Review Detail

9.5 24 10
(Updated: January 16, 2022)
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For my part, this revisionist take on Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace might be the best version of the film. Right from the new opening crawl, we immediately understand the setting, the stakes, and the players. The recut film moves at a breakneck pace to the point it's occasionally jarring. It's hard to argue with the results, though. With any *other* movie, I'd say this was a problem...but the Phantom Menace really benefits from the adrenaline shot that seciors has given it here. We are on Tatooine by the 15-minute mark!

Almost all the bloat is gone. Most of the best parts are retained and trimmed/recut in places. All the worst parts are cut out where possible. The story beats are light, succinct, and comprehensible on first viewing. Better, seciors' excision of *any* exposition regarding the true mastermind introduces an element of mystery for first-time Star Wars viewers; who was behind the mysterious Sith warrior and why was he assisting the Federation? Something to pay out through subsequent films, of course!

Some debatable decisions: cutting out talk of Anakin's parentage and certainly the 'chosen one' prophecy, but only debatable due to possible continuity issues between different versions of the prequel films. A few deleted scenes are added but one's placement is a little out of context. I think it still works, though.

My opinion is that Hal9000's Phantom Menace fan edit is the best version of the film in the same way that Chris Hartwell's Hobbit edits are the best version of The Hobbit: as a halfway point for theatrical purists. For me though...after my viewing of seciors' edit, it made me wonder if more drastic surgery was *always* required to make this film 'good'.

I had a great time watching 'Return of the Sith'. That's probably the highest praise I can ever give *any* version of The Phantom Menace. Highly Recommended.

Edit: Have watched it again and increased the Narrative score again to a 10 from a 9. Although I never thought of Jar Jar as particularly distracting, I noticed that a side effect of removing most of Jar Jar's scenes/lines means there is no longer any ambiguity on who the main character is (definitely Qui-Gon in this edit). This makes his death at the end of the film a sort of narrative subversion that plays out across the remaining films; really hammers the tragic tone as the Prequels continue (if only he had lived, Anakin wouldn't have turned!). Of course, one can say that this had always been there--but the editing choices here just seem to bring it to focus in a way I had never noticed when watching the film before.

This edit is a treasure. Not to say that I'd put it on the level of 'The Godfather' or anything--just for what it is, it is as close to the best that it can be.

Edit 2:
One last thing I noticed about Jar Jar's dialogue excision. Again, thought Hal9000's approach to editing him to be reasonable (Jar Jar the Everyman stays, Jar Jar the Clown goes)--however, removing most of his dialogue here in Ep. 1 tracks with the *actual* reduced amount of dialogue he has within the next two films. So, oddly enough, it results in a more consistent experience.

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