Sign In

Post #72252

Parent topic
MagnoliaFan Edits: Ep I "Balance Of The Force", and Ep II "The Clone War" (Released)
Link to post in topic
Date created
19-Oct-2004, 11:35 AM
Hi all, Rikter asked me to post my detailed review of the re-edits to the forum.


I've been a Star Wars fan almost my entire life, from the age of 4 in 1977 and still today. I love Star Wars for Star Wars, even with all the Lucas revisionism and repeated cash grabs. I really liked The Phantom Menace, despite (and perhaps in some way, because of) its flaws. There is some brilliant symbolism there, and Lucas took some storytelling risks that he doesn't get credit for. I saw it 19 times in theaters, including 2nd run and the Christmas charity run, when it was all said and done.

So that's where I'm coming from when I watched the re-edits.

My summary of my experience watching Balance of the Force and The Clone War back to back on Friday night was this: When I have kids, and I sit them down to watch Star Wars for the first time, I'm first going to show them the TR47 O.T. DVDs. After they've seen those, and it's time to cover the backstory, I'm now tempted to show them Balance of the Force and The Clone War and deem those the definitive versions of the prequels. They're that good. Even the titles are great.

I'll start obviously, with the beginning.

Overall impressions of "Balance of the Force": Pacing is much improved (FASTER, MORE INTENSE!), character motivations make more sense, more serious tone overall, but also adding ADULT humor to lighten the mood! Someone once mentioned that as kids, we liked Star Wars because we were watching the workings of an adult world, and though we didn't comprehend everything, it still looked cool. Phantom Menace was missing this, but Balance adds it back in through the subtitles. (No matter
what Lucas says today, Star Wars and Empire were NOT kids' films!)

The most pervasive and best change you made, was making the Trade Federation slavers. When Padme is whining about her people dying, you actually believe that they are!!!! It's so strange to type, but because her pleas are more believable, it's almost as if Natalie's acting improved because of this detail being reinforced in the Viceroy's dialogue throughout the movie.

I'll go thru and list the changes that I remember without having the film in front of me. (and do the same with Clone War)

- Opening sequence: This scene worked pretty damn well in Menace as it stood, so you didn't need to make a ton of changes, and overall I liked what you did...
- Cutting the chatter between pilot and co-pilot and the Nemoidians, I thought, lessened the impact of the ship getting blown to bits in the hangar. To the viewer, the ship is empty, so why do we need to see it destroyed (other than it's a cool visual)?
- Cutting out the droids saying "Roger Roger"... this makes sense now that you have the droids speaking an alien language anyway, but it was one of those stupid parts of Menace that I actually like.
- Jar Jar's introduction (actually Jar Jar's entire character) has completely changed for the better. This is a good a point as any to
talk about Jar Jar overall: someone on a message board in 1999 wrote that Menace lacked a Han Solo rogue character (this should have been Anakin at age 15, but blame Lucas for that). Well, Balance now has the closest thing this film could have, and what Jar Jar really should have been in the first place... A wisecracking ne'er-do-well whose better nature eventually takes over.
- Great editing with Boss Nass' scenes, eliminating the silly head-shaking and making him a slightly sinister character!
- The "mind trick" sound effect is a nice touch
- The 2nd "fish getting eaten" scene in the planet core is completely unnecessary... replacing it with the more exciting waterfall sequence was a no-brainer that the Flanneled One missed out on
- Nice touch with Jar Jar's "Sometimes I even amaze myself" line, what I assume is an intentional parallel on your part, as I noted above with this new Jar Jar's similarities to Solo. And of course, I said back at the TV "That doesn't sound too hard!"
- Why does the battle droid still say "You're under arrest" in English? I actually liked that stupid "wait... uhh... that doesn't compute" line so I kinda missed it... and the scene seems a bit choppy without it.
- Thank the maker you removed the "The Hyperdrive is leaking" line
- Maybe there was no way to "fix" this... but it would have made a hell of a lot of sense to connect the Hutts' slave activity to that of the Trade Federation. Maybe the Trade Federation helps the Hutts by running interference in the government in turn for a cut of their profits. This would be a huge motivator for Ani to want to help Padme, and it would make her more sympathic to his plight. Hey, Lucas missed out on this big time. Your making the Trade Federation slavers begs for that tie-in to be made.
But I'm not sure how you could "tell" that portion through just Nemoidian dialogue.
- Thanks for removing the "It is to be commended" and "it deserves our gratitude" lines. They make no sense, no one ever commended droids in the OT.
- The Ani/Padme scene is perfect now. Shows his initial infatuation with her, and his anger, without the cheesiness. Good job. Good introduction to Ani. Sometimes the telling is in what you DON'T say!!!!!!!!!!
- You got rid of the annoying YIPPIE's! Cool.
- Nice touch in adding Watto's lines from Episode I Racer.
- Here's a bit of SW heresy. I actually don't mind the Anakin "virgin birth" or midichlorians, because my theory is that Anakin is a clone created by Palpatine, who stuck him with high concentrations of midichlorians and put him in poverty to make him angry and easily turned to the dark side in adulthood. To make that leap, you need a scientific explanation for the force. Now that to me make would make sense, which is why in Episode III it won't happen that way. Anyway, in the context of this film and the OT, neither of those phrases belong, so the film works a lot better without them.
- The dinner table scene is much improved with the tightening up.
- I actually liked the little kids teasing Anakin. Wald makes me laugh for some strange reason. I kinda missed that scene. Not sure of the purpose of cutting this scene, and replacing it with the "morning of the race" scene which doesn't reveal much of anything about Anakin.
- I kinda missed the "You've never won a race?" conversation, simply because Natalie glaring up at Liam Neeson at the end is priceless. Also further solidifies Qui-Gon's faith in The Chosen One.
- Really nice touch with the addition of music to the majority of the pod race. When I first saw Menace, I kind of liked it without the music. The sound effects of the pod engines are almost a symphony in and of themselves. But it truly works in Balance, as it is reminiscient of the earlier films and ties it all in.
- Removing the "You can't stop the change" lines removes yet another cringe-worthy moment from Menace that adds to the overall improvement of this film
- I don't really like the scene with Anakin fighting Greedo. One of those instances where the SW universe is a bit too small. And I don't think it helps the film that much.
- This film works so much better with Qui-Gon hacking down a probe droid, it gives a sense of urgency and explains why they're running when they get to the ship. You know what I would have loved, though? If you'd added the probe droid chatter from Empire.
- If memory serves, the stuff on Coruscant is pretty much unchanged. Which is fine, that part of the film works damn well. (again, removing the midichlorian line is fine since it serves no purpose to this film or tying it to the OT)
- I'm getting tired, I'm gonna try to wrap this up. Your changes to the final battle really help Anakin's character. I hated how
Lucas made Anakin's talent seem completely by accident. Especially after he built his skills up so well during the pod race. Thanks for removing those lines that caused Anakin's blowing up the control ship to be an accident. Now it's as if a 9 year old kid was the mastermind of the entire battle. Which he should have been to begin with.

Well hell, if I were the screenwriter, Anakin would be the same age as Padme, he'd want to help her fight the Trade Federation (his indirect slavemasters) because he knew he wasn't going into the Jedi Order, and like Luke in the Death Star battle, he'd take a command role in the Naboo squadron. So there!

But you can't do any of that without recasting the film.

Not as much to say about The Clone War because Attack of the Clones is a better film than (if not as deep as) Phantom Menace

Good job on removing the obvious linkage between Dooku, Jango Fett, and Darth Sidious. At the end of your film, the viewer might be wondering if Count Dooku is in the right! Because we are pretty sure from Menace that Chancellor Palpatine is the Dark Lord of the Sith. And somehow Dooku knows this! So is he good or evil? Or neither?

I'm glad you removed the "your skin is soft, not like sand" line. That was really dumb. However, the scene where they kiss and the music swells, only to have her cut him off abruptly, is actually pretty funny. But then again, in The Clone War, they kiss for the first time at the Geonosian arena, and that REALLY has an impact. Now we know for sure that she is letting go of her inhibitions and letting herself love him, and it's a breakthru instead of a retread. So it works either way.

I actually missed the scenes in the field. Especially with them rolling around and her ending up on top of him... kind of sexy and innocent at the same time, like she let go for just a moment before catching herself

Personally, and most importantly, I think it was a mistake to cut the scene where Anakin and Padme discuss politics. (We find out that Darth Vader was a Young Republican... j/k) Seriously, I love this conversation, showing the idealism of Anakin, and the political pragmatism of Padme, foreshadowing how Anakin's simplistic ideals will be manipulated by Palpatine, and that he's got
an autocratic streak! But yet it's very lighthearted! If you could have found a way to include this scene without the "I'd be much too frightened to tease a Senator" line, but keep Natalie's distrustful gaze that ends the scene, that would have worked really well. But maybe this wasn't possible.

As it stands, The Clone War is helped greatly by including the Amidala family scenes. Nitpick: The scene of Natalie discussing the walrus kids who all died ends really abruptly. Maybe there was nothing else you could have done, given the way the scene was laid out on the extras reel. I haven't the Attack of the Clones DVD in a while so I don't remember.

The Shmi Skywalker gravesite scene is helped immensely without Anakin's god-awful "I miss you...... so...... much......" that probably made William Shatner cringe.

Oh yeah, nice touch on recoloring Dooku's saber. We've never seen this color in a Star Wars movie before. I could see the red underneath the yellow. Or could I? Not sure if you intended the color to be ambiguous, but it works since Dooku should be an ambiguous character.

Good job on editing out those horrible Threepio scenes of him clinging onto the treadmill, but leaving in the parts with his head attached to the battle droid.

One other thing, why oh why couldn't you have edited out the flying R2-D2? I swear this nearly made me walk out of the theatre when I saw it. It's the second worst thing in any Star Wars film. And everything reading this forum *knows* what the first is...

Again, in summary, your re-edits are far superior to the Ben Burtt hackjobs. I would say they are the closest things to the definitive versions that are out there. At this point, I am not sure which I am more excited about, Revenge of the Sith or your re-edit of it! But I can tell you this... when it does come out, I'm going to invite folks over before hand to watch your re-edits, not the "real" DVDs!