“Attack of the Phantom”- Episode 2.1 by Mike Nichols, AKA “The Phantom Editor”
-Single layer- 4.10 GB
-Running time: 104 minutes
-5.1 Dolby Digital sound
-Selectable audio commentary by Mike Nichols in Dolby 2.0 stereo
-Selectable extended media pop-ups
-An option to view the Yoda/Dooku confrontation without the lightning/lightsaber scenes
-Funny interactive menus
-Chapter stops appear directly before each extended media pop-up
-Comes with CD case art in a bonus “Cover” folder
-3 Easter Eggs all grouped into one “hidden” menu
The disc begins with the following message:
“This DVD is for experimental purposes and not intended for retail sale, duplication, or distribution.”
Then, the main menu starts out like the official DVDs, with the main title and the moving Star Wars logo. But this flickers out and we go to Mace and Yoda sitting in their chambers watching a 2D hologram as Anakin says “I don’t like sand.” It flickers out, Mace and Yoda look at each other, and the main menu buttons appear. These are “Play”, “Extras”, and “Info”. The extras option takes you to a screen where you can choose whether to hear the film with Nichols’ commentary or not. If you select yes, then you are taken to another screen, at which point you can select pop ups throughout the movie. Selecting these means that throughout the film, little purple logos will pop up, and if you press “Enter” when they appear, then you will be treated to extra video content.
Easter Eggs: Three funny video clips are included.
CHANGES (I may have missed some minor cuts or frame cuts here and there, but I’ve written all that I caught)…
-Film begins with a workprint style countdown. Then, the logos begin.
-A new opening crawl “Episode 2.1- Attack of the Phantom” is not plot related and instead explains Nichol’s purpose in editing the movie and apologizes to anyone offended. It ends with his email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
-In the Coruscant landing, some sounds have been moved solely to the rear surround speakers.
-Typho’s lines have been removed, eliminated what he calls the “Friday the 13th moment.” Upon selecting the commentary pop-up, he explains this more, showing some clips from the Friday the 13th films.
-Subtitles appear in the lower black bar and seem to be burned in.
-Yoda’s line “Seeing you alive brings warm feelings to my heart” is deleted.
-B. Organa’s line “Seeing you alive brings warm feelings to my heart” is deleted.
-Mace’s line “That’s possible…” etc. has been removed. (Palpatine: …friend, like Master Kenobi. Close-up of Padme. “Do it for me, milady” etc.)
-Obi-Wan/Anakin’s conversation on the elevator has been edited to remove “I haven’t felt you this tense…” all the way through the line “You’re sweating”, removing the Gundark nest dialogue.
-Jar-Jar’s walking shot and his greeting are cut. In fact, all of his lines are cut in this scene.
-Padme’s line, “Annie, you’ll always be that little boy I knew on Tatooine,” is removed. She now only smiles.
-Some of the argument between Anakin and Obi-Wan is cut, starting with deletion of “We will not go through this exercise again” and ending with “Investigation is implied in our mandate.” So what we DO have is “…in the interest of protecting her, Master, of course.” Close-up of Padme. “We will do exactly as the council has instructed…”
-Obi-Wan and Typho walk off camera and Jar-Jar and Anakin remain. Jar-Jar is silent. Obi-Wan has been rotoscoped into the frame so that he walks back into the left of frame, moving in the right direction and at the right speed
-Dialogue has been deleted. The scene now runs as follows: Anakin: “She hardly even recognized me, Jar-Jar. She’s forgotten me completely.” Obi-Wan: “You’re focusing on the negative…”etc.
-The Coruscant speeder chase has been re-edited and shortened considerably. The “Jedi poodoo” aliens are removed, as is the “What the…” alien. Obi-Wan no longer bumps into the building. The CG shot of Anakin backing up and taking off in his speeder is cut. A couple more shots of Obi-Wan, and then Zam shows up. Shot of Zam climbing into speeder is shortened. Obi-Wan says “What took you so long” as he’s climbing into the speeder. Anakin’s line has been shortened to “I couldn’t find the speeder that I really liked.” Obi-Wan: “There he is.” Cuts to close-up of Zam, then a shot of her ship pulling up. She goes into the tunnel, the Jedi’s speeder zips by, and then there’s a shot of them turning around and flying in the distance. Suddenly, we cut to the streets as we see Zam run into the club.
-After Zam runs in, the Jedi’s speeder lands. The landing shot is flipped so that the action is viewed from the same side.
-After a couple assorted running shots, Obi-Wan finds Anakin. After Anakin’s line, Obi-Wan says: “Patience. Use the force. Think.” CUT. Anakin: “I try, master.”
-Ambient noise in the nightclub has been moved to the rear surround speakers.
-When Zam is hit by the dart and shriveling up, instead of her former gibberish, she says, “Kamino system.” However, sound effects of her shriveling up and hitting the ground are now missing.
-The Jedi Council scene now ends with Mace’s line, “Travel as refugees.” The two Jedi then walk out.
-After the scene with Anakin and Palpatine, there’s a soft horizontal wipe to the apartment exterior. The Obi-Wan/Mace/Yoda scene is cut.
-The handing over of power to Jar-Jar now goes as follows—Padme: I’m taking an extended leave of absence. It will be your responsibility to take my place in the Senate. Jar-Jar: Of course, milady.
-Conversation in the Coruscant apartment…Anakin: Master Obi-Wan manages not to see it. CUT. Padme: All mentors…” etc.
-The diner scene with Dex is cut. A diagonal soft wipe takes us from Anakin/Padme’s ship to the Jedi library.
-A soft wipe left to right takes us from the Anakin/Padme “en route” sequence to the deleted Kenobi/Windu scene.
-Dialogue now ends with Windu’s line, “…he will choose the right path.” Obi-Wan’s line “Yes, Master” is cut. Scene ends with the wide shot of the ship, and a diagonal wipe takes us to the arrival on Naboo.
-The love theme plays over the establishing Naboo shots as before, but the scene that takes place as they exit the ship is cut. Instead, we cut to Padme’s house. “We’re here.”
-The dinner scene is included, but there’s a close-up of Anakin looking disappointed after Padme says “He’s not my boyfriend.” Also, in the kitchen, Sola’s line, “It’s obvious he has feelings for you” is cut.
-The number of clones is not revealed by Lama-Su. “You will be delighted to hear that we are on schedule.” CUT to Obi-Wan. “Please tell your master Sypho-Dias that his order will be met on time.”
-The kiss scene on Naboo is much improved by the deletion of all Anakin’s dialogue. They look at each other for a while (with at least one new shot incorporated), move closer and closer, and kiss. They don’t pull away as we transition to the next scene (bottom-to-top wipe).
-A hard cut takes us from the Lama-Su scene to the Kamino beast coming out of the water.
-The majority of the Jango/Obi-Wan fight on Kamino has been removed.
-The Jango/Obi-Wan space battle has been completely removed. Instead, the scene begins as Slave I enters the atmosphere of Geonosis. He lands. Then, Obi-Wan zips out of hyperspace, the droid beeps, and Kenobi says, “I think we’ve waited long enough.” He then enters the atmosphere and gets out of the ship.
-An extra chord is added at the beginning of the search montage
-Gunray’s line has been shortened to “I am not signing your treaty until I have her head.”
-All three CG creatures at Dooku’s meeting no longer have lines.
-End credits: a blue remote control has been added next to “Directed by George Lucas” and “Editor and Sound Designer- Ben Burtt” . His “Phantom Editor” logo with the scissors was added along with the “THX”, “Panavision”, “Arri”, and the other logos at the end of the credits. Darth Vader inhaling and exhaling has been added three times in a row at the end of the credits, somewhat louder than in Episode I (which was intentional). The credits fade out and the “Episode 2.1: Attack of the Phantom” logo appears. The blue remote fades in next to it. Then, after the film seems to be done, George Lucas comes on from the ’95 Faces interviews and the phantom editor again makes the irony of what he says and what he does clear. Another clip warning against the 2004 DVD’s.
Those were the changes. But I haven’t given my critical analysis of the film yet…
This edit is a very impressive achievement in terms of the effects shots that Nichols has created. He’s convincingly rotoscoped Obi-Wan into a shot, created at least one new shot on the balcony, removed smoke elements from a scene, and rotoscoped and removed lightsabers from shots to suit his purposes (and my purposes, actually- he’s saved me a good deal of work
) He has also played with some sound effects and also the surrounds at times.
And some scenes are VERY much improved in this cut, particularly both of the kiss sequences and the handling of Yoda and Jar-Jar to make them seem less stupid. Well done. He’s also tried to edit the ending battle sequences so that they focus more on the characters, which is nice. At one point, he flips the shots so that it appears the gunships are going BACK to catch Dooku, after Yoda points out what’ll happen if Dooku escapes. C3PO stays on the ship and never enters the droid factory or the arena, and this is a VERY welcome change.
But I do have several problems with this edit. First of all, I disagree with his deletion of the Jango/Obi-Wan space battle and most of their fight on Kamino. He defends this, saying that Lucas put it in as an afterthought (to cover up for a storyline that wasn’t working). But if this is so, why didn’t he delete the much less rewarding elevator scene, which was added VERY late in post? I also disagree with the open-ended handling of the Zam and Anakin chase- how did they land and how was Anakin able to find her in that mess? It definitely feels as though things are missing. Another problem I have with this edit (and with other edits, to varying degrees) is the fact that you can usually always tell where an edit was made simply through the soundtrack. I’m listening to the mystery motif, and suddenly in the space of one or two seconds, it morphs into the middle of another cue. This doesn’t make sense, and at these points, I know, “Oh- they took that out and tried to cover it with a crossfade.” One particularly painful instance that comes to mind is the Droid Factory scene. Maybe I’m a little more critical than most, but there are some moments where it’s just so obvious that an edit was made because the music becomes incoherent. But I’ve had this problem with the other edits to some extent as well, so perhaps I’m the only one bothered.
Special features on this DVD- amazing. The commentary (recorded with a cheap mike hanging off an iron board, as he likes to point out) is nice, for the most part. Nichols has a habit of swearing a lot in the commentary (F-ing this, F-ing that), and he even compares Star Wars to a pornographic movie. So don’t do the commentary with your kids. He makes some very good points, though, particularly through the extra video material. All in all, it’s a very well-done DVD- in terms of special features, it’s the best out of all the SW edits so far.