My first fan edit review!!! Having spent a lot of time editing The Phantom Menace myself (work in progress), I can really appreciate the technical difficulty of this very aggressive edit. The transitions were excellent between scenes, particularly the audio.
Overall it was a technically excellent edit. There were some transitions that were obvious, but overall they were seamless.
A very bold move to completely edit out the Gungan home world, something I hadn't considered doing, but it worked really well.
I really enjoyed the pod race sequence, which is ridiculously long in the original release. Your edit is seamless, well paced and the perfect duration.
You made an excellent job of making the Neimodians a more menacing threat.
I loved the absence of Sidious. I'm still not sure whether I prefer it to the original, but its a very interesting take on the film.
Excellent job on editing out all Battle Droid dialogue.
Superb final battle sequence.... no Jar Jar antics and your cut of Anakin destroying the droid control ship was excellent.
The cut is slightly too aggressive for my liking, and some parts of the film, particularly the opening 20 minutes, seem very rushed.
I didn't feel any added tension from your recut of the Tatooine sequences. I never felt that our heroes were in any more danger than the original film.
In short, this is one of the best and possibly most minimalist edits of episode 1 that I have seen. Will it replace Shadow of the Sith or Phantom Edit as my favorite? I am undecided… Seciors clearly has a great eye for pacing, cheese, and a sense for dramatic storytelling. This version is pared down extremely close to the tipping point, I think, between cutting too much and not enough. There are few movies where this balancing act is more difficult than in Episode 1.
Unfortunately, the never-ending challenge of Episode 1 is that simple cutting and re-arranging are not enough to make this movie excellent. There are still a handful of scenes (won’t bother naming) that are there and can’t be fixed without some highly technical and creative work. The good news is that the cheese is at a bare minimum and like Neglify said, I found myself actually interested and enjoying the movie for the most part.
Once upon a time I would say the video quality was good, but now with an HD source out there, it falls a little short on that mark.
From an editing standpoint, it is very solid, especially given the large volume of work done on this movie, and even more especially given that I believe this was Secior’s first foray into the world of fanediting.
There are two technical skills that appear to be a little lacking here, which would be nice to see improvements on in any future edits. 1) Music score editing. There were a couple times when the music cuts were a little too hard and pulled me out of the moment. 2) The DVD menu is not very professional in appearance and the music loop cuts off rather annoyingly when the loop resets.
Seciors gets major props for jumping into the fanediting arena with one of the most difficult movies to edit and the most frequently edited movies. His version is original and a welcome addition to the fanedit.org episode 1 catalog. Seciors almost succeeded in making this movie good, which is no small feat.
FANEDIT RATING (considering changes made)- 9/10
MOVIE RATING (considering the movie as a whole as if it were a new release I was watching for the first time) – 7/10. (Original theatrical version was 4/10, so this is an impressive improvement!)
First off, let me say that I haven’t watched many of the other Fan Edits of the prequel trilogy. I’ve seen The Phantom Edit and Shadows of the Old Republic. I say this so that it’s known what my points of reference are. When watching Return of the Sith I compared it to the original Episode One and what I could remember from Phantom Edit. I feel this gave me a fair view with no preconceived idea of how it should be.
Technical Quality: Video quality is perfect. Everything looked crisp. Audio is perfect. No discernible problems. 10/10
Editing Quality: Superb. No hard cuts. No jarring audio cuts. Scene transitions done very well. Overall flowed seamlessly. 10/10
Presentation: Pretty good. Nice main menu. Scene selection was good. Wish there could have been more to it, but it was totally fine. 9/10
Entertainment: Like pretty much everybody in the world, I hated Episode One. Boring as hell, terrible dialogue and acting. Epic fail. In my opinion it’s impossible to fix this movie and still make it a movie. You could cut it down to only a half hour and there would still be traces of bile that float to the top.
That being said… The majority of your cuts were well placed and did improve on it. The last time I watched TPM I just had it on as background noise and paid little attention. Your edit was able to hold my attention most of the way through. Twice I paused it to go dick around on the internet, but came back each time within a few minutes. After the halfway point I was glued to my seat and didn’t leave until it was done. There were still a few groan moments, but nothing compared to the original.
The Jar-Jar cuts were very nice. Almost down to the absolute minimum. Now he just happens to be along for the ride, and as you say, is kind of like C-3PO from Episode IV. Personally, I would have liked to have the “Yousa people gonna die” scene go as well, but this time it didn’t detract as much.
The Anakin cuts were good. A lot of his dumb lines are gone. Not all of them, but the most atrocious ones. Once he leaves home he shuts up and gets to work. Jake Lloyd was still annoying, but I guess the only way to fix that is to redub all his lines with a different actor.
The cutting a lot of the politics worked really well. Now it’s more focused on Qui-Gon and Anakin.
Most intriguing was your cutting of Sidious. When I first read that you cut him out I thought, “How’s that work?” Then watching it, I realized that with cutting him you make Darth Maul the primary (really the only) villain. Then with Yoda and Windu’s discussion at the end, the viewer questions who’s behind it all. That made me very interested in seeing your edits of Episodes II and III. I really want to know where this story is going and isn’t that the point of it all?
Overall, I feel this is a worthy addition to the community. It may not appease those who are worn out with the prequels, but it should make the average Joe happy.
Another good Episode 1 edit that feels a bit short to me.
Like I said before: that’s the price to pay.
- The new scenes reorganization works well.
- I particulary liked the Queen’s ship landing on tatooine at night because Maul lands directely after. Well done.
- With Sidious removed, Maul’s presence is very interesting in this edit. He IS the Phantom Menace here (until the last dialogue between Mace and Yoda where we learn that there could be “another”.
- less Jar jar and no Gungan City at all works well. Although… I always thought that one of the main goals of an Episode 1 fanedit should be to make Jar jar interesting (some edits did that with new subtitles and things like that) without removing him too much. But that’s just me.
Things I like less (and nitpickings) :
- Some scenes felt a bit short.
- Jar Jar’s first lines removal is too obvious.The cut did not work for me.
- I felt some music transitions needed more work. (But all in all it’s okay)
- Anakin does not say he built 3PO, but since he still says that he built a podracer in the same scene (and put the last eye on 3PO) it’s a bit obvious that he also built the droid. BUT… a little ambiguity is still better than the original.
- I’m one of the few who like the scene of Anakin searching for Padme, and his little talk with “the Queen”. It was part of the few scenes Lucas shot after the main production (IIRC) and the purpose was because we do not see “Padme” for a very long time on screen and it’s a way to explain why to the audience. That is funny because, if anything I feel this scene is THE one where it’s very obvious that Padme and the Queen are the same person… But I don’t know why I like this scene and I feel it’s missing here. To me.
- I never like that shot of Anakin turning suddenly to Qui gonn when this one says “things have become much more complicated”. IIRC, this scene is a bit longuer than in the theatrical cut. Things like this shot were added in that scene for the DVD release. And that shot is very strange, like it means something important that we don’t understand. All in all, I feel it’s odd.
Anyway, enough nitpickings.
I rate this edit 8/10.
Could have rated it more if it was released 2 or 3 years ago, but now, with all the prequels edits out, I tend to rate differently.
Good job for a first fanedit. And good job period.