Visually, the edit works for the most part, but the pacing of the cuts can be hectic at times where it moves from clip to clip rather quickly. The audio chops in the Episode 1 portion did get bad at times with audio cutting out from stereo to mono on occasion among other things. Nothing that ruins the film but it was noticeable...not much else outside of that though. I would say it's mostly competent.
The narrative overall is mostly the same story, just with a lot of the fat (and some of the meat) chopped out. Unfortunately, I think the narrative here suffers a bit from the brisk pace. Anakin and Padme never form an actual relationship before she just suddenly admits she loves him. Anakin's mom's death just kind of comes out of nowhere. I don't feel like Dooku was ever really given a back story to let us know he's not actually "evil", just misunderstood. And the transition between films is overly noticeable - as one person said, it feels like it was 'going to commercial' in a TV movie. It's little annoyances like those throughout that mar the narrative a little.
I did REALLY like the omission of the cloning of Jango Fett. It felt a lot better without it. That is one thing that has been kept in every other edit I've seen so far. While some have made it much more tolerable, I always thought it was stupid to have Jango be the source of the clones. It was clearly just Boba Fett fan service. This edit basically just makes it an army that was secretly forming for the soon-to-be emperor. That was a nifty plus for this edit.
Overall, the film consists of 20 minutes of Ep.1, about 45 minutes of Ep.2, and the remaining hour spent with Ep.3. Personally, I feel like Ep. 2 should have been a larger focus than 3. I think too much time is spent on 3 here.
All in all, this is a good attempt at making the trilogy into a single film, but moves a little too briskly for the scope of the story told here. We all know it's apparently possible to make it a 90 minute film from what we've heard about the Topher Grace cut, but I don't know if it's necessary to cut it that short (obviously I won't know until the Grace edit is ever seen).
I honestly feel like there's still a very good way to compile a single film from the 3, but I don't know if it's possible to make it sub 4 hours. As much as I hate to say it, I feel like there is a good 30+ minutes of essential story from Episode 1 that leads into Ep 2 (the strongest of the 3 in my opinion), and I feel like if maybe half of Ep 3 was chopped into Ep 2's tail end, it could be done. I look at HAL9000's Episode 2 edit as being the most perfect edit of the middle of this story so far, so all we need is to find someone to chop 1 & 3 up and sandwich them around HAL9000's Ep2 then we'd have a solid film... it'd be around 4 hours for sure, but at least would be worthy of the Star Wars moniker.
Pretty good all around except for a few very noticeable cuts, in the mustafar battle, Anakin and Obi-Wan do this extremely cheesy thing where they hold hands but then a second later they aren't anymore, the whole thing needs to be cut because it takes you out of the experience for a few moments. Later in that battle the end of it could have worked but it was edited roughly and is very obvious (also, there's never land at the bottom of a water/lava fall).
Pretty rough all around, battles were an absolute mess for the most part, music was freaking out and changing/rearranging all over the place and really drove me nuts! This might be one of your first edits but PLEASE fix this. It still passes though because the dialogue isn't shredded up. (although cutting mention of general grievous was a little awkward)
Works pretty well, mainly about obi-wan but sometimes cuts to anakin randomly, nothing terrible here (cutting clones actually makes a continuity error with the original trilogy jus' sayin')
Over all, I enjoyed it, it wasn't bad, has some unique cuts and is worth you while if you're on a Star Wars craze but nothing INSANE here.
As you can see from other reviews, as well as discussions at the forum, opinions about certain elements of this edit vary. As the one who approved this edit, I figure I would take a minute to mention a few specifics and why certain things didn't hold me back from passing it.
- Complete removal of Anakin from TPM was brilliant. Of course, it wouldn't have worked if it was an edit of just TPM, but in this case, no problem. When AOTC starts, we just figure 'oh, Obi-Wan took an apprentice. Padme knew him for years and hadn't seen him in a while.' I think the early scenes in the elevator and meeting with Padme, because it provides a quick way to establish their potential 'wink wink, nudge nudge' relationship without the horrible sap of the butt monster picnic, and not so little info that you'd think 'where did this come from?' later on.
- The whole Senator/Queen thing is just another part of the whole political mess of the movies and I don't see how anyone would care what position she had. She's a V.I.P. 'nuff said.
- There could've been a '10 years later' or whatever title card added between movies, but that has been done before and I didn't think it was necessary. Most people who would watch this have seen the movies multiple times already and don't need their hands held. (but don't try telling George that!)
- I will agree that to a certain extent, Qui-Gonn is underdeveloped and his death doesn't mean as much. But then, I think about what has been excised and...there just isn't a ton of development anyway! I would like to see Qui-Gonn more, as Neeson was one of the good things about TPM, but I don't know how much could be put back in that wouldn't involve scenes that are rightfully cut. Therefore, his amount of screen time is pretty decent. *shrug*
- No Kamino! How 'bout that?
- The way the Obi-Wan/Vader fight ended was so cool! It shortened it in a brilliant manner. I hope other editors borrow this idea. ;)
- The ending has no "noooooooooooo!"? Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees! (pronounced 'yeez')
At the end of the day, is this a perfect edit? No, but there is plenty to enjoy, with some brilliant editing choices, as mentioned. (I'm ahppy with this one, but if H.S.F. wants to implement some of the suggestions others have made for a possible future version, I would look forward to that one too.) With the absolute plethora of PT edits out there, it's nice to see another one with some genuinely fresh ideas, not just another 'no Jar Jar' one. I didn't have problems with continuity, partially because I knew the stories and filled in any gaps, partially because I hate politics, and partly because...well, let's be honest, they're just not the most interesting characters, especially Padme. (maybe that's just me) Overall, little hiccups are bound to happen when you make a mega-edit, but there's nothing that really bothered me.
Recommended, especially to those who know the stories already.
The visual and audio edits are mostly seamless. The only edits that are obvious are the joining of TPM to AOTC and then to ROTS.
Narrative wise I would not suggest this to a first-time viewer. It feels more like a "TV to Movie" edit that cuts out all the filler (filler that is sometimes necessary for character development) and gives the viewer the overall plot in a condensed form.
What this edit REALLY exceeds at is highlighting how much of the prequel movies is completely unimportant. There are no Gungans (except for Jar Jar), no Kamino subplot and it really doesn't doesn't affect the overall story arc. It works for the better!
I would suggest this edit to someone who wants to rewatch the prequels at a quicker and more serious pace but I probably wouldn't recommend it as someone's first experience of the prequels.
I certainly enjoyed it more than the actual films... Haha... Keep up the good work HanShotFirst!!
I look forward to your next project!
Thanks so much for the review. I also agree that there are a couple of transitions that are not completely smooth. Perhaps I will try to improve them in the future with an updated version when I have some more editing experience under my belt. As far as the character development I don't know if added any footage back in would help. Anakin's character is so whiny that it just makes the viewer hate him, Padme is boring, and the scenes of them supposedly falling in love on Naboo just make me less likely to believe their relationship. I appreciate you giving your honest opinions on the edit and agree with most of them, except maybe the "feels like a tv movie" part.
This is the sort of deep, bold edit I've wanted to watch to see how well it could work. The answer is it sort of works. The whole of Episode 1 feels like an opening action scene akin to the Battle of Hoth. The complete elimination of the Gungans and the trip to Tatooine and Coruscant works for the most part. It really makes you realize how unnecessary those scenes are. A couple of issues do arise, however. The queen, handmaiden, decoy thing is confusing. I am assuming the intent is that the queen and Padme are considered two separate characters. But for a first time viewer this may all be confusing. It also leaves for very few character moments. Qui Gon is wholly undeveloped and as such his death has little impact. I kind of treat it as a Scream or GoT type thing where an leading, well known actor is killed off early to set up the stakes. One thing I might do is cut the hologram of Palpatine from "I have word from the ambassador that the Jedi did arrive" (or whatever the exact quote is) to "I have word that the Jedi did arrive." That way when we really meet him on Coruscant we don't have any conflicting info about who the Chancellor is.
The transition from the Episode 1 material into Episode 2 is abrupt and awkward. Maybe a slightly deeper cut would help so you don't hear the opening fanfare fading out. I understand the desire to have as much introduction to Anakin as possible but I would still cut the stuff between Anakin and Padme in the apartment. Leave Obi Wan as the only one she knows and Anakin is just his new Padawan. I personally like the subtitled Zam death as a way to reveal Kamino (or Geonosis as in your edit) rather than the Obi Wan detective stuff. I assume we are to think Anakin's original plan was to bring Padme to his home planet for safekeeping? It all feels abrupt and strange as we have no prior introduction to Tatooine, but I'm not sure how that could be helped. I think I may be have left in some Naboo stuff. I have seen Ep2 edits that have handled the romance pretty well. I understand your focus on making Obi Wan more central and diminishing the Anakin/Padme stuff, but as filmed I just don't think it works as well. Lose the Obi Wan detective stuff and expand the relationship development of Anakin and Padme. Anakin's dreams about his mother can serve as foreshadowing to the Tatooine stuff.
One of the bolder cuts and one I've not seen before is the elimination of Kamino and, if I'm not mistaken all references to clones. It works! After all but eliminating Jar Jar and Gungans, I'm not sure why you left in Jar Jar being the senator to propose the emergency powers amendment. The whole bit is unnecessary. The scene can end after Palpatine's lackey says emergency powers must be granted. Pick up the senate scene as the lackey says "order order."
Again, the transition between Ep2 and Ep3 material could be smoother. I was a bit distracted during some of the Ep3 stuff, but it seems you got rid of the audience's awareness of the pregnancy (until the very end) and Anakin's premonitions of Padme's death. I'm not wild about that and would love to hear your reasoning. It seems to undermine the motivations for Anakin turning.
The duel: while you left in some parts I'm not wild about I LOVE the way you handled the end of the duel. I've never seen that done in other edits and, for me, it works! I've always hated them skating around on the droids.
I know preferences vary on this point, but I'm not a fan of the Qui Gon immortality training bit.
My biggest gripe with this edit is the reordering of the ending. I always thought one of the few things Lucas got right was ending with Luke and the binary sunset. If you must keep the birth of Vader out of that sequence, I feel moving it to post credits would be best.
Overall, this worked for me. An edit of this nature is going to have issues. Namely characters turning up in odd places suddenly, unexplained large passages of time, etc. But it really shows that these three films could have been treated as one. And spending 2:30 watching them is a lot better than spending 7 hours with them.
Thank you for the review. I will try to respond to as many of your points as I can. First the line said during the Queen's talk with Palpatine is "The negotiations haven't started because the ambassadors aren't there, but how can that be true?" The ambassadors are the Jedi, and my intent is to imply that Palpatine is the Chancellor at the beginning and sends the Jedi there so he can tell the Trade Federation to kill them and invade the planet Naboo to start the war. Padme is intended to be the Queen, who is also the senator for her people. It is not really my fault that Lucas decide to add ridiculous notions of an elected child Queen, and body doubles, and all this nonsense that isn't that well explained in the full cuts of the films. I agree that the transitions from film to film could be smoother and hope to address that in a future version of the edit once I have some more experience. You say that the scenes of Anakin and Padme on Naboo would have helped, but I think they are pure crap, every last second of them. I also think that my ending is the best part of the edit. I hated how Lucas ended every one of these prequels with a happy ending. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on my edit, and I will consider all your ideas, even the ones I don't necessarily agree with.