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.
The current king of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith edits. It's not perfect: both Hal9000 and Kerr have executed individual moments and scenes better, but this is the best edit overall. There's some weird compression during the scene where Obi-Wan confronts Anakin on Mustafar, and a few particular decisions that I have quibbles about but this is still my preferred version of Revenge of the Sith (a movie I do have an irrational fondness for). Can't wait for V2!
L8's ROTS edit is the go-to version of this movie, it addresses every problem fans had walking out of the theatre in 2005. Everything is very well done in this edit, and the fan-editor's commentary is definitely worth checking out. Although I still didn't find myself enjoying the movie very much, this is just my biased mindset. One thing that still bothered me though is that Padme still died at the end (not from a broken heart thank god) and this leaves a continuity error but still, well done!
This is an excellent edit, very well done.
There seemed to be some visual compression issues on the lava scenes, likely due to the MPEG-2 encoding (Y U NO use h.264?), but other than that the picture and sound quality are great.
Editing is very well done, trimming unnecessary bits and slight reorganization of scenes.
The extras are missing on the Blu-ray but are available on the DVD.
L8's Episode III is a masterpiece. I see the entire saga in a new light and it helps fit in much better with the OT than Lucas ever tried to accomplish.
The version of Anakin that was in Lucas's head but never portrayed on screen is in this cut. I never thought that I would care for Hayden as Anakin, but here, with thoughtful editing, is a nuanced performance. Much like in Episode II, which was a revelation for the character, Anakin's outbursts are much more restrained towards the Jedi. It obvious that there is something mentally wrong with Anakin. He's almost autistic is in his dealings with people and his strict desire for conformity and following strict order. Anything that disrupts that can be seen as a threat and his previous alliances may go by the wayside in support of a specific order.
Gone is almost all of the unnecessary humor aboard The Invisible Hand. It's a lean-mean action sequence that tells its story and gets the job done. There's no messing around with R2, no obvious Palpatine is evil beats, and the saber battles feel more at home within the OT than ever before. This does bring up the one slightly odd edit in the film, which is the truncated introduction of the Jedi to Grievous. There are a few cuts that don't quite work, but I ultimately have no great issue with them. By the time you realize something is off, we're onto the next action sequence.
L8 is a master of pacing and putting the Opera House scene much earlier in the film helps solidify Anakin's actions early on in the film. He's a man who is being pulled apart in multiple directions and it is a careful ballet at work here. He has a vision that his wife will die in child birth and he seeks to save his future because he couldn't save his past. At the same time, he is aligning himself with Palpatine because the Chancellor is the only man who can help save Padme. While the Jedi are telling Anakin to basically be glad that his wife will die in childbirth, they also want Anakin to spy on the only man who seems to care for Anakin's plight. At the same time, the man who gives him this mission is his near-brother, Obi-Wan. There are so many power moves at play that Anakin ultimately chooses his love for his wife and family, all the while not knowing that Padme is making behind-the-scenes plays to end the rule of Palpatine.
That's right, Padme Amidala is a founding member of the Rebel Alliance. George Lucas is a moron for having something so surprising and so profound and then eliminating it from his movie in support of having a woman stay at home and make babies. Wow.
I never thought that I would say this but the politics are what really make this Star Wars film for me. Something that was so confounding and boring in the theatrical versions are molded into a piece that is not only understandable, but interesting! It really helps ratchet up these prequels into a more adult fare.
There's too many changes to count here and since it has been years since I watched the theatrical version of Episode III, it was really difficult to see what was cut. The Jedi Purge is handled very well. It's slightly difficult to understand what exactly happened to Yoda, but you can connect the dots. I understand that L8 wanted to save the Yoda has a lightsaber reveal for the Palpatine fight (which plays much better in this version), but his defensive move against the Clone assassins is one thing that I do miss.
Mustafar is just plain amazing. The very odd banter between Obi-Wan and Anakin is gone and only the critical lines remain. Sure, some of it was Ewan McGregor's best work in the series, but it is ultimately not needed. That final blow by Obi-Wan is shocking in its execution. It's unexpected, even by someone who has seen the film before. I would love to see that moment with someone who has never seen Episode III. You would jump out of your seat by how brutal the cut is.
That's what I really came away with from L8's Episode III. Brutal. It's an unforgiving film that is by far the darkest the series has to offer. There's very little levity here and that's almost all gone by the end of the first act. Through a master edit, Episode III comes away as Lucas's best film since the original theatrical Star Wars in 1977. It's too bad that he didn't see what he had and chose to muddy the waters with too much dialogue and removing sequences that are critical to his saga.