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9.4 29 10
FanFix February 13, 2014 13475
(Updated: March 16, 2014)
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Ah, Episode II. What a strange creature this film is. Surely it's the worst Star Wars film, but if that's so, how is it that this edit makes for such great viewing? Hats off to Hal9000, and I suppose a weird sort of thanks to Lucas for hiding a good movie in his original garbage bag.

It's an interesting thing that the theatrical version of The Phantom Menace is better than Attack of the Clones, but even the former's best edit is not nearly as good as the best edit of the latter. I guess at its core, Episode II is better than Episode I. Take the bits of trash out of the Episode II bag and you're left with a pretty cool movie. But take the bits of trash out of the Episode I bag and still left with what that film is: a pretty dull movie. But that Episode II bag has so much trash in it. And seeing a good edit like this is very satisfying.

My metaphor is simplifying things too much, though. If it was just a matter of taking out the trash, editing this film would be easy. But it's much harder than that. Possibly my favorite part of this edit is the handling of the Anakin and Padme romance. If an editor were to simply take out the trash in the romance, there would be no romance. To make it work, an editor needs to use what he's given to make that romance believable, which it definitely wasn't in the original. Hal does this perfectly. I've researched it, and it seems like his reordering of the scenes comes mostly from Slumberland's, which I'm more than cool with. No problem borrowing from other editors, Hal maybe made the best there is of Episode I by doing that. But it seems like Slumberland left in the horrendous interrupted kiss, while Hal9000 cut away before the interruption. This change alone, which is critical, means I have no problem proclaiming Hal9000 as the absolute best handler of the romance.

My previous favorite Episode II edit was L8wrtr's, and Hal9000's is very similar, which is a good thing. The substantial differences (the aforementioned romance, Obi-Wan discovering Kamino, Obi-Wan and Jango fisticuffs) are all changed for the better in Hal9000's. This would be enough for me to call it my new preferred Episode II. But Hal also fixes something I wasn't sure was possible to fix: the assassination plot. In the original it makes almost zero sense. But here it makes a whole lot of sense (thanks to some choice deletions and the inclusion of a deleted scene) and ties in nicely with the fact that "Palpatine's behind it all."

Long story short, this is the best edit of Episode II there is (at least in my opinion), and it is undoubtedly and substantially better than the theatrical cut. Great work Hal!

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Owner's reply March 17, 2014

I did indeed borrow a page from Slumberland, following his general template for the romance. You pointed out a different angle for the assassination plot in this edit. Just for the record, fellow fan editor seciors did something similar first in his edit, 'Attack Of The Federation.' Mine isn't identical and plugs into the main story in a different way, but the idea itself comes from seciors.

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