A while back I tried to watch the original Revenge of the Sith, which I remembered liking a lot - and it was dreadful. Stilted acting, poor dialogue, etc. I stopped about a third of the way in.
Then I watched Labyrinth of Evil - and I loved it! almost all of the things that are wrong with the original was gone (it's not completely perfect, since even the best editor can only do so much). The flow and pacing was great, and I really like the Padme Lives ending. This will probably be my go to in the future.
Star Wars: Episode III - Labyrinth of Evil is a brilliant improvement to what I already considered an enjoyable movie.
After being blown away by Episode II, The Approaching Storm, I was excited to see what could be done to improve Episode III. Revenge of the Sith is considered by many, including myself, to be the best of the prequels -- not only because it ties up all lose ends, but because overall the story is much more structured and emotionally engaging than the previous two prequel films. Where The Phantom Menace felt disconnected from not only the other two prequels but the series as a whole, and Attack of the Clones felt like a boring pre-history to what we'd all rather see (the Clone Wars mentioned in the Original Trilogy), Revenge of the Sith had it all. The epic Clone War conflict, the fall of the Republic, and of course the rise of Darth Vader and the Empire. I honestly didn't know what to expect from this fan edit.
In my mind going in, I thought maybe this edit would keep very close to the original film, only trimming and changing minor details here and there as Hal did with Episode I. Instead once again I was blown away by how many additions there were, good additions that weren't added just for the sake of it, but added much needed context missing from the original film. The humble beginnings of the Rebel Alliance, much needed scenes fleshing out Anakin and Padme's romance, Palpatine's manipulation having more spotlight thus making his corruption of Anakin more realistic, even new scenes that show us why characters go to the places they go in this movie and why.
On the other hand, a lot of things were trimmed that I absolutely agreed with. Scenes that went on for way too long such as the Mustafar duel, the rescue of Chancellor Palpatine, and faceoff with Grievous, scenes and dialogue that were clunky and irreparable due to either poor acting or pacing such as Anakin's slaughter of children (you know, just in case you couldn't already tell he was evil), Chewbacca's forced insertion into the film, and even the laughable duel between Palpatine and Yoda.
Not only does this improve Revenge of the Sith, but it even flows consistently with Hal's other movie edits. The much more likable Anakin from Hal's Episode II is the Anakin we see here. This is the Anakin we should have gotten, this Anakin feels more in line with the Anakin we got in the Clone Wars animated series. The reinforced friendship with Obi-Wan and Anakin between Hal's Episode II and III make for a much better battle in the end, Anakin's relationship with Padme between Hal's Episode II and III make for a much more tragic ending for the trilogy, and Anakin's much less angsty child-like behavior makes for a more believable Jedi warrior.
Going forward, these are the canon prequels in my mind. They were nothing short of stellar.
Since I'm waaay too late to the party, these edits have been around for ages, I'll just say that after having watched at least 3-4 fanedits of this movie (like L8wrtr's, Spence's, Octoroxx etc.), this version is the one that became my go to version of the movie. This one was the best of the trilogy but still I had many issues with it. HAl addressed almost all of them, with the exception of some silly humor that I'm not a fan of.
It should be noted that for the previous two Episodes I preferred L8wrtr's edits, but here prevailed HAL's.
I highly recommend it to anyone who was not quite satisfied with Episode 3, I assure you it will be your go-to version in the future!
Thank you HAL9000 for all your hard work and thanks to anyone who read my review!
This is very well done, and I enjoyed watching it, but this is the only film in HAL9000's prequel trilogy that I did not prefer compared to the original. For example, I did not like the decision to keep Padme alive because I did not understand how that fit with the original trilogy. I had to look it at the changes to see that the purpose of that was to match a line from Return of the Jedi. Still, that was simply the editor's choice, and it was executed well, so for those looking for that kind of change, it will be appreciated. Overall, Episode 3 is the best of the prequel trilogy, so I think it does not need as much editing as the other two, but I commend HAL9000 for his work on this trilogy altogether.
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.