I watched this without watching the original series. I enjoyed it, with some reservations. Note that I still haven’t looked at the changelist or the original show. I’m reacting to this as if it was actually a Kenobi movie that came out. I loved the opening 10 minutes or so. The rapid cuts and repetition of Ben’s daily routine juxtaposed with his nightmares was terrific. It definitely adds a psychological context to the whole thing.
Once the narrative actually got going, I did feel like there was a lack of “rhythm” to many sections. I could feel the absence of scenes, even if I hadn’t seen the original series. A big contributer to this was the music. Nearly every scene had music and the audio transitions between scenes sometimes feels disjointed as a result. One example was the scene where Ben digs up his lightsaber. We hear the Force theme, then a snippet of the show’s main theme. Then there’s a cut to the kidnappers arriving on Daiyu. This scene has a score that is not very congruent with the previous scene. The result is a feeling that something isn’t quite right. I personally would remove the music from some scenes, just to let them breathe a little.
Many scenes also seemed to be cut (apparently) short, contributing to that lack of rhythm. We switch to different scenes before there’s a natural ending. An example was when the Grand Inquisitor met Reva on Daiyu. That scene ends with the Inquisitor chastising Reva, but it doesn’t feel like the end of the conversation. The following scene has Reva put out a alert for Ben. There doesn’t seem to be a natural connect between both scenes. Another example was the knife scene with the unmasked Jedi. We didn’t seem to reach a natural close before moving on.
There are also gaps in the narrative that contribute to that off feeling. I noticed that Ben seemed to recognize and mourn the death of the Jedi at the start of the film. I don’t remember there being an implication that they knew each other though. The inquisitors had also unmasked him earlier in the movie (and presumably killed him then), so I’m wondering why they did the whole “there’s a Jedi on Tatooine” routine after that. I’m also incredibly confused at how the fake Jedi helps rescue Leia. We hear him through a comm help navigate Ben through an ocean. However, what he’s saying isn’t clear and it isn’t apparent what exactly the plan to rescue Leia is. I’m also not sure where this fortress is. When Obi-Wan is swimming to the fortress, there are shots of someone sitting at a communications desk of some sort. Is it being implied that the fake Jedi is helping Ben from the inside?
One thing that I think would strengthen the narrative is lacing Vader throughout the movie. That way, the narrative is emotionally grounded between two strong forces, Vader and Ben, right from the start. At present, it’s hard to find a emotional core in the Inquisitor narrative until Vader comes in later. The Inquisitors and the initial conflict of the movie feels a bit nebulous for the longest time. At the very least, establishing a small hint of Vader’s presence before Ben leaves Tatooine would spark our interest.
I really enjoyed the final scene and the final music choices made me emotional. I don’t know if that was present in the show, but it just reaffirmed what a vital component of Star Wars John Williams is. Sorry if I sounded overly critical. I hope some of my reactions prove useful. I did enjoy watching this and it’s a monumental undertaking. Congratulations on the release. I’ll now read through your changelist and watch the original show.