Empire Begins, The

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8.6
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9.1(14)
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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
 
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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Yes
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H
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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B
Top 500 Reviewer 4 reviews
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Overall rating
 
8.3
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Fan-editor Darth Awesome combines all three Star Wars prequels into a single viewing experience. Running time is two hours forty minutes, with the heaviest trims coming from Phantom Menace. For action fans seeking Clone Wars, this is not it. Though Darth Awesome describes it as rise of Empire, fall of Anakin, the story is really a character study of Anakin Skywalker, with all the good and bad that entails.

Video - Good work, nice transitions. A couple scene shifts were marvelous. Professional all the way.

Audio - Fine 2.0 stereo. No subs. At any given time, dialogue was understandable, during combat, street activity, whispered conversations. And yes, this is a big deal. I have heard, yet not understood, my share of dynamic sound designs. Mr Awesome has done well here.

Narrative - OK, not scratching here, but pointing things out. Kamino barely appears, to me a startling omission. Seemed like all but eight minutes of Phantom Menace was jettisoned. What survived was a highlight - hooray! The battle on Geonosis was minimized. Duly noticed and missed. General Grievous, on the other hand, was no loss. I could go on and on, parts I missed, others I was happy to see gone. The narrative holds together, but this is a story about Anakin, and I don’t particularly care for this Jedi. Exchanges with Padme remain awful, specifically because of utter lack of chemistry between the leads.

Enjoyment - Grumbles aside, I did enjoy Mr Awesome’s edit. I rewatch E02 and E03 fairly frequently, E01 never. There is clever invention in this effort. It held my interest and I returned several times, to study specific sequences. Having conceptual ideas is one thing, bringing them off is another. Definitely recommended, especially to readers who have a fondness for the Christensen films. For those who hated those installments, I doubt it will better your opinion.

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Overall rating
 
8.5
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Brief Summary: A great 3-in-1 Prequel edit, although the first half feels a bit rushed.

Some negatives & nitpicks:

I don't know why you used "Episode III" in the crawl. You should have just gone with the title and no Episode numbering.

We should have seen more on Kamino. We see Obi-Wan leaving and thanking the alien, then he makes a report to the Council about the droid army, but we didn't see any of that. Remember, show don't tell. Also, the Jango and Boba introduction scene should have been kept.

I didn't buy the romance between Anakin and Padme. But to fair, so far the only prequel edit I've seen that handled the romance well was L8wrtr's Episode II.

I agree that Anakin and Obi-Wan's duel should have been cut down. I especially hate the moment where they just twirl their lightsabers and look like idiots.

Some positives:

I really liked the opening.

Overall the way you stream-lined the story was wonderful. Amazed at how much can be cut out without losing anything too important.

Excellent work cutting out the Geonosis battle and the way you transitioned to Episode III.

Damn fine work cutting out Grievous!

Recommended.

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