Star Wars - Episode I: Shadow of the Sith

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Star Wars - Episode I: Shadow of the Sith
Faneditor Name:
Franchise:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
1999
Original Running Time:
136 minutes
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
96 minutes
Available in HD:
Synopsis:
The first fanedit in the L8wrtr Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, Shadow of the Sith both radically improves The Phantom Manace as well as sets the tone for the entire re-edited prequel universe. With a focus on quality characters, improved pacing and relentless removal of childish humor and redundant story-telling, this edit bends Episode I back into the direction of the Original Trilogy, respecting concepts established
Intention:
As is the case for many fans of Star Wars, The Phantom Edit went a long way toward rescuing the original Phantom Menace for me. For a long time both it and his follow-up edit of Episode II were my ‘definitive’ versions of the films.

With Nichols choosing to never release an edit of Episode III I began playing around with the idea of editing it myself. I'd never edited anything before and my first attempts were crude at best, but over time I refined my ideas on how the PT could be concluded with a stronger, more compelling final chapter. Technical/quality issues with my early drafts led me to fanedit.org where I found the expertise and assistance needed to resolve the challenges I was facing.

By that time however I'd come to understand just how much could be achieved with fanediting. No longer could I be satisfied Mike Nichols' releases. I realized that these movies could be cut deeper, that more nuance could be applied within scenes to change tone and improve dialog, which improves character and audience reaction. With that in mind, and with a clear end-point of how the entire Prequel Trilogy would be concluded, I postponed re-working my Episode III edit and turned my eye to the full Trilogy.

With this new purpose I sat down and created three overal priorities or goals for each edit.
1) Improve the story told within the film itself as much as possible, making the characters more likable/interesting, and making the plot more engaging and enjoyable.
2) Manipulate character improvements so as to create a more fertile backdrop for Episode III. With improvements that I had planned for Episode III I realized that I could maximize their impact by altering the audience's perceptions fo the characters, so Shadow of the Sith and The Republic Divided both seek help the audience invest in the characters so that the dramatic events of the final chapter are more meaningful, and then carry more importance when watching the Original Trilogy
3) Modify/remove aspects introduced in the Prequels that I don't feel match with the Original Trilogy. In the L8wrtr trilogy there are no midichlorians, Darth is not a Sith title and will not be heard until Vader is Knighted in Episode III, and R2 never, ever flies.

This edit was originally released in July 2010 in standard definition using Adywan's color corrected theatrical construction as the foundation. In 2012, armed with the BluRay saga I completely re-edited Shadow of the Sith from the ground-up. This new version allowed me to fix several audio problems from the original release (the LFE channel didn't work properly) as well as apply more refined editing techniques that I have learned along the way, as well as make massive improvements on the quality of the deleted scenes used (though they still stand-out against the theatrical footage)
Special Thanks:
Special thanks for invaluable help with the initial release: Hebrides helped color correct the deleted footage to match Adywan's work as much as possible, TV's Frink provided excellent guidance and ideas which helped refine/focus my approach to my first edit, Remixed by Jorge unwittingly became a first-class mentor and technical guru and lastly, a huge thank you to The Man Behind the Mask for rejecting my first submission. His detailed notes and made this a better fanedit, and made me a better faneditor.

With the 2012 remaster, special thanks to Q2 for guidance on working in HD and up-converting standard def material, and NJVC for graciously volunteering to create the beautiful menus for the BD disks, which then became the basis for the standard def releases as well.
Release Information:
  • DVD
  • DVD
  • Blu-ray
Special Features:
* Deleted Scenes - BD & DVD9
* Commentary track - All formats
* Alternate Audio track (Traditional ending music) - All formats
Cuts and Additions:
In this edit I set out to accomplish three primary goals as related to the story of Episode I:
- Drastically improve the many flawed characters as much as possible.
- Drastically improve the overall tone and pacing of the film
- Restructure the narrative so that Anakin Skywalker is the true hero of the film.

My approach was to be as ruthless as possible when cutting out dialog and story-elements which were redundant, pointless, or detracted from the audiences ability to like/engage with a character that they came to the movie wanting to like. The same applies to pacing. The original film drags and lacks urgency.


Gungans
Boss Nass: Most critics of the Phantom Menace tend to focus their ire on Jar Jar Binks, and without a doubt, his character is the most obvious flaw in the movie. However what often gets lost is that Gungan race itself which was poorly conceived, particularly as a warrior race. Only Captain Tarpals was tolerable or believable.

My goal was to make the Gungans more ominous by removing as much of their bad dialog, slobbering, howling and shaking of lips as possible. They are now presented as distrustful of outsiders. Binks is going to be punished for bringing outsiders to Otah City rather than returning from banishment. The Jedi escape punishment for trespassing because they use mind-tricks (Jar Jar and a guard now share a shocked response when Boss Nass agrees to let them go and give them a Bonco).

Jar Jar Binks: Jar jar has been heavily edited to remove nearly all of his annoying screen presence. I removed toilet humor and as many antics as possible without removing key plot points or creating continuity errors. Because he owes Qui-gon a life-debt, he must follow him everywhere, similar to how Chewbacca shadows Han Solo. He quietly follows him and now no longer inserts himself into every scene possible. I completely removed the sub-plot of him being a bumbling idiot who was banished for being clumsy. The original movie plays this up but with no payoff outside creating an excuse for why he’s out wandering around dry land, and creating an excuse for his antics.

Neimoidians
As much as possible I sought to reduce their cowardice. I worked to make them more 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 made a deal with the Sith Lord, somehow he can manipulate the Senate to their advantage. Whatever they each get from the bargain is immaterial. This was largely achieved by removing their continual effort to justify their actions, both to outsiders (the Jedi and the Queen) as well as to themselves (constantly asking Palpatine if it’s legal). They simply do things, because that’s what bad-guys do.

Action, Action, Action!
Improve the pacing of the movie by getting to the point ASAP. When I first saw TPM I remember being confounded by the leisurely pace of the Jedi in trying to get to the queen, and lack of urgency on Tatooine. The two biggest offenders of this are the Planet Core and Pod Race sequences. The Planet core is gone entirely and the Pod Race is reduced heavily, including the Hanna Barbara announcers, all of the cartoonish sub-plots of how various pods blow-up/get disabled, as well as all of the slap-stick during the race. The race is now fast and focused.

Dialog
Almost every scene has some modification to it in order to eliminate either redundant and/or obvious exposition as well as poorly written and/or delivered dialog. The only two scenes with dialog that emerge unscathed were the interplay between Palpatine and the Queen (the only scenes in the movie that are strictly between two living, breathing quality actors). I think this is one of those areas where the original Phantom Edit was far too conservative. Virtually every scene is now tightened.

Fix Lord Maul’s demise.
I always hated how Maul simply watched Obi-Wan telegraph what he was going to do, and then have it play out so slowly that Maul should have cut Obi-Wan into 20 pieces. I have rescued this scene so that there is no telegraphing of intention, no confused look by Maul, and it happens lightening fast. Not only does it make it convincing, but it also has the effect of setting up the final confrontation with Anakin in Episode III. Obi Wan knows this move and is ready for it (my eventual Sith edit will highlight this by using Corgicar’s timing)

Anakin
There are two parts to my work here. The first is the simple and obvious one first pioneered by Mike Nichols, improve Jake Lloyd’s performance by eliminating as much of his dialogue as can be reasonably done. I don’t think I did anything revolutionary here. Anakin is presented as much as possible as a boy of action and confidence. Gone are the yippees and woohoos. The insertion of the Greedo sequence also helps show that he’s not a perfect angel, also I removed the terrible line by Schmi about him knowing nothing of greed.
Part 2 however I feel is the major shift of the entire edit;

I have recut Act 3 so that Anakin is truly the hero. In the theatrical cut, Padme and her team are the victors/heros. By capturing the Viceroy, she wins the battle because once captured the battle is effectively over, and Padme states as much by informing him that they will now discuss a new treaty. Now the queen’s double never arrives, she never gets the upper hand, she is captured. Qui-gon is dead, the gungans have been captured, and Anakin is marooned inside the Trade Fedaration ship.. there should be only one hero, and now the Chosen One is the hero.

Eliminate the Disney Main Street Parade.
This sequence has no place in a movie titled THE PHANTOM freaking MENACE. The immolation scene is perhaps the best in the entire movie, it lays out everything that has happened and setting up the players of the next two movies. This should have been the final scene. Now it is.

Misc
- New Title and Crawl. No more disputes about taxation of trade routes.. blah blah.. there is a dispute between the Neimoidians and the Naboo, the Neimoidians have set up a blockade.. let’s go.
- Eliminate Midichlorions. 'nough said.
- Eliminate the title of ‘Darth’. He is simply referred to as an apprentice, or Lord Maul. My hope is to eliminate Darth as a generic Sith title throughout the PT, leaving Darth Vader as a truly unique Sith Name. I’m not sure it’s possible but time will tell. At the least its removal doesn’t worsen the movie, and could pay off later.
- Eliminate entire scene with the fake Queen hearing pro/con arguments of going to Tatooine and telling Padme to clean R2, and of course, Padme cleaning R2. We already watched Qui-gon and Captain Panaka debating Tatooine, so its duplication before the Queen is just useless and we also lose the painful interaction of R2′s introduction and the fake queen ordering her superior to clean a filthy droid.
- Cut Wato saying he’s immune to Jedi Mind tricks. Both Episode IV and Episode VI establish that the force can influence the weak-minded, but not against the strong-willed. Wato is many things, but weak-minded is not one. We’ve seen OT, we get it. This was the second-most controversial cut, but again, if you hadn’t watched the movie before, you don’t miss the clumsy explanation of why the mind-trick doesn’t work. If Wato is smart enough to know that Jedi’s can do Mind-tricks, he should probably be suspicious of an off-lander acting like he is doing mind-tricks, and certainly not consider getting into bets with a possible Jedi who just tried to trick him into accepting useless credits.
- Eliminate the crowd of kids while Anakin finishes his pod racer. Horrible scene that takes you out of the movie. With Anakin being so advanced that he can build a droid and pod racer out of free junk, I felt it appropriate to not have him be an obviously social kid, this is further reinforced by his fight with Greedo.
- Eliminated sequence of Qui-Gon talking to Wato in the box after the race.
- Eliminate scene of Nute Gunray on walking thrown taunting Governor Sio Bibble.
- Eliminate Jabba.
- Eliminate hill-billy Sand People firing at the pod race. While this was a genuinely funny scene, I feel that it conflicts with the Tuskin Raiders in Episodes II and IV. These are vicious creatures who are key in Anakin’s journey to the Dark Side. Using them as a quick joke in TPM just feels out of place to me given the context of the full saga. Of all my cuts, this was the most controversial among my previewers as it was one of only a handful of fun moments they remember fondly. But ultimately it doesn’t really add anything to the story, if you’ve never seen it, you’d never miss it, so with that as my ultimate standard, it was deleted.
- Recut the sequence where Anakin discovers he is free and will join Qui-gon for greater emotional impact
- Recut Anakin’s goodbye with his mother for greater emotinal impact as well as eliminating reference to returning to free her. This promise is not fulfilled and is wishy-washy. The scene is much stronger without it.
- Reinserted portions of two deleted scenes; Anakin/Greedo fight (replaces Jar-Jar/Sebulba sequence) and the Sith Probe Droid, not only does this make their running to the ship understandable, for the first time in the movie, our characters have a sense of urgency and dread.
- Eliminate as much of Ric Olie’s dialog as possible. This guy’s delivery made Cpt. Panaka (Hugh Quarshie) seem like an Acadamy Award winner. All Ric ever does is explain to us what is going on, but the visuals already take care of this, and much more convincingly.
- Remove Obi-Wan’s non-sensible rant about symbiotic relationships which is not explained, and has no payoff.
SW1 Label
Amaray
Disc
SW1v1 Cover
SW1v2 Cover
SW1v3 Cover
SW1v4 Cover
SW_ShadowOfTheSith_L8wrtr_Disc
SW_ShadowOfTheSith_L8wrtr_Cover
Disc
Cover
Faneditor Name:
Franchise:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
1999
Original Running Time:
136 minutes
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
96 minutes
Available in HD:
Synopsis:
The first fanedit in the L8wrtr Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, Shadow of the Sith both radically improves The Phantom Manace as well as sets the tone for the entire re-edited prequel universe. With a focus on quality characters, improved pacing and relentless removal of childish humor and redundant story-telling, this edit bends Episode I back into the direction of the Original Trilogy, respecting concepts established
Intention:
As is the case for many fans of Star Wars, The Phantom Edit went a long way toward rescuing the original Phantom Menace for me. For a long time both it and his follow-up edit of Episode II were my ‘definitive’ versions of the films.

With Nichols choosing to never release an edit of Episode III I began playing around with the idea of editing it myself. I'd never edited anything before and my first attempts were crude at best, but over time I refined my ideas on how the PT could be concluded with a stronger, more compelling final chapter. Technical/quality issues with my early drafts led me to fanedit.org where I found the expertise and assistance needed to resolve the challenges I was facing.

By that time however I'd come to understand just how much could be achieved with fanediting. No longer could I be satisfied Mike Nichols' releases. I realized that these movies could be cut deeper, that more nuance could be applied within scenes to change tone and improve dialog, which improves character and audience reaction. With that in mind, and with a clear end-point of how the entire Prequel Trilogy would be concluded, I postponed re-working my Episode III edit and turned my eye to the full Trilogy.

With this new purpose I sat down and created three overal priorities or goals for each edit.
1) Improve the story told within the film itself as much as possible, making the characters more likable/interesting, and making the plot more engaging and enjoyable.
2) Manipulate character improvements so as to create a more fertile backdrop for Episode III. With improvements that I had planned for Episode III I realized that I could maximize their impact by altering the audience's perceptions fo the characters, so Shadow of the Sith and The Republic Divided both seek help the audience invest in the characters so that the dramatic events of the final chapter are more meaningful, and then carry more importance when watching the Original Trilogy
3) Modify/remove aspects introduced in the Prequels that I don't feel match with the Original Trilogy. In the L8wrtr trilogy there are no midichlorians, Darth is not a Sith title and will not be heard until Vader is Knighted in Episode III, and R2 never, ever flies.

This edit was originally released in July 2010 in standard definition using Adywan's color corrected theatrical construction as the foundation. In 2012, armed with the BluRay saga I completely re-edited Shadow of the Sith from the ground-up. This new version allowed me to fix several audio problems from the original release (the LFE channel didn't work properly) as well as apply more refined editing techniques that I have learned along the way, as well as make massive improvements on the quality of the deleted scenes used (though they still stand-out against the theatrical footage)
Special Thanks:
Special thanks for invaluable help with the initial release: Hebrides helped color correct the deleted footage to match Adywan's work as much as possible, TV's Frink provided excellent guidance and ideas which helped refine/focus my approach to my first edit, Remixed by Jorge unwittingly became a first-class mentor and technical guru and lastly, a huge thank you to The Man Behind the Mask for rejecting my first submission. His detailed notes and made this a better fanedit, and made me a better faneditor.

With the 2012 remaster, special thanks to Q2 for guidance on working in HD and up-converting standard def material, and NJVC for graciously volunteering to create the beautiful menus for the BD disks, which then became the basis for the standard def releases as well.
Release Information:
  • DVD
  • DVD
  • Blu-ray
Special Features:
* Deleted Scenes - BD & DVD9
* Commentary track - All formats
* Alternate Audio track (Traditional ending music) - All formats
Cuts and Additions:
In this edit I set out to accomplish three primary goals as related to the story of Episode I:
- Drastically improve the many flawed characters as much as possible.
- Drastically improve the overall tone and pacing of the film
- Restructure the narrative so that Anakin Skywalker is the true hero of the film.

My approach was to be as ruthless as possible when cutting out dialog and story-elements which were redundant, pointless, or detracted from the audiences ability to like/engage with a character that they came to the movie wanting to like. The same applies to pacing. The original film drags and lacks urgency.


Gungans
Boss Nass: Most critics of the Phantom Menace tend to focus their ire on Jar Jar Binks, and without a doubt, his character is the most obvious flaw in the movie. However what often gets lost is that Gungan race itself which was poorly conceived, particularly as a warrior race. Only Captain Tarpals was tolerable or believable.

My goal was to make the Gungans more ominous by removing as much of their bad dialog, slobbering, howling and shaking of lips as possible. They are now presented as distrustful of outsiders. Binks is going to be punished for bringing outsiders to Otah City rather than returning from banishment. The Jedi escape punishment for trespassing because they use mind-tricks (Jar Jar and a guard now share a shocked response when Boss Nass agrees to let them go and give them a Bonco).

Jar Jar Binks: Jar jar has been heavily edited to remove nearly all of his annoying screen presence. I removed toilet humor and as many antics as possible without removing key plot points or creating continuity errors. Because he owes Qui-gon a life-debt, he must follow him everywhere, similar to how Chewbacca shadows Han Solo. He quietly follows him and now no longer inserts himself into every scene possible. I completely removed the sub-plot of him being a bumbling idiot who was banished for being clumsy. The original movie plays this up but with no payoff outside creating an excuse for why he’s out wandering around dry land, and creating an excuse for his antics.

Neimoidians
As much as possible I sought to reduce their cowardice. I worked to make them more 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 made a deal with the Sith Lord, somehow he can manipulate the Senate to their advantage. Whatever they each get from the bargain is immaterial. This was largely achieved by removing their continual effort to justify their actions, both to outsiders (the Jedi and the Queen) as well as to themselves (constantly asking Palpatine if it’s legal). They simply do things, because that’s what bad-guys do.

Action, Action, Action!
Improve the pacing of the movie by getting to the point ASAP. When I first saw TPM I remember being confounded by the leisurely pace of the Jedi in trying to get to the queen, and lack of urgency on Tatooine. The two biggest offenders of this are the Planet Core and Pod Race sequences. The Planet core is gone entirely and the Pod Race is reduced heavily, including the Hanna Barbara announcers, all of the cartoonish sub-plots of how various pods blow-up/get disabled, as well as all of the slap-stick during the race. The race is now fast and focused.

Dialog
Almost every scene has some modification to it in order to eliminate either redundant and/or obvious exposition as well as poorly written and/or delivered dialog. The only two scenes with dialog that emerge unscathed were the interplay between Palpatine and the Queen (the only scenes in the movie that are strictly between two living, breathing quality actors). I think this is one of those areas where the original Phantom Edit was far too conservative. Virtually every scene is now tightened.

Fix Lord Maul’s demise.
I always hated how Maul simply watched Obi-Wan telegraph what he was going to do, and then have it play out so slowly that Maul should have cut Obi-Wan into 20 pieces. I have rescued this scene so that there is no telegraphing of intention, no confused look by Maul, and it happens lightening fast. Not only does it make it convincing, but it also has the effect of setting up the final confrontation with Anakin in Episode III. Obi Wan knows this move and is ready for it (my eventual Sith edit will highlight this by using Corgicar’s timing)

Anakin
There are two parts to my work here. The first is the simple and obvious one first pioneered by Mike Nichols, improve Jake Lloyd’s performance by eliminating as much of his dialogue as can be reasonably done. I don’t think I did anything revolutionary here. Anakin is presented as much as possible as a boy of action and confidence. Gone are the yippees and woohoos. The insertion of the Greedo sequence also helps show that he’s not a perfect angel, also I removed the terrible line by Schmi about him knowing nothing of greed.
Part 2 however I feel is the major shift of the entire edit;

I have recut Act 3 so that Anakin is truly the hero. In the theatrical cut, Padme and her team are the victors/heros. By capturing the Viceroy, she wins the battle because once captured the battle is effectively over, and Padme states as much by informing him that they will now discuss a new treaty. Now the queen’s double never arrives, she never gets the upper hand, she is captured. Qui-gon is dead, the gungans have been captured, and Anakin is marooned inside the Trade Fedaration ship.. there should be only one hero, and now the Chosen One is the hero.

Eliminate the Disney Main Street Parade.
This sequence has no place in a movie titled THE PHANTOM freaking MENACE. The immolation scene is perhaps the best in the entire movie, it lays out everything that has happened and setting up the players of the next two movies. This should have been the final scene. Now it is.

Misc
- New Title and Crawl. No more disputes about taxation of trade routes.. blah blah.. there is a dispute between the Neimoidians and the Naboo, the Neimoidians have set up a blockade.. let’s go.
- Eliminate Midichlorions. 'nough said.
- Eliminate the title of ‘Darth’. He is simply referred to as an apprentice, or Lord Maul. My hope is to eliminate Darth as a generic Sith title throughout the PT, leaving Darth Vader as a truly unique Sith Name. I’m not sure it’s possible but time will tell. At the least its removal doesn’t worsen the movie, and could pay off later.
- Eliminate entire scene with the fake Queen hearing pro/con arguments of going to Tatooine and telling Padme to clean R2, and of course, Padme cleaning R2. We already watched Qui-gon and Captain Panaka debating Tatooine, so its duplication before the Queen is just useless and we also lose the painful interaction of R2′s introduction and the fake queen ordering her superior to clean a filthy droid.
- Cut Wato saying he’s immune to Jedi Mind tricks. Both Episode IV and Episode VI establish that the force can influence the weak-minded, but not against the strong-willed. Wato is many things, but weak-minded is not one. We’ve seen OT, we get it. This was the second-most controversial cut, but again, if you hadn’t watched the movie before, you don’t miss the clumsy explanation of why the mind-trick doesn’t work. If Wato is smart enough to know that Jedi’s can do Mind-tricks, he should probably be suspicious of an off-lander acting like he is doing mind-tricks, and certainly not consider getting into bets with a possible Jedi who just tried to trick him into accepting useless credits.
- Eliminate the crowd of kids while Anakin finishes his pod racer. Horrible scene that takes you out of the movie. With Anakin being so advanced that he can build a droid and pod racer out of free junk, I felt it appropriate to not have him be an obviously social kid, this is further reinforced by his fight with Greedo.
- Eliminated sequence of Qui-Gon talking to Wato in the box after the race.
- Eliminate scene of Nute Gunray on walking thrown taunting Governor Sio Bibble.
- Eliminate Jabba.
- Eliminate hill-billy Sand People firing at the pod race. While this was a genuinely funny scene, I feel that it conflicts with the Tuskin Raiders in Episodes II and IV. These are vicious creatures who are key in Anakin’s journey to the Dark Side. Using them as a quick joke in TPM just feels out of place to me given the context of the full saga. Of all my cuts, this was the most controversial among my previewers as it was one of only a handful of fun moments they remember fondly. But ultimately it doesn’t really add anything to the story, if you’ve never seen it, you’d never miss it, so with that as my ultimate standard, it was deleted.
- Recut the sequence where Anakin discovers he is free and will join Qui-gon for greater emotional impact
- Recut Anakin’s goodbye with his mother for greater emotinal impact as well as eliminating reference to returning to free her. This promise is not fulfilled and is wishy-washy. The scene is much stronger without it.
- Reinserted portions of two deleted scenes; Anakin/Greedo fight (replaces Jar-Jar/Sebulba sequence) and the Sith Probe Droid, not only does this make their running to the ship understandable, for the first time in the movie, our characters have a sense of urgency and dread.
- Eliminate as much of Ric Olie’s dialog as possible. This guy’s delivery made Cpt. Panaka (Hugh Quarshie) seem like an Acadamy Award winner. All Ric ever does is explain to us what is going on, but the visuals already take care of this, and much more convincingly.
- Remove Obi-Wan’s non-sensible rant about symbiotic relationships which is not explained, and has no payoff.
Cover art by Rogue-theX/L8wrtr/jimjones(DOWNLOAD HERE)

Cover art by jimjones(DOWNLOAD HERE)

Cover art by elbarto1(DOWNLOAD HERE:)

Cover art by JSJarvis (DOWNLOAD HERE) image

Trusted Reviewer reviews

Overall rating
 
9.9
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
L8wrtr's Episode 1 is my preferred version of the movie. The editing is flawless, story beats/choices expertly mapped out, and the pacing feels natural. L8wrtr takes great care to make his presence invisible, while at the same time being ruthless with as many poor aspects of this terribly flawed movie as possible.

This is the version of Episode 1 I hope to show my future kids.

*8/10 for enjoyment, as compared to 3/10 for the original.
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(Updated: November 19, 2013)
Overall rating
 
8.5
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
8.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
STAR WARS EPISODE I: SHADOW OF THE SITH by L8WRTR

The Phantom Menace. What is there to say about the original 1999 prequel? Well, I would like to say that when I first saw it, I loved it. There were certain annoyances (ahem…Jar-Jar…ahem…Jake Lloyd), but I mean, I was pretty young, so I thought it was awesome. I don’t completely disagree with my less wise self, as there are some genuinely cool parts of the film. However, as I’ve gotten older, these annoyances have intensified. I can still watch the film and enjoy it, I just cringe a lot. One other annoyance has become more evident though, and that is the pointlessness of the story.

Unfortunately for L8wrtr, he’s only managed to intensify this fact. In this process of cutting the film down to the bare necessities, he’s dramatically increased the pacing of the film. While many might think this a good thing, it’s really detrimental. The original’s problems were conceptual. I re-watched it recently, and I noticed something I hadn’t really noticed before: it’s pacing is actually much better than I remember. For awhile I’ve been trying to pin down what makes TPM and Attack of the Clones different in badness. I’ve figured it out. TPM’s story is pointless, however, when shown with a 2+ hour runtime, there is time for the story and the world time to flesh out, which allows me to enjoy the movie as a self-contained little tale. AOTC’s story is kind of what TPM’s story should have been, but the movie still sucks because the pacing’s all screwed up.

So, sadly, by making the movie 1 1/2 hours, circulation has been cut off to the plot. The movie now feels like just a set up for the next movie, but it can’t really even function this way because, like I said, the story is pointless. This is the movie that starts the saga, it doesn’t feel right that it would be this short, faced paced adventure. Now I don’t really miss anything L8wrtr cut, but the movie doesn’t really work when its that short. I know many people will disagree with me, but its just how the movie feels when I watch it. The pacing is so quick that I feel like some of the sequences go by so fast that you’re almost questioning what happened. I like getting rid of Jar Jar’s banishment, but the whole scene with Boss Nass and Qui-Gon goes by so quickly that your left trying to figure what just happened after the scene is finished. One scene that really lags in my opinion is the pod race. Without the announcers, the opening is really quite uneventful. Speaking of things that are uneventful without voices, the battle droids. Also at the end of the film, when all hope is supposedly lost in the battle, the editing is so quick that the possibility that our heros might actually lose doesn’t even occur in the mind because, before you know, Anakin has just saved the day.

Something that I know people, including me, don’t like is the ending. Yes, no one really likes the celebration, I know I’ve hated it since I first saw it, but the ending as is in the edit is far too downbeat. Now, I saw in one of the forums someone said that they think the movie should end with the scene of Obi-Wan talking to Yoda. I didn’t like this idea the first time I heard it because I think the funeral scene is a good one. But it got me thinking, what if the funeral scene played first (sans Anakin and Kenobi dialogue) and then the Yoda and Kenobi scene is the final scene of the film? One other random edit suggestion that came to me while watching the movie is during the scene when Padme discusses the battle plan. As she goes over the different parts of the plan, there are cutaway shots to the other people listening. When she mentions the pilots, in the original film the cutaway shot is of Obi-Wan, but I think it would a good edit to make the shot of Ankin instead, showing that he’s taking interest in that particular part of plan, which makes his decision to join the battle later make all the more sense.

One technical problem I noticed was when Watto is first introduced, the subtitle starts and ends too soon.

Okay, rant done. I just felt I needed to explain the main flaw of the edit properly. Now, like I said before, none of the cuts are really missed, or noticeable. There were a few that I definitely noticed, but they were only because of my knowledge of the original film. The only really slightly almost sloppy editing came at the end during the final battle. The music was just all over the place, but I honestly don’t think there was much that could be done when so much was being cut out. Don’t get me wrong though, this is by no means a bad edit. I really enjoyed all the little plot points that have been changed. Making Anakin the hero was particularly ingenious. Also, the editing was superb in the scene where Obi-Wan kills Maul. I have to say one of my favorite parts of the edit was the opening crawl. To me, it was the perfect way to set up the film, and its what the original movie needed. It put emphasis on the real point of the movie (the sith have returned), which, in the original movie, felt like an unimportant sub-plot. It also reduced the complexity of the trade dispute because, honestly, we really didn’t need to know exactly why there was a blockade, especially considering less than 10 minutes into the film Darth Sidious says f*** it, and reveals that the whole thing was part of an invasion.

Anyways, I would give the original TPM a score of 6 out of 10. As a movie I would give Shadow of the Sith a 7 out of 10. Since I know that it wasn’t really L8wrtr’s fault that the movie still isn’t great, and that, for the most part, the editing is supreme, I give STAR WARS EPISODE I: SHADOW OF THE SITH 8/10.

EDIT (2/12/13): I just re-watched this edit, and wanted to give my (second) thoughts. Like I said in my review, when I first watched this edit, I had recently re-watched the original film. I think this negatively affected my opinion of the edit. I was, frankly, kind of tired of the movie, and wasn't paying too much attention to all of what this edit had to offer.

So here are my thoughts. Almost everything I said in my original review still stands, but more over-all feelings are more positive. I stand by the fact that the pacing of this edit, while good, leaves something to be desired. There's no breathing room. Things just keep happening. There's no introduction to the world of Star Wars. But this isn't quite L8wrtr's fault. What this edit gives us is one hell of an enjoyable movie, one that is without the Phantom Menace's cringe-worthy distractions. Everything that's in works, and is fun. Yes, is goes by too fast. Yes, the length isn't Star Warsy. But I blame George Lucas for that - for not giving us a meaty enough story. So no, the edit doesn't work as a standalone film, like the original film does. No, it also doesn't really work as opening to the saga. But it works as a good version of Episode I, that you can watch in order of release, Machete order, or really whenever you want (providing you understand the world). It's a great edit.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched
DVD
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(Updated: March 08, 2013)
Overall rating
 
9.7
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
This was the best Episode I edit I've seen (although I've seen like 3). It's still Episode I so it's still pretty terrible as a movie, but compared to the original it's fantastic.

User Review

Format Watched
DVD
Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Overall rating
 
9.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
N/A
Audio Editing
 
N/A
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N/A
Narrative
 
N/A
Enjoyment
 
9.0
*This rating was given before reviews were required*
Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Overall rating
 
9.0
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N/A
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N/A
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N/A
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N/A
Enjoyment
 
9.0
*This rating was given before reviews were required*
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Overall rating
 
9.4
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9.7(28)
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9.4(28)
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9.4(28)
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9.1(28)
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8.8(51)
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(Updated: July 10, 2023)
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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9.0
Since I'm waaay too late to the party, these edits have been around for ages, I'll just say that after having watched at least 3-4 fanedits of this movie (like HAL's, Spence's, Octoroxx etc.), this version is the one that became my go to version of the movie. I didn't like it almost at all, with the exception of some redeeming qualities like Darth Maul and Qui-Gon, so I needed an aggressive edit. This one did the job perfectly!

I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for an aggressive edit of Episode 1, I assure you it will be your go-to version in the future!

Thank you L8wrtr for all your hard work and thanks to anyone who read my review!

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Yes
Format Watched
Digital
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Overall rating
 
9.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
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9.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
L8wrtr deserves appreciation for their amazing work on this edit. The movie is now much more enjoyable thanks to the removal of unnecessary scenes that I personally felt didn't belong in the original version. The effort to improve the pacing and tone of the film has not gone unnoticed, and the attention to detail in the editing process is truly commendable. Watching this cut is definitely worth it, and I have officially replaced Episode 1 with this version. Thank you, L8wrtr! :-)

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Yes
F
1 reviews
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Overall rating
 
9.4
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
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10.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
What else can I say that others haven't already? This is one of the best fan edits I have watched. The fan editor did have other edits that paved the way, but this one takes TPM to a new level. The movie still has flaws (8-year-old Vader being the most obvious), but this edit really makes it a better movie by at least a full star, maybe two. I got to experience a film that I have watched many times in a new way. Cut scenes are not missed. The movie flows so much more smoothly now. I agree with other reviewers that there is no reason to watch any other version of The Phantom Menace.

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Yes
Format Watched
Digital
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Overall rating
 
8.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
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8.0
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9.0
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9.0
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10.0
Awesome!!! It may benefit from further polishing although seeing as the main improvement is the step down from the overly bright, overly clean appearance that separated prequeals from the originals Im not sure. Its got low techification effects to immitate the earlier production standards, and a grittier feeling to the shots, grainier maybe - I guess like the old school film used (no expert here) - a fuzzy filter. Ive got AVCHD streaming file viewed on VLC. Maybe a bluray grade MKV will be all improvement necessary.

Its been ages since I watched these as kind of fell out of love with the Star Wars universe after its loss of homogeneity, lacking a vital sense of continuity between the films. I believe this fan edit has done what needed to be done. Less appeal to the 'family friendly' crowd with lame humour; what I was calling Disneipifcation before I understood what that really meant..... Im new here and am yet to behold a salvation of the sequels. Good start on this one!!!


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Yes
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Overall rating
 
9.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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9.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Having not watched TPM for several years, this was a very refreshing way to reexperience it. The subtle changes to Anakin really improved his character and the movie. There's a lot going on in TPM, so I enjoyed the faster pace, and never felt bored. The podrace especially felt much more tense and enjoyable without the announcer or slapstick humor.

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