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9.5 24 10
(Updated: November 22, 2013)
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There is a lot to love about this edit. As you can see from the runtime, the cuts are deep. This changes the pacing from the dull slog of the theatrical release to a real roller coaster ride. It moved a little fast for my taste, but then again, that was probably necessary to successfully remove so much of what I hated about Ep I: midichlorians, virgin birth, the chosen one, Captain Obvious (Ric Olie), bantha poodoo, Boss 'Bbbbbbbbbbbbb' Nass and Jar Jar's stupidity.

Removing Darth Sidious was a good move. It largely worked but unfortunately left Darth Maul without motivation. Keeping at least part of Sidious and Maul's 'At last we will have our revenge' scene would have established a nemesis for Qui Gon and a Sith counterpoint to the Jedi's mission, while adding a lingering dread to the story. It would also have balanced Maul's later appearances in the film and provided a coda to Yoda's final scene where he notes 'Always two there are'. But I liked how you kept (and added) scenes with the probe droid searching Mos Espa for the queen. Its menacing black shape floating through the streets helped restore the tension lost by removing Sidious and foreshadowed Qui Gon's later encounters with the Sith.

The pod race edits were miraculous. Thanks for excising the two-headed announcer, but leaving the Tusken Raiders and Aurra Sing cameos. I would have preferred limiting Jabba to his introduction and race announcement. Spitting at the gong and sleeping at the end of the race were useless comic relief. It makes him look like a loser instead of a ruthless, tyrannical gangster.

The final battle between Sith and Jedi also worked really well. The pacing was smooth and consistent. Leaving Qui Gon's meditation with Maul pacing outside the shield broke up the action enough to build tension without destroying its flow.

I wish the space battle at the Droid Control ship lasted a little longer (but with less of Captain Obvious - 'It's one of ours!', 'That's the enemy!', 'I'm breathing air!') However, you did a great job transforming Anakin from a stowaway pushing random buttons into a pilot in command of his ship. Most of his cockpit scenes and dialog from the Theatrical release were useless, but a lot of them would have been fine without his dialog. For example, 'Spinning's a good trick' is ridiculous, but watching him fly the starfighter (without talking) and execute barrel rolls to avoid laser fire only confirms his flying skills and force instincts.

A few of the visual cuts in the edit were jarring, but for the most part, they contributed to the roller coaster pacing. However, the audio was seamless. Seciors did a fantastic job syncing his new edits with the score.

Overall, this is one of the more enjoyable Episode I fanedits I've seen, and I enjoyed this version of Episode I as much as any fan of the OT can. Nice job!

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