Throughout my 15+ years of doing Fanedits as a hobby, I’ve tried my hand at the Prequel Trilogy twice before. Once way back in the day, these versions were good for their time but are extremely outdated and I wasn’t satisfied with them. These edits are mostly lost to time, and that’s probably where they should stay. Others have done similar things so much better.
HAL9000’s edits are my favorite versions of these movies, so I did some revisions to those. I don’t really advertise those as they’re so similar to HAL’s, just with some touches from me to pacing. Still, I wasn’t 100% happy.
The biggest problem I have with these movies isn’t necessarily the content. There’s some stuff I’m not crazy about, such as midichlorians and some of Anakin’s whiney, creepy behavior, sure. However, the biggest problem to me is in the minute to minute pacing. They just feel… weird? Off? Something’s not quite right in every single scene. The most egregious example is AOTC, where seemingly nobody talks like a human being, characters stand around clearly waiting for their cue, and much of the action mostly falls flat.
Even worse, the love story doesn’t work, partly because I think they focused on it way too much. The dialogue between Anakin and Padme is shockingly strange, but the chemistry between the two actors is definitely there. Just letting them spend time together would have sold it enough.
So I’m taking another crack at the Prequels, but I’m starting with AOTC, the biggest problem with the trilogy. Once I get that working, I can build up to it with TPM, and off of it with ROTS. The idea here is to go into every scene and remove that disjointed, stagey, unnatural feeling that permeates the film. Action will be pumped up and pacey, conversations will have that zing that they’re lacking, and the movie will move along at a steady pace.
There’s a lot of PT edits out there, and I’m not the most technically accomplished editor to tackle them. However, I think my particular knack for action and pace (I’m aware of my strengths as well as my faults) will make these stand out.
Here are some early samples of what I’m trying to do, starting with the attack on the landing platform and going through the next few scenes.
The opening is structured as Landing Platform - Senate Deleted Scene - Anakin/Kenobi duel from the Kenobi series. The landing platform sequence has less dialogue and is a little punchier. The explosion is more sudden and violent, and the dialogue that remains moves along faster. The scene from Kenobi is a great set up for these two characters, building their camaraderie while also planting some seeds of resentment for Anakin:
Here is a dialogue scene, the first meeting between Anakin and Padme. Anakin’s awkward compliment is now something that makes Padme laugh instead of being weirded out, a creepy moment that’s now a cute and embarrassing one. The rest of the dialogue in the scene is trimmed and moved around to bounce back and forth between the characters more naturally:
Here is the Coruscant chase. This isn’t too dissimilar to what other editors have done with it, but I think it moves along at a good pace and escalates more economically. I flipped the shots of the assassin droid leaving the window and Kenobi noticing it, so the flow of him seeing it then jumping after it feels more natural. A lot of business is cut here, and the Kenobi/Anakin banter is kept to a minimum. It’s still a fun scene, just scaled down:
This one is going to take a lot of smoothing out to get working as I’d like, but I’m determined to get these movies to feel… well, more like actual movies.