise, it's sheer perfection.
I took one point off in the narrative category because there were a few episodes I didn't think worked as intended. One example is the origin story of Domino Squad. It struck me as strange when it faded into their first assignment on the outpost after failing their training. I get the intention of the edit, but the change seemed abrupt. My brain also had a hard time with the combination of the Lair of Grievous episode with the destruction of the Nightsisters episode. It was distracting for me to see the old design style of the early seasons mixed with the new style of the later seasons. However, I realize these issues may be due to my familiarity with the original episodes. Others may not feel the same. Another was the Mortis Arc. I feel so much was cut out it became hard to follow the storyline. And, if anyone plans to watch Bad Batch after this, I think they will need to add the Citadel Arc and the arc that introduces the Bad Batch.
But, that's just a few nitpicks. I could literally talk all day about how great everything else was. My kids and I really looked forward to watching this in the evenings. This plus Numberal Joker's episode 3 edit, which includes the siege of Mandalor, was so marvelous, I've had a hard time moving to the next SW eras in my recent binge. I'm really looking forward to watching it again.
Again, thanks for all your work and for making this available to all of us.
Thank you so much for your kind words!
This is a living project, so I am intending to add some of the currently unavailable episodes as bonus episodes for the people like you who ask for them. And of those, I've just released the Citadel arc, for those who want it as a lead-in to the Bad Batch, or for that good Tarkin-Anakin content.
You might also be interested to know that, while I don't have the Bad Batch episodes as part of this arc, I do link from my spreadsheet to an excellent cut of that content produced by Acbagel over on OriginalTrilogy.com. I work with him often, and his edit of that episode is exactly the way I would have done it, so it has the EddieDean stamp of approval.
Either way, please keep an eye on the spreadsheet because I do intend to add absolutely every episode (that isn't absolute garbage) over time - including making some expanded versions of five of the larger arcs for people who miss particular cut sequences.