May 02, 2012
L8wrtr's editing is the *cleanest* (least noticeable) of any ROTS I've seen, but in the end, I think the edit is not quite as good overall as the original cut of the film (*despite* the many welcome improvements).
The Ani-Obi-Dooku duel is excellent; unlike the original cut, you now really get the sense that Dooku simply *knows* that he'll be able to defeat the two Jedi the same way he did on Geonosis...what he didn't expect was how powerful Anakin would have become (especially when fueled by anger). L8wrtr's edits convey this much better; Anakin is in rage mode, beats Dooku, and simply cuts his head off and immediately regrets it (Palpatine's famous but silly "DEWIT" line is gone). This works much better because it fits with the instinct he has toward merciless revenge we saw in AOTC (as opposed to fairly silly urging by Palpatine). The edits here are perfect. Bravo, L8wrtr.
Unfortunately, The choice of putting the famous opera scene here is jarring, and simply doesn't work. I think I can appreciate L8wrtr's intention, but having Palpatine rescued by the Jedi and then two scenes later (literally overnight) telling Anakin that the Jedi are planning to betray him comes off as forced and silly. It also diminishes the context of their meeting... The day after the attack, Palpatine makes a request to the Jedi that Anakin should hang out with him at an opera for no reason? The original placement of the scene worked much better; here it's simply jarring.
In fact, L8wrtr's decisions in reshuffling the sequences regarding the Anakin-as-a-double-agent plot simply don't work and the narrative flow is less logical than in the original.
On the other hand, the inclusion of multiple deleted scenes with Padme, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma is MOST welcome. This and L8wrtr's masterful editing of the opening sequences are the best overall changes of the edit.
There are many more subtle edits throughout the rest of the film that are for the better, including the Mace vs Palpatine duel and Anakin's submission to Palpatine.
On that note, L8wrtr's done a good job tweaking Palpatine's face change so that it now seems clear that his *true* form is revealed once Anakin slices off Windu's arm and he unleashes his "unlimited power."
My biggest problem with this film is something that L8wrtr unfortunately leaves in (while Lucas deserves full blame for the scene, it's disappointing that L8wrtr left it unchanged): Anakin murdering little Jedi kids, a scene that's ridiculous and utterly unbelievable (to the point of being laughable), not to mention absolutely unnecessary. The fact that Anakin helped kill Windu and is now leading an assault on the Jedi Temple is enough for the audience to know that he's become a villain. The scene where Bail watches clonetroopers kill a Jedi adolescent is enough to convey that ALL Jedi in the temple were killed (including kids). The fact that Anakin personally murders human children who trusted him makes all of his subsequent dialogue with Padme completely ridiculous: Later on, Padme learns that he's a child murderer and then says that she loves him and just wants his love....uh, lol?? If it weren't for that scene, everything that happens later would make perfect sense. Again, the scene's existence is Lucas' fault, but if I could only choose one scene to remove from the original cut, it would be this.
Speaking of which, we would be able to assume that once Anakin is in the Vader suit, he's capable of any and all evil if it weren't for the fact that L8wrtr inexplicably removed Palpatine telling Vader that Padme is dead. This (like some of the earlier reshuffling) simply breaks the film for me...because it leaves the audience absolutely unable to answer the question of why Vader wouldn't travel to the ends of the galaxy to find Padme unless he knew with certainty that she were dead. I can understand removing "NOOOOO (Do not want)," but I can't understand removing Vader's explicit understanding that Padme is dead.
That said, the throat crunch noises on Padme's neck, no more "I have the high ground" (seamlessly edited), no more "she's losing the will to live" BS...all very welcome changes.
Unfortunately, the last bunch of edits are problematic; I can't fathom why L8wrtr removed the conversation about separating the twins, that Luke has family on Tatooine, etc. Why was this removed? No reason whatsoever as far as I can tell. Instead, we're shown what feels like a much more random bunch of scenes that come out of nowhere with no explanation at all.
Yoda landing on Dagobah: Not needed, and should have remained the cutting room floor. We still get Obi-Wan's baby drop-off service; perhaps starting the scene where he's already with Beru and handing off Luke would make more sense (we could then assume that they'd already been talking for some time). Palpatine, Vader, and Tarkin with Death Star under construction: Completely unnecessary and (very) silly... Disappointing that this wasn't removed, but I don't fault L8wrtr for the scene's existence.
Ultimately, L8wrtr's version of any particular scene could be considered superior. The point is that the totality of L8wrtr's edits make for an experience which, despite welcome improvements in particular sequences, is simply not *quite* as logical in narrative progression and ultimately not quite as good as the original overall.