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Episode III: The Eyepainter Fanedit (A WIP)

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Welp, we’ve finally come to the end of the prequel trilogy. I’ve given myself a much deserved break, and I think it’s time to begin work on what is arguably the best film in the trilogy. Although I think calling it “decent” or “good” is more accurate, it’s worth bringing up what was done right here by comparison to the other two.

For one, Episode III is a much more straightforward movie when compared to the overcomplications of I and II. With Episode I, there were too many characters to focus on, and a bunch of political stuff that was hard to pay attention to and care about. In Episode II, they made it even more complicated. Episode II had two plots going on at once. One a love story and the other being just another political plot that was even more overcomplicated. I actually had to make a lot of radical changes at the end of Episode II to make that film simpler and easier to understand. But with Episode III, there is a clear direction going on with this one. Basically, it’s just a straight arrow going down, down, down for the jedi. Anakin turns to the dark side. The jedi either die or get exiled. The republic crumbles. This alone makes Episode III a much simpler movie than the previous two, and the movie deserves praise for being a lot less complicated.

It’s also the riskiest, gutsiest film in the prequel trilogy. This was the first Star Wars movie to get a PG-13 rating. It was also the darkest film of the three by far. I know about Mr. Plinkett’s complaints, but when I compare how safe Episodes I and II felt, this one was like a breath of fresh air. We got something where the stakes seemed high. Or at least, higher by comparison. On that basis, Episode III is just good enough to be worth a watch.

With that said though, I think most people will agree that despite its advantages, there are still quite a lot of things that could use some improvement. Sure, the stuff I’ve mentioned above is great and all, but when this movie got it wrong, it got it very, very, unbelievably, stupifyingly, what-in-god’s-name-were-they-thinking-ly, wrong. The special effects are distracting in all the wrong ways, and the dialogue might just be the worst yet. There are several scenes in this movie that are so bad, I can’t help but laugh myself silly over them. And what’s worse is that they’re major scenes.

Episode III may be a good film, but it is a flawed film. One that needs a serious tune-up. So, with that said, let’s cut to the chase and get on with it.

First, a few influences…

My edit of Episode III is gonna take inspiration from three versions, and they’re the same ones from the previous two with the exception of the phantom editor, because the phantom editor never worked on an Episode III edit. That leaves me with the theatrical cut (As always, to see what was done wrong), the HAL9000 edit, and the l8wrtr edit. I think just like Episode II, III will most likely be a combination of HAL and l8wrtr, but I think HAL’s edit will most likely be the prize winner for biggest inspiration and influence this time around. Never say never, since I’m still deciding on what changes to make at the moment, but it looks like it might be going in that direction. This is a bit of a useless thought, but my main influence for Episode I is l8wrtr’s, Episode II is a HAL/l8wrtr combination, and with this edit, it’ll most likely be HAL getting the lead. Not important, but I find it interesting.

Quality control

Oh, those darn deleted scenes. When I worked on Episode I, I used HAL9000’s deleted scenes. Some of the scenes weren’t in HD, but fortunately, I didn’t seem to have this issue since I only needed two deleted scenes. Episode II was crazy in terms of deleted scenes, since this is where HAL9000’s deleted scenes didn’t have their HD luster. I was happy to get bryantmh’s HD upscales for the deleted scenes on Episode II, and for Episode III, I thought things were gonna be fine from here on out.

How wrong I was.

Yes, I do have bryantmh’s Episode III deleted scenes, and they are HD upscaled, but there’s a problem: they have no sound. I also made the mistake of deleting HAL9000’s deleted scenes (Sorry, but I needed to save some disk space), so I can’t go back to the audio for those scenes. I’m thinking I might be able to salvage it by ripping my Episode III special features DVD and nabbing the audio tracks, then replacing the SD scenes with Bryantmh’s upscales. I’m not sure if there will be a major difference in audio quality, but I think that’s a good place to start until I find a better solution.

As with my previous two, I’m using Schormann’s HD preservations for the main feature. They’ve served me well this far, and I’m going to keep it that way for now. However, I will be switching to my blu-ray rips in future versions of this edit. Same goes for Episodes I and II. My main reason for the switch is to see if I can get those versions submitted to fanedit.org. However, this is just stuff for the future rather than for the edit as it currently stands. This also might be the last time I edit on my computer before I switch over to the Mac Pro.

Overall, I think the quality will be fantastic. I just have to find a good solution for the audio on the deleted scenes. Once that’s taken care of, I think I’ll be settled.

Patience, my young padawan…

As was the case with the previous two, I’m not ready to announce what changes I’m going to be making at the moment. A lot of this has to do with the dialogue oriented scenes, where it gets so specific to the point that it could give you a headache. I have to decide which bad lines to get rid of and which ones to keep. I also have to think about continuity with Episodes I and II as well. I also don’t know what I’m going to change for the beginning action sequence, as there’s a lot going on. All I know is that something needs to go.

So that’s the current situation. I think this movie’s gonna be a lot easier to edit than Episode II, probably because I don’t expect to edit this film as much as the other two (and I don’t think a family member of mine is going to die while I’m working on this episode), but I have to get to work and find out. Anyway, everything’s under control. Situation normal. We had a slight malfunction, but uh… Everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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It’s been a few days, and I’m still working on the opening action sequence. Sheesh, this one’s been a challenge. I’m still deciding which jokes to keep and which ones to remove, which Anakin and Obi-Wan moments to keep and which ones to remove, which special effects to keep and which ones to remove, etc. (Just when I thought this episode was gonna be easy).

This is why I’m glad I don’t put up the list of changes immediately. It’s because of scenes like this where I’m changing a lot of tiny little things and details by the minute. I’m sure the opening is gonna be great by the time I’m done, but it’s a pain in the neck right now.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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Got the opening sequence down to a rough version. I’ve removed 10 minutes so far. I’m likely going to change it again.

Otherwise, I’m at the opera house scene listening to the tragedy of Darth Plageus the wise. Despite the troubles I’ve had with the opening sequence, I haven’t found a lot of things that need to be removed so far. I expect that to change when I get to the halfway mark, though.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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Edited the rest of the film, and I’ve brought it down to a rough cut. Currently, my edit stands at 109 minutes, but it isn’t final. I still have a lot of things to patch up. Plus, I haven’t added the deleted scenes yet. I also have a lot of decisions to make with the more dialogue-oriented moments, as those could arguably be the worst moments in the film (The Padme and Anakin moments being the worst offenders).

So, I still have a ways to go, but at least the first steps have been taken.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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Getting the deleted scenes converted for Resolve. I ripped the second disc of my DVD of Episode III and tried coverting it through EaseFab, but for whatever reason, one of the scenes wouldn’t convert to DNxHD. So I bit the bullet and went over to Handbrake instead. I guess I’m one of Handbrake’s followers now, because I was able to convert all of the scenes to a workable MP4. I also gave the audio a DTS-HD passthru, which might give the audio a boost (or not).

My only concern now is the framerate of the two sources. If they aren’t properly synced, I’ll have to convert the files again.

I’ll try to work on the deleted scenes soon, but Easter’s making my day job busy at the moment. Fortunately, things are expected to get quiet after Easter, so I’ll be able to return to the edit once that bunny has laid his eggs.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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Working on inserting the deleted scenes. The only difficulty I’m experiencing at the moment is where to place the Padme/Rebellion subplot scenes in a way that works. I put them in rather late in the first half, but then I realized, “Oh wait. Padme’s trying to mention a jedi they can rely on, but he’s on Utapau at the moment.” So I’m going to see if I can place them earlier rather than later.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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Deleted scenes added. With the new scenes, the running time shot up from 109 minutes to 115 minutes, so I went and shortened the movie down to 108 minutes.

I’m still in the cutting stage, and I have no intentions of saying “the cutting stage is over.” Especially since I want to see what I can do about the dialogue to make it less cringe-inducing. However, it’s looking like we’re gonna end up with a 105-110 minute edit. I want to see if I can shorten it down some more (especially since I and II were shortened down by a lot), but I’m already finding that hard, because I’m seeing things that need to be shortened down some more, but other areas that I may have trimmed too much, resulting in a sort of yin-and-yang situation.

I’ll give the edit a watch and see what areas can be fixed.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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Just realized that Yoda’s adventure on Kashyyyk really isn’t all that essential to the plot and promptly deleted it, reducing the runtime to 106 minutes for right now.

I’m having a little difficulty deciding where the deleted scenes featuring Padme and Organa should go. I’m gonna rewatch HAL and l8wrtr’s edits again to see how they did it and hopefully glean some insight.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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Removed some more dialogue and cut the edit down to 103 minutes. I like the edit so far, but I haven’t watched it in one sitting as of yet. I will see what else can be edited, but I think the general stuff is close to being done.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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Sounds very interesting. Will you have link when done?

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J_Scarp1273 said:

Sounds very interesting. Will you have link when done?

I will, although the minor stuff takes a while in my experiences with episode I and II. That is, video transitions, wipes, color grading, sound editing, etc. Given the time I worked on the previous two, I’m guesstimating it will be finished in a few months.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.