Review Detail

9.0 54 10
FanFix July 06, 2010 40877
Overall rating
 
9.2
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
First let me set up the scene for you:
There's three of us taking this ride. Two of us have seen all of the films in their original forms. One of us has never seen a Star Wars film in their life. The original plan was to watch the original trilogy that's it. No fuss. Somewhere in the two weeks between watching episode 4 and 5, I read an article about what order is the best order to watch Star Wars. In that article I read an interesting perspective, you watch episode 4 and 5, and then watch episodes 1-3, before watching episode 6. That way episodes 1-3 acts a flashback for darth vader, there's some time to let the cliffhanger sink in from episode 5, you preserve all the reveals in episode 5 (including I AM YOUR FATHER) and you end on a happy conclusion in episode 6.

Here is the article for reference.
http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/star-war...-wars-marathon

I thought this was a cool idea, I'm already having fun watching these movies with somebody who never watched them before and it's been at least 10 years since I've seen them myself. But there's no freaking way I'm watching the prequels in theatrical format, nope, not happening. So I do some research and lo and behold there's a dozen prequel edits. There were two that catched my interest the most Q2's and L8Wrtr's. Based off of the number of positive things I heard about L8Wrtr's that's the cut I went with (also accessibility was a factor). I was on the roll, after some convincing of the other Star Wars watchers (especially the one who had seen the prequels), we were on our way.

Coming to tonight, our first adventure into the prequel fanedits. And what an adventure it was. While the first time watcher only rated the film at about a 5 and a half to 6, he had no knowledge of how truly awful these films were. I thought it was tremendous how much better the film was. Seriously.

Technical Specs first:
Audio/Video Quality
Most of the audio video quality was superb, only one or two scenes where the video looked slightly grainy (I think it was the deleted scenes, which I didn't realize were deleted scenes). The audio quality was mostly excellent, I had my usual problem with the effects/soundtrack being way higher than the dialogue. 9/10

Video Editing/Audio Editing:
You would almost never have guessed that any changes were made. Some things come off slightly odd, narrative wise, but mostly it's all very well done. Totally digging the old school swipes and it made it feel consistent with the rest of the saga. 10/10

Narrative:
The story was way tighter and more importantly it mostly all made sense. It's very straightforward and I appreciated that very much. The politics are still politicky and need some focused concentration, but the gist of it is clear. The plan talked about by Padme before the climax lays out what should happen in the final act, but it goes by too fast that I had to reiterate it a couple of times to the rest of my crew watching with me. At times the movie seemed too fast paced for it's own good, but I don't know how you could have done it any better without leaving more crap in the movie.

Enjoyment:
WOW. I really enjoyed this movie. First of all, from the beginning, Shadow of the Sith is a badass title. The opening crawl is clear and concise, gets to the point of the movie right away without delving into too much politics.
Act 1:
The opening is a blast to watch with Qui-Gon and Obi Wan fighting their way out of the tough spot. Love that opening scene and it sets the pace masterfully. The scenes with the emperor pulling the strings makes it clear there's more at work here. Jar Jar is beautifully excised all his dumb stupid crap is gone, he looks slightly out of place just following around, but because he plays a role in the third act, it's impossible to excise him completely. The conversations are light and get to the point moving the plot along switfully. Act 1 is a blast and clearly has no problems.
Act 2:
It's in act 2 where the choppiness begins to take a toll as the whole movie feels like a chase picture. The Jedi's rush from the ambush to the Gungan City from which they rush to Naboo palace, which they rush away in an escape, which crash, which they rush to get back in the air, rush back to the senate, and rush back to Naboo. It starts to feel a little choppy, but really it's still worth it because the underlying problems are with the actors and the characters (especially Jake Lloyd and Natalie Portman who are both stiff as all hell). I think the dialgue and the chemistry between the two could have been sold better by more capable actors. Even "Are you an Angel" doesn't bother me nearly as much as the batshit crazy things the mother says and will allow her son to do. Nonetheless, she is probably overwhelmed by the situation for his birth and is thinking crazy shit about who he is altogether. Qui Gon and Palpatine shine pretty brightly in this picture, each one playing up their character. Qui Gon especially sets the stage for his kind old jedi act to utmost devotion to his belief in the child. Oh and thank goodness that Pod race is heavily cut, it feels much better playing out like a drag race near the end more than an endurance test. I wish you could have cut the rest of the racers all together really.

Act 3:
This is when the movie came together for me. I finally saw something that I never saw before thanks to this cut. And it's this: I love the dichotomy between Anakin and Luke in this move and Episode 4. The naive boy who leaves home with an elder stranger who he has just met, and more importantly that same boy saves the day, by making a shot when no other pilot could. For Luke, the force was a struggle, here it's Anakin uses it with such cavalier attitude. Nothing that good comes easy. Also reading the notes from L8wrtr makes this edit stronger, with nobody else saving the day, no decoy princess, no other crap. The situation is dire and it's saved by the boy that nobody believed in except for Qui Gon. Same with Kenobi and Luke, how much crap did Hans and Leia talk about before Luke jumped in that X-wing. Tons. 7/10

Some issues:
Now I understand a faneditor can't go back and reshoot scens and get rid of bad acting.. I understand that, but this movie is jumping from a 2 or a 3 to about a 7 and that's a big jump.

Nonetheless, the politicks sometimes gets a little unclear even if it is super streamlined, and the plan for the climax is really unclear with one scene to describe it. I definitely like the urgency of the whole situation especially on the escape from Tatooine but it does at times feel choppy. And as someone else pointed out, Anakin is told by Qui Gon to tell the ship to take off, but Obi Wan says the same thing a few minutes later. Also the reveal that Padme is the real princess and the princess is the double, is cool, but it's never used for any useful purpose. I understand it's necessary to cut to get the ending wanted here, and it's necessary to show for the Gungan alliance negotiation, but it just didn't fit right with no legitimate use for it.

In the end we had a great time watching this. And that's really what matters. Great job, and we're looking forward to the next two parts of your prequel trilogy for the next two weeks.

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