First off I've only watched the original 2 or 3 times so at first i thought HAL was trolling me and copied the same movie LOL but I did notice a few little things after a while. Like the emperors voice in the Ray vision, I knew they didn't foreshadow that for IX, I like that change as well as most of the others I read in the details after watching.
But the big deal which i knew was coming was the Starkiller base. I have to agree with the detractors, i didn't care for it. The editing to achieve this was phenomenal and HAL did a great job like always, but i feel like the reasoning for changing it was weak.
Excellent work throughout. Transforms what was initially a "cover-band" version of A New Hope into a dark mirror of that film's hopefulness. Everything that went right for our heroes the first time goes terminably awful, or at least the things that felt like mere plot points in Episode IV (Obi-Wan's death, the destruction of Alderaan) resonate much more strongly here, thanks to the editor's re-alignment of events. The First Order is framed as dangerous insurrectionists who have managed to strike a blow against democracy, and the galaxy is upended once again, setting the stage for much more tense stakes of the next instalment. No amount of editing can smooth over the lucky coincidence-powered story beats that fuel this movie, but theme and character are at least allowed center stage to distract the viewer from these failings. I look forward to seeing what miracles Hal9000 can work with Episode IX next...
The Force Awakens Restructured addresses several weak points and pacing issues that exist in the theatrical cut. The changes I noticed most in this cut:
Kylo Ren no longer has a Darth Vader fetish, nor an altar to Darth Vader. I like this change, it makes the reveal that much more poignant when Rey reads Kylo’s mind and senses he fears that he will never live up to what Darth Vader was.
Better editing of the audio and video snippets Rey experiences when grabbing Anakin’s lightsaber for the first time.
Starkiller base is introduced WAY later in the film. The Resistance doesn't find out about the Starkiller weapon until well after they’ve launched a plan to save Rey in this edit. Starkiller base doesn’t launch its first attack until right after Han dies. Kind of a downer, the initial mission fails because Han’s team didn’t detonate the explosives in time. Personally, I felt with all that had been cut from Starkiller base’s backstory, even more could have been cut, to make it a race against the clock for The Resistance to destroy the base before it got to fire a single time. But that’s really my only point of contention with this edit.
What was cut wasn’t needed, and what was kept was good. The changes make sense, and this is a fan edit well worth watching.
Continuing a re-watch of the Skywalker Saga, this is the first edit of TFA I've ever watched.
I mistakenly thought that this was an edit for a prolonged reveal of Kylo Ren's identity. But in fact, this is an edit for (spoilers ahead) moving the destruction of the Hosnian system to just after Han gets killed. This change ratchets up the emotion considerably. Before, my only reaction was, "Oh, a bunch of extras that I've never met are dying. Whoop-dee-do." Now, as I'm still reeling from the sucker punch of Han's death, all this new death and mayhem gets shown onscreen. It's gut-wrenching in a good, dramatic way, the way it should have felt the first time.
Only quibble: Even though HAL changes the line to say that the weapon will be "re"-charged in 30 seconds, the question now becomes where the charging comes from. The first time, Starkiller Base sucked up an entire sun. In the theatrical cut, since time has passed, viewers can assume that the Base has eaten another sun. But how did it charge again so quickly if it just spent all its energy wiping out a system? There was no time for it to consume a different star. And if it still had energy left over after all that, why did it need to re-charge? Mind you, it takes longer to write out the reason for the quibble than it does for this tiny moment to happen onscreen. It doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment.
And the addition of the Emperor's theme in v4 when Kylo Ren talks to Vader's helmet is an EXCELLENT choice, because (spoilers) of what we learn in Ep. IX.
I haven't seen any other TFA edits to compare this one to, but this is absolutely a top-notch effort!