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9.7 48 10
FanFix February 25, 2014 30298
(Updated: May 02, 2023)
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oh my god this is so good. hals pacing is incredible, perfectly cutting through this story (that originally was bloated not just on a scene to scene basis but in the construction of individual scenes themselves). this is all the more impressive because of the integration of the deleted padmé subplot: singlehandedly making her an actual character in this movie. excellent stuff.

anakin is excellent (at least compared to the dire straits of his official counterpart). the love angle never worked, and the emphasis put on anakins militarism, distrust of institutions, and reliance on the emperor as a paternal figure makes for a much stronger narrative. this edit gives up the ghost on anakin being a misunderstood tragic hero: he is a power hungry, distrusting, and selfish. somehow he still emerges as more likeable than in the original by making him more confident and more emotionally reserved.

my biggest gripe is the removal of the banter between obi-wan and anakin on the invisible hand. mcgregor & christensen have really nice chemistry here, and the prequels need to grab every instance of anakin & obi-wan being friends with both hands imo. i know hal wants to maintain continuity with obi-wan not knowing r2, but the price is too high here. as it stands i still feel like its ridiculous to think that obi-wan doesnt recognise r2 in iv. i have no issue with reading it that hes hesitant to bring luke into danger and just playing dumb. after all, this is the "vader betrayed and murdered your father" guy.

i also wish that more couldve been done to trim the utapau section: it really does feel like spinning gears, and is the only place where this edit started to lose my interest. its very likely nothing more could be done, but i can keep wishing.

i watched these in machete order, and the padme-lives edit is particularly strong for massaging the continuity issue that becomes apparent when you watch vi right after iii. neeson's voice cameo makes machete order more problematic for this edit, but its a minor sticking point, and i cant in good faith say that hal shouldnt have fixed the theatrical cut's baffling decision to have yoda learn about force ghosts offscreen.

excellent work hal. this is a towering achievement, and my definitive episode iii.

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