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9.4 11 10
FanFix March 14, 2017 10892
(Updated: April 22, 2020)
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This is a great edit, and I really really enjoyed it. However, some choices create -- in my view -- some problems for character development, and for the larger Prequel arc. Let me try and explain.

I always rather liked AOTC, and even much of Hayden Christensen's Anakin Skywalker. I don't mind the saccharin sweet elements of the Anakin/ Padme romance. I think it was okay that he was awkward,weird and hated sand.

The original film suffered from a few problems, though. There were issues of bloat, pacing and excessive exposition of trivial points, plus bringing in trivial, and irrelevant stuff: why say the initial assassination attempt on Coruscant was by disgruntled miners from a place no one has heard of, especially if it is not even explained why they are feeling murderous? Does it really matter of Jango is a clone? There are jarring efforts at humour and cuteness, like Jar-Jar Binks' idiocy, Dex's diner, some of the night-time chase after the assassin on Coruscant, too much of the droid factory, and R2D2 and C3PIO in the arena. Then there are stunning gaps on major issues. What was so crucial about Padme's appearance in the Senate that people keep trying to kill her? Who exactly is she?

This edit is absolutely amazing in how it speeds things up, guts the padding, and reintegrates crucial, game-changing deleted footage, notably Padme in the Senate opposing the call for an Army of the Republic (why the original cut dropped this is beyond me), and more on Padme and her family on Naboo (including a much better sense that she is attracted to Anakin, marriage and children from an early point). Whole scenes are gone, like Dex's diner (great) and the droid factory (surprisingly, this is a plus). There is less Anakin/ Obi-Wan bickering, less Anakin strangeness, minimal Jar-Jar (and when he does appear, he's a pretty run-of-the-mill and competent Star Wars alien e.g. when he speaks in Senate, rather than a complete numbskull),and, in general, a lot less talking that goes nowhere.

That said, I think there are two cuts that really do harm the story, both in the film and in the larger Prequel arc I completely admit that preferences of this type are pretty subjective, and that doing an amazing, masterful piece of work like this edit is completely beyond my abilities. I also recognise that anyone can criticise, while not many can create.

That said, I think that in making Anakin a bit more likeable, the edit bends the stick too far in the other direction. The presentation of his darker side was a bit heavy-handed in the original, but a significant part of this should be retained because it is important for understanding his evolution over the story arc, and how his fear of loss leads to anger etc., all the way to going full Sith, galactic dictatorship and mass murder. Otherwise we have a cute kid in Phantom Menace, a geeky guy in AOTC, and suddenly, in the latter part of the ROTS movie, a man who massacres Jedi, and becomes the right-hand man of an evil dictator...

Right now, there is very little left that shows how dark Anakin can be.

The massacre of the Sand People after he finds his mother dying after being captured and apparently tortured at their hands, is gone in this edit;it should have been retained, including Anakin's explanation to Padme that he killed everyone, including kids, and considers them all animals. Here is the direct link between his fear of loss, his rage and his simmering brutality. Without this, its simply shown he killed a few Tusken men after his mother died, rather than going well beyond this into simple evil; without it, the vow at his mother's grave not to fail again is no different in principle than Peter Parker deciding after the death of Uncle Ben that with great power comes great responsibility. Where is the precedent for Anakin's murderous actions in ROTS? With this Sand People material, we get a very clear sense of the depths he can easily plumb, and of the fact that he has no remorse afterwards. It is also a crucial moment of loss in which -- like in ROTS -- he acts emotionally and darkly, rather than being a good Jedi stoic.

Likewise, Anakin's hard-right political views and rants should have been retained, even if trimmed. These views show Anakin's dislike of politicians goes well beyond run-of-the-mill cynicism to something more substantial. Obi-Wan also distrusts politicians, so the contrast between how the two translate this into political views is important and revealing. It also indicates how deep the gulf is between Anakin and Padme on politics and the future of the Republic is. It remains clear in this edit of AOTC that Anakin is being mentored and influenced by Palpatine/ Darth Sidious, and since he is not (yet) being mentored in the Sith arts, on what exactly is Palpatine engaging him?

And, most importantly, these expositions are crucial to moving the development of Anakin from simply the personal and emotional trajectory to the dark side (fear leads to anger etc.) to his political, and (later) quite public (as Darth Vader), trajectory towards dictatorial rule, repression and demands for order. His drive for power, as a response to fear, is not just about getting more power through the Force (and ultimately, the Sith approach) but also about a drive for power over millions of others through the state. That Padme stayed with him is not a huge improbability. Plenty of people marry horrible partners, and plenty of couples disagree on politics in the most profound ways.

That said, I want to thank you again for your incredible efforts in fixing the film. Thank you!

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August 11, 2021
Thanks so much for your review. I actually agree with you on reinstating Anakin's hard-right politics, and if I ever make a version 2 I will reinsert that moment in the meadow.

I'm not sure about the garage scene. I agree something needs to be there but pretty much nothing about how that scene exists in the theatrical cut works for me. I just find it unbelievable that Padme would stay with Anakin after he admitted to killing children, and then act surprised when he does the same thing in Revenge of the Sith. I'll stew it over.
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