Review Detail

8.4 28 10
FanFix June 30, 2012 10817
(Updated: September 10, 2012)
Overall rating
Audio/Video Quality
Visual Editing
Review by Grauser — June 20, 2010 @ 11:05 am

In early 2001, one film projected the burgeoning scene of Fan Editing into the spotlight. The mystery behind the editor, the suspected Hollywood connections, the mass dislike of the film in it's original form, all helped to fuel the demand for Episode I.II: The Phantom Edit. That, coupled with the fact that the original filmmaker himself seemed to have committed the first well known act of fan-editing with the release of “special editions” some years prior, all made for a good story.

Although this edit should be watched on it's own merit, it is worth it in it's own right to watch it from the perspective of viewing a piece of digital history. A representation of the digital age, where everything is malleable, and one person's vision (or revision) can quickly and easily be shared by millions. This edit was a catalyst for all range of discussions regarding intellectual property, art, and everything in between. This fan edit, and others like it are not only re-edits, but as Columnist Daniel Kraus put it, are “re-imaginings, radically changing the narrative through unexpected audio and visual juxtapositions.

Yet putting aside all that, one thing cannot be denied; This fan edit is far superior to the original film. The Phantom editor cut nearly 20 minutes of film, and I will touch upon those that stuck with me most.

-Throughout the movie the detestable abomination Jar-Jar has been reduced to a small supporting role, as opposed to stealing most scenes via antics.
-Battle Droid dialog has been reduced
-Redundant Exposition throughout the film has been reduced.
-Much of the political rhetoric has been reduced.
-Anakin is less so the whooping child who somehow stumbles his way through danger, but is now more of a silent brooding character, more believable as a capable special child.
-Entire scenes such as the underwater chase scene have been removed, leaving you with the feeling that they should never have existed to begin with.
-The overall feeling of the movie has indeed been changed. By using early wipes and transitions, the Phantom Editor has edited TPM into a watchable, enjoyable beginning of the Star Wars anthology. All of the edits were very professional, and not once did I feel like I was watching a re-edited version of the film.

While Jar Jar has not been completely edited out, and you do still have to endure hearing the sound of his voice, The Phantom Editor has done a great job of reducing his presence, to an almost bearable measure. While you will never like the character (just seeing his face saddens me to a degree) I was actually able to enjoy the film without being chased away by Jar-Jar (I have only seen TPM once, and avoided watching it a second time by changing channels, or leaving the room).

The DVD extras great in their own right. The Commentary is worth watching the movie for, it gives a wonderful insight into the Phantom Editor's editing process, as well as his motivations behind his changes. Watching the commentary was an experience unto itself, and I am now even more than ever enamored with the idea of the fan edit itself. The Phantom Editor is not merely an editor, but an artist.

Episode I: The Phantom Edit is a very clean and professional edit. Some people prefer other edits which include dubs over Jar-Jar, the Neimoudians, and the Gungans. While I wish the Phantom Editor had done that in this edit, I still feel that The Phantom Edit is the best fan edit of TPM out there.

Thank you Phantom Editor, this is my definitive version of TPM, and is a MUST WATCH!

Video Quality: 8.5/10
Audio Quality: 10/10
Editing: 10/10
Improvement: 9/10 over the original
DVD Menu/Extras: 10/10

Overall Impression: 10/10
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