STAR WARS: EPISODE III – REVENGE OF THE SITH – A horrible, nearly unwatchable movie as George Lucas made it, made into something watchable as this fan-edit, subtitled DARK FORCE RISING, put together by Kerr. More information, and a full cutlist is available at fanedit.org. You may even find a way to watch it yourself over at fanedit.info…
It succeeds mostly in the same way that PHANTOM RE-EDIT of the first of the prequels does – by silencing the most objectionable character nearly completely. Anakin speaks much, much less here, and he isn’t given the opportunity to sulk around like the emo pre-Vader he was in the full version of this film. When I watched the original, I wanted him to burn in the lava. This time, I kind of wanted Obi Wan to trip as he was walking away all sanctimonious after the big lava battle.
Nearly an hour of film is cut out here; Anakin, silly CGI, extended to absurdity landing sequences, “witty” banter, no ‘spoiler’ of who the babies are, removal of the chatty bits of fight scenes, etc. The remaining 88 minutes makes a pretty solid into to Episode IV. As far as I’m concerned, this is what should be considered the real Episode III.
THE GRADUATE – The film opens with a very depressed, despondent Benjamin, unsure what he’s going to do with the rest of his life. He’s in a dark place. He’s drowning, and grabs on tightly to anything that happens by. One Robinson woman will do just as nicely as another in keeping him from thinking about his future.
The photographic elements do a lot to punctuate the story. When Benjamin is about to tell Elaine that the older woman he was seeing was actually her mother, he stops just short. Elaine turns, and sees her mother standing behind her. Her mother is initially in focus, and walks away, leaving the scene out of focus. The focus slowly resolves on Elaine, and as it does, she speaks, having deciphered the meaning.
I don’t find the end all that happy of a place to end. Ben doesn’t know what he wants; he just chases anything as an excuse – a replacement for actual goals. He chases Elaine, who is portrayed as little more than an empty vessel, and he captures her finally. They make their escape, and after a brief smile appears on his face, and then the darkness seems to come back.
STAR WARS: EPISODE V – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK – I was going to watch another of the better reviewed fan-edits of REVENGE, but I found mention of only one, and it was nowhere to be found. I watched the George Lucas ‘re-release from 1997, and I suppose I can see why it hasn’t been cut down yet – it’s pretty decent as is. There’s a lot that happens in this chapter; Yoda’s appearance, Luke meeting Daddy, the capture of Solo, etc and it’s all pretty relevant to the story. It’s a lot better balance than RETURN OF THE JEDI, which I’ll be watching the Spence Edit of later this week.