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.
Hello everyone. Had the pleasure of following up my review of Hal9000's Cloak of Deception with this one. The Approaching Storm is a solid edit. It improves upon the film's strengths making this a fantastic addition to the go-to trilogy edits (this and L8Wrtr's sharing same spot of being my go to of the Prequels). The editing was pretty seamless. And really dig the Assassination plot making sense now.
Also have to say that the film looks fantastic. The alternate versions of some scenes are also wonderful addition that provides new way of presenting the film. With this, I mean the scene between Obi-Wan and Mace before heading to Kamino is a solid scene. And the introduction of Anakin to Padme's family is also a wonderful addition that helps shed some more light on Padme's character. (Why this was cut in the original, I still have no idea)
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.
Right off the bat, let me just say Attack of the Clones is by far my least favourite of the Prequel Trilogy. I'm a big fan of the period in the lore - I love the Clone Wars shorts and The Clone Wars series - but AotC is just so full of BLARG awkward Christensen and/or McGregor I can barely stand to watch it. Which brings us to this very welcome reason to revisit Episode II.
AV QUALITY, VISUAL & AUDIO EDITING
Nigh faultless. If HAL9000's third objective is to shroud his editor's hand and convince the audience they're watching a theatrical cut, from a technical perspective: job done. The wipes and cuts are all extremely in-universe, the replaced audio fits beautifully, the score is seamless - I really struggle to find anything wrong with any of it. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I found it far less all-over-the-place than the version I saw in the cinema all those years ago.
I almost docked one point off A/V Quality because I was specifically looking for any kind of artifacting or drop in quality on the 720p m4v, and thought perhaps I saw some on one of the re-inserted deleted scenes (part of the replacement for the factory sequence) - but in the end, I decided that if there was any, it was so minor as to be negligible.
Finally, I thought it worth noting that I'd have liked to have heard the audio on the gladiatorial scene worked up a bit - some sound effects added or replaced, maybe some score; much in the vein HAL9000 improved the pod race from Episode I - but it was still weird and disconnected in a couple of notable instances. It is in the original, so this is by no means a criticism of the edit. More, a note to the editor in case he decides to (re-)revisit it.
Despite the extreme technical prowess on display here, the crafting of the narrative is undoubtedly where the magic of this fan edit lies.
The new crawl sets the scene perfectly. The action is pacier and the story flows far more naturally. The Jedi Order comes across less like a bunch of pious monks. Obi-Wan is less preachy. Yoda is the calm, collected legend of the force he should be - instead of that angry green chipmunk thing. Jar Jar is (almost entirely absent!) the simple-minded everyman, instead of a complete idiot. The clones are more autonomous (like their spin-off series equivalents). There's no droid factory craziness.
And as for Anakin... well, Anakin is still annoying. But well within the realms of being tolerable, if not out-and-out likeable. I felt I could actually get behind his decisions and behaviour in this cut, where in the original I'd like to see him crushed to death by that giant Nabooan flea. And the love story, although it moves at a whirlwind clip which neither party seems wont to comment on (even more so in this edit), works pretty well. It's not perfect but with less laboring over it, you can imagine now that for them it is just that: a whirlwind affair in an insane time. Top marks for ridding this movie of its worst source of angsty/saccharine nonsense.
That said, the cut to the conversation at the picnic was just this side of jarring... but I reflected even as I watched it that the reason was because it genuinely gave me a sense that we'd joined them in the middle of a conversation, (and Padme's statement therefore seemed unprovoked), which is exactly what we did - so it kind of works. And it's certainly a fine trade-off for cutting the guff there.
Overall, I found myself making connections which had been lost in the noise before: Anakin's ridiculous flea-ride parallels his taming of the rhino-thing in the arena; the little back and forth between Anakin and Padme about diplomacy fondly echoes shared memories of conversations they'd had earlier. It was the same, but different. Really good job.
The only cut I was sad to see (so far there's been precisely one cut I'd prefer to have seen left in, if edited, in each of HAL9000's Prequel Trilogy edits) was the Death Star plans. I know it's unnecessary, I know it's universe-shrinking, I know it's just fan service - but I liked it. If HAL9000 does a re-(re-)edit here, I'd like to see part of that scene, however brief, re-integrated.
(Finally, another note to the editor: if there's a way to splice the scene where Anakin says, "I have a bad feeling about this," so that it occurs before the beasts are released, but after Poggle gives the command, it will sound MUCH less forced. As it is, it sticks out as a series catchphrase like there's a big neon sign pointing to it.)
Probably goes without saying that I actually enjoyed this movie this time around. Quite a lot, in fact.
It was still full of little moments of annoyance - Shmi's Oscar-attempt death, Anakin and Padme rolling in the fields, Jango's abrupt demise, EVERYTHING GREENSCREEN ALL THE TIME - but in the round I felt the rest of the movie bore up those moments well. And hey, the Original Trilogy weren't perfect - there were a couple of moments there which don't stand up as well on rewatching - so this sits for me as a fine addition to the series.
I can actually imagine watching it again, which really says something!