After really enjoying your edit of Episode 2 (and deciding to keep that as my definitive version) I thought I might as well check out your edit of Episode 1.
I gotta say I always liked the movie in general, but I felt that a lot of stuff simply didnt need to be in it and was actually keeping the movie from being as good/entertaining as it could have been.
Watching your version I was quite surprised at how much this movie was improved by simply deleting a few "ingredients".
Jar jar not being a total goofy is probably the biggest improvement, followed by the Gungans being much more graceful in general.
Next big thing on my list is having a lot of the unfunny dialog/comments of the battle droids removed. Makes them seem a lot more like an actual threat, instead of a total (unfunny) joke.
Without going too much into detail (and repeating whats already in your list of changes) I gotta say I really like this edit. Watched it about 8 times so far, and I´m slowly starting to forget a lot of the crap thats shown in the original version. I think I´ll keep this one as my definitive version of the movie, the version that should have been the official one. The regular version will simply serve as an extended cut.
There are only 2 things I am really missing and I think they shouldnt have been removed.
Number one would be Obi-Wan´s comment about it not having been their day of warm welcomes, before diving down to the Gungan city. I liked that comment and cant figure out why it was cut out.
Number two would be the Tusken Raider attack during the pod race.
Both scenes/comments keep on popping up in my head while watching the movie and I miss them somehow. Other than that I´m perfectly happy with this movie.
So thank you for all your efforts on trying (and achieving) to make this a much better movie that actually feels like a star wars movie!
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyAugust 25, 2013
Thank you Basswalker!
I honestly cannot recall what my line of though was regarding Obi-Wan's line. Without going back and watching the theatrical my suspicion is that in order to cut out Jar Jar's ridiculous high-jump this was required, but I could be mistaken. The Tuskin Raiders however I can specifically note had a purpose. As genuinely funny as their scene was (one of the true laugh-out-loud moments I had in the theater) I felt that given the overall place of the Sandpeople is too serious to make them the butt of a joke which didn't contribute to the story. The Tuskins brutally torture, assault and kill Anakin's mom, and Luke refers to them as a dangerous threat. For reasons of tone and continuity I just felt it best to remove them completely, even though it meant losing one of the few naturally humorous moments of the film.
But I'm glad that overall you enjoyed both Episode 1 and 2, and if you enjoyed how those played out I hope you'll give Dawn of the Empire a shot, like the rug in the Dude's room, it really ties it together nicely.
Thank you for taking the time to review both edits!
To say that this was a massive improvement over the original would be an understatement! L8wrtr has managed to turn an unwatchable film into an enjoyable one. This is now a good movie.
To start from the beginning - I love the title 'Shadow of the Sith'. It's so much more intriguing and cooler than 'The Phantom Menace' (what was George Lucas thinking!) The new opening scroll is great too. L8's editing technique throughout is excellent and hardly noticeable.
He has of course cut out all the worst aspects of the movie but also majorly improved the story and how you feel about and relate to the characters. I'm frankly amazed at what he's managed to do with the story. When I watched the Phantom edit, although it was an improvement over the original, afterward I felt disappointed as though the movie just couldn't be saved. What a difference with this edit though. He's managed to show that there was a great story hiding under there all the time. This is certainly not a movie solely for under 8 year olds anymore.
As for Jar jar, he was fine, hardly bothered me at all, the Gungans seem like a more noble race, the politics is actually interesting now as is watching Palpatine's manipulating things. Everything's so much clearer now.
Anakin's character is vastly improved. He's still a little annoying occasionally but it doesn't bother me because his character is so much better overall. It's a great move IMO to have him destroy the mothership on purpose, I think it really works. After all he's already shown that he's strong with the force through the pod race, he can clearly fly a pod and exceptionally well. Qui-gon says he has Jedi reflexes and can see things before they happen. So yeah I can take the leap of faith to say he could blow up the mothership. Plus he is meant to be the chosen one. Which brings me to, that I'm not sure that it was necessary to keep in the chosen one idea. In fact I'd be interested to understand L8's thinking on the matter. Perhaps I missed it on the commentary? Anyhow it doesn't spoil the story at all, and thankfully there are no midiclorians!
The commentary tracks on all of L8's prequel trilogy are great, very much worth your time. (For some reason the volume was very low on Episode I's commentary though?) They are up there with the best of even commercially available DVDs. In fact I listened to it first before I watched the movie. And I think it really helped me to "unlearn what I had learned". It made me realise that the story, pacing and creating characters we can empathise with has to come first, even if that means cutting out scenes that some people may like and would prefer left in. That goes for all three of his prequel edits and I have to say that it really works. And believe me, the way he's crafted these films really pays off by the time you've finished watching Episode III - Dawn of the empire. It all leads there..
The blu-ray quality is incredible! Beautiful in fact. It's an excellent transfer. Looks amazing on my projector. It does unfortunately make the 2 deleted scenes (despite the fact that they've been up scaled) stand out like a sore thumb. This is a lot less noticeable on the dvd DL version though. It's a difficult one because it does take you out of the moment, which is not a good thing but on the other hand the scenes really do add a lot. Overall I think it's worth them being there. Shame Lucas hasn't released the scenes in HD, maybe one day...
Despite it being cut by 40 mins it still feels like a complete movie, it doesn't feel rushed to me and yes it feels like Star Wars. As others have commented, the re-edited last 3rd of the movie is a master stroke. Works so well. And there are so many other masterful cuts that bring the movie to life. I'm not saying its perfect, no edit of Phantom could be, but the small things that bothered me just didn't matter over all because the Edit itself is just so good.
If you watch this once and don't like it, honestly give it another go. I've watched SOTS four times now and it continues to improve. The Phantom Menace has almost completely been erased from my mind and replaced with this :-D
Coming to the end, I love the Duel of fates track playing in the credits instead of the normal Star Wars theme. It really sets an ominous tone for the next movies. Of course if you'd prefer the movie end with the original theme you can select it in extras.
Original movie rating 4//10
SOTS movie rating 8/10
SOTS is an amazing edit and IMO the best Episode I edit out there!
I'm new to the fanedit phenomenon and don't feel like my experience is such that I can comment on L8's technical expertise. All I can in this regard is that, with very rare exception, did any of the edits jump out to me and say "I'm a fan edit!" It could easily be confused with an actual studio release.
I prefer this version not only to the theatrical release, but to the famed phantom edit as well. While I would concede there are a few moments captured in the Phantom Edit that are missed, L8's pacing and storytelling is completely consistent.
Until something better comes along, which considering how high the bar was raised here I doubt will happen soon, this will be my go-to version of the movie.
I can't say this edit made The Phantom Menace a MUCH better Star Wars movie, but it was still fine. It didn't really add anything to the movie that made it feel any more Star Wars-y (apart from some of the pacing), but it certainly stripped away a lot of the really bad stuff.
Some of the editing is a bit clunky (even the opening STAR WARS title zooms out a bit messily), and while Jar Jar Binks had a lot of annoying lines trimmed out, it kind of reduced him to a character who just stood around not doing anything. There's a shot somewhere where the focus was on Jar Jar looking as if he were at the end of a comedic routine, but not doing anything or saying a word. It was kinda creepy. I think you should have cut or cropped some of the shots with Jar Jar out.
However, the stuff that was good was good. It got to the point well enough, and it made PM a more tolerable movie, though not much of a better one.
I've never been a great lover of the Star Wars prequels but when they the blu-ray box set became available the completest in me had to get all 6 movies. After watching them over the Christmas holidays it was torture watching these prequels and I wanted to replace them with fanedits and so I decided to take a look L8wrtr edit.
overall the edit is a vast improvement over the original, not only does this edit make Jar-Jar Binks watchable but even dare i say likable. the ending is extremely well done in stripping back the many different story elements and placing the focus on the fight scenes and Anakin. I've briefly listened to the commentary and was surprised by just how much was removed without me noticing.
I'm not a die hard star wars fan so one or two edit choices that were made I wouldn't have made as i feel thay effect the overall story. for instance it never bothered me that Anakin built C3-PO so this removal was noticeable when all of a sudden a droid is hanging around our main characters without him ever been introduced.
also i felt to much was removed from the pod race, with two laps to go they are 6 pods still competing then in a matter in minutes it's just between Anakin and Sebulba without ever seeing what happens to the other four competitors. i can understand the editors reason in wanting to remove the Wacky Races aspect to the pod-race but for me it just didn't feel right.
overall L8wrtr has made what i consider a bad film more tolerable but i'm still on the look out for the perfect Episode I fanedit. I'm giving this a 7/10