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.
Siliconmaster's take on Episode III tightens everything up in the best way possible, I viewed Version 1.4 for this review.
All of their changes are well thought out and expand upon choices that were very successful for others. The attention given to the editing makes for a strong seamless viewing experience. I can't even begin to express how much I appreciate their changes to do with the Mustafar fight, it just feels so much more satisfying. Siliconmaster goes above and beyond with this project. It will be replacing the original release's blu-ray on my shelf at home.
Somewhat off topic but while reading through the special thanks section I learned that HAL9000's releases have fan editor commentary tracks! Will have to check those out.
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.
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.