Hello! First of all thank you guys for reviving my poor dead thread with some actual discussion.
Botias, I’m especially grateful for your in-depth response/critique! I really appreciate you taking the time to write up your thoughts like that. My apologies for letting it sit so long without a reply. But now let me respond to each exhaustively point-by point! I’ve numbered/summarized them to help organize my thoughts. Also I’ll probably reject a lot of it outright, but hey no offense! I really do appreciate it regardless!
1. Re-dubbing Trade Federation with sinister alien/garbled voices: This is a great idea but unfortunately one I’m not technically skilled enough to do. I tried my hand at a bit of audio replacement early on and quickly found all the vocal tracks weren’t just in the center audio channel, but mixed into the room ambience of every surround channel. That means the whole soundtrack, music, sound effects and all, would need to be remade to remove and replace dialogue.
2. Reinstating Qui-Gon behind the forcefield and Maul’s pacing: I think reinstating this bit would make the flow of the fight too stoppy/starty. Since it’s no longer being intercut there’s no need from a pacing perspective to slow the fight down to give it time to continue existing off screen while other battles happen. Plus I think any character development gained from showing the calm meditating Jedi vs. the snarling, pacing Sith is already achieved visually (monks vs. demon) plus Qui-Gon’s about to die so no need to waste time getting to know him much past that he’s Obi-Wan’s buddy.
3. Ditching 10-years later title; cutting dialogue from elevator scene: I like breaking up the sections with the title cards (I’m a sucker for typography) and it feels like a long time between the Episode II footage starts and when Anakin says it’s been 10 years in the elevator. Long enough that I think it could be distracting for a first-time viewer. The 10-years title especially helps a viewer treat what has come before as a brief prologue and somewhat re-sets the narrative which helps smooth what can be a rough jump from using Episode I to Episode II footage in any 3-in-1 edit. As for the elevator scene I agree some of it is corny and stilted, but there’s so little Anakin and Obi-Wan “friendship” in any of these movies I think I need to keep as much as possible even if it feels lame.
4. Cutting “please be careful” and the concept of droids with feelings: I will stan for droids with feelings. I think it’s a great bit of world-building business that droids are essentially just fully alive and everyone treats them like garbage. As for “please be careful” I think that’s the line that makes it clear Obi-Wan is about to leave for Geonosis right now even though no one else has explicitly mentioned it. So when the viewer hears “please be careful” and the next scene is a ship taking off, it’s just a lot brisker way to communicate what’s going on which I don’t think works as well without that tiny bit of dialogue. And sure it could be something like “I’ll have your ship prepared to depart immediately” or whatever, but again I like friendly droids!
5. Cut “Shmi is my wife”: I agree with you, but they’re shaking hands right as he says it so cutting around it would make that action feel oddly clipped.
6. Watto makes no sense: Yeah, he’s goofy but I can dig it. As a one-scene weird looking loser alien who was Anakin’s former owner I think his character design is well utilized. Anyway, they say he’s got helium in his belly, totally believable.
7. Keeping Doku v Anakin/Obi-Wan on Geonosis: I think pacing wise you can’t have this duel AND the duel where Doku dies since they’re so close together. Dooku and Yoda just doing moves at each other feels like such a hopelessly dumbed down version of what the Force could be that I didn’t want to include any bit of it. I also kinda like having that robot hand show up on Anakin out of nowhere as just another war wound collected along the way like his eye scar and dope hair.
8. R2 jumping out of Anakin’s ship: I half remember cutting this scene together originally and if I remember correctly the continuity of getting Anakin out of the ship in time felt off to me without R2 hopping and I don’t think there was something to cut to that wasn’t worse. Sure I could take another look, but I’m not too bothered by this one instance.
9. Cutting Dooku’s jump completely: Sure you could probably cut around it, but I don’t mind a touch of surprising old man Force agility right out of the gate.
10. Cutting “you won’t get away this time Dooku”: Yeah, it sucks but I feel like it adds the barest bit of context to a kind of passionless fight by connecting it to chasing him down on Geonosis, a sequence i thought was fairly exciting. I mean, it’s not great but ¯_(ツ)_/¯
11. Reinstate “Do it!”: Naw. I think it’s better if Palpatine does less obvious encouraging for Anakin to murder but instead supports his decisions after the fact. It helps reinforce that Anakin was more seduced by his own hubris/inner demons into the Dark Side instead of being tricked or pressured into it.
12. Dooku dropping a huge hunk of bridge on Obi-Wan: Ugh, I know. Unfortunately I don’t think I can cut around this scene without including that damn bridge. I see what you’re saying with your suggestion but I don’t think I could get it to fit neatly together like you describe without it feeling too choppy or without still seeing that Obi-Wan’s pinned under a huge bridge for no reason. That sequence cutting around the elevator hijinx felt like a miracle when I got it working so I’m also not keep to try unpacking it…
13. Cut crash landing set up and move birth of rebellion scene before pregnancy reveal: Like the corny elevator scene, I think the crash landing set up has some fun banter between Obi-Wan and Anakin that I feel is necessary to include to reinforce their friendship. I don’t think moving the birth of the rebellion deleted scene before the spaceport landing works. I like having the costume continuity between that scene and the one with Padme and Anakin arguing on the couch. Plus I think Padme conspiring against Palpatine introduces some tension into her and Anakin’s relationship that I don’t want to introduce before he’s already heading down the dark side in an effort to save her.
14. Remove “something wonderful has happened”: I think the point of this line is that it doesn’t ring true and Padme is just trying to ease the tension of delivering the news. Even she’s not convinced of it as she’s saying it.
15. Re-order scenes around Anakin being appointed to the council: I want to keep the introduction of the Jedi conspiracy against Palpatine in between Palpatine telling Anakin about the appointment and the scene where Windu says he won’t get the rank of Master. It helps the tension between the Jedi and Anakin to show their secret meeting before they speak with him as opposed to after. Plus, I want Anakin talking to Obi-Wan to happen immediately as they exit the council chamber and inserting the Jedi conspiracy scene before it would kill the emotional throughline of Anakin’s response to being denied the title of Master.
16. Remove the dropship conversation with Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Windu: I like this scene because it establishes that Obi-Wan is sort of the last one to still trust Anakin and reinforces the Jedi’s conflict both with Anakin and internally. Basically anything that helps the Jedi look like squabbling bureaucrats I’m in favor of keeping. I like the implication that on some level they deserve to be destroyed, at least as an institution if not personally murdered. Also this scene is a nice sunset transition between the previous scene and the night of the opera scene. Plus it shows Yoda meeting with a Wookie and sets up why he’s off-world with the Wookies when Vader storms the temple.
17. Cut “we’ll be able to capture that monster and end this war”: True it’s corny but also a rare line that shows Anakin degrading an enemy and getting excited about destroying them. I think it helps reinforce his character isn’t in line with traditional Jedi/light-side thinking and he’s okay using overwhelming power to achieve what he believes are noble goals. It’s that sort of attitude that eventually leads to his downfall, so I think it’s important to keep.
18. Cut “Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo…”: I like this line because of how wrong it is. There was never a time at any point in their relationship when they weren’t surrounded by or directly involved in war and political plots. I think Padme is trying to cling to a romanticized vision of the past (and their relationship) to escape the quickly worsening reality. At this point I think Anakin is beginning to feel completely alienated from her and that idea of the past and is contemplating the path he’s on and what he’s willing to do to achieve his goals. Hence why he stares off dead-eyed as she clings to him in a vain attempt to reach him.
19. Cut the lizard’s ridiculous noise: WHAAAAAARK
20. Excise the other Jedi masters from the Palpy / Windu fight: It’s a good idea and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen at least still-image mockups of it floating around these forums. You’d also need to cut them out of the scene with Anakin talking to Windu as he boards the dropship which from the angle and camera movement looks like it’d be even more difficult. I’m not technically skilled for either, unfortunately. As for the rest of the scene I agree it’s got a lot of problems starting at the script stage, not much to be done! I’ll totally defend the echoing of “too dangerous to be left alive” though as it points to the rot at the core of the Jedi that I think is good thematically.
21. Cut “unnnnnnlimited pppppppppower!”: He just loves to be real evil! It’s cute!
22. Move Darth Vader naming scene elsewhere: Yeah, it could work during the mask lowering scene but I like keeping that one dialogue-free, personally.
23. Cut “have faith my love…” for being creepy: I think at this stage in the story it is totally appropriate to have Anakin be a big creepy creep that Padme is increasingly icked out by.
24. Cut the Captain Typo convo on the landing pad: This was something I did remove at one point, but the extended gesturing between the two without any dialogue got very distracting to me as I rewatched. It could just be me I suppose. 3PO’s got a fair amount of mute gesticulating in the movie as well and that bugs me a ton too but I thought it was worth removing him as a character. You can’t really cut around it either since the shot is an extended pan down and also shows Obi-Wan sneaking on board, not much to cut away too.
25. Cut Obiwan’s hands-on-hips pose: Eh, it’s fine.
26. Anakin force-choking Amidala sucks: Agreed! But I think it would be weird to move her choking later and have Obi-Wan and Anakin yell at each other more before it happens. Then it just feels like…where is she? Why isn’t she interacting with her two friends having this screaming match about the nature of her boyfriend’s evil? Oh there she is, and nooooow choked.
27. Cut Obi-Wan saying “I loved you” plus re-organize theie convo on the lava rafts: Naw, he can say that, that’s fine. Plus I want to keep the “I loved you/I hate you” thing going on. I like keeping Anakin’s evil stare-down reaction shot right after “Well then you are lost” because I think it shows he’s realized he’s catching up with his vision and thinks he’s about to win this fight and burn Obi-Wan to death.
28. Cut Amidala saying Leia’s and Luke’s names: Naw, I don’t think it’s too much extra exposition to sit through if you’re doing a viewing in Machete order and I think if you’re doing Episode order you just gotta accept those spoilers, at least in this edit.
29. Misc thoughts, cutting Zam and speeder chase, adding more Tatooine: I totally admit the “little boy I knew on Tatooine” is a big problem that I don’t have a way around without adding more Tatooine into the edit, but also I think that’s a totally different edit and not the one I wanted to make this time around. But yeah if I were to take a different approach and include more Tatooine or Episode 1 in general, I think cutting Zam and her surrounding action is a good way to get the extra runtime to do that, assuming you want to keep an edit around the 2-ish hour mark.
Anyway, thank you again so so so much for taking the time to do this critique, and I hope you appreciate my responses and get a little more insight into what I was thinking!