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9.8 31 10
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So I have a very complicated relationship with Rise of Skywalker. When I first watched it, after hating the first 20 minutes of the movie, I actually really enjoyed it and had a blast watching it in theaters despite having tons of problems with the movie, but as time went on those issues started to annoy me more and more. When it came out on Blu-Ray, I watched it again and while I still enjoyed watching it in the moment, mere hours after I finished watching it I started to dislike it a lot. The last time I rewatched the movie in its entirety was when I tried to make my own fan edit of the movie, and that was when my hatred for Rise of Skywalker was cemented. Since then, around 2 years ago, not only have I been unable to watch Rise of Skywalker I have become unable to watch even the first 2 of the sequel trilogy despite really enjoying Force Awakens and adoring The Last Jedi. I’ve been interested in a few edits of Rise of Skywalker, and also a few 3-in-1 edits of the sequel trilogy, but I could never bring myself to watch them. However this year several things have reinvigorated my interest in Star Wars, and I really wanted to be able to enjoy the sequel trilogy again. I’ve been debating whether or not to try an edit of Rise of Skywalker for some time and there have been a few I’ve been interested in, but I thought that if any edit would be able to fix the film it would be Rise of Skywalker Ascendant, and since version 4 has been completed I decided to start here. I know that’s kind of a long preamble before actually reviewing the edit, but I really needed to write it so I could fully give my thoughts on the edit itself.

Despite making some of the best Star Wars edits out there, I wasn’t sure that even Hal9000 would be able to salvage the movie but I knew that if anyone could it would be him. Still, I was very nervous before watching the edit, and thankfully I had no need to be hesitant. I can gladly say the film has been almost completely salvaged for me. The edit isn’t significantly shorter than the theatrical edition, only around 4 minutes, but despite that, the film works way better. There’s been so many awful lines and cringy moments cut, such as “Somehow Palpatine returned”, “They Fly Now” and the line about the Holdo maneuver, and a ton of little additions to the film that massively improve the film, such as some added lines of dialogue for the Knights of Ren, and a few AI line replacements, and they’re almost all completely seamless. In fact, I believe that if you showed this edit to someone who’d never seen the film before they wouldn’t even be able to notice that this is a fan edit. I watched the Rey Nobody version of the edit, which is slightly shorter than the regular cut, 4 minutes shorter, and before watching it I didn’t realize how much I hated her being a Palpatine, and that so many of my issues with the movie stemmed from that choice. I thought I was OK with her being a Palpatine, that her arc still worked really well, and that it was mostly other things that made me so dissatisfied with the film, but now I can never go back to watching the theatrical edit, or any edit of the film where Rey remains a Palpatine for that matter.

Now for the technical aspects of the review, I didn’t notice any issues with the video, I watched the 30-gig 1080P version of the movie and it looked really good I didn’t notice any issues. The video editing is also pretty much flawless I didn’t notice any cuts. Audio editing is also nearly flawless, there were 2 or 3 AI line replacements that I could tell weren’t in the original cut, and the audio during the duel between Rey and Kylo Ren on Endor sounded like it was peaking a bit, but other than that nothing of note was out of place.

However, nothing is perfect and there were still some things that I’m not a fan of that remain in the movie. Some of these are nearly impossible to change, such as the Chewie fake-out death and Rose barely being in the movie, and there were some minor issues I still had with certain lines of dialogue and character moments that could be changed but weren’t, such as Poe flirting with Zori Bliss, and the Lando and Jannah scene, although these I excuse as being down to personal preference. I’m also still not a fan of the final scenes on Tatooine, although the additions to the scene in this edit make me no longer wish it wasn’t in the film.

Also like I said before I watched the Rey Nobody edit which so drastically improves the film that I can no longer watch any edit where Rey remains a Palpatine. Now when I finish the movie I’m no longer thinking about all of the problems and issues that drag it down, I’m thinking about how much better the movie is and how it’s now a film I can enjoy with little reservation. I cannot thank Hal900 and the very many collaborators who helped with the edit as it has now not only replaced the original version of the movie, which to be fair isn’t that hard given how awful I find the theatrical cut is. While I still have my issues with the film, and it’s still my least favorite of the trilogy, this edit has completely salvaged the movie and now the entire sequel trilogy for me. I can finally watch all 3 movies in the sequel trilogy without dreading getting to the ending, and I can't wait to do so.

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