I‘ve always had a soft spot for AOTC and Hal9000‘s edit The Approaching Storm further improves it. This is a version I can watch without cringing and enjoy to the fullest.
This is in fact so well done, you wouldn't have been able to tell this was not the official version if you hadn't experienced "I don't like sand" and "I killed them all" yourself before.
Astonishing work and my definitive version for this film.
Like it's predecessor, this is technically flawless. My main two thoughts are that the love affair between Anakin and Amidala feels so much more natural now. It used to be cartoonish and now it's smooth. The other thing is a kind of missed Yoda jumping around like some crazy... something. All the small fixes work well. My only problem is the original has so much cheesy dialogue and weak story that I was kind of bored. I had been hoping for a more dramatic editing, I guess, and it's pretty much the same old same old -better, but still not worth additional watches for my part.
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!
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.