I've long been waiting to find prequel edits that I felt could sit side by side with the Original Trilogy. I'm not knocking other edits...its just, as was mentioned in another review, they move along at BREAKNECK speed and don't feel like a Star Wars movie. Having read the cuts in HAL9000's list as well as seeing his run time, I was intrigued. Plus, having to do a lot of re-scoring on my own edits, I wanted to see how he did the Pod Race scene. I'm very glad that I did.
My wife and I had a date night and curled up to check this movie out. Neither of us have seen Episode 1 in years, and we thoroughly enjoyed this edit. Some high points for me were the mentioned Pod Race scene, the evolution of Jar Jar from a character I hated to an almost relate able character, and most of all, Anakin!
In this edit, Anakin is thoughtful, heroic, and takes action on his own. It falls MUCH more in line with the description Kenobi gave in Episode IV than what we actually got in the prequels. I couldn't stand Jar Jar OR Anakin when I first saw Episode 1 (Yippie!!!!) but, as I told my wife when the movie ended, I honestly liked him in this on and was intrigued to see where his story goes. In this, HAL9000 accomplished an almost impossible feat.
I highly recommend this edit. As many have said, Episode 1 has been edited ad nauseam but for what I was looking for in the Prequels, this will certainly sit on the shelf next to the Original Trilogy....I am very much looking forward to seeing what HAL9000 can do to salvage Episode II.
This isn't the first edit of The Phantom Menace I've seen, and it probably won't be the last. Unfortunately there's only so much you can do with the film, and it still will never match the greatness of the original trilogy. A lot of Episode I edits take out the same stuff, I don't think there are any that retain all of Jar Jar hijinks or Anakin's oops's. But, of course, there are little ways edits can be different. I don't know if HAL9000 had any original ideas, so to speak, for his edit, but I do know that he has made a concoction that is, nonetheless, unlike another.
The obvious question is whether that is the best concoction. I'm inclined to say no, but I'm not sure. It might be the best there is so far, though. One of HAL's goals was to make the edit feel like it could be a real movie. Much of the issues that plague other edits are the pacings of scenes: they go by so fast that they have no room to breath. The next best EpI edit is L8wrtr's. His edit moves at a breakneck speed, and it's a lot of fun, while still keeping a good sense of the essence of the movie. But it almost moves too fast. Other edits are even worse on this front. HAL mostly avoids this, save for the first fifth. I do like what he's done with the first act - in the original film it takes what seems like forever for the story to finally get moving, which happens when they get to Tatooine. HAL gets them there in under twenty minutes. It's a double edged sword, really. It's great that the film no longer has a slow start, but now it almost has too fast a start. Once the action starts, the audience doesn't get a chance to breath for a long while. But there wasn't much HAL could do about this, and, honestly, I prefer how he's done it to how other editors have.
The rest of the edit is solid. I noticed most of the cuts, but this was mainly because of my familiarity with both the film and the soundtrack. For a new viewer, I'm sure most, if not all, would be invisible. There were some things I wished HAL had left out, and some things I wished he kept in, but this is his edit after all. I quite enjoy the pod race as is in the original, but I can't fault him for trimming it, and I will admit it is wonderfully paced here. I'm not a fan of the inclusion of the Shadows of the Empire soundtrack, as I just don't think it sounds like anything else in the film, but again, his choice. I do appreciate the instances where deleted scenes were added back in, in the pod race and elsewhere. I like that HAL tried to keep this close to two hours. Edits that are an hour and a half or even shorter just don't feel like Star Wars to me.
Well, maybe I should wrap this up now, I've said quite a bit. Honestly, there's not much special here. I feel kind mean saying that, but I think it's okay, I explain. I do recommend this edit. It's not radically different from others. But it does fit with HAL's Episode II and III edits. I've viewed the work prints for both (as I did this one), and they might be my favorite edits of their respective movies. Episode II I know I particularly enjoyed (weird sentence, right?). Anyway, I hope to see the completed versions of those soon. Then I'll have a prequel trilogy that I can almost feel happy about.
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyFebruary 07, 2014
Thanks for the very fair review. I think you're correct that there is only so much one can do with this film, and I join you in wondering if I had any truly 'original' ideas. As I said in the forum, I felt more like a curator than an editor for this film. There are some spectacularly creative TPM edits out there, and I felt I owed it to myself to put together the one that is best for me.
I'm glad you enjoyed the pacing overall, as I kept this in mind throughout editing. We get to our Skywalker protagonist at about the same point in the film that we get to Luke in the original Star Wars film. I kept short sequences that many other editors remove just for this purpose, and even added a few deleted scene fragments that aren't necessary.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you suggested a reason to acquire this edit: It is compatible with my upcoming edits of Episode II and III, which are a little more worthwhile.
Incidentally, the high-bitrate mkv version of the edit includes an alternate audio track that omits any added musical score during the podrace.
Again, thanks for the fair review.
I'm in the camp that pretty much believes the only way to ever make the prequels anywhere near as good as the originals, is to completely redo them. That being said, I still find some things about the films to be pretty enjoyable. I was a kid when the Phantom Menace came out, but believe me when I say, I was a huge fan of the originals at that time. I watched Empire like once a week back then. Sorry to drag on....
I've not been much of one to give the prequel edits a good chance. I usually dismiss them as something damaged beyond repair, but something made me decide to watch it again. I thought the best way to watch it after at least 5 or so years was to try out a fan edit. The decision was between this newest version and other highly rated ones. The inclusion of the SOTE soundtrack and visual tweaks made me opt for this.
I don't care how much work you do to the film, if it's the pink tinted HDTV or DVD releases as your source, you've already lost my interest.
What can I say about the editing that somebody will most likely say better? I liked it. I found myself actually enjoying the film. Sure, there are things I would've still changed, but I don't think you'd have much of a film left if you cut every single little problem out. Hal 9000 cuts out huge chunks of what I consider, boring filler. Sure, I do think the underwater segment has some cool visuals, but cool visuals do not always make a great movie. Avatar anyone?
I didn't watch this on a 50 inch flatscreen, but opted for a 32 inch CRT. I just love that TV. So, I'm not your best judge on how the grain looked or all that jazz, but Hal's got a fan over here. It played beautifully on my television and not once did I encounter any problems in picture.
His cuts to the story were well justified, even though I still cringe at some of the things left in. Most notably the "are you an angel" scene. You can't fix a bad script with editing. I also felt Anakin appearing pissed at the jedi meeting was something that also needed fixing. I see a touch of evil early on.
Now, Anakin being the space hero, instead of accidentally going to battle was my absolute favorite bit. It's a taste of "The best star pilot in the galaxy". Hey George, why didn't you do that in the first place?
Forgive my review if it's not informative, but I really enjoyed this edit, and recommend it!
Wow. This really is a piece of art. The edit is well paced, seamless and more importantly.... enjoyable. Thank's for this edit HAL, I no longer have to watch the original release as this is now my go-to version of the film.
Having watched other edits, the difficult part is getting the opening correctly paced. Other versions are far to fast, but you've managed to pitch it perfectly. It doesn't feel rushed, the Gungan homeworld has been removed and the Neimodians are more of a threat. Outstanding.
The rest of the film is just as good. The podrace is excellent, Jar Jar's annoyance is reduced and I like your version of Anakin much better than the original. My one critiscism is that C3PO is kept in the film, but that is more of a personal choice.
Technically the edit is almost seamless, even for someone who has watched TPM numerous times. There were a couple of places in which there was some drop-off in the sound, but they are minor and didn't distract me from the film.
A must see edit. I can't wait to watch your versions of EpII and EPIII.
Pretty good edit. Personally, I prefer Seciors' Return of the Sith, but this is still one of the best Star Wars edits.
The Audio/ -Video quality was good, so was the editing. The story was of course MUCH better than the original, which is expected. Personally, I found Jar Jar still kinda annoying. Even though the original was far too annoying than this.
I definitely enjoyed this and I recommend it to any SW fan. While, like I said, I prefer Seciors', this is still a great fanedit.