Empire Begins, The

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8.6
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(Updated: May 23, 2020)
Overall rating
 
8.5
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
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10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
7.0
I still don't know how I really feel after the prequels. I think I regard them much higher than the Disney attempt and I even have a soft spot for Phantom Menace, but I can understand why the editor mostly left that out (only the Maul/Jinn/Kenobi fight remains) due to focusing on Anakin's story. I think it was an interesting choice to start with that. But I think it was a little odd to have the title crawl appear straight after Qui Gon's death. I know the audience isn't supposed to know who he is, so would have little sympathy, but for me it still felt like an oddity and didn't feel very Star Wars to open with that. Maybe the title crawl should have been placed at the beginning before that scene? But just that's my lowly opinion and feel free to ignore it. That's my main criticism over with.

I was overall happy with the trimming down of Attack of the Clones (as I've never been a fan) and you can't tell where the editor has cut for the average casual viewer such as myself. You may see a lot of screen wipes at times, but I can't say that it put me off as I was simply happy watching the bare bones of the story without the filler. The main narrative is put forward such as Anakin and Padme falling in love, Count Dooku announced as a Sith and the creation of the Clone Army. When watching it I never thought "Oh, I really missed the Yoda/Dooku confrontation" or "This film could really do with Dexter". Finally, some other things to note is that Hayden Christensen's mostly bad acting is toned right down (or better still - removed) and that helps lift the entire film and actually helps with his portrayal of Anakin. I find that you can actually sympathise with Anakin more when his mouth is actually closed. The love scenes flow and are mostly minimal so that the audience can fill the in-betweens themselves. All of the AotC's chapter is seamlessly made within a snappy 55 minutes. What fans may miss? More battle on Geonosis footage. But that's it, frankly.

The clone army is announced, we do see some minimal footage of the battle on Geonosis and led straight into "Revenge" onto the Palpatine rescue mission with a quick title. The actual rescue of Palpatine is done and dusted in around 10 minutes from when they land, but the suspense is left in. What is missing from the entirety of "Revenge" is General Grevious and it makes you realise how inessential he is to the plot. I can't say I missed him or his little multiple lightsaber action at all.

From this vision of "Revenge" I felt Anakin's battle with his thoughts was at the front of the edit. Something happens and then it's back to Anakin unsure of himself. Something else happens and Anakin is still in turmoil. The editing and pacing works in that regard, which somehow never really works in it's original release as there's simply too much going on. Additionally throughout the film I should add that the audio is spot on and nothing seems strange or off-key.

The rest of the film is pretty straight forward and there's no "shocking" things taken out. Some lines have been trimmed down or removed. Bail Organa witnessing the padawan's death is gone - probably for pacing, I don't know. Some things that I thought may have been taken out such as the Yoda's/Sidious fight and Padme dying of "unexplained circumstances" or a "broken heart" remains. But it's the editors work and I applaud the editor for it.

Finally, Jar Jar Who? .... midi-whatiants? Gone. ;)

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Overall rating
 
9.1
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Audio Editing
 
8.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Well this is it - the best of the best of Star Wars Prequel edits. I've watched a bunch in my quest to finally enjoy the prequel and this is as close as it gets. Editor Darth Awesome does an excellent job boiling down the plot of three movies to focus on Anakin, cut the cheese from the originals and give us a glimpse at the Clone Wars era Star Wars universe. The result is an enjoyable Greatest Hits of the Prequel trilogy and a surprisingly engaging Anakin character study.

Darth Awesome does a great job in cramming a ton of story into under three hours. The coolest battles are still seen here and the fat is trimmed. Most surprising is how much the Anakin and Padme relationship improves onscreen thanks to this edit. Sure, it plays out like an episode of Star Wars' Dawson's Creek, but I mean that in the good melodrama, soap-opera-y way. It makes Anakin a relatable, tragic character. It was the first time I thought that Hayden Christensen actually did a decent job. That's all to Darth Awesome's editing credit. Darth Awesome also does a killer job transition from Ep. 2 to 3. The way he handles the start of the Clone Wars is masterful as he moves into Ep. 3.

There are a couple technical nitpicks, though minor. First, you can't walk into this edit blind to the story or characters. There are some narrative jumps that are made that you have to overlook. Characters come and go - even our introduction of Ep. 2 Anakin is jarring if you don't know who he is already. However, if you're hunting down a fan edit of these movies, you're probably already a fan; it's a minor complaint. More pressing are a couple of hard transitions that would be nice to see softened up - particularly working in an establishing shot for Obi-wan arriving on Kamino and a little more clarification on the cloning process.

Overall, this is the most fun I've had watching the prequels. It doesn't fix them - that's impossible. Editing can only do so much. Darth Awesome pushes the craft to the limit here. For those days you are nostalgic and think that you should give the Prequels another shot - this is the edit to watch.

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Top 1000 Reviewer 1 reviews
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Overall rating
 
8.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
7.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
I thought this was a really interesting take on merging the 3 prequels into one film. It certainly covered all the main elements that contribute to episodes 4, 5 and 6. It seemed very well done and certainly felt seamless. The only crits I have would be,

1) I think the crawling into text should always come at the start. Personally, other than letting us know who Qui Gon Jinn is, I felt the Darth Maul sequence could be missed out.

2) I felt the discovery of the clone army seemed very dumbed down. I remember it being a bit more exciting in Attack of the Clones and it was a lot more mysterious and interesting seeing the clones in production and training.

Other than that I was pretty impressed. I enjoyed seeing the deleted scenes inserted into the film as I hadn't actually seen those before. Good job :)

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Top 500 Reviewer 4 reviews
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Overall rating
 
8.4
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Whilst nothing can be done to save the terrible acting and over-use of CGI, this edit distills the essential elements of the prequels narrative making a far more cohesive story. This goes to show how those three movies should have been one film, it was far more enjoyable told this way, it felt like I'd just watched a full narrative arc rather than three flabby movies full of so much dead weight. The editing is unnoticeable and expertly done.

For those of you who really don't like the Star Wars prequels, this is an ideal chance to see how it might have been done more successfully as a tight and focussed story.

Well done Darth Awesome, you did a fantastic job.

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Top 500 Reviewer 4 reviews
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Overall rating
 
9.5
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Excellent boiling down of episodes I, II, & III which widely believed to be the weakest of the currently released material (I-VI). To be honest I don't have a lot of faith that the upcoming VII, VIII, and IX will be worthy BUT I wanted my kids to see understand the story line of the first three (3) episodes with out forcing them to watch the almost eight (8) hours of content. This fanedit successfully does the job. Were some of the subtle points missed, yes, but the trade-off was more than worth it. If you haven't watched the first three (3) episodes and aren't a Star Wars purist, watch this fanedit and thank the editor. A lot of work must have gone in to this. Thanks.

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