Star Wars: Episode III - Labyrinth Of Evil

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I have been a Star Wars fan, and obsessive, for as long as I can remember. Despite the glaring flaws inherent within the prequel trilogy I have still seen each of them more times than I care to count and this edit far surpasses the highest hopes I had for it.

All three prequels have been missing a subtlety that HAL 9000's 'Labyrinth of Evil' perfectly captures. I write this review without seeing either of the other '9000 series' edits (although look forward to seeing the other two) and when reviewing this final entry the main point I need to get across is that we finally get to see the descent and fall of Anakin that we have always wanted. Thanks to some seamless and intelligent editing we are given an autonomous protagonist that wrestles with his feelings, duty and fear of loss without any support system to help. With Obi-Wan pursuing Grievous Anakin must wrestle with his fear that he may loose Padme as he lost his mother, as well as his growing disillusionment with the Jedi order, alone. The manipulation by Palpatine is done subtly using Anakin's vulnerability and fear to lead him to dependency. Due to the subtlety with which this is done you get much more of a sense of Anakin's inner turmoil and as such his fall is both much clearer and emotionally impacting. Anakin's political allegiances also come after this dependency is established as oppose to before which really serves well to emphasise that his choices were motivated by his fear of loosing Padme above all else.

As well as Anakin's descent we also get to see the political aspects of the prequel trilogy finally take an intriguing and important shape. Before this edit I didn't have much time for this aspect of the trilogy but I can now see it's value a lot clearer. Not only does it serve to show Palpatine's masterful deception and grand scheme but it also adds a great deal of depth to the role of Padme. She too is made more autonomous within this edit and now appears more dimensional instead of merely being presented as Anakin's love interest.

Obviously as a die hard fan there are some things that I missed and some things that I wish weren't there but they're not worth mentioning as overall the narrative of 'Revenge of the Sith' is now made more compelling, the motivations of the characters and the inner turmoil they struggle with is now captivating and the pace keeps your attention firmly on the screen.

There were some slight changes made to the narrative and I have to say that I love that somebody finally fixed the plot hole with Leia remembering Padme! The Qui-gon voice over was brilliant (no idea where that came from...?) and the omission of the Sidious/Yoda duel worked incredibly well!

And easy ten stars from me and I will be looking forward to any fanedit's from HAL 9000 in the future.

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1 reviews
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(Updated: January 15, 2015)
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9.6
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9.0
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10.0
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10.0
I convinced my friends to watch a Star Wars marathon with me and then spent a lot of time determining the edits we'd watch. I decided on Machete Order, with Harmy's DeSpecialized Editions for the Original Trilogy and Hal 9000's edits of Episodes II and III.

By the end of Episode III, everyone was stunned. It's so much better than the original release.

Some highlights: Padme has things to do! Her character doesn't just sit around waiting for Anakin to show up while she slowly gets pregnant. And the seeds for the rebellion in the Original Trilogy are sown, which greatly improves continuity. The lead-up to Anakin's turn to the dark side felt much more realistic with less of the prophecy being referenced. His battle with Obi Wan on Mustafar had less flips and jumps and called to mind Luke's lightsaber fighting style. Honestly, the last half of this movie far outshines the first half, as Hal 9000 does everything in his power to get the trilogy on track with a compelling end to the series and lead-in to the next, including sourcing dubs and scenes from other movies.

I have the same thing to say about this technical side as I did with Hal 9000's edit of Episode II: Seamless. Music and audio played over everything just fine - no choppy bits anywhere. Visuals were great as well, with some clever filters to fix up colors in many areas. Some good side-wipes were used to eliminate certain actions from scenes, these sorts of edits were only noticeable if you're familiar with the original cut.

Some notes: One of my friends cried during Padme's passionate appeal to Anakin - their relationship and his frustration are much more believable. Geminigod reviewed that "I have the high ground" was left in - that phrase is actually not in this edit, perhaps this is a newer version that I'm watching.

Some odd things: When Yoda's earlier fight scene was so skillfully done to remove lightsaber shenanigans, why include the later scene where he uses the lightsaber to defend himself after Order 66? The Darth Vader suit reveal should have been cut shorter; as is, that particular scene feels overwrought and out of place for Star Wars.

Absolutely recommend watching this, especially when seeking continuity with the Original Trilogy. These edited prequels are fantastic for marathons, and the emotional payoff when Luke is forced to confront Darth Vader and the Emperor in Return of the Jedi is amazing now that we've seen a great version of Anakin's turn to the dark side.

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AVCHD
K
2 reviews
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(Updated: February 04, 2015)
Overall rating
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
Now I'd really like to give an more elaborate review, but I'm pretty much lost for words. Taking the information the faneditor gave in the great commentary track, this is as flawless as it gets. I am not too happy about the inflated ratings around here, but this is really a "10" and a shining example what a fanedit can achieve.

I hope Disney contracts HAL 9000 as an adviser for the upcoming Star Wars trilogy, he knows what storytelling is supposed to be. And to his credit, he is very verbal on the fact that his versions are the pinnacle of all Star Wars 1-3 attempts combined, taking many ideas from older edits.

Edit: As HAL's tech broke down, the v3 versions are missing a commentary track, and the v2 ones don't sync. As these versions are to be the crowing achievement of all work, this is extremely unfortunate all around and personally I'd advise you to track down the v2 versions as the editor's insights makes the movies much more enjoyable.

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Digital
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Overall rating
 
9.0
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9.0
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10.0
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9.0
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9.0
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8.0
This is a pretty solid edit, probably the best I've seen so far for this entry. Not sure I like it more than the Ep 2 edit by HAL though.

This one is still mired in politics in the 1st half. There are still some dumb things kept in as well like the lizard riding scenes. The acting and dialogue are still terrible in parts (which probably can't be edited out).

I still don't like the scene where Anakin turns dark and pledges his allegiance to Sidious. I feel like Anakin's reply should be mostly silence rather than his "ok, cool dude, yeah let's be evil." I feel like much of this scene would work better if things went unsaid. Have him order him to be his apprentice and have Anakin bow his head in pseudo-shame and then have Palpatine order him to leave or whatever. I think too much is told in this scene rather than just shown.

I wish there was an edit to the Obi / Anakin faceoff too. It's so bloated and overdone. If someone could tone it down and keep it more sensible rather than the grandiose fight on top of the lava, that would help.

I REALLY liked the side-by-side intercutting between Padme's fate and the creation of Vader though. That was a brilliant editing choice. Chillingly effective.

Those couple of complaints aside, it's still a superior film to the theatrical version and fixes far more than what remains broken. It's a very good edit, technically, and the narrative is well done. It's more streamlined and better structured with this edit. I think a handful of further small edits could make this one the go-to version of the film.

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(Updated: May 14, 2014)
Overall rating
 
9.6
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
So here's my review on the third prequel in HAL9000's series.

I have watched Stankpac' version a few years ago and more recently L8wrtr's. So I tend to compare these two against each other.

HAL keeps the buzz droids sequence from the beginning of the movie. L8wrtr eliminates it and I think it works better. Get to Grievous ship already. HAL keeps Dooku's exchange with Anakin about fear and anger. It's a nice parallel to Ep VI with Luke and the Emperor. Missing in L8wrtr's version but it does flow faster, IMO. Overall, in comparing these two edits side-by-side, it appears to me that L8wrtr is more ruthless in deleting one-liners than HAL is.

Here is one of the most egregious examples of that: HAL keeps the "Hold me Anakin, like you did on Naboo, when all we had was our love." This atrocious line is in HAL's version and not in L8wrtr's and to be honest, that alone is major minus points for me for this edit.

This version is improved from the theatrical release, no doubt.

The biggest thing L8wrtr did for me was something really cool with Anakin's and Obi-Wan's fight at the very end, and it worked very well and my eyes popped open when I saw his solution. No "high-ground" chatter and it made complete sense in terms of action and what these characters would do. Obi-Wan jumps from the floating device on to land and Anakin's jumps a second later after him and Obi-Wan cuts him up. Effin' brilliant.

HAL made an interesting creative choice in having Padme survive and use footage from Natalie Portman from another movie, crying and holding a baby. So that is brilliant in terms of undoing Lucas' destroying continuity in SW VI. But my question as a viewer was: Padme just allows the kids to be separated? Dramatically that seems off, I think in a movie you wouldn't skip the scene where that drama unfolds.

So based on what I saw in L8wrtr's edit of that moment, his is my go-to version for Ep III.

There are singular moments in this fanedit which I like better than the same singular moment in L8wrtr's version, for example, HAL has Obi-Wan cut off one of Grievous' hands right off the bat and it worked well. But overall, there are more noticeable edits that I think work better in L8wrtr's Dawn of the Empire than what HAL chose. I suspect he may be more attached to the original prequels than either me or L8wrtr, based on how old he was when watching the prequels when they first came out and being familiar with them before the original trilogy (I assume).

So to summarize: Ep I: L8wrtr, Ep II HAL9000, Ep III L8wrtr.

These are the versions I will show friends from now on who want to see Star Wars for the first time. Or whenever I rewatch them.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
Owner's reply May 15, 2014

Thanks for the very fair review. I was fifteen when this film originally came out, and enjoyed it, though I was definitely a more OOT-minded fan. (I bought a LaserDisc player the year before in response to the SE-only '04 DVDs.)
One note about the "hold me" dialogue: I felt that scene was important, given the political tensions I was attempting to boost in this edit, cheesy dialogue though there be. I'm looking at whole scenes telling a shifted story, and sometimes individual bits that didn't work in their original context can contribute to the re-edited version of the story. (See Jar Jar in Cloak Of Deception.)
Again, thanks for the great review; light criticism, fair comparisons, and ultimately a positive rating.

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