ENTRY #128
YouTube and Feedback links added 02.13.09
3:42 PM, Sunday, June 24th, 2001:
Well the Trinitron delay went from a few days to a few weeks. Rather than curse the fates that made Charlotte pass out in the shower and smack her head really bad (she's fine, just drugged - I'll go into it in part 2 of the chronicles), I tried to make the setback a positive. In fact, it seems recently, that all negative karma is losing to my power of reversal. As my dad always sad: "You seem to fall into shit, and turn it to gold quite easily". Well since I fall into my FAIR SHARE of shit in life, I guess that's good.
So I'm toolin' around online and I read of The Phantom Edit. Some guy edited Star Wars and made Jar-Jar less annoying, Anakin less annoying, and he is distributing this puppy. I look on Ebay, and no one has 'em up yet. Oooh...could be an opportunity for some money on my end. Well, my first impression was that he simply edited out Jar-Jar. Only later, did I realize that he just changed his voice and took out some of the stupider scenes. Apparently because it was "impossible" to take him completely out since he's in so many scenes.
Hostly folks, this may be the most satisfying project I've ever completed. In 21 hours of work I turned Star Wars Episode I , into the movie we all wanted to see in 1999. It was one of the most challenging editing feats imaginable, 'cause that freakin' bastard is standing next to everyone CONSTANTLY. So to the Star Wars junkies out there here's what I did:
First off, my love for Jar-Jar is well documented:
So this by all means was a labor of love. But of course he was not the only thing wrong with the movie. There's easily 3 major problems that pissed off all true fans:
1. Jar-Jar
2. Anakin being incredibly annoying
3. Midichlorians
Well Anakin was relatively easy. Taking out lines such as:  "Let's try spinning! That's a good trick! Ahhhhhh!" (Lucas, how could you even type that?), that was simple. I mean he still needed to be a kid, and kids can say some stupid things, but Lucas just wrote Anakin so poorly that some lines actually HURT when they were said. So I cut-him down to size a bit, and he comes off being a bit more with it, but still a kid.
The midichlorians were a whole different story. I struggled with this a bunch. First of all, how stupid was this plot-line? Somehow we never hear of this in episodes 4, 5, and 6...but they are this major point in "Jedi-land" for Episode 1? Well it was this reasoning that eventually made me leave them IN. Now hear me out...Lucas has to tackle this puppy in Episode 2. He took such time to introduce it, I pray he explains why they are never spoken of in 4, 5, or 6. If I took it all out, and then it's brought up again in 2, that'll make my edit suck. So just deal with the midichlorians for now. And pray next summer he makes it all good.
And of course Jar-Jar. Well this is where my edit just shines. Absolutely glows. You never hear Jar-Jar. You never see Jar-Jar. Jar-Jar is not in this movie. Yet somehow the story isn't interrupted. Now if that isn't a glaring deficiency in scriptwriting, I don't know what is. If you can take out an entire main character, and it doesn't effect the plot, that character doesn't belong in your movie. Now the gungans on the other hand ARE necessary as they get Qui-gon and Obi-wan off the planet at the beginning, and then help fight the droids at the end. So it was pretty tricky to incorporate them without Jar-Jar. Basically, I show them going underwater in the beginning to escape the droids, and they know there's a village down there. They don't need Jar-Jar to tell them that. That always bugged me about the original...this was a secret underwater city? HOW? You mean in the hundreds of years it took to build this city - NO ONE ever saw it? (sigh)...so it was no problem for me to have them swim to it KNOWING it was there. They then asked Boss Nass for help with the Naboo, he declines and then with some Jedi trickery they get a transport out of there. Which they take to get to the queen. It's all good.
Of course, if you remember the movie, Jar-Jar really is in every freakin' scene. How the hell do I show them in the "transport" without him being there? Well, there's just enough to do it. It does shorten the scene quite a bit, but that's a good thing. LOL. But know this: I never ZOOMED in on one side of the screen to avoid Jar-Jar. Every single shot, is untouched. Just simply re-edited. I did have to take certain shots from other parts of the scene, and re-arrange them. Great example is at Anakin's house at the dinner table. I basically re-did EVERYTHING. Grabbed all the shots of each person looking at someone. And then inserted them when I needed them. The result is quite stunning. Of course the MUSIC in the background is a problem, but that's what being a good editor is all about. I guarantee you, if you know someone who has NEVER seen Star Wars, you can show them this movie, and they'll never know what's missing.
So much so I'm a bit unsure on what this entry's video should be. You won't notice anything! But an edit I made at the end of the film, was perhaps my favorite. Making Episode 1 a bit of a cliff hanger without the "heart warming" MUPPETS ending that was in the theater. I like this version much better than the dancing gungans...tell me what you think.
Another plus is it takes a movie that was 2 hours and 15 minutes, and makes it a wonderful 100 minutes. A bit under actually. It zooms along, and tells a good story. And isn't that what we all wanted 2 years ago? You know the "ethics" of all this is coming up in the press, and I gotta say: Lucas deserves this. This should be a nice dose of reality for him. People love his characters and "epic" story so much, that when he gave us the DRIVEL that was Episode 1...we're doing anything to keep our spirit for Star Wars in tact. I didn't make this to get rich, I did it to have my own version of The Phantom Menace that I WANTED TO SEE. I realize that the rest of the world would probably like to see it too, but I'm not goin' up against GEORGE LUCAS for this. LOL. I'm not that stupid. It does suck, because this could've easily kept our heads above water financially. But I can make more money off my talents, than exploiting the shortcomings of George's writing and editing skills.
You know it's really sad. It's what happens when someone gets so big, that no one can tell them anything. I guarantee people working with Lucas saw how bad Episode 1 was becoming, but no one could say shit. That sucks. I hope in 30 years, I'm just as "coachable" as I am today. Even if you don't take the advice - you HAVE to listen. You have to have someone who's opinion you value, that you listen to unabashedly. But Lucas obviously didn't have that. He was much more interested in selling action figures than writing a compelling script.
I'll stop now. I'm probably not helping my legal standing by slamming Lucas. But I'm highly proud of the editing job, and feel strongly that true fans of Star Wars deserve to see what could've been...and now is: The Phantom Edit.
original video file
JUNE 2001