Before watching from start to end, I saw a few random scenes from the edit and read about some of the changes. While I noted multiple improvements and interesting choices right away, I wasn't 100% on board, as changes were also made to some aspects of the film that I liked. Also, not all alterations felt that necessary to me personally. But that's the case with all fan edits anyway.
Overall, I must admit that the edit definitely makes a good movie noticeably better. Next time I want to experience Episode IX, I will consider which version I feel like watching. Looking forward to V2 as well. Happy to see when Star Wars community is doing something really useful, interesting, impactful and positive for a change. The project felt to me like it came from a place of love and passion first, not annoyance and/or disappointment. I might be off here, but I hope I'm not :)
This edit, though it didn't fix all of the major structural issues of the original film, it did an amazing job at fixing so many of the moments that just ruined the story for me. I am so impressed with this work and it makes the Third trilogy actually enjoyable now.
An often subtle but absolutely brilliant collaborative effort. This edit shows a lot of love for the material and great care, thought and effort is displayed throughout. This is TROS at its best and easily replaces the original for me.
I gotta hand it not only to HAL but all the talented members of OriginalTrilogy.com, they managed to make Rise of Skywalker satisfying! All of the little details:
-Removing telegraphed plot points
-Allowing the audience to breathe, by slowing the pace/creating quiet moments
-The Palaptine Clones/Earlier set up of Spirit Posession
-Why Kylo reforges his mask
-The Sith whispers in the Dagger instead of the compass
-The fleet at the end shouting "We believe in you Poe" & "For Skywalker"
-Leia's purple lightsaber
-The Force Ghosts fighting Palpatine
-The new take on both "Rey Skywalker" & how Rey finishes the trilogy with her friends
All this and more gives Rise of Skywalker a fresh coat of paint, put oil to lube up the mechanics, and lets me look at this movie through fresh eyes!
The only reason It's not a perfect 10 across the board is because the lack of the Star Destroyers actually using their cannons can't help but spit in the face of the Checkov's Gun rule of screenwriting. Maybe if it were implied that the lasers on the Star Destroyers were only as powerful as the Death Star blast on Jeddah like in Rogue One, that would be easier to swallow/more satisfying.
Aside from that, here's what I'm hoping to see in V2 of this edit:
-The Lightsaber crackle to Luke/Anakin's lightsaber to make it more like Kylo's (excellent visual symbolism)
-A Finn voice double replacing "Rose, please. Go," with something along the lines of "Rose, I'm saving what I love" or "Rose, you must survive" (which could easily be done, since we only see the back of John Boyega's head, you could totally ADR it in). Partly because I feel so bad for Kelly Marie Tran, mostly because this would help create more connective tissue between this film and Last Jedi. I know that line's not in your edit of The Last Jedi, so I guess I'm saying, hey HAL, you know anyone who can do a good Finn impression? :-)
-I would love for Leia's Force Ghost to show up against the showdown with Palpatine. After he says "I am all the Sith," you could show Leia's body becoming one with The Force, then superimpose footage of her in space from Last Jedi (since that both shows her opening her eyes after a long sleep, as well as holding her hand out to use The Force). Would make an awesome moment feel even more complete!
-A Rey Palpatine Alternative. I don't think straight up cutting it and replacing it with nothing works, otherwise the film has no Midpoint to anchor Rey's change of character from all-loving hero to single-minded & rage induced. Right now, my best guess is to get a Kylo soundalike to say "You don't just have power; You have ALL their power," and reveal that Rey is genetic hybrid created from all the Galaxy's best known Force Users. Heck, even changing "you're his granddaughter" to "your his creation" would go a long way in tying her to Palpatine while simultaneously making Rey still feel like her own person, if that makes any sense.
In any case, HAL and OT.com have done the impossible: they made me want to watch the entire Sequel Trilogy in full at least one more time. And that's not nothing!