Friday, October 13, 2006

Star Wars Episode 1 - Balance of the Force

There has been a few fan edits of 'Star Wars Episode One The Phantom Menace', most notably 'The Phantom Re-Edit' which removed Jar Jar Binks. This resulted in twenty minuets of footage being cut from the film, but has resulted in much praise from fans and directors alike. Today I watched an edit called 'Balance of the Force' which dubs a lot of the alien dialogue with subtitles and includes the full pod-race sequence from the DVD. There is a mention and list of edits on the Wikipedia Page. It has been well over a year since I last watched The Phantom Menace so I thought I would watch it and see how I felt about it subjectively.

My control opinion of The Phone Menace was that Jar Jar is an unnecessary character and that the film isn't hard hitting enough. I agreed with Lucas's decision to shorten the pod-race sequence as it would have been a long dominating scene in the middle of the film. I thought Anakin was a very happy confidant kid and I didn't understand how the hell he would ever turn to the darkside.

After watching the edit I think Lucas's decision to cut the pod-race sequence was dumb as most of the scenes on Tatooine builds up the the pod-race so having a full length race actually makes it feel worth waiting for. With the edits to Jar Jar Binks he becomes an opportunistic selfish waster, but that is better than the goofy clown he was before. The conflict between the Trade Federation and Naboo is no over the outlawing of slavery instead of taxation. This is a brilliant edit as it makes me feel the Republic was moving towards a brighter more civilised future. Anakin comes across now as a confident, yet tense kid willing to fight as shown with a fight scene between him and another kid named Greedo. Put simply I loved this edit of the film far more than the original theatrical release. It adds depth to the story throughout and corrects a lot of story holes that was left by the original release. The glowing orb-thing that was given to the Gungans at the end of the film which was a mystery in the original edit, is now a Gungan artifact that the Humans stole and rather than them being simple neighbours it feel like the Humans and Gungans could have been on the verge of war. There are a few things about the edit which I haven't mentioned because I don't want to spoil it, but it is much much better edit than the theatrical release of the film.