Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith: Rebalanced
1. Keep the best parts while trimming substantial amounts of droid slapstick, exposition, and bloated editing.
2. Shift Anakin's fall to the dark side away from Padmé, and toward Palpatine.
3. Learn from existing edits, use the best of their ideas, and fine-tune each and every scene.
4. Make as seamless and professional an edit as possible. So many fan edits have great ideas, but you can tell if the music is a little uneven, or if the rhythm of a sequence gets off balance. I wanted to create a version that you could watch without knowing anything changed. If an edit, however ideal, resulted in a noticeable glitch, it had to go.
I loved Hal9000's brilliant re-edit of the elevator/Artoo/Anakin-and-Obi-Wan-get-captured sequence near the beginning of the film. I've extended the Artoo shot and removed the lightning zap, so now it feels better.
I tried my best to keep as much of the original flow as I could. When Anakin is brooding in the council chamber, we get some on-the-nose Palpatine whispers. Instead of cutting the shot completely to remove Palpatine's voice, I used the soundtrack to fill in the gap, keeping the scene intact. Another example is the introduction of Obi-Wan's lizard on Utapau. Instead of cutting the entire introduction sequence, which included an establishing shot of the upper level, I trimmed the absurd 360-panning shot of Obi-Wan riding the lizard.
I'd like to think that this edit is a balance between the best of community fan edit ideas and the goal of only changing what can be fixed without drawing attention to itself. Ideally all changes are invisible.
Edited with Premiere, After Effects, and Audition.
Blu Ray Menus made in Cinema 4D with Corona renderer.
Blu Ray Disk built in DVD Architect.
Additional VFX by Adam Burrows. Special thanks to Kate Bronstein, my lovely wife who put up with this project for 18 months. Additional thanks to Ifadufadi, Sean Giblin, and Nick Mangieri, who served as my Editing Council to give advice on various changes.
Blu Ray Menus:
3D Menu Art and Direction by Noah Bronstein. Design and 3d Support by Alex Campuzano.
See official readme for full model and texture list regarding Blu Ray menu creation.
Thanks to Hal9000, JasonN, L8wrtr, Q2, AEMovieGuy, Corigar, Kerr, ADigitalMan, Slumberland, Stankpac, TM2YC, Spence, Father Merrin, Sithlord, and The Cutter. Without their ideas and fan edits over the years, I never would have been able to tackle this project. Thanks especially to Hal9000's commentary track, which discussed the fan editing community and its ideal versions of a lot of the scenes. In addition, thanks to DominicCobb for a useful audio file, and to DigModification for his feedback and oversight of the IFDB approval process.
- Blu-Ray (BD-50)
Original film name and opening crawl.
Removed Grievous coughing as much as possible.
Buzz droid sequence trimmed to keep things moving more quickly. Some additional dialogue bits removed that seemed superfluous.
Dialogue between Obi-Wan and Anakin adjusted where possible to make it more of an equal relationship- Obi-Wan trusts Anakin's instincts (most of the time).
Obi-Wan's acrobatics trimmed during the landing scene on Grievous's ship.
Dialogue and action trims as they prepare to find Palpatine.
Some dialogue trims before and during the Dooku fight.
Anakin barely hesitates when killing Dooku. It should be impulsive, representative of Anakin's inner feelings. The moment he stops and ponders what he should do you lose that momentum.
Added a muffled explosion sound to improve the transition between space battle and the close up on the elevator buttons.
Hal9000's brilliant switch-up of the scene where Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Palpatine get captured has been reworked with some additional VFX to make it work better. Nearly the entire elevator sequence is gone.
Droidless audio used from Hal9000's edit (and originally taken from L8wrtr's) since it worked so well. In the same sequence, Grievous says his one liner about abandoning ship as he throws his spear through the window, rather than later to himself.
Kept Obi-Wan and Anakin talking about old adventures- we need to see how well they get along before their friendship disintegrates.
Jar Jar's line removed.
Anakin's conversation with Padme adjusted so he doesn't seem oddly unhappy when he hears of her pregnancy.
Grievous Utapau arrival scene moved later, taking cues from Hal9000's edit.
Deleted scene with Obi-Wan, Windu, and Yoda (thanks to Hal9000 for his upscale) inserted before the council scene so that we go into it with some idea of what's going on behind the scenes.
Council scene re-edited to turn Anakin from a whining brat to someone genuinely taken aback by the Council. It should appear he oversteps, then quickly realizes his mistake and backs down, still to Obi-Wan's disapproval.
All mentions of the Prophecy and Anakin being the Chosen One have been removed as carefully as possible, leaving scenes like "Anakin didn't take well to his new assignment" with Yoda, Mace, and Obi-Wan intact.
Only the first nightmare kept, taking cues from Hal9000's edit. Instead of talking to Padme afterward, Anakin goes to speak with Palpatine. Shows his leanings even this early in the film.
While the Seeds of the Rebellion deleted scenes were initially included, it slowed down the pacing too much and they were removed again. Anakin and Padme's "I'm not the Jedi I should be" scene partially re-inserted to fill the gap between Obi-Wan leaving for Utapau and arriving from hyperspace. The opening nightmare is replaced by a reversed establishing shot from Attack of the Clones. Ending trimmed to remove lines about Anakin saving Padme.
Trimmed multiple shots throughout film where there was nothing happening for a while. Examples are the awkward start to the scene with Anakin and Padme sitting in her apartment, and the ridiculously long shot of Anakin strolling into the battle between Mace and Palpatine.
Trimmed Lizard reveal on Utapau enough to make it useful but not so much that you lose the establishing shot for the Separatist leader hideout.
Grievous runs away rather than losing entirely to Obi-Wan, matching his cowardly character.
Fixed Obi-Wan visibly falling on mats before his hand grabs the ledge. Similar change to Hal9000's, but with additional VFX tweaks.
Removed Palpatine speaking during the scene where Anakin broods in the Council chambers. Used soundtrack music to bridge the hole to keep the same cuts.
Taking a cue from Hal9000, I kept the removal of "I AM THE SENATE" to result in the exchange: "Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?" "Not yet."
Palpatine still flips over his desk because he should be weird and alien and insane looking.
While I really liked Hal9000's approach to Palpatine's transfiguration, I tried a few variations to make it less abrupt. We even tried a new VFX shot of his face transforming. Unfortunately I couldn't quite make this one work inside my goal of seamless edits. Instead, I went with a heavily edited version of the original scene. I substantially reworked it to support Anakin's genuine belief that Palpatine needs a trial and that Windu might just be going off the deep end. Anakin's final act is still of selfishness, but his motivations ring more true than just needing Palpatine for his power. Ideally, this scene and its aftermath result in Anakin becoming Vader in name only. It isn't so sudden because he himself doesn't really feel the name is important. Only as he succumbs to his power trip does he fully embrace it, giving it meaning.
Palpatine no longer mentions Padme when telling Anakin he is almost strong enough.
Anakin no longer kills younglings on-screen, so that his scene with Padme afterward is plausibly believable and not terrifyingly psychopathic. The holograms later still show him killing older padawans, but it could be seen as him defending himself if they attacked in response to him hunting down their masters.
Exchange between Obi-Wan and Yoda in the temple has been adjusted so that Yoda does not order Obi-Wan to kill Anakin, leaving some element of hope.
Conversation between Obi-Wan and Padme about Anakin NOT changed from the original, as much as I would have liked to. The music was just too obvious when I tried it.
Adjusted reunion between Anakin and Padme to remove useless dialogue and focus on what matters. Anakin no longer makes a big deal out of saving Padme since that was not his primary motivation.
Substantial dialogue edits throughout Anakin and Obi-Wan's fight to match Anakin's political leanings. "Freedom" removed from Anakin's list of things he has brought with his new Empire, he has no illusions about this. "This is the end for you my master!" also removed, as well as "I hate you!"
"High ground" and "You were the chosen one" removed from the end of their fight.
Removed "Noooooo" scene entirely. The final shot of Vader that we need is his helmet lowering onto his face.
Padme still dies (it's a stupid plot point but I didn't feel the scenes from The Other Boleyn Girl fit in enough to make it work here).
Yoda now goes off to Dagobah before the funeral, but after helping Obi-Wan and Bail Organa deliver her body to Naboo.
Jar Jar removed from Funeral Scene.
Credits added for myself, those who helped me, and the fan editors credited in "Labyrinth of Evil" plus Hal9000 of course. I left out those credited directly on "Labyrinth of Evil" because those were specifically for people who did VFX and audio work on that edit.
Audio tweaks to Padmé/Anakin scene post crash landing.
Adjusted audio in council scene to fix ambience dropping out.
Rebuilt 5.1 foley to replace the “Charge!” line from the droid on Kashyyyk.
Tweaked “Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?” audio cut to be less obvious.
Reduced audio overlap of blaster bolts at youngling removal cut.
Tweaked music edit at Yoda’s “I agree” line to be less obvious.
Hunted down and exterminated all audio pops scene by scene.
Fixed end credits jittering as well as a flash frame right as they start.
Added a fun surprise at the very end.
Adjusted blu ray menu looping.
Added a fade to the text during the blu ray main menu --> chapter menu transition.
Removed a stray audio clip from the council scene around 36:12. Only the MKV versions were affected.
Removed the final shot of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Palpatine hanging in the elevator at the Artoo sequence because it was too obviously slowed down. Added a music cue to help sell the moment.
Escape pod scene audio transition fixed.
Adjusted audio edit during Anakin's reunion with Padmé. Major music change at the transition from Padmé and Anakin to the Jedi Temple.
Adjusted audio transition from Obi-Wan leaving Coruscant to Anakin brooding.
Tweaked audio transition from Padmé and Anakin to Grievous’s ship.
Updated end credits.
Re-removed the stray audio clip from 1.2, which snuck back into v1.3.
Removed "She's lost the will to live" from Padmé's birth scene.
I always liked the "Revenge of the Sith" and Hayden Christensen's Anakin always worked for me (in the "attack of the Clones," too). Sure, there were some quibbles with ROTS. The slapstick was not great, nor were the Jar-Jar cameos, but these were not a deal-breaker. It was, I felt and still feel, the best of the PT movies.
For me the problem in ROTS was not Anakin, or Padme, or Palpatine, or Jar-Jar. It was always the Jedi Council, as it waffled and whinged and seemed unable to see what was going on in front of its collective nose, leaping off to far-flung star systems at the drop of a hat, while ignoring the threat across town and the Sith Lord who pops in for chats. To be fair, this problem did not start in ROTS, but it seemed more starkly obvious in the context of the ROTS narrative, which exuded dread and doom. It's hard, reading the script again, to find exactly the exact words and moments when this image of the Council emerged. Perhaps it was partly the result of the bloated exposition that dragged the film to a crawl at times. Perhaps it was partly a carry-over from the preceding prequels, where no one seemed to get a sense that Anakin's problems went a lot deeper and were a lot more serious, than a dash of fear and anger. After all, Luke had both in spadefuls, but they did not translate into paranoia, rage, jealousy, massacres, almost strangling a pregnant wife etc. The whole "Chosen One" narrative was never an adequate cover for this ongoing inability to read the situation -- something everyone does at times, but not altogether what you might except of a powerful military-mystical order with thousands of years of experience, an endless war with a dangerous rival, top-ranking military generals and a big dose of precognitive abilities.
Well, this fan-edit nails the problems. It pounds along at a relentless pace, it's clear upfront and from day one that the Jedi know Palpatine is a serious danger and don't trust Anakin, and are actually taking action. There is more silence, more brooding, less spelling everything out in triplicate. Palpatine is more subtle, Anakin is darker from the start, Yoda and the Council are more dynamic, Padme is tragic. The descent of Anakin is more subtle, too: his fears entail far more than the possible loss of his wife and child, his motives likewise are more complicated. Rages and paranoia burst out of him, and are clearly framed as way more than a doting dad-to-be worried about his wife's upcoming labour or someone with a bit of work stress, and passed over for a promotion. His descent includes thinking, really believing, that what he does in the end -- an apprenticeship, a coup, massacres of friends and children and allies -- is necessary but still awful. It is not just a means to an end. This complexity and contradiction, also on display at times in the OT, makes him more than a cartoon villain. He is sincere in his horrors.
Last, the spectacular set-pieces stand out with crisp cutting ... and let me say here, wow, this is a smooth edit, immersive, really just incredible.
What can I say, I loved this version! Miss it at your peril! Now if only I could see the "Sanded Down" AOTC fanedit, which some have called a worthy companion to this masterly job.
This is it, folks. The definitive edition of Revenge of the Sith. A bold pronouncement, but one I believe in unflinchingly and wholeheartedly.
With the Skywalker Saga just months away from coming to an end, I'd recently endeavored to find the very best fan edits of the Star Wars movies as part of my quest to have a definitive, cohesive, enjoyable, and consistent Saga that can be viewed in chronological order as one complete 9-part story. Once I got to ROTS, I sampled a variety of edits, but ultimately settled on ROTS Rebalanced v 1.4 by Noah Bronstein/Siliconmaster.
Why is this the definitive version of ROTS?
I think ROTS is not only one of the best of the prequels, but in fact of the better Star Wars movies overall. From beginning to end, it has just the right amount of action and drama, and the space battle at the beginning is one of the best openings of any Star Wars movie IMO. Nevertheless, there's plenty that's *off* about the film.
Rebalanced takes the best of HAL9000's excellent edit, and steers the film in a direction that's both fresh and true to the original. Living up to what's advertised, NOTHING in this edit appears like an edit at all; every change is 100% "invisible" in that regard.
What really stands out (beyond brilliant dialogue trims and tightening up the story and action) is the way Anakin's fall is so fundamentally shifted. Despite subtle edits, this version gives us a VASTLY more satisfying Dark Side seduction for Anakin than the clumsy, implausible version we got in the original film (Anakin becoming a murderous villain for no other reason to save Padme always rang hollow). In this version, we get a much better characterization of Anakin from the very beginning; there's no hesitation to kill Dooku, no unrealistic whining in front of the council. In this truly clarifying edit, Anakin's fall is about his own desire for power, his sincere belief that the Jedi are using him and seeking to take power via a coup, and his alliance with Palpatine. It's Palpatine's promise of power combined with the Jedi betrayal that puts Anakin across the threshold more than anything else. In this version, it's ultimately about power, not love; Even the vision of Padme's death and Palpatine mention of "saving his wife" can ultimately be seen within this context.
Of course, there's so much more; you can look at the change list yourself. Suffice it to say that these edits are fantastic, without exception, and make ROTS a much stronger film. From my perspective, the most important thing I can convey is how much more satisfying, believable, and coherent Anakin's fall is here. Watching ROTS in the context of the 8 films we have so far (watching all my chosen edits back-to-back in chronological order) makes for a far superior transition between Episodes III and IV.
My only minor quibbles:
- The scene with Vader, Palps, and Tarkin watching the Death Star under construction is just cringey and has nothing whatsoever to do with the events of ROTS. Always hated it and was disappointed to see it kept here.
- The robot saying that Padme is "medically, perfectly healthy" (or whatever) is extreme cringe. I think it would have been much better to just trim it to "She's dying" or even "For reasons we can't explain, she's dying."
Nevertheless, this is the best version of ROTS available.
It can't be emphasized enough. You owe it to yourself to see this.
Fantastic edit! Love this edit most of all others. Drastic reediting making this movie a totally new experience surrounding Anakin and his very emotional journey to the darkside. Many expressionistic scenes re-cut and re-ordered create a whole new vibe to this movie. Highly recommended.
View all my reviews (1)
I think this is a practically perfect edit. Padme doesn't get enough to do in ROTS, especially in the first half, and that problem remains in this cut. I can understand SiliconMaster's decision to leave her subplot out, as they can bog an edit down and (unlike some) it still clocks in at two hours. A fan can always hope for an Extended Edition, right? A lot of the changes I barely noticed until I went back and compared, as they're so subtly and well executed. (unlike order 66 — too soon?)
This rendition is the definitive version of Revenge of the Sith for me. I could hardly tell I was watching a fanedit, and the changes made make this a movie I'd watch again. It serves as a great lead in to the OT, and makes the other two prequels more watchable given this as a conclusion. In particular, I watched this as part of a machete order (4, 5, 2, 3, 6) viewing of Star Wars, and feel this set up Return of the Jedi brilliantly.
The pacing of the edit is excellent, never getting dull but still allowing for some quieter moments.
There were a few moments where cuts were somewhat noticeable. They were not prevalent nor were they noticeable enough to significantly detract from the film. They may have been noticed simply because I was expecting the lines from the original cut, not because they were egregious. I'm waffling between a 9 and 10 for both of the editing ratings, and am just erring on the side of caution.