The Last Jedi's Thematic expansion on the entire saga up to this point is incredible, and those who complain that it's "not in line with George's vision" are fooling themselves. The problem is, this theme of the past dying so the new can take hold isn't exactly noticed when there's these distractions that pull us away from it.
Thankfully, they're removed seamlessly here. I won't go into much detail, because I'd just basically be describing the same movie. I will say I never noticed the incredible arc of Poe's character before, or the incredible subtle aspects of Ren's arc, because the non-thematic nature of certain scenes Johnson didn't know how to cut distract us from them. (which I should say is more the fault of SCHEDULING DEADLINES for these kind of blockbuster films creating enough stress of management he might not have had time to perfect it to a Tee, so I don't blame him and I never will. This is very much still his film, if not moreso now thanks to HAL9000)
The only real issue I have with this edit, and it's only a nitpick but a symbolic one nonetheless, is that the last scene feels less meaningful now. I still get its purpose and strength, but by cutting the earlier scene that sets it up it just seems to have less pre-established weight. The basis for the Rebellion inspiring this kid is a bit lost without a scene to establish the hope they LITERALLY gave to him by giving him the ring. It still has thematic power and perfectly closes the thematic arc of the film, just with slightly less emotional weight than before.
But this is a nitpick... JUST LIKE EVERY COMPLAINT AGAINST THIS FILM:
Which is why you wisely chose not to take out the film so much as things Johnson didn't have time to take out of the film with artistic foresight himself. He had almost 4 hours of content to edit in a little less than 6 weeks, and when you can do better THEN you can criticize him. This cut is now closer to his vision.
Wow. Just wow. When I finished watching this edit I thought to myself, "That was a great movie!" I think that is the best praise an edit can get.
It has been more than a year since I watched The Last Jedi so I was not hung up on what was removed or changed. I was able to watch it as a movie, not as a fanedit. And as a movie it was terrific. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well done!
This edit of the Last Jedi addresses Finn (John Boyega) and Rose's (Kelly Marie Tran) adventure on Canto Bight. In the original film, they become distracted and almost forget about the First Order's impending obliteration of the Resistance fleet.
Finn is dazzled by the glamorous casino environment and Rose lectures him about gambling culture. Their relationship is tense. When they disappointingly fail to complete their mission, their time on Canto Bight seems wasteful. Also, Rose's kiss with Finn on Crait is unsupported by their time together.
Instead, Hal 9000 makes the Finn and Rose storyline feel more urgent and less inessential. The editor removes most of the casino scenes and their encounter with child slaves in a stable. By cutting Rose's criticism of capitalism, she becomes less salty and more sweet. The pair work as a team. Rose's romantic feelings towards Finn now feel more credibile.
The force sensitive boy from the cut stable scene appears at the climax. His ring with a resistance symbol will confuse viewers. It may be better to re-insert the stable scene and include a condensed version of Rose and Finn's galloping escape on the fathier creatures. Otherwise, the ring close-up shot should be cut.
Hal 9000 has tempered the director's humour and retained the original film's narrative. The visual and sound editing are excellent.
This review is based on the first version of Hal 9000's edit. I have read the change list for the second version and would recommend watching either of them.