This was the film I was probably most curious to see play out, and yet again, I wasn't disappointed. Adding the deleted scenes and the way that the narrative of the Anakim/Padme relationship in Attack of the Clones/Approaching Storm really added depth for this film and caused the stakes of Padme's potential death make a lot more sense. I was very curious to see how things were going to play out since I knew there was a new ending of sorts, and it does give a lot more of a natural feel to hearing Leia mention seeing her mother as sad instead of that pause we now feel wondering how she could think such a thing. Another fantastic edit by Hal9000.
Almost perfect. Hal9000 has done it again. I very much enjoyed this edit. Everything about the edit technically was perfect. My one small complaint, and it is just personal preference, was one small change of the ending (won't say it and spoil it).
ROTS is perhaps the only Star Wars prequel that doesn't demand a fan edit, but alas, here we are.
Audio/Video quality gets a 10/10 this time from me. Again, the deleted scenes are noticeable, but if I didn't know any better they MIGHT get past me.
Visual and audio editing are 10s as well. At this point, if it has Hal's name attached to it, expect nearly flawless execution.
The Narrative loses a couple of points for a few reasons. This is obviously subjective but in my opinion, Anakin's fear of Padmé dying isn't emphasized enough and adds unnecessary confusion, Palpatine's deformation is too sudden and doesn't make as much sense to me, and Padmé living creates conflict with current canon. Hal has been a dear and provided a version with an alternate ending in which Padmé dies, but I'm basing this review off of the version most consistent with his original vision. Also, the narrative jumps around A LOT in the second half, but I can't remember if that is Hal's doing or not, so I won't factor it into the score.
Finally, Enjoyment. The insertion of deleted scenes give Padmé something to do and sets up the Rebellion - exciting stuff! The film is much more focused than the original and kept me engaged. If I had the skill, I imagine a few additional tweaks of Labyrinth of Evil would result in my perfect edit. Therefore, 9/10.
This is where the fun begins. For various reasons I never thought Hal‘s Labyrinth of Evil would be the right fit for me but mainly because I already love Episode III as it is. The quality of his other edits (which even made me love TLJ!) convinced me otherwise though. And I‘m really glad I gave this a try.
- Technically perfect like all of his edits. 1080p without compromises, a stable bitrate and DTS (not just DD!) sound. Not even the upscaled deleted scenes give away that this is a fan edit. Impressive work.
- Removal of Palpatine's antics during the fight on the Invisible Hand and during the battle with Windu. His ridiculous facial expressions and weird stabbing moves take away a lot of seriousness, now they're gone for good.
- Greatly trimming the elevator scenes and therefore the final exposure of the Super Battle Droids to ridiculousness.
- Reducing R2D2's familiarity with Obi-Wan. When I was younger it never presented a problem to me but as I grew older it bothered me more and more.
- Removal of various lines of bad dialogue throughout the movie but never cutting away too much and drastically changing the film (except that one line I mention below in the con section).
- Making Grievous' character less all over the place. He's a coward now. That's it.
- Removal of the "High ground" dialogue. In the German dub I grew up with, the line isn't quite as literal as it is in the original version. It's more like "I outclass you". So it never bothered me. But when I started watching Original versions only a few years ago I first recognized why the line is considered bad. Hal presents the best version of it by removing it entirely.
- Keeping/reinstating Obi-Wan bemoaning the fall of the Chosen One. This would've been a no-go for me as it's one my favorite scenes and one that makes me cry 10/10 times. So. much. pain.
- Replacing Vader's infamous "Noooo" with the Russian dub which is more of an anguished scream. No explanation needed.
- Removal of Sidious vs. Yoda. I always thought the removal of this fight would be a no-go for me. The fight itself is quite alright but what I do love is it's symbolism. George Lucas is just very good at this kind of stuff. But even I have to admit that not interrupting the fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan only adds to the intensity. So even if the removal worked surprisingly well for me I'd still prefer to have it included (and maybe again just ridded from Palpatine's antics).
- Padme not dying. The plothole her death presented for the OT was never a problem for me to start with as I always thought of it as Leia remembering her mother through the force or something like that. It also isn't on the pro side because I love the tragic irony of Anakin/Vader doing everything to save her only to ultimately being the one who causes her demise. But it is extremely well done!
- Palpatine's transition from normal looking fella to monster face is a bit abrupt although the scene still works surprisingly well.
- „I AM the senate!“ is gone. I always liked this line but that was before the dark times. Before the memes.
- You can still see Obi-Wan falling on mats when he falls over the ledge in his fight with Grievous. This is nitpicky tho.
- Trimming the second part of Obi-Wan's line "Anakin, my allegiance is to the Republic, TO DEMOCRACY!". I just love the emotional delivery. Unfortunately it was cut. Please consider putting it back in for an eventual V6.1 or V7.
While this won‘t become my replacement for the theatrical cut of Episode III like The Approaching Storm did it will become my Special Edition. It never breaks saga continuity and can thefore become my „so you‘ve decided to watch the special edition“ edition.