Star Wars - Episode I: Balance of the Force

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Brief Synopsis:
This is a famous fanedit of Star Wars Episode 1. It DRASTICALLY changes the pacing, story, plot, and maturity of “The Phantom Menace” to more reflect the Original Trilogy.
Firstly, to DRASTICALLY change the pacing, story, plot, and maturity of “The Phantom Menace”. Secondly, to change the overall tone of the movie to more reflect the Original Trilogy.
Release Information:
Cuts and Additions:
First of all, I changed the title and the crawl itself.
Title: Balance of the force (to differentiate from the 1,000 edits out there and I just liked the name better)
The crawl gives a little more exposition to the Galactic Republic, the role of the Jedi, and also identifies the federation as the Neimoidian Trade Federation, to identify their species, also rather than trade routes, it is prohibition of slave labor that makes the Federation seize Naboo.
The Neimoidians, and Gungans are dubbed into their own languages and subtitled and through liberties in the subs, I added many new layers to the plot.
Also droids speak in the dialect of the person they are addressing. TC-14 addresses the Viceroy in his language, but the Jedi in theirs as do the battle droids.
Jar Jar was banished from the Gungans because he was in charge of guarding a relic of theirs’ the Kyber crystal (an old idea of George’s), he slacked off and it was stolen by humans… As such the gungans also have a bitter hate of the Naboo, which is a new little subplot throughout (the racial tension was in early drafts of the script, but dropped).
The whole subplot was introduced to give Jar Jar a history and explain that big glowing ball that Padme gives Boss (Governor – in the edit) Nass.
Jar Jar is still a putz, but he’s toned way down. He’s just arrogant and always says the wrong thing at the wrong time.
The Federation has invaded Naboo and want Queen Amidala to surrender the people of Naboo to the Federation as an alternative uncompensated labor force as revenge for Naboo being instrumental in the outlawing galactic slavery. So, while seeing Anakin as a slave, Padme is also faced with the possibility of herself and her people becoming slaves themselves.
The opening third is slightly resequenced for pacing, moving one Sidious/Fed scene to earlier in the film to break up a long series of successive Gungan scenes. It also serves to quicken the pace (don’t worry, it causes no continuity error in the film).
The only major scene to be cut entirely is the second underwater scene, which was replaced by the waterfall scene to change up the scenery and quicken the pace.
The Greedo scene, probe droid scene, dawn before the race scene, and air taxi scene were all also tightened up and integrated into the film.
There are no fart or poop jokes in the film.
There are no midichlorians.
There is no immaculate conception discussion… Anakin’s origins are left vague… A child who is gifted and a vergence in the force.
Anakin’s annoying friends are trimmed to a minimum.
The Trade Federation are much more sinister through the subtitles, ordering Padme’s companions shot instead of processed, and discussing the mass executions vaguely hinted at in the film.
The attempt was to make Gunray more of a straight up bad guy in the film, ala Tarkin, rather than a bumbling oaf.
Through some creative manipulating of frames, a few scenes have been expanded with lines not in the original film, using audio outtakes.
Sidious has a new line, Watto has several, as do Gunray, TC-14, Rune, and Jar Jar.
In one such case, the reason for Jar Jar accompanying Qui-Gon on Tatooine, instead of any of the trained soldiers, security captains, or the Jedi Knight onboard is also explained… The Queen thinks he is stinking up the ship and orders him to go. (as taken from an early draft of the script).
A few changes that most people don’t ever notice:
The first scene between TC-14 and the Viceroy has been extended with additional dialogue.
Original – Darth Sidious: I don’t want this stunted slime in my sight again!
Balance – Dath Sidious: I don’t want this slime in my sight again!
The Jedi mind trick now has its own sound effect.
When Qui-Gon and co enter Mos Espa, a large ship flew by at a very low altitude against line of sight. It had been digitally painted out of the shot in Balance. The wipe is trimmed to help hide it.
Beisdes the cantina song (if you’ve seen it, you know), Watto has several new lines of dialogue.
Original – Anakin: Since I was very little… Three, I think.
Balance – Anakin: Since I was three, I think.
Original – Anakin: Sandstorms are very… very dangerous. Come on, I’ll take you to my place.
Balance – Anakin: Sandstorms are very dangerous. Come on, I’ll take you to my place.
Dozens of “Phantom laserblasts” have been given sound effects, and lots of additional sound has been added in other places, such as additional chatter on the streets of Mos Espa.
Any scene where music has been replaced or aliens are dubbed has had the entire sound mix reproduced from scratch.
In the balcony scene with Maul, Sidious has an alternate line of dialogue. Digitally altered footage of Sidious had to be painted over the original scene and looped in such a way that it created the illusion of a lip synch. The footage of Maul had to be altered also to match the new length of the scene.
That’s just a few of the lesser known ones…
Alternate Title and Crawl, giving more history on the Jedi, Republic and Trade Federation
The plot is also altered from revolving around taxation to slave labor.
Opening crawl music replaced with music from EP IV UE soundtrack (a little longer and it just sounded better to me)
Cockpit scene en route to the Federation cruiser was ommitted
New music cue landing in Fed docking bay
Neimoidians are dubbed and subtitled as is TC-14 when talking to Neimoidians. Most of their dialogue has been totally rewritten.
First scene with TC-14 and the Neimoidians is expanded considerably with additional dialogue.
New music cue leading into Darth Sidious’ appearance.
Sidious’ face is digitally shadowed under the hood hiding his face.
Sidious’ line “I don’t want this stunted slime in my sight again!” has been altered to “I don’t want this slime in my sight again!”
New sound effect added as gun turrret swings around.
The reaction scene in the cockpit has been omitted.
The sound effects for the explosion of the cruiser has been enhanced.
New sound effect added for the battle droid turning off the hologram of Nute Gunray.
Battle Droids dubbed and subtitled when speaking to each other or Neimoidians.
Some Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon dialogue is trimmed from the battle onboard the Federation ship.
Dialogue trimmed in “It’s an invasion army!” scene.
Additional little plot twist added in the Viceroy’s viewscreen scene with Queen Amidala.
Dialogue trimmed in Naboo council”Senator Palpatine?” scene.
Hologram scene between Nute and Droid commander is cut.
Jar Jar is dubbed and subtitled.
Jar Jar is a pompous ass who believes he saved Qui-Gon’s life by dragging him down and thinks Qui-Gon owes him the life debt.
It is also revealed that the Gungans desise humans with a passion… except for Jar Jar, who doesn’t mind humans so much, seeing as the Gungans hate him even more than they do humans.
Otoh Gungah referred to by name.
“The Invasion is on schedule, my Lord” scene has been moved to follow Jar Jar’s debut, breaking up the Gungan antics.
Boss Nass is now Governor Nass.
Lots of alternate exposition in Otoh Gunga. Jar Jar is revealed to have been thrown out several times. The Gungans hate the Naboo people because humans stole a Gungan relic, the Kyber crystal from them, explaining the big glwoing globe at the end of the film.
Nass is leaning toward supporting the Federation against the Naboo, pre Jedi mind trick.
A sound effect is added to the Jedi mind trick.
There is a little trim to the end of the scene.
In the sub scene it is revealed that Jar Jar was the Gungan charged with guarding the Kyber crystal. He was sleeping on the job and allowed the crystal to be stolen.
The second underwater sequence has been cut and replaced with a recut version of the waterfall scene.
The Viceroy, having captured Amidala plans to force her to offer the people of Naboo as an alternative uncompensated workforce in retaliation to her lobbying to outlaw their slave labor forces.
Instead of telling the droid commander “Process them”, he nonchalantly orders the droid to to “Shoot her companions.”
When Qui-Gon and co rescue the Queen, Jar Jar claims credit for it, after lying face down on the ground for the whole fight.
Some dialogue is trimmed outside of the hangar.
The battle droid’s “joke” toward Qui-Gon has been cut.
The “You stay here” scene between Jar Jar and Obi-Wan has been cut.
The entire Naboo escape has been resquenced so that they lose shields right away, but don’t regain them until the last minute.
Some additional dialogue is trimmed during the escape.
Some dialogue is trimmed in the “Here Master, Tatooine” scene.
The line “Not for a Sith” has been trimmed out of the Darth Maul introduction scene.
As an homage, the Viceroy’s aide says, “This deal is getting worse all the time!” in said scene.
Some dialogue trimmed in the Artoo intro scene.
The Padme and Jar Jar scene, cleaning artoo has been cut.
Upon arrival to Tatooine, it is revealed that Qui-Gon is taking Jar Jar with him to Mos Espa because the Queen ordered him to, as she felt he was stinking up the ship.
When Padme is ordered along, Jar Jar wonders if Padme was stinking up the ship as well.
A ship has been digitally painted out of Mos Espa’s skyline.
New noises and chatter have been added to the streets in all Mos Espa scenes.
The poop stepping scene has been cut.
When we first come upon Watto, he hums the Cantina song from EP IV for a few seconds before Qui-Gon and co enter.
Watto is considerably harsher toward Anakin in the subtitles.
Jar Jar no longer has slapsticky antics inside the store and the “Are you an angel” scene has been trimmed considerably.
When Qui-Gon tries the mind trick on Watto, he becomes much angrier and throws Qui-Gon out shouting, “Get lost! Come back when you gotta some money!”
As Qui-Gon embarassedly exits the shop, Jar Jar knocks over a bunch of stuff and Watto shouts, “Hey! You break it, you buy it! Eh?!”
Jar Jar’s “No again!” speech has been cut.
The scene of Jar Jar stealing the frog has been trimmed.
After Anakin saves Jar Jar from Sebulba, Jar Jar brags that he was about to give Sebulba a beating until that kid got in the way.
The Jira scene has been trimmed to make her less creepy.
Anakin’s “very, very dangerous” line has been trimmed to “very dangerous”.
Instead of “Hello”, Jar Jar remarks “Oh, what a dump.” upon seeing Anakin’s home.
Anakin’s acting is trimmed throughout Threepio’s introduction.
Music is replaced throughout the Coruscant balcony scene, using the Imperial march seguewaying into the Emperor’s theme. Every piece of sound had to be rebuilt from scratch for the sequence.
Sidious has an alternate line to end the scene, “The Republic will soon be under my countrol.”
I’m sure I’ve skimmed over dozens of noticable changes and hundreds of really minor changes by now, but that should give you a gist on the first part of the film.
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Other edits attempt to cut out Jar Jar. This went in another direction by changing him completely. Jar Jar goes from a goof ball to a sleaze ball.

The inter-Naboo politics is a nicely added layer. Ep1 gets a lot of flak for it's political themes but this actually works.

The Trade Federation is changed very well too. They are now like a Slave Trade Federation. Slaveries was already on Tatooine and its just simply expanded the idea. Nute Gunray is no longer a wimp.

This edit is much less kid friendly. Yes its subtitles, yes you'll have to read them. It works because it does not attempt to cut out parts from Ep 1 but change it and expand it.

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This edit is in many ways a masterpiece! The way Jar-Jar has been redubbed just blew me away. He is a really funny, sarcastic jack-ass now. This movie sorely needed a character like that. For example, after Sebulba threatens Jar-Jar and Anakin intervenes, Jar-Jar says, "I was about to give him a beating before that kid got in the way!" [paraphrasing]. Love it!

Also, I liked the way the relationship between Gungan and Naboo is fleshed out and the Kyber crystal brought into the story. Further, the darker Trade Federation works well, though I personally don't think redubbing them is essential.

However, this edit has a lot of fat which could be trimmed, and the video quality is pretty horrible. If I had video editing skills, I would seriously consider recreating this edit with some of the ideas from Q2 and Secior's mixed in, to tighten things up.

Yads' "Lone Gungan" is a similar edit, though his redubbing of Jar-Jar isn't nearly as interesting.

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This was the first fan edit I ever watched, and remains one of my very favorites. While I don't hate "The Phantom Menace" as much as the average "Star Wars" fan (I have very fond memories of the experience of seeing it in the theater with a very hyped crowd on my birthday, which overshadowed the movie itself), I must say that the "TPM" DVD is hiding in the back of my closet. This cut is the one displayed on my shelf, and the one I've shown to the young children in my life who'd never seen "Star Wars" before.

The technical editing is just a hair shy of the best you can ask for. The removal of theatrical scenes and reintegration of deleted scenes has been masterfully done, so that the editing is all but invisible. Only two removed lines of dialogue call attention to themselves (it is somewhat jarring when Mace Windu infers that Anakin is the prophesied chosen one simply from Qui-Gon saying he has encountered a vergence, without the explanation of Anakin's midichlorian count, but as this means the movie contains no references to midichlorians, I'll take it and gladly; otherwise, Obi-Wan's resolve to train Anakin without mentioning that he gave Qui-Gon his word seems a little odd when Anakin and Obi-Wan don't interact in this film).

The narrative is also well put together, and in some ways, truly delightful. The dubbing and subtitling over Jar Jar to turn him into an entirely different character works beautifully, and to my infinite surprise, makes him into one of the best characters in the film. The same technique with the Trade Federation and the military droids works just as well, and makes them much darker and more threatening. (My skin crawled at the same time I laughed in uncomfortable disbelief when the Viceroy instructed a droid to shoot the governor of Naboo's children.)

A truly great fan edit, with more heart and more genuine humor and drama than the original film.

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(Updated: September 10, 2012)
Review by Hrumpff — April 12, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

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(Updated: September 10, 2012)
Review by Matt_Jensen — April 12, 2010 @ 4:29 pm

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