I just had the pleasure of watching this fan edit of Episode I. Having watched many many fan edits (Besides the obvious Phantom edit, I've seen Seciors, ADigitalMan's, Hal9000, and Q2's. I even started to edit my own many years ago) I finally found what I think is hands-down the best Episode I edit there is. Period. It took a steaming pile of bantha poodoo, and turned it into a a real Star Wars movie.
How you ask? Where to start?! First, by redubbing the audio and changing subtitles Yads has both turned the trade federation into an evil menacing threat and Jar Jar into an only-cares-for himself cool character. Infact, I even LIKED the guy, and a few times I even laughed out loud (instead of groaning in agony).
Second, the edits. I always felt that the Gungans added nothing to the story or the plot, and th movie flows much better without them. I also really love all the cuts around Anakin, and how quickly the plot moved forward.
Third, the order in which scenes are brought in the movie are brilliant. I never even thought to do some of the things that he does. The original TPM final battles took place simultaneously over 4 areas, and it was just too much! By eliminating one of them, and moving one of them forward it balanced out the action and pace of the movie.
I could go on... but watch it.
As for my rating -- I deducted some points for the quality of the audio and video. This is not really a fault of Yads, as ripping our audio and inserting new (and better) background music is impossible to achieve with out some sort of residual artifacts. But since the overall music and dubbing was much cooler, I only knocked off a couple of points. Narrative and Enjoyment 10/10.
I just finished “The Phantom Menace: Lone Gungan Edition” and am happy to be the first to comment. I understand if people haven’t quite worked up the motivation to watch yet another Episode 1 edit, but I would encourage them to do so.
I feel that Yads is too modest about the extent of his cutlist, and I’m more than happy to brag up this edit. First of all, I have seen several of the episode 1 edits out there in search of something worthy of being labeled as a Star Wars movie: I think I just found it.
- Your redubbing of the audio and captions for Jar Jar and the Nemodians worked perfectly. The Nemodians are no longer bumbling puppets but are competent antagonists for the film. Your new captions help make their presence in the movie and their relationship to Sidious make sense! Likewise, you turned Jar Jar into an actual character rather than an abomination. He has a small role, but it doesn’t feel like he has been excised. Nothing is missed; he has a part in the film and plays it well. That alone makes this worth watching.
- Your retooling of the film made for a much faster paced story, and this is by far the best version of the podrace that I have seen. About halfway through the edit, you find yourself thinking, “Holy crap, I’m actually interested in what’s happening!” A new experience for episode 1, in my opinion.
- Your decision to completely remove all other Gungans was very bold, and it played out perfectly. Any flack given for Boss Nass being present at the end won’t fly, as there are several no-name characters hanging out at Quigon’s funeral, and he looks nothing like Jar Jar.
- The lack of C-3PO took out needless fluff that broke down pacing and believability of the original, and he was not missed at all.
- You’re treatment of the battle droids was very good. Why Lucas ever thought people would program battle droids to be worthless cowards I’ll never know; thankfully you’ve cleared this up completely.
- Having the freed pilots immediately attack the Federation made the escape from Naboo much more interesting and even suspenseful. It’s amazing how true the old saying ‘less is more’ rings true for your entire edit.
- Having Anikan stay in the cockpit, only helping out by destroying the droidekas, was an incredible improvement. Having the culminating action only divided between the lightsaber battle and the attempt to capture the Viceroy played out far better than the original.
In way of critique, I have only a few things which kept this from being the perfect Ep. 1 edit.
- First, the audio didn’t quite line up during the majority of the movie. Whether this was a technical problem on my end or the result of a bummer download, I’m not sure.
- While you’re idea of adding scenes of suffering/scared civilians on Naboo was very good, I’m afraid it just didn’t play out for me. The clothing they wear is too familiar (baseball caps and plaid button ups) and felt out of place. Also, there was a problem with spacial recognition – I couldn’t tell where they were supposed to be in relation to the attacking army. Great idea, but difficult for obvious reasons. That being said, your rearrangement of the invasion was excellent, and made it feel like a world completely overwhelmed by force, with little ability to fight back. That alone created sympathy for the Naboo folk.
- Two other things you could remove to make this edit perfect: Drop Anikan’s mom’s mention of the virgin birth. Save that for the Lord Jesus and let Anikan be the product of a drifter if need be. No need to mention it. Just don’t have Quigon ask about the father and jump in to her asking ‘Can you help him?’ Also, drop the midichlorian talk and this just became the perfect Episode 1 edit.
If anyone is on the fence about checking this one out, do yourself a favor and download it. It’s a small file, and downloads quickly. See if you agree that this is one of the best (if not the best) Episode 1 edit out there. [Yes, I've seen the Phantom Edit, which is wonderful, but it doesn't go far enough in its cuts as he couldn't have known that Lucas would fail to make any of that garbage make sense in the next two]. Even if my small suggestions remain in the film, I look forward to adding the DVD version of this to my collection and using the original as a coaster.