After watching Hal's edit of Episode 1, I was bracing myself for a repeat of my opinion on his last edit; a nice tightening-up that couldn't save a flawed movie. But I was pleasantly surprise. He actually tricked me into enjoying this film, which is a downright miracle given the circumstances. This is a tour-de-force in the art of less-is-more. The best way I can describe it is like this: James Rolfe (aka the Angry Video Game Nerd), in an ironic twist of fate, actually went really easy on the prequels in a video he did on them, and in this video he describes Attack of the Clones as an "average summer blockbuster". I don't agree with him on the original movie. But with this edit, that's a much more accurate description. Hell, that may even be underselling it a bit.
The love plot is the most notable fix. I was downright flabbergasted at how much he improved it. It's still somewhat saccharin since there isn't a proper emotional setup to it, they just find each other kinda pretty then started dating, but dammit it almost had me smiling in a few places, and even if it made me feel just the tiniest smidge of a hint of emotion, it accomplished hell of a lot more than what the original movie did. It's paced well, full of smart trims and omissions, and Anakin's creepy obsessiveness and occasional maniacal rants are cut off cleaner than a skywalker's hand.
Anakin straight up came off as a terrible person in the original movie, what with his endless whining and the above-mentioned rants. He was awkward in a creepy way, and straight up supports fascism and is okay with massacring a village of sand people. Perfect marriage material. This is, of course, all trimmed. He and Obi-wan seemed like enemies in the original, but with all the antagonism gone they actually seem like good friends. I had genuinely forgot that there were a good few lines of decent banter between the two, despite how little time they spend together. But despite that Hal manages to retain the fact that Anakin still has some problems with Obi-wan's teaching, but it's gentle enough that you know that it isn't going to get in the way of their friendship. In fact it seems normal for a growing student like Anakin.
The addition of the two deleted scenes featuring padme are beyond essential. It actually blew my mind that the scene where she addresses the senate at the start wasn't there originally, it seems so essential for her character. The scene with her family does wonders for the pacing of the love story. These two added scenes are minor but they go a long way towards making padme seem like a main character.
Of course there are the usual trims to the over-bearing political drama. This edit is a step up from cloak of deception in this regard. There was a slight hint of it going a little too fast and having not enough information in that edit. Here, the thought that there was more than what's included in the movie is crazy. The flow and pacing of the movie is gorgeous, really feels like the original trilogy and not the slog that was the original. Kenobi's part of the story flows well too. Dex's diner actually comes off as pretty fun in this edit with the huge trim, and the whole investigation gets right to the point without being too overdrawn. One hitch is that I didn't fully understand how Kenobi found out how to get to Kamino between finding out the archives are incomplete and talking with mace before setting off. I kind of just assumed mace knew and told him directly, but it wasn't very clear. Didn't bother me too much though, because it at least had to the courtesy to be paced well.
The whole edit isn't too deep or amazing, but it turns a once agonizing slog into an entertaining flick that's really easy to watch. I once considered this my least favorite star wars film (Phantom menace eventually took that mantle), but now it's been turned into an inoffensive and even enjoyable addition to the star wars series. Good on you Hal.
AOTC is my least favorite Star Wars movie, and L8wrtr's The Republic Divided was my favorite edit of that. I thought, like in Cloak of Deception, my personal favorite would be better. But boy, was I wrong.
Star Wars - Episode II: The Approaching Storm is the best Attack of the Clones edit out there. Better than Seciors' Army of the Republic. Better than Q2's Fall of the Jedi II. Better than L8wrtr's The Republic Divided. All three are great edits of AOTC. But for me, TAS is the best.
The Audio/Video quality is great. One nitpick is that the deleted scenes distract the audience when watched. It's not the editor's fault at all. It just looks strange, but still, that doesn't really matter.
The editing is flawless, really. Besides the deleted scenes' look like I said, the edit feels like a real movie released in theatres.
The narrative is so much better than the original. I enjoyed the edit very much.
If you're looking to replace the original Episode II, this edit replaces it perfectly.
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!
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyMarch 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.
At last, I can finally enjoy the prequels! Years after giving up hope of finding prequel edits that I could really enjoy, Hal9000's Episode II edit has done it!
I watched so many fanedits of Episodes I & II that left me wishing I could get my time refunded (nothing against the faneditors, just the material). I recently realized I had been taking the wrong approach by looking for an edit that removed all of the elements that I disliked, as edits that took that approach never seemed to have enough material left to craft what felt like a full film. Hal9000's edit is more reserved cut-wise and seems to try to include as much as possible to give the film enough content and weight to flow smoothly and feel like a complete film. Somehow Hal9000 was able to include much more of the film than I would have though possible while still (mostly) avoiding the frequent criticisms of the film like bad writing, acting, attempts at humor, etc. and the quality of the edit is top-notch.
There were at most a couple of instances where I felt like a transition wasn't quite flawless, either visually or audibly, but it may just have been a result of knowing the original too well or watching too many fanedits. Regardless, they were the most minor of issues, and I can't even recall which scenes were involved because I was just so surprised by how much I was enjoying myself watching this film!
Hal9000 has elevated this film to a place I never though possible: a worthy companion to the original trilogy!
Though I consider Labyrinth of Evil to be the best movie in Hal9000's prequel trilogy, I consider this to be his greatest achievement with the prequels. Attack of the Clones is by and far, my least favorite Star Wars movie. It dissapoints basically throughout the entire runtime. At least the Phantom Menace had Qui-Gon, the pod race, and Duel of the Fates. But boy oh boy did Hal improve the hell out of this film. First things first, the BEST thing about his edit is how much he improves the character of Anakin. No longer is he a whiny and unlikable protagonist. In The Approaching Storm Anakin is a honorable and compassionate person who you come to care for. The relationship between him and Obi-Wan is improved a ton. Hal accomplishes this by trimming all the bickering between the two. And the romance is soooooo much better. I can't say enough how much better it is. It used to be so cringeworthy but with the addition of some deleted scenes, the removal of entire scenes, and narrative restructuring, the romance is now believable and well executed. Everything just works so much better in this version of the film. I give this fanedit the HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.