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SW EP 1: Shadow of the Sith by L8wrtr

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Hello OT!

I have a Fan Edit of Episode 1 that is now listed over at FE. TV's Frink has encouraged me to become an active member of the OT community. I figure posting a Fan Edit would be a good start.

This is my first fan edit and it was quite a labor of patience and love. It was first and foremost made for what I want to see in the Star Wars Prequels, but it is my hope that it is enjoyable by anyone that loves Star Wars.

This is a very aggressive edit. I have reduced the running time to a very lean 96 minutes so that the story, which originally lacked urgency in any regard, now moves along at a pace that is appropriate for characters in this situation.. well, at least as much as can be achieved with the dialog available! 

I also contacted Adywan and received his permission to use his color corrected version of TPM to correct the god-awful hues that permeate the DVD release, his work is particularly pleasing on Tatooine, but also in the Naboo and during the final battle in space. Sadly the deleted scenes do not benefit from his color work and I engaged the assistance of a fellow editor to assist with those and then made further adjustments as best I could. The Greedo scene adjusts fairly well, but the overall quality of the Probe Droid scene is terrible to start with and I'll admit up-front, it does stand out. 

With this edit I set out to accomplish three primary goals 

  1. Drastically improve the many flawed characters as much as possible.
  2. Drastically improve the overall tone and pacing of the film
  3. Restructure the narrative so that Anakin Skywalker is the true hero of the film

 

*Please note that this edit does NOT remove the Virgin Birth/Prophecy aspects of the movie. It is my intention to edit the entire PT and try to highlight the idea that Lord Plagueis caused Anakin to be conceived by the force.

MU links available at fanedit.info

 

Major Areas addressed

Gungans

Boss Nass:  My goal with Boss Nass and the Gungans in general was to make them more ominous by removing as much of their terrible dialog, slobbering, howling and shaking of lips as possible. They are now presetned as distrustful of outsiders, but not incompetent and it is now believable that they have attained the level of technical sophistication that they are presented with.

The Jedi and Jar Jar Binks are in trouble and  to be punished for bringing outsiders into Otah City rather than returning from banishment (a subplot that has been removed). The Jedi escape punishment for trespassing by using Mind Tricks, which causes surprise by the guards as they are certain the outsiders will be punished.

Jar Jar Binks: Everybody's favorite Gungan has been heavily edited to remove nearly ALL of his annoying screen presence. I have removed all of his toilet humor and almost all of his physical comedy without removing the critical plot points. Jar Jar now melts into the background, bound to Qui-Gon by his life-debt. He now quietly follows the Qui-gon and now no longer inserts himself into every scene possible. I have completely removed the sub-plot of him being clumsy and a bumbling idiot.

Neimoidians

As much as possible I sought to reduce their cowardice. While it cannot be completely eliminated, they now active participants in Palpatine's plot. While we still never find out what they have to gain by aligning with him, it doesn't matter. Because they now behave in a manner that appears to have unspoken motivation we don't have to care about why; they have made a deal with a Sith Lord who somehow can manipulate the Senate to their advantage. Whatever they each get from the bargain is immaterial to the story as long as the relationship is convincing and consistent.

Anakin Skywalker

First and foremost I have removed as much of the yippee and woohoo's as possible, or at least where they were colloquial. When appropriate to an action he is doing or has done, I have left some in. But more importantly I wanted to present him as a person of action, being decisive rather than an accidental hero. This is particularly important in Act 3.

Act 3

I have re-cut the flow of events to now make Anakin the hero of the story, which was one of the biggest flaws of the original. His victory against the Droid Control Ship is hollow since the Queen has captured the Viceroy. Once she captures him, all other story-lines become pointless. Anakin is now an active and purposeful hero who no longer accidentally enters the battle, nor apologetically destroys the Control Ship. The Gungan battle is aggressively edited to remove all ridiculous Jar Jar moments, it is brief and to the point an no longer weighs down Act 3.

Action Action Action!

The pacing is improved by getting to the point ASAP. Sequences which add nothing to the story are either cut entirely (Planet Core) or heavily reduced (Pod Race). Almost every scene has some modification to it in order to eliminate redundant and/or obvious exposition, as well as poorly written and/or delivered dialog. The only two scenes that are untouched are those between Padme and Palpatine. Scenes of particular note:

  • Dinner sequence
  • Pod Race
  • Anakin's freedom/good-bye to his mother

 

General cut list (well over 200 total cuts, so individual cuts not listed)

  • New Title/Crawl
  • Eliminate Neimoidian cowardliness/uncertainty
  • Eliminate Jar Jar's clumsiness and antics - 99% removed, if you hate Jar Jar, this is your edit.
  • Eliminate midichlorians entirely
  • Eliminate title of Darth (long-term goal for entire PT is to restore Darth as the name of Vader, not a generic Sith Title)
  • Remove Obi-Wan's nonsense about symbiotic relationship between Gungans and the Naboo.
  • Cut Planet Core sequences
  • Eliminate entire sequence of Fake Queen being apprised of how the ship was saved, R2's introduction, ordering the real queen to clean R2, the argument between Panaka and Qui-Gon about Tatooine, and then Jar Jar's recap of the entire movie to Padme. 
  • Cut Watto's declaration of immunity to Mind Tricks due to his species
  • Reinsert portion of Deleted Scene where Anakin Fights Greedo; this replaces the Sebulba/Jar Jar fight and is now how Anakin joins their group/invites them to his place (Phantom Editor idea)
  • Recut Dinner sequence to be focused, remove bad dialog
  • Cut Anakin's friends swarming around him as he works on the Pod Racer
  • Cut out Jabba
  • Eliminate Hill-Billy Sand People from Pod Race (despite value of humor, they detract from tension of the race for a quick joke, plus, their place as a truly deadly/threatening race that helps push Anakin to the Dark Side is cheapened when they become the butt of a joke)
  • Eliminate all silly aspects of the Pod Race (Bob the Builder announcer, long introductions to characters we don't care about, silly interplay between Sebulba and various racers as he takes them out
  • Eliminate Qui-gon preaching Lucas' morals to Watto in the viewers box after the race
  • Recut sequence where Anakin learns he is free, more serious and touching
  • Eliminate C-3PO POV sequence
  • Recut Anakin's goodbye to his mother, more emotional, less certain, plus eliminate line about returning to free slaves, no payoff, points to an Ep2 plot point that never materializes
  • Reinsert portion of the Deleted Scene where Qui-gon cuts the Sith Probe Droid and they run off (very poor quality, apologies in advance!!)
  • Reduce Ric Olie's observationgs
  • Eliminate Nute Gunray taunting Sio Bibble from his walking throne
  • Eliminate Anakin looking for Padme to say goodbye
  • Eliminate terrible pick-up scene with fat-faced Obi-Wan apologizing to Qui-Gon while they wait for Jar Jar to return from Otah City.
  • Recut entire 3rd act to improve pacing and make Anakin the hero
  • Eliminate the ascension gun sequence during the assault on the palace
  • Cut Disney Main-Street Parade ending

 

Available as:

Dual Layer NTSC DVD with:

  • 5.1 Audio
  • Chapter selections
  • Commentary Track (2.0 Audio)
  • Deleted Scene (and explanation title cards)
  • Alternate musical ending - Duel of the Fates instead of traditional Star Wars 'Crash' for closing credits. (5.1)

 

Single Layer NTSC DVD with:

  • 5.1 Audio
  • Chapter Selectiosn
  • Commentary Track (2.0 Audio)

 

MP4

*No alien language subtitles.

 

 

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Welcome to OT. I'll have to take a look at your edit at some point. =)

 

 

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TV's Frink said:

L8wrtr said:

General cut list (well over 200 total cuts, so individual cuts not listed)

Lazy? ;-)

For anyone who missed it, I've already posted the full cutlist script, just follow the link in my sig.

 

I wouldn't want to steal your thunder;)

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My review reposted from FE.org:

Are you burned out on Episode I fanedits? First off, quit your complaining, because no one has seen as much of this movie as I have. But beyond that, you need to see this edit. It may just restore your faith in the potential of the prequels.

The big difference between this edit and all the others on the site is the editing of the four-way final battle. I'll get in to it more later in the review, but L8wrtr's editing choices and restructuring of the different components of the battle make this a brand new experience, one that worked for me on every level.

Before I get to the actual edits, I'll mention that video and audio quality are in general excellent. Using adywan's color-corrected version of the film as a starting point works very well, although there were a few spots (mainly the open of the film when the Jedi land on the Trade Federation ship) where colors seemed a little too washed out. The only other really noticeable issue with the color is during the probe droid deleted scene, but beyond that the video quality is very representative of the DVD quality.

I watched the edit twice, in both 2.0 and 5.1. The 2.0 sounded very crisp and clear. The 5.1 (my preferred choice by far) was also very good, although there were a few brief moments here and there where front music levels seemed a tad low.

The DVD presentation is very nice. Along with the movie itself, we get deleted scenes and a commentary track by L8wrtr. I haven't had a chance to listen to the commentary yet, but I sampled it very briefly and it sounds like it will be entertaining. I am particularly looking forward to hearing the justification for not cutting the very few items I would have liked to see cut - and believe me, the list is very small.

With the tech out of the way, we'll move on to the edit itself. I didn't notice any hard cuts and transitions were well done. The edit is fast-paced and aggressive, with even some quick parts of the Obi/Qui-Gon/Maul duel trimmed (something I've never seen before). If you are looking for an edit with as much Jar-Jar and Ani removed as possible, this is it.

The one thing that may trip some people up is that Ani's virgin birth is left intact. If I've understood correctly, L8wrtr left this in because he plans on maintaining the idea that Sidious created Anakin using the force. However, rest assured that midichlorians are completely removed from the edit, making the virgin birth idea less specific and more palatable.

The dinner scene on Tatooine, where Lucas ssssllllllooooooowwwwwllllllyyyyy gives us a ton of exposition (as well as some horrible Jar Jar hijinks), is now lean and efficient. We get the information we need quickly and then move on to the next scene. It's a scene I always dread, and now it's actually bearable.

The podrace is really well done - the focus is now solely on Anakin and Sebulba. No Greg Proops announcer, no wacky secondary characters, just Ani vs. Sebulba for three quick-but-enjoyable laps.

The scenes on Coruscant are probably the least touched scenes, but we still lose a lot of the slow and lame bits. I do wish that the aliens in the senate could have been cut out (ET's family, really?) but otherwise this section of the film satisfies. I was especially pleased to see Anakin's lines to Yoda cut down to almost nothing - no feeling cold, no vocalizing his feelings about his mother, no being petulant, etc.

And so we come to the big battle finale. The order of events is completely changed and it works great. First of all, the Gungan battle is cut away like nothing I've ever seen. The Gungans engage the battle droids, they lose their shield, and they're captured. That's it. Not a single Jar-Jar antic remains. You barely even realize he's in the battle. Amidala and the troops have a quick firefight in the hallway with the droids but never use their ascension guns (no more poorly done practical effect), then are captured and brought to the viceroy. So the Gungans are captured and the Naboo troops are captured. All looks lost, but Anakin saves the day. He destroys the droid control ship, which frees both the Gungans and the Naboo troops. He is truly the sole hero in this version, rather than just part of the victory.

And yes, the Jedi still fight Maul, and the editing is very well done here too. Of special note is the way Maul no longer stands there like a punk waiting for Obi-Wan to flip over him and take him out. It happens in a blink of an eye like it always should have.

Finally, we wrap things up and end on the last shot of Palpatine, a much more satisfying ending than the horrible celebration of the Gungans with the unexplained science experiment. And for those of you who aren't satisfied with the transition from Sidious to the standard Star Wars ending fanfare music, be sure to try the alternate music ending option L8wrtr has provided. I prefer the original music myself, but it's nice to have both options.

So what's left to say? I have seen every Episode I fanedit available on FE.org, and L8wrtr's version comes the closest to what I envision as my perfect cut of the film. I can't wait for his versions of the other two movies. This falls just short of a 10 rating, but I'd give it a 9.5/10 if I could. As it stands it gets a 9/10 and two thumbs up from NPH...

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Episode I: The Ridiculous Menace / Episode II: Attack Of The Ridiculousness / Episode III: Revenge of the Ridiculousness

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ive watched part of this, need to watch the rest, but so far its great, cuts out a lot of the fluff, thanks for the work!

got the encoded version, gonna try and get the dvd (its a pain to get for some reason)

ill edit this post when i get a chance to finish watching it!

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I guess I need to give this a look.. Thanks for the review, Frink....

 

 

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kilik64 said:

ive watched part of this, need to watch the rest, but so far its great, cuts out a lot of the fluff, thanks for the work!

got the encoded version, gonna try and get the dvd (its a pain to get for some reason)

ill edit this post when i get a chance to finish watching it!

 

Thanks! I'm glad you've enjoyed what you've watched so far. Sorry that you're having issues with the DVD. It seems that MU always has one file that gives people a hard time. I hope you enjoy the rest of the edit!

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Really well done. EP1 was my favorite of the three (prolly has to do more with nostalgia than anything, i was in HS for this one and was really looking forward to it for 2 years since watching the SE versions in theatres and reading sw insider every issue etc) You made the movie a lot more enjoyable, much better pacing and the ending was a lot better. Any time you almost completely erase jar jar is a win.

Thanks again for the effort, if i ever get the last file of the dvd, im gonna make sure everyone i know that likes star wars sees it

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L8wrtr,

I just got finished watching your edit. I've got to admit I've gotten a little burned out on Episode I edits - how much can you polish a turd?

But this was worth it! I think this may be as far as anyone can go with this movie, aside from inserting new live-action & CGI scenes.

I really enjoyed the re-sequencing of the final battles. Seeing Anakin run into that fighter was quite a moving moment.

I downloaded the single-layer version, and I think this is definitely worth the dual layer download. But I did notice that several times the commentary seemed like it wasn't timed to match the action - like you would pause to comment on something that had already happened. I know it wasn't a sync issue with my player, because the underlying movie soundtrack was matched correctly.

When my 7-yo son asks to watch the Phantom Menace, this is the version I will put on for him. Thanks!

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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Erikstormtrooper said:


When my 7-yo son asks to watch the Phantom Menace, this is the version I will put on for him. Thanks!

That is about as high a compliment as can be delivered for me! I'm glad you enjoyed it. 

perhaps I slid the audio somehow? It was recorded independently of the main audio so that I could mix it independently. My apologies if that was distracting. If I have the stomach for it, I may re-do this when the BD comes out in which case I can fix it there (I'll likely just re-record the commentary)

Anyhow, I'm very glad to hear that you enjoyed this so much!

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 (Edited)

This one sounds interesting.

 

But one question:

 

Why hasn´t a single faneditor cut out C3PO entirely ?

 

It IS doable.

 

Same goes for AOTC.

Only problem is the scene with Anakin talking to him after their arrival on Tatooine

and 3PO introducing them to the Lars family.

This could be fixed with a re-dub.

Then he would be just another protocol droid.

Or (hard to do, i know) erase him out of ceratin shots while cutting all the others entirely.

In Episode 3 he enters the saga as Padme´s new & shiny protocol droid.

Would make much more sense for a queen owning a protocol droid than for a single-mom slave.

 

 

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Hi Kurt,

I hope you do download and enjoy it. Regarding 3PO, it is a tough call. Outside of small appearances during the Pod Race, I agree that he could likely be cut out with minimal impact on the story. I personally think it gets tricker in Episode II as he becomes more integral to the story, but again with some hard work it could be achieved.

I wouldn't hold it against any editor that does this, and if I'm not mistaken Ady has gone on record that when he gets to the PT, his plan is to do exactly as you're outlining.

But with fanediting everything comes down to the taste of the editor. Personally I'm of the generation that grew up as Star Wars came out, and I distinctly recall reading how the entire Saga was to be told through the eyes of R2 and 3PO, that they were the unwitting witnesses to the most important events of a galaxy far far away, and so my expectation of the PT has always been to see them involved.

Sadly the droids' involvement is admittedly shoe-horned into the story and not nearly as satisfying as it is in Episodes 4 and 5, but even still, they don't actually bother me, even though they lack the usefulness they deserved. 

I certainly have cut out a bit of 3PO in Episode I so his role is reduced. I'm currently working on Episodes II and III,  and my workprint for Episode II again cuts out the vast majority of his role (Droid Factory/Arena George? Really?), but 3PO is staying. What can I say, I have a soft spot for the prissy protocol droid. Call it editor's indulgence :)

Anyhow, I hope you'll still enjoy the edit Kurt, E1 was my first edit and will always be dear in my heart as it was a labor of love to salvage something enjoyable out of something that was such a let-down.

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 (Edited)

Ady has stated his intension to cut Threepio from TPM and AOTC.

I wish there was a believable way of replacing some of Jar Jar scenes with a senate protocol droid and who is sent with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to negotiate with the Feds.

The droids being peripheral characters in the whole saga was one of Lucas' many 'promises'.

I'm more for giving him something in character to do than cutting him out.

Threepio is a protocol droid, he has a habit of stumbling into dangerous situations and providing light comic relief.

There is quite a lot of Tony doing Threepio to create dialogue from.

If Jar Jar can be partially painted out and sometimes replaced by a protocol droid that isn't built by Anakin I'd be all for it but I appreciate that it may be impossible or at least prohibitively difficult.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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I've seen this and it's awesome, I just really need to get some DVD9's so I can watch the version with the Duel of the Fates ending instead of the traditional theme.  I think that sounds much more fitting to the ending in this edit - which is awesome.


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Hey RedFive

The Duel of the Fates ending is actually my preferred version. If I return to the edit (which I'm considering in light of my working on Episodes 2 and 3 right now) I would swap it so that Duel of the Fates the 'Standard' ending, and then the traditional SW Theme 'crash' ending the alternate version. 

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I'll have to check this out.  It's been a long while since I've watched a prequel edit.

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Is there a possibility of obtaining this trilogy in BD format?  I've tried searching but am unable to find them.

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Hi Fuzzy.

All three edits were remade in HD and made available in both BD and AVCHD format last year. I'll PM you details.

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You've already done all three? I'd like to hear more about what you did with AOTC and EpIII. Based on your description, your TPM edit sounds epic.

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Hello Jair,

The formal release details of all three can be found at Fanedit.org's IFDB, links for each edit:

Shadow of the Sith

The Republic Divided

Dawn of the Empire

All three edits are now available in HD (BD and AVCHD) and follow the same over-riding principles set down in my first edit in terms of tightening the pacing, micro-editing scenes to improve dialog/character impressions etc...

Episode Two is probably my favorite edit in terms of degree of improvement, turning something that is painful to watch and making it tolerable, and to some, even enjoyable!. The primary focus of it was two-fold: First, improve the relationships between the main players; making it believable that Anakin and Obi-Wan were friends rather than treating each other like a bunch of douchebags, and making Anakin someone that Padme could conceivably fall in love with. Second, since the crux of the film is a love story, I re-aligned the way the story is told and included deleted scenes to make it plausible they fall in love. Additional work was done removing R2 and 3PO from the droid factory entirely (no flying R2!) as well as fairly deep changes to clean up the sloppy and overly-long finale.

Episode Three however is my favorite overall edit. The primary focus of Dawn of the Empire was to above all make Anakin's fall to the Dark Side not only believable but make you feel sympathy for him, that perhaps given the events around him you could have made the same bad decisions. There are other improvements along the way in terms of pacing and eliminating annoyingly childish droid voices and the more cartoonish elements of the Palpatine an Yoda's fight.