Q2 Machete Edits


Years ago I came across the Fall of the Jedi fan edits of the prequel trilogy and was very impressed. I felt they did a very good job of putting those movies into a state where they wouldn’t be as painful an experience.

Lately however I was thinking about putting Vader/Tarkin/the Death Star back into the end of the third film, but with the logic the fan edit used (watch in episodic order without spoiling Original Trilogy events) there really was no place for it. Not long after this, an old friend linked the Machete Order on Facebook. Now I’d heard of the Ernst Rister order (4-5-1-2-3-6) before and thought it was a decent idea, but wasn’t fond of the way you had to watch three bad films before Return of the Jedi. Machete order argues for the above, but gets rid of The Phantom Menace altogether, and as I read the article I became utterly convinced. It’s why Episode I is so “bad” in a nutshell; nothing important happens.

With machete order in mind, I rewatched Q2’s edit of Attack of the Clones last week to see how well it served the purpose. Mostly it worked, but scenes that were redundant with Episode I became necessary without it and had to be restored. Scenes such as the elevator ride Obi-Wan and Anakin take at the beginning, which is now the introduction of their characters. Then there’s Anakin meeting with Palpatine, unnecessary because they all just discussed doing what happens in this scene, is now the only way we know Anakin and Palpatine know each other or are close. Q2 had also removed any scenes with Darth Sidious anytime they could get away with it, but now the introduction of the character is the scene at the end with Dooku.  While I was at it, I let the arguments made in the Machete order article persuade me to restore most of Yoda’s confrontation with Dooku, which had been cut. I still cut a few shots so it looks less like Yoda is doing his best bouncy ball imitation.

With Episode II tweaked to serve as half the prequel story, I turned my focus to Episode III. All references to Vader had been removed and had to fotj3m(mostly) be restored. I was also convinced to restore the fight between Yoda and the Emperor. Without it, Anakin and Obi-Wan’s duel is uninterrupted and far more compelling in my opinion, so instead of restoring it to the way it was, I put the other fight scene into one scene as well and just had it take place first. Yoda barges in right as the Emperor’s last transmission to Vader ends, and Padme lands on Mustafar as soon as the fight is over. This makes more narrative sense anyway, since Yoda and Kenobi are at the Jedi Temple when they decide to fight the sith. Kenobi has to cross the galaxy while Yoda already has line-of-sight on his target.

I kept what I consider Q2’s stroke of brilliance, having Padme arrive on Alderaan with one of her children using footage from another film (the birth happens off screen and cuts out all the “She’s lost the will to live” crap). Not only is this what sold me on Q2’s edits in the first place, but it also fixes the biggest problem in Machete Order; seeing Padme die on camera and then an hour later into Return of the Jedi, Leia says she remembers her.

While scenes may be in a different order now I feel that they work well this way. I was amused to see that for Episode III my edit is ten minutes longer than Q2’s, but still manages to be half an hour shorter than the theatrical version. Granted, any cut scene that I put back in was trimmed at least a little, but having just watched it start to finish it felt complete and more polished despite the fact a couple of my edits had to be rougher than I’d prefer.


Strange New Worlds


I can’t believe how nervous I am at the thought of a new Star Trek series. To explain why I need to return to Star Trek Online, as whomever is writing Star Trek Online these days is doing a hell of a job. This post will contain minor spoilers for STO.

As anyone who has seen the 2009 film knows, Romulus has been destroyed by a “natural” disaster.  In game this occurred over 30 years ago and has vastly influenced the present day, from the fall of the Romulan Star Empire and rise of the Romulan Republic to the return of the Iconians.

Through a blatant disregard for the Temporal Prime Directive, I found myself facing a (fake) choice  with the ability to restore Romulus. This felt like an overwhelmingly big choice with a real moral dilemma. Something had to be done, and on one hand I could erase a terrible disaster that cost billions of lives, but would also erase all the gains the survivors had made towards a free and democratic society. To save Romulus meant restoring the Empire and deleting the Republic, which if you’re playing a Republic character must be more interesting…

As I said, the choice was fake as this mission could only be completed one way, but the game gave you the choice and time to delve into the moral implications fully before continuing. Considering how central this kind of situation is to the Star Trek ethos as a whole, I am very pleased about the way it was handled and very looking forward to the “exploration” themed expansion coming up.

Which brings us back to the new show that we know almost nothing about. Who, what, where and when are all essentially unanswered. All we’ve been told is new characters. The prime universe can be assumed since Paramount would need a cut for any stories in the Abramsverse, but that doesn’t rule it out entirely. But my biggest fear (other than it will suck) is that it will negate any/all of Star Trek Online’s story.

Historically retconning has happened now and then with the live action product but hasn’t been too much of a problem, meanwhile any other media has been ignored. But STO has felt different. It has felt more true to the source material than any other entertainment product I have encountered. Not only has it told some great stories, but in the process it has tied up LOTS of loose ends from all the different shows. It has filled a need for five years with no TV product to back it up, and to negate any of it would be a stupid mistake.

What I would like to see would be something that starts either during the game or shortly after it. Where the game stands now, we have fantastic uniforms, (some) great ship designs, and as the map points out, most of the galaxy left to explore. Not only that, but with a big war over we have a class of cadets who were rushed through their final year with a focus for battle who now have to learn to be explorers again. Plus a show running during the game could easily have tie-in missions which would probably boost its numbers, a win-win for CBS. There is so much that could be done with this that I can’t stand the thought that they won’t do it. While I think a show about the Andorian Captain Shon and the Enterprise F would be a great fit, any other ship & crew from the setting would be fine. Follow Miral Paris as a Captain for instance, that’s only an easy promotion away.

“It’s true, all of it.”

Until trailers started coming out, I had only ambivalence about any more live-action Star Wars films. Really? original cast? Do they all have wheelchairs? This was Disney, who at the time had only made one decision I had seen since purchasing the IP and that was to cancel Clone Wars on the spot. Sure, take the only good thing out of lucasfilm in 20 years out back and shoot it. Nobody will mind…. Sure, Rebels is good, but killing Clone Wars to get it mid-season was still a jerk move.

And then this happened.

Hope is a dangerous thing. Until recently there wasn’t any. Now JJ needs to not screw this up. On the plus side, all indicators are that he’s going about this in all the right ways.

And then the silliness of the Boycott Star Wars hashtag started because GASP a Female AND a POC are featured prominently on the poster. In the words of Justin Trudeau, “it’s 2015.”

In other news some of the build-a-bears Bunny made for her nieces and nephews just came back to us as hand-me-downs, sans their outfits. I think I remedied the situation well…