May 04, 2019
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.
October 05, 2019
I would be super interested to see your list you have built so far! About to watch the Star Wars saga with my wife (who has never seen it before) and I'd like to show it to her in fan edit form for the very reasons mentioned in your review. Could you send me your list? Thanks.
Written by taurus
October 05, 2019
October 05, 2019
I-The Phantom Menace: Faster, More Intense! by octoroxx
This is, hands-down, the best version of TPM available. While octoroxx is judicious with the cuts, he isn't reckless; this is an artful reconstruction of the film that transforms it into a very fun, delightful, fast-paced action adventure. Oddly no longer on IFDB (though I have no idea why). https://forums.fanedit.org/thread-14920.html
II-Attack of the Clones: Sanded Down by octoroxx
Just so happens that the very best version of AOTC is also by octoroxx. My review here: https://ifdb.fanedit.org/star-wars-attack-of-the-clones-sanded-down/discussions/9378/
III-Revenge of the Sith: Rebalanced by Siliconmaster
The best version of ROTS.
IV-A New Hope Revisited
V-The Empire Strikes Back Revisited
(*not* the "purist" versions; the original versions with adywan's changes have better continuity with the prequels)
Adywan is the Da Vinci of fan editors, and ANH & ESB Revisited are the Mona Lisa of fan edits. Decades' long work that's clearly paid off. Unfortunately ANH is not in HD, but if you have a good video player, it's not a big deal. I was skeptical at first, but I promise you, the edits make it a very worthwhile trade-off.
VI-Return of the Jedi (my own edit; not public)
Unfortunately, Adywan's ROTJ Revisited is not finished yet (and might not be for a long time). I decided to make my own version; with the special edition bluray as a base, I only made a few changes:
- Slightly edited the scene where 3PO and R2 are in the droid torture room to remove the very beginning shot of the droid's feet with steam coming out. This looked very fake to me even as a child, like a theme park animatronic. I left in the closing shot of the same droid's feet (because the outlets for the steam on the feet are less visible).
- Restored Lapti Nek (no Jedi Rocks) using Harmy's despecialized edition.
- Edited the fireworks so that the extra scenes of galaxy-wide celebrations are removed, but the new song is retained. To me, this seems less final and gives more room for the survival of the Empire and protracted war that followed leading up to the events of TFA.
VII-The Force Awakens: Restructured by HAL9000
Simply put, this is an absolute MASTERPIECE. I've seen multiple edits of TFA, and this is a simply a crowning achievement. The definitive version of TFA, period. If you haven't seen it, you're in for a real treat.
VIII-The Last Jedi (my own edit: not public)
I just wasn't able to find any single edit that did everything I wanted. I'm by no means a TLJ hater, but I felt that the current edits out there didn't quite get it right.
As a base, I used The Last Jedi Revisited by wild_basilisk and The Last Jedi Legendary by HAL9000.
-The beginning of the film is wild_basilisk's version (where I've added a few classic Star Wars wipes for transitions between some scenes; famously, TLJ has the least wipes of any Star Wars movie, and Rian Johnson publicly said that he simply forgot to add more wipes).
-I edited the scene where Rey gives Luke the lightsaber so that he doesn't throw it away, but instead gives it back to her.
-Switched to HAL9000's version for the rest of the film from Canto Bight on (HAL9000 handles the Canto Bight scenes perfectly, retains the Finn vs Phasma fight, and has other great edits towards the end).
-Watching the films in chronological order, the broom boy ending sticks out like a sore thumb. Every single Star Wars movie ends on the heroes; TLJ is the lone exception. Johnson stated in an interview that he originally ended the film with the heroes on the Falcon, but decided to go with the broom boy instead. The camera pulling out on the heroes on the Falcon after Leia says "We have everything we need" seems like Johnson's original endpoint, and it works perfectly, so I used that. I'm very proud of the final result; the music blends nicely, and it really is seamless. That shot of the heroes on the Falcon makes for a perfect, Star Wars-y ending.
If you have *any* questions at all, please don't hesitate to send me a message!
Written by acbagel
October 05, 2019
October 05, 2019
1. I do have access to the octoroxx edits, but I haven't watched them yet. I do not doubt the quality of the edits, but I am concerned about the run time. 90 minutes seems really short for a Star Wars movie. In your recommendation to me, take into consideration that the purpose of the edits is to show my wife the most enjoyable and comprehensive version of the SW saga that I can come up with. With a first time viewer in mind, would you still recommend the octorox edits with their hefty cuts compared to the more conservative HAL versions of I & II? If you truly think those are the best representation of enjoyable and fulfilling Star Wars then I'll go with those!
2. Would you DM me your edit of VI?
3. Have you chosen a "best" edit for Rogue One & Solo?
4. I have a really tough time watching TLJ, so I think I would like to show my wife a more edited version of the movie. Have you reviewed poppasketti's edit?
5. Not necessarily a question, but when I show SW to my wife I'm going to be doing an experiment... I will be showing her all of SW chronologically, including the TV shows (Clone Wars, Rebels, and soon to be Mandalorian). She is totally oblivious to Star Wars as of now, she doesn't even know for sure who Darth Vader is... So all of this will be totally new to her. I know some fan edits can really improve the viewing experience so thanks for helping!