This is objectively better than the original movie. There's no reason why you wouldn't watch it instead of the original. This is the version I'll watch forever, although I'll try more fan edits to see if they are better. But I don't see how they could!
With a full grasp of the story that needed to be told, there was an enormous amount of thought and research that went into all 3 of l8wrtrs trilogy. Every single edit has a reason behind it in support of pacing, story, and characters. Underneath the phantom menace, L8wrtr proves there is an interesting story. L8wrtr transforms a terrible film into an interesting and enjoyable first entry into the Star Wars Saga. This trilogy as a whole makes watching the saga in order (1-8) worth your time.
This edit is absolutely phenomenal - perhaps the best version of the film possible. We can all agree that The Phantom Menace leaves much to be desired, but watching l8wrtr's edit restored some of the joy from the original trilogy. So, what made this edit so great?
- Jar Jar is.... bearable? His presence is so limited, and all of his foolishness is removed. Now, he comes across as a competent, if a little odd, alien who comes from a clan of warriors. While he can still annoy us with his speech patterns and ridiculousness, he doesn't come close to ruining our experience.
- THE PACE. The film just keeps moving, and this movie needed a bit of a boost. I can't get over the fact that I was enjoying myself as the movie started, because all of the needlessness was gone.
- The villains. The Neimoidians felt like a part of the villainy this time around. I didn't realize how much they hurt the film, but when they are willful participants they increase the stakes of the movie.
Unfortunately, while there are many improvements, nothing can save the acting in this movie. It's just as dreadful as it always was, but this time... there's less of it.
Nobody can make The Phantom Menace as good as the originals, nor as good as what Disney releases now. l8wrtr sure does his darndest, though, and boy does it pay off.