I finally sat and watched V2 with my wife, who saw the theatrical release on its premiere, hated it, and never watched it again. Her comments:
“What you guys did was incredible. Given what you had to work with, you took a plotless mess and made it into something that made sense. All of your additions in the third act were so good, especially the ending - having Ben as a Force Ghost and the better line delivery makes the ending actually work, and I never thought I’d say that about “Rey Skywalker.” As an ending to all nine films in the saga, it gets it right now and I like it.”
She also commented on the colour grading, in particular the scene on Ahch-To, which she said looks beautiful now. She didn’t know which parts I’d worked on, and she even said while watching it “Oh that’s so much better!” at the puppet show and the “I am a Jedi” line. She didn’t even realise the Knights of Ren, the purple saber, or the fleet comms chatter were edits until I told her afterwards.
For me personally, it’s gone from the theatrical release being the only Star Wars movie I actively dislike to being a movie I actually really like. I even feel okay with Rey Palpatine; the way it’s been carefully massaged into better shape is emblematic of how literally everything is quietly improved throughout.
It’s kind of staggering what a good job this whole community has done, and Hal in particular for steering the ship and doing all the convoluted back-end editing to bring it all to life. It’s like a completely different movie.