Star Wars - Episode I: Shadow of the Sith

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(Updated: August 25, 2012)
Overall rating
 
9.1
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
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9.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
Broadcasting from a hidden location deep in majestic Canada, it is time for THE BIONIC MOVIE REVIEW SHOW!!!

With your hosts…..
BIONIC BOB– a forty something Postie who actually sat in theatres in 1977 and saw the first and best Star Wars movie!

and his partner, and super smart daughter….
BIONIC EM — a ten year old master at Lego Star Wars Saga DS!!!

Lets start talking about AUDIO QUALITY….

BB says “Other than a few soft background music moments, it sounded sharp, crisp and clear. I detected no significant drop outs or pops or anything negative. John Williams score still rocks the house!”

Bionic Em says, “uuuhhhhmmmmm…. ( Bionic Em thinks carefully) I didn’t notice anything bad. It was very dramatic sounding, but in a good way!”

SCORE: BB 9/10 BE 9.5/10

Moving onto the next round, VIDEO QUALITY….

Bionic Bob says, ” Excellent. The picture quality was beautiful. Noticed no difference from original DVD version”

Bionic Em says, “Why did the colour change when the robot-thingie attacked the Jedi-guy? The rest looked great. Especially Darth Maul! I love Darth Maul!!!!”

SCORE: BB 10/10 BE 9.5/10

Now moving onto the nitty gritty, VISUAL EDIT…

Bionic Bob says, ” The vast majority of edits are absolutely seemless. The only scene to me where it is clear that something was cut was when Qui-gon and company were departing from parts store (ok, I am not a big TPM fan, can’t remember character names…. Star Trek on the other hand….), the cuts are very fast but don’t quite flow smoothly. However, with that said, I think the biggest compliment you can give a Fan Edit is when you watch it and don’t realize anything is missing. L8wrtr cut I think over 30 minutes of footage, and for the life of me, I didn’t miss a thing. BRAVO!!!”

Bionic Em says, “I miss the guys who shoot at the podracers. But everything else is just like the video game, so it was awesome!”

SCORE BB 9/10 BE 9/10

And now the final round of discussion, OVERALL ENTERTAINMENT…

Bionic Bob says, “I have only watched a few TPM edits (The Phantom Edit, ADM’s Vergence) and this is by and far away the most aggressively edited version I have seen. And it works on all levels. JAR JAR is no longer annoying but a sympathetic character, which is an incredible accomplishment. The new scroll is wonderful, I love that it retained the Phantom Menence reference. The mystical conception of Anakin works completely for me. I completely agree with all the removed scenes. And the final restructure act works extremely well. All in all, a very good viewing experience. I may have found my definitive version of TPM. GREAT WORK! You should be very proud of your edit!!!”

Bionic Em says, “I think it was totally awesomeness because it was exciting and scary and all those awesome things. My favorite part was the big fight with Darth Maul because Darth Maul is awesome (daughter likes the word “awesome”). I also like the Jedi guy with the big head, he looks like a human egg! Really, it was an extraordinary movie, I give it THUMBS UP!”

SCORE BB 9/10 BE 10/10

FINAL SCORE TOTAL: 9/10

So there you have it, the views of a jaded Trekkie and a very happy 10 year old. I think it is safe to say this version of THE PHANTOM MENACE rocks! Thank you L8WRTR for a very enjoyable afternoon of movie fun!
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Overall rating
 
9.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

I was pleasantly surprised with this edit. The only other edit of The Phantom Menace that I had seen before watching Shadow of the Sith was The Phantom Edit. Honestly, I had expected more from The Phantom Edit. I felt that it didn’t go far enough with its edits. After watching The Phantom Menace Revew – by RedletterMedia, I was even more turned off to The Phantom Menace. But L8wrtr’s edit turns this movie into something fast-paced and enjoyable.

DVD Presentation:
Nice Motion Menu. 20th Century Fox logo into the L8wrtr logo nice touch.

Movie itself:

Podrace: Thank you for making it bearable. Removing the ESPN style announcers was much needed! Removing Anakin being delayed at the starting line was good. It makes the pacing better the way you have him just stall for a second and then take off again. Also making it 3 laps makes it more entertaining and less of a chore to watch.

Removing of the midichlorians – how could anyone have a problem with this change!

Its great that Jar Jar is no longer a goofy outcast, and regarding the Gungans theres no spitting and quivering of the lips.

The ending was awesome. Im glad i didn’t read the cutlist ahead of time.. If I had known ahead of time the change to the ending it may not have had the same effect. But ending on the cliffhanger and with suspense was cool and works much better than the multipronged ending of the original movie from a celebration to a funeral etc.

Lastly, a real stroke of brilliance was adding that scene with the probe droid. Its crazy, I never realized it before, but TPM never really explains why Qui Gon is in such a rush to get back to the ship in the outer rim of Tatooine. They just cut to Qui Gon and Anakin running. So the addition of the probe droid scene made sense.

Well this is my definitive version of The Phantom Menace. I don’t know if I’ll be watching any other people’s fanedits (there’s only so much TPM i can watch!)

I look forward to future fanedits from L8wrtr!

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(Updated: August 25, 2012)
Enjoyment
 
9.0
Episode One is hard to redeem. This version does a valiant job of the impossible. Entire sections and of the film are removed along with individual shots. Excellent video quality (especially on Dual Layer version) and 5.1 audio.

If you are still watching your copy of the Phantom Edit, I highly suggest you give this one a try.
This is now my favorite version of this film – not sure if it will be outdone.

Fan Editor Commentary is very entertaining – the editor gives insights of his editing goals and why he excised certain shots/sections etc. Great listen for any fan or aspiring (fan) editor.

Dual Layer Version is highly recommended over the DVD5 – besides better quality video, you also get alternative ending audio (as others have stated, this version has the DEFINITIVE Ep. 1 ending), and the best fan edit special feature I have ever seen – a “Deleted Scenes” section. This is not your typical Deleted scenes section – you have to see it to believe it. This section displays topics such as one for Anakin, one for Jar Jar, one for Ric Olie, etc. and actually gives you all of their deleted footage back to back! It is both funny and disturbing at the same time due to seeing such horrible acting/writing in such a short duration!

My version of the Deleted scenes had some studdering and freezing during the clips – not sure if this was due to the authoring or my DVD DL media.

Highly recommended 9/10
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Overall rating
 
9.6
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Are you burned out on Episode I fanedits? First off, quit your complaining, because no one has seen as much of this movie as I have. But beyond that, you need to see this edit. It may just restore your faith in the potential of the prequels.

The big difference between this edit and all the others on the site is the editing of the four-way final battle. I’ll get in to it more later in the review, but L8wrtr’s editing choices and restructuring of the different components of the battle make this a brand new experience, one that worked for me on every level.

Before I get to the actual edits, I’ll mention that video and audio quality are in general excellent. Using adywan’s color-corrected version of the film as a starting point works very well, although there were a few spots (mainly the open of the film when the Jedi land on the Trade Federation ship) where colors seemed a little too washed out. The only other really noticeable issue with the color is during the probe droid deleted scene, but beyond that the video quality is very representative of the DVD quality.

I watched the edit twice, in both 2.0 and 5.1. The 2.0 sounded very crisp and clear. The 5.1 (my preferred choice by far) was also very good, although there were a few brief moments here and there where front music levels seemed a tad low.

The DVD presentation is very nice. Along with the movie itself, we get deleted scenes and a commentary track by L8wrtr. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the commentary yet, but I sampled it very briefly and it sounds like it will be entertaining. I am particularly looking forward to hearing the justification for not cutting the very few items I would have liked to see cut – and believe me, the list is very small.

With the tech out of the way, we’ll move on to the edit itself. I didn’t notice any hard cuts and transitions were well done. The edit is fast-paced and aggressive, with even some quick parts of the Obi/Qui-Gon/Maul duel trimmed (something I’ve never seen before). If you are looking for an edit with as much Jar-Jar and Ani removed as possible, this is it.

The one thing that may trip some people up is that Ani’s virgin birth is left intact. If I’ve understood correctly, L8wrtr left this in because he plans on maintaining the idea that Sidious created Anakin using the force. However, rest assured that midichlorians are completely removed from the edit, making the virgin birth idea less specific and more palatable.

The dinner scene on Tatooine, where Lucas ssssllllllooooooowwwwwllllllyyyyy gives us a ton of exposition (as well as some horrible Jar Jar hijinks), is now lean and efficient. We get the information we need quickly and then move on to the next scene. It’s a scene I always dread, and now it’s actually bearable.

The podrace is really well done – the focus is now solely on Anakin and Sebulba. No Greg Proops announcer, no wacky secondary characters, just Ani vs. Sebulba for three quick-but-enjoyable laps.

The scenes on Coruscant are probably the least touched scenes, but we still lose a lot of the slow and lame bits. I do wish that the aliens in the senate could have been cut out (ET’s family, really?) but otherwise this section of the film satisfies. I was especially pleased to see Anakin’s lines to Yoda cut down to almost nothing – no feeling cold, no vocalizing his feelings about his mother, no being petulant, etc.

And so we come to the big battle finale. The order of events is completely changed and it works great. First of all, the Gungan battle is cut away like nothing I’ve ever seen. The Gungans engage the battle droids, they lose their shield, and they’re captured. That’s it. Not a single Jar-Jar antic remains. You barely even realize he’s in the battle. Amidala and the troops have a quick firefight in the hallway with the droids but never use their ascension guns (no more poorly done practical effect), then are captured and brought to the viceroy. So the Gungans are captured and the Naboo troops are captured. All looks lost, but Anakin saves the day. He destroys the droid control ship, which frees both the Gungans and the Naboo troops. He is truly the sole hero in this version, rather than just part of the victory.

And yes, the Jedi still fight Maul, and the editing is very well done here too. Of special note is the way Maul no longer stands there like a punk waiting for Obi-Wan to flip over him and take him out. It happens in a blink of an eye like it always should have.

Finally, we wrap things up and end on the last shot of Palpatine, a much more satisfying ending than the horrible celebration of the Gungans with the unexplained science experiment. And for those of you who aren’t satisfied with the transition from Sidious to the standard Star Wars ending fanfare music, be sure to try the alternate music ending option L8wrtr has provided. I prefer the original music myself, but it’s nice to have both options.

So what’s left to say? I have seen every Episode I fanedit available on FE.org, and L8wrtr’s version comes the closest to what I envision as my perfect cut of the film. I can’t wait for his versions of the other two movies. This falls just short of a 10 rating, but I’d give it a 9.5/10 if I could. As it stands it gets a 9/10 and two thumbs up from Neil Patrick Harris.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
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(Updated: August 25, 2012)
Enjoyment
 
9.0
Review of Shadow of the Sith

Watching this edit reminded me, forcefully, that TPM is rubbish. The cuts only serve to highlight how terrible the movie is.
But: it is no longer utterly crap, thanks to you, L8wrtr. Your skills have made it watchable.

I disagree with a couple of your choices (particularly the cringe-worthy virgin birth: Anakin is Jesus, but an Evil Jesus!), but overall you have done a sterling job. Very, very impressive.

If I HAVE to sit through TPM again, this is the version I will watch, particularly for the last 30minutes. That was some sublime editing of the four battles taking place!

Video:
I was watching on a relatively small LCD screen, but I didn’t notice any imperfections. Quality seemed great to me throughout. I didn/t notice the drop in quality that elbarto1 noticed. However, the subtitles looked blocky and semi-transparent (at least on VLC).

Sound: I was only getting 2.0 sound out of my 5.1 system, I thought it was supposed to be 5.1?. But the soundscape was generally very good, apart from some dialogue sounding rather ‘echoey’, and one sound drop-out (weesa going home)

Some notes I jotted down as I watched, hope some comments are helpful!
- Opening scroll: self-conscious reference to the Phantom Meance is poor, doesn’t fit well with the text, and takes you out of the movie before you’ve even begun!
- 5min: why not cut out the droidicars completely? Have them fight the droids outside the door because they have to, and then go to hangar scene. The other scenes add nothing of value and, as you said in the commentary, show the Jedi to be weak because they can't defeat two droids "because they have shields". Doh!
- 8:40 cut out JarJar’s uncertainty; the cut shows too much (different colour) “ just go straight from “can you take us there? to “yes” or whatever he says.
- 12:44 arrival of bongo or whatever it’s called you’ve just shown the army moving in to the city, flying around etc… but there’s no army in this shot, maybe move it?
- 23:50 please, please take out the Greedo comment. It is just poor, self-referential crap GL stuffed in.
- Consider cutting C3PO completely. It’s not unbelievable that he could make a robot, but why would a 6 year old make a PROTOCOL droid? Gaaah! C3PO adds nothing in this movie, and you’ve already cut most of him out.
- 28-29 min: the dinner scene. Wow-.Just wow. Awesome editing. Tone is great, all Jar Jar antics gone, dialogue makes sense and flows instead of cheesy. Amazing.
- (I also really like the new less wussy Federation, and the nonspeaking droids. Fantastic.)
- No, no, nooooo. I can’t believe you kept the Virgin Birth. Please reconsider! The Darth Plagious link is way too tenuous, never made any connection to virgin birth in Ep 3.
- Hooray! No midichlorians.
- Pod race excellently edited BUT the removal of the announcer makes it a little difficult to know what’s going on, and also deadens the race somewhat. The announcer gave it a ESPN sports feel that somehow worked. Maybe a little bit of announcer would have been helpful?
The film suddenly becomes a silent movie, no dialogue for about 5 minutes, and this makes the pod race seem even longer than in the original, even though you’ve cut it down.
- It’s a pity you kept in the prophecy, vergence in the force, will of the Force nonsense. (How can the Force have a will??)
- 1:05:50 (approx) sound dips out noticeably where you cut “Weesa going home!”
- Trim up the Gungun alliance scene a bit more don’t need Boss Nass’s answer, and the awful Yipee celebration, they’re going to WAR, not a trip to the seaside!
- 1:13:10 why leave in Q saying to Anakin “find a safe place and hide” and “Find cover” at around 1:14:00? just have him run to his ship after “get to your ships? Isn’t the PLAN that he will fly?
- The editing of the 4 battles; Gunguns, queen, Anakin in space and Darth Maul was superbly handled. It was an excellent piece of film, seamlessly edited, and exciting. 20 brilliant minutes. Well done!
- At the end of the commentary you say “Thank you very much” then a big sigh and a number of mouse clicks are heard. Consider cutting!

Most seems a bit negative – however most of the way through I was nodding my approval, and the comments above are tweaks rather than real flaws.

Overall:
I find this a difficult one to rate. As a movie I would rate it around a 6 (compared to the original a 3 or 4) but as a fanedit I would rate it 9/10. Excellent work.
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