I just watched this edit a few hours ago, and I mostly agree with the people who have already given their thoughts, but I’m going to try an in-depth review of this edit, explaining my thoughts on specific changes.
The opening scene:
I don’t like how Ivan edited the prank call into a Hux monologue: it feels unnecessary. I’m glad that the dumb “wipe that nervous expression” joke is gone, but I liked the BB-8 plug joke that Ivan also removed. The added footage in the bomber scene is interesting, but unnecessary. The voiceover saying “activating magnetic bombardment” to explain how the bombs fall is also unnecessary. Same thing with the added footage of Kylo on a star destroyer.
The Hux monologue is a thousand times better than the Hux prank call, which turns a menacing fascist general from The Force Awakens into a bumbling idiot. In theaters, I laughed at the “wipe that nervous expression” joke but not the BB-8 plug joke. I thought the “activating magnetic bombardment” line was a nice touch.
Luke on the island:
Changing Luke’s character to be more of a wise old Jedi is an interesting idea in theory, but it was executed poorly. The new Luke lines sound nothing like Mark Hamill, and they’re way too quiet. Luke’s character also drastically changes between scenes. In some scenes he’s a wise old Jedi who encourages Rey’s training, but in other scenes he’s a cynical hermit who wants the Jedi to end. The training montage is also an interesting idea, but there isn’t enough existing footage to make it work.
This is my biggest problem with the edit. The new Luke lines sound awful, and Luke’s character acts inconsistently from one scene to the next.
Finn and Rose:
I’m surprised this subplot is still in the movie. There are many edits that cut it completely, and it works great. I like the trims Ivan made to this subplot, but they aren’t enough to save it. The Finn and Rose scenes are also way too far apart: There are many parts that are just Luke and Rey scenes edited together, and just when I get interested in Luke and Rey’s story, the movie cuts back to Finn and Rose. Having a TIE fighter shoot Finn down just asks more questions than it answers. Didn’t Rey and Chewie shoot all the fighters down? What happened to Rose? Who was that woman Finn dragged back to the base?
I am not against the Finn-Rose subplot, but I hated the Maz Kanata hologram action scene and DJ’s stuttering.
EDIT: As well as the on-the-nose political dialogue and the Fathier chase.
Ivan Ortega’s cut of Finn’s sacrifice was far preferable to the theatrical version. Stopping Finn from sacrificing himself endangered the Resistance and dishonored her sister, who similarly sacrificed herself. Although I prefer edits where an AT-At shoots down Finn, this is an improvement.
EDIT: I agree Ivan Ortega’s edit created multiple inconsistencies here: (1) Rey draws away all Tie-Fighters, but one shoots down Finn. (2) Rose is never shot down. Despite these logical inconsistencies, I still think his edit is preferable to the theatrical version. But I prefer edits where AT-ATs shoot down Finn.
The new Ackbar scenes weren’t executed well at all: the rotoscoping is painfully obvious, and the new Ackbar lines sound awful. Ackbar introducing Holdo adds nothing except for a line about Imperial spies which is never mentioned again. Ackbar replacing Holdo in the suicide run is just pointless fan service, and it hurts Holdo’s character arc if she just happened to be on one of the transports that got blown up instead of going out in a blaze of glory.
The mention of spies is necessary to explain why Holdo never reveals her secret plan.
I am surprised anyone would complain about Ackbar replacing Holdo in the hyperspace kamikaze. Holdo never had a character arc: She refuses to reveal her secret plan for no reason and then dies. If an established character sacrifices himself instead, the scene carries a greater emotional weight.