This is a pretty stellar edit. It feels so much more like a Star Wars film - not perfect, but I think as good as it's going to get unless someone comes along to fix the spotty CGI in the 2nd half of the film. I would put this edit about on par with RotJ in general.
I have to say that the use of deleted footage was a pretty big plus here. It's odd that some of this necessary material was ever cut. There are lots of gaps in logic that these scenes help fill in (at least with this edit, not so sure about the original film but probably there too).
As strange as it is to hear myself say it: Anakin and Padme's relationship growth actually feels much more natural, even if Ani is still a little creepy. It's still very "movie"-like but it doesn't feel strange and awkward like in the original.
I also never thought I'd feel better about not seeing Yoda jumping around like a maniac since it was one of the most memorable parts from when I saw it in the theater, but I can honestly say it's so much more fitting without it. It keeps Yoda the Yoda we all know: little and mysteriously powerful with THE force, rather than just powerful with "force" (and speed).
I only found one noticeable editing issue with continuity and that involves when Anakin and Padme get caught and brought before Dooku. They landed in the exhaust shaft but never actually seem to get captured before simply being put on trial. It's a strange omission I don't recall from the original. Not sure what's missing here but it seems some sort of transition is lacking.
Other than that, I think the only thing that would make this edit better is if key parts of Ep1 were integrated into this as a bit of an opening, followed by a "10 years later" and just eliminating the entirety of Ep.1's independent existence.
Now let's see how Ep 3 turned out in HAL's hands...
This was a weird case for me as I remember despising this film as a kid (a kid who loved Episode I mind you). I think that I've only seen it twice before watching Hals edit and both times it felt like a chore, so i was in no way looking forward to seeing this movie. But ALAS! Hal hath worked his magic on this film and turned it into something actually somewhat enjoyable!
The video quality is fantastic overall! All HD and pretty, but with less pretty deleted scenes added. You honestly don't notice as the scenes themselves add so much to the movie that you just don't care to pay attention.
Audio is also very very top notch!
Assassination story line makes sense and for once I actually understand whats going on with the whole political side of things!
I really can't think of any gripes with this edit. You took out all the stupid comic relief and made a more moody, interesting film that I would've loved to see back in 2002!
This is undeniably my go-to cut of Episode II and if you're curious then don't even think twice about viewing this film!
After feeling let down by HAL's Star Wars I Cloak of Deception (too much JarJar), I still wanted to give his Ep II The Approaching Storm a try.
I can't really spend the time to go back to L8wrtr's version and compare the two in depth. While watching it, I did take note of slightly different approaches to this movie from these two editors. One of the things that stood out for me was I felt disappointed by L8wrtr's trimming of the fight between Django and Kenobi. HAL leaves this scene intact, which I am in favor of.
I also like how HAL got Kenobi from inquiring about "Kamino" to the actual planet. Others have pointed this out and I agree. It works! Good job!
The "love scenes" on Naboo work better than the theatrical edit. I know why HAL tried to change the day time interrupted kiss scene to night but it does look off. But kudos for the attempt and thought.
L8wrtr also trimmed Anakin's reunion with his mother more than I was comfortable with. HAL left the scene as it was (as I remember the theatrical anyway) and it's one of the few scenes where we can empathize with him truly. So plus for HAL there.
HAL got rid of the whole battle droid factory sequence (which from the first time I watched it came across to me as "And this will translate really well in the video game adaptation!"). I'm in favor of what HAL did but it does have repercussions character-wise: Anakin seems to now just meekly go along with Padme to resolve the situation diplomatically, enter the Lion's Den and give up without a (physical) fight.
OK so I compared the Geonosis battle side-by-side between these two edits (yay for dual monitors).
HAL sticks mostly with the theatrical edit on Mace vs Django. L8wrtr shortened it and on comparing the two, I have to say, both work very well. L8wrtr loses some moments for Windu but I can appreciate what he did here in moulding the fight slightly differently. But I do prefer the theatrical cut on this scene. HAL keeps too many "local martial arts students in Australia posing as Jedis" (always bugged me the way they moved to my trained eye), whereas L8wrtr cut a lot of them out. HAL also got rid of the silly banter between Anakin and Padme in the battle ("aggressive negotiations", groannnn), which L8wrtr kept.
All in all, L8wrtr's Ep I Shadow of the Sith is my go-to edit. HAL9000's Ep II The Approaching Storm is my go-to edit. Looking forward to watching HAL9000s Ep III Labyrinth of Evil!
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyMay 07, 2014
Point of clarification: I kept the "aggressive negotiations" banter on Geonosis.
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.