Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – Streamlined

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Faneditor Name:
Franchise:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
1999
Original Running Time:
136
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
74
Time Cut:
42
Subtitles Available?
Available in HD?
Brief Synopsis:
I wanted to bring out the great film that was hidden beneath layers of exposition and bad jokes. I have trimmed many scenes to improve pacing, removed as much exposition as possible, removed the bad jokes, re-recorded dialogue for several characters, and adjusted the colours of the film.
Intention:
My intention was to create an edit of the film that I (and hopefully others) would enjoy watching. By removing and altering certain aspects of the film, I wanted to improve the story and characters, as well as the pacing of the film.

Some examples:

By removing poorly-timed bad jokes, the exciting moments in the film, or serious life-and-death situations such as battles, now flow more smoothly and have a tension to them, so that the excitement in the film isn't ruined by adding poor attempts at humour.

I wanted to improve the pacing of the film; I found that whenever the film started to become exciting or interesting, it would grind to a halt with useless exposition or long, drawn-out scenes. Trimming scenes not only improved the pacing, but made the story more interesting too.

By re-recording dialogue for the Gungans and Niemoidians, I wanted to improve the characters, and make them likeable. The characters we got in the original film were poorly-written, with the Neimoidians coming across as being especially pathetic. By recording new dialogue in an alien-sounding language, I could then add in new subtitles, which in turn allowed me to make these characters much more believable, and sinister.
For the Gungans, I was able to now make them useful, interesting characters. In the case of Jar Jar Binks, by removing the extreme anxiety, clownish and childish antics, and terrible jokes, I could now make him an integral background character.

The removal of exposition in the film really helps to improve the overall pacing, and brings out the best aspects of the film.

In some cases, I found that the music was too upbeat in areas where the tone of the film was a bit more stark or serious, so I have changed some of the music in order to best fit the tone of the scene. I used pieces of music done by John Williams for The Phantom Menace that wasn't originally used in the film.

Overall, to me the story is the most important aspect of any film. When a film is bogged down by exposition and poorly written characters, it ruins a great story. I wanted to bring out the amazing adventure hidden in this film!
Additional Notes:
I enjoyed doing this edit, and learned a lot too, as there were many technical challenges I encountered during the editing process, mainly around the dialogue, rebuilding sound effects, and adding in background ambient sounds and music.
Other Sources:
Music by John Williams done for The Phantom Menace, but not originally used in the film.
A total of 38 seconds worth of deleted scenes.
Dazman at the Original Trilogy Forum kindly let me use some of his edit: one shot of Threepio removed from the background after Anakin has started up his podracer, and the scene of the Queen in the red gown on Naboo now has the power cable removed.
bryantmh at the Original Trilogy Forum kindly provided AI-upscaled HD deleted scenes.
DigModiFicaTion and jackpumpkinhead for creating templates in a graphics software program, so that editors can now create their own opening crawls.
Bobson Dugnutt, for making audio files available of prequel sound effects.
Special Thanks:
A very big thanks to ArtisDead for all of his kind help; he has made the whole process of submitting my edit very easy, plus has made my time here on this site very enjoyable. He also made some wonderful poster art for my edits!
Dazman at the Original Trilogy Forum.
bryantmh at the Original Trilogy Forum.
DigModiFicaTion and jackpumpkinhead.
Release Information:
Digital
Editing Details:
I typed up a plan with details on which parts of the film I was going to trim or alter, in order to achieve my goal of improving the story and pacing. I thought a lot about which parts of the film were essential in driving the story forward, and which parts were wholly unnecessary. I would only delete a scene if it detracted from the storytelling, had unnecessary exposition, or ruined the pacing. The end result needed to be seamless, so I worked hard at making sure the audio sounded right, and the video had no jump-cuts or errors.
My approach is one of wanting to improve and streamline a story; I look at things from an objective point of view, rather than deleting footage out of some subjective dislike.
Cuts and Additions:
New opening crawl.

Opening titles: I’ve used the 1980 versions of the 20th Century Fox opening titles, the “A long time ago..” text and the green Lucasfilm title, all sourced from Harmy’s “de-specialised” version of The Empire Strikes Back. I wanted all six episodes to have the opening titles from the original cinema versions from 1977, 1980 and 1983.

Some colour correction where appropriate, in particular to remove the rose pink tint found throughout the film, and to bring out the more beautiful colours in the film.

I’ve sought to remove the poorly-timed, and poorly-executed attempts at humour. So, there is no slapstick humour, no poo or fart jokes, and no silly conversations from Battle Droids.

I’ve re-recorded and replaced the dialogue for the Gungans as well as the Neimoidians. Replacing the dialogue allowed me to create new subtitles for them, which in turn granted me the opportunity to alter and hopefully improve their characters.
I also added in new subtitles for these characters, with alternate dialogue to what was in the films, and did my best to improve the flow of the story, and also improve the characters too.

Jar Jar Binks: I’ve removed the childish antics, and instead tried to make him more of an adult, and someone who isn’t a useless, bumbling clown. I did my best to actually make him an interesting and useful background character.

The Neimoidians: As with Jar Jar, using subtitles allowed me to make these characters seem far more sinister and ruthless, instead of the pathetic characters we originally got.

Anakin Skywalker: I've sought to make him a more likeable character; there is no more “whoops!”, “yippee!”, or other such rubbish, which all seemed out of place in this film. I tried to edit it in a way that made him a far less silly young boy.

Queen Amidala: slightly pitched her voice up, to reduce the deep voice in the original film.

Trade Federation starship: slightly trimmed the explosion of the rebel cruiser, to improve the pacing.

Naboo hangar: removed Panaka saying that there were too many Battle Droids, and the reply from Qui-Gon that it wouldn’t be a problem. That line killed any potential interest in a short skirmish between the Jedi and the Battle Droids.

Watto: new subtitles, with alternate text to what was in the original film. Removed his line about being a Toydarian.

Jedi: no prophecy, no “chosen one”, no midichlorians.

Ric Olie: his name should really be changed to “Captain Obvious”, as he spewed out an enormous amount of exposition. I cut as much of his nonsense as possible.

Podrace: this has been greatly reduced in length, and some scenes have been reorganised. The podrace looks amazing, however it does take up a large amount of time, and in some parts is a bit slow (there are even some duplicated shots during the race). I relocated some scenes, and have inserted new audio of crowds cheering, as well as music from the TPM soundtrack. I have edited it to hopefully be a much more interesting and fast-paced sequence now. Anakin’s podracer doesn’t stall at the start, and there is no “spinning out of control” sequence either, plus no commentary from the two-headed race announcer.
Scenes of other racers having engine trouble, Tusken Raiders, droids collecting damaged parts, Jabba The Hutt, and the food vendor have all been cut. No final shot of Sebulba sliding to a stop; his fate is left unknown. Also cut is Shmi saying to Anakin that he has given hope to people; winning a sporting event is hardly going to inspire the citizens of Tatooine!
I’ve also reduced the excessive amount of close-ups of Anakin, plus made several trims so that he fixes his podracer much more quickly. The last moments of the race have been trimmed to improve the pacing, plus shots right near the end of Kitster, the crowd, Qui-Gon et al have been relocated.

No Jabba The Hutt or other galaxy-shrinking cameos.

No “pathetic lifeform” remark from Obi-Wan. In my edit, Jar Jar is no longer useless or pathetic!

Deleted scene added back in: Sith probe droid following Qui-Gon and Anakin.

Partial deleted scene added back in: the Jedi and Jar Jar walking up some stairs in the city of Theed, simply to establish that they have reached the city.

Removed Anakin saying “Qui-Gon sir! Wait, I’m tired!”, as well as Qui-Gon’s line “Tell them to take off!”, since Anakin doesn’t do it.

Reinserted the shot of Palpatine’s office building from the TPM cinema (theatrical) version.

Inserted the shot of the spinning N-1 Starfighter from the TPM trailer.

Battle Droids: no more “Roger Roger!” or “D’oh!”.

No “ascension guns” sequence. I’ve cut it to appear that Padme & the Naboo Soldier’s search for the Neimoidians all takes place on the one level of the palace.

Since I’ve tried to make Jar Jar a more useful character, the first encounter with him is brief; he informs the Jedi of the city of Theed, which makes the trip to Otoh Gunga sequence redundant, so that has been deleted. I’ve removed him calling the 14-year old Queen “pretty hot” in the air taxi sequence on Coruscant, plus also removed his snoring during the trip to Coruscant.

See-Threepio: he isn’t in my edit of Episode 1. Anakin isn’t “The Maker” in my edits; Threepio’s inclusion in this film served little purpose, and seemed to be nothing more than a way to add more exposition. An example of this can be found during the podrace sequence, where Threepio mentions how many laps there are to go, as if the audience is made up of nothing but idiots who constantly need to be told what’s going on. For a few scenes, Threepio has been removed from the background, and his dialogue has been removed too.

Senate: removed any reference to the taxation of trade routes, to comply with the revised opening crawl of the film.

Removed the tiny hint of a smile from Palpatine after Queen Amidala decides to go back to Naboo.

Removed the line "This may be the clue we need to unravel the mystery of the Sith."

End sequences have been altered and / or restructured:
Naboo: restructured and relocated some scenes, for example when the Naboo starfighters are about to battle the Vulture Droid fighters, it originally went: shot of N-1 starfighters > shot of Vulture Droid fighters > Pilot saying “fighters straight ahead”. The audience could already see that fighters were approaching, so this line is a bit out of place. I have reorganised it to: shot of N-1 starfighters > Pilot saying “fighters straight ahead” > shot of Vulture Droid fighters.

Slightly restructured the beginning of the Gungans seeing the Battle Droids. Originally it went from: Gungans stop > raise shields > Trade Federation tanks come over the hill. I've changed it to: Gungans stop > Trade Federation tanks come over the hill > the Gungans raise their shields.

Going to the hangar: trimmed the conversation between Qui-Gon and Anakin, plus reorganised some scenes to follow the Jedi into the hangar, and show their movements in sequential order instead of being interspersed with other footage.

Removed multiple shots of Anakin looking at the battles around him; these shots seem to only be there to direct the viewer's attention to a different area.

Anakin getting into and starting up the starfighter: I followed a lot of Hal 9000’s sequencing, as that matched what I wanted to do!

Anakin flies the starfighter into battle of his own accord (no autopilot).

The Jedi and Sith duel mostly plays out in full.

I restructured the sequencing of the end battles, using some of the ideas from Hal 9000’s edit, plus some extra changes I added in there too.

Qui-Gon dies after Maul kills him. There is no request from him to Obi-Wan to train Anakin.

Removed the blood spray when Obi-Wan cuts Darth Maul in half. There was no blood spray when other characters in the prequels or original trilogy were cut by a Lightsaber.

No line from Palpatine stating that he would watch Anakin’s career. It’s best to hide his ideas and motivations, to retain some kind of mystery about his real intent and identity. He is the phantom menace in this story, after all!

The conversation between Yoda and Obi-Wan prior to Qui-Gon’s funeral has been trimmed.

The funeral scene is cut differently; there is no final shot of Palpatine, as it is unnecessary to draw attention to that character. The original final shot of him makes it far too obvious that he has something to do with what has transpired during the course of the movie.

There is no end celebration; after Mace and Yoda speak, there is a final shot of Qui-Gon on the funeral pyre, then there is an iris-wipe to the end credits, thus creating a far more sombre finish to the movie.
Cover art 1 by phase3 (DOWNLOAD HERE)
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Cover art 2 by phase3 (DOWNLOAD HERE)
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Cover art 3 by phase3 (DOWNLOAD HERE)
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Cover art 4 by phase3 (DOWNLOAD HERE)
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Cover art 5 by phase3 (DOWNLOAD HERE)
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Cover art 6 by phase3 (DOWNLOAD HERE)
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Cover art 7 by phase3 (DOWNLOAD HERE)
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Trailer

User reviews

1 review
Overall rating
 
9.9
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0(1)
Visual Editing
 
10.0(1)
Audio Editing
 
9.0(1)
Narrative
 
10.0(1)
Enjoyment
 
10.0(1)
(Updated: February 05, 2023)
Overall rating
 
9.9
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Phase3's approach to this fanedit is most notable for his successful re-voicing of the Neimoidians and replacing their actual words with subtitles, resulting in a more believable, serious opening sequence.

Similarly, Jar Jar's dialog is given the same treatment. His voice took a little longer for me to get used to (perhaps I'm so used to his cadence from countless viewings that I never fully embraced it 100%), but it did achieve its objective in making Jar Jar a more serious character without all the silly dialog. His appearances are trimmed drastically, so if you despise Jar Jar, this will be a go-to version for you.

A lot of the beginning is trimmed. A LOT. "Can you get us into the city?" Yep, here we are! No side trek underwater. Again, this will be a welcome change to some and too deep of a cut for others. It still works in the narrative structure, so it's all depending on personal taste.

We don't get the out-of-character Obi Wan quips, which is a welcome relief. We don't get discussions of midi-chlorians, so that is also a welcome change. There still is a scene that I personally don't care for, and that's "lightning Jedi" at the blast doors aboard the Trade Federation ship (again, this is something I don't like in the original movie). I can accept that the Jedi drop from a large height into the very next scene, but I don't like "superpowers" being attributed to the Jedi where they can move at lightning speed to escape the droidekas.

The battle droids themselves have had much of their dialog removed, which is another welcome change (all the silly Roger, Roger stuff and corny dialog). Personally, I think these could have been re-voiced as they are too silly to be a threat with their existing voice. It's certainly better than it was, but this is one thing I'd love to be taken further.

Now, I trimmed a star for audio editing because there were several times I caught edits due to music/sound changes that didn't flow smoothly (at one spot, for example, the music just stops a bit too abruptly). This should not stop you from watching and enjoying this edit, but my bet is most people will notice several of these instances.

Visually, this looks great. I know that there was some recoloring done to certain scenes/sequences, They don't leap out at you while watching, so it all looks natural and satisfying.

In the end, 42 minutes have been trimmed from the runtime, so the story clips by at a quick pace, but it manages to do this without large plot holes. That in and of itself is a feat of good planning, or an indicator of how much bloat was in the original movie. But how long does the pod race need to last for you to get the idea?

Phase3 has shown that you can vastly improve the storytelling by changing the dialog through subtitles to tighten the pace, clarifying the plot and still feeling like "real" Star Wars. Having different creatures speak a "native tongue" and having English responses works in the Star Wars universe. After all, Han Solo always understood Wookie and even Luke understood R2D2's beeps and boops.

I applaud this fanedit for the very fact that it brings something new to the Phantom Menace that we haven't seen in other fanedits, so, give it a watch!

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Digital
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