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So much talk has gone into whether the prequels to the Star Wars saga are essential to the viewing experience, or if they're useless pieces of celluloid that aren't even worth the space in one's film library. Yet for as much as they're hotly contested, they are also the subject of some rather interesting fan edits that try to save them – the latest being the "Anti Cheese" edits.
YouTube user "Jeremy Mwest-Esquire" has gone through each of the three Star Wars prequels and trimmed them into much more manageable products. He has done so by deleting all of the extraneous, annoying, and just plain failures of scenes from all of the prequels that were designed to help make more sense of Star Wars. All three edits, recently shared by Polygon, weigh in between an hour and a half to two hour and change experiences, with a list of edits made included with each post. The results, while somewhat of an improvement, are also a little uneven.
Take Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace for example. The original running time of the film was 136 minutes, a good portion of which was taken up by Jar Jar Binks' hijinks, young Anakin Skywalker spouting kid-friendly catchphrases, and a little too much podracing for its own good. Yet through the miracle of the "Anti Cheese" edits, almost a full hour is removed from the film, turning it into a 92 minute running time of less painful viewing. So if you would rather have had George Lucas' 1999 re-awakening of the Star Wars franchise end at Qui Gon-Jinn's funeral, with the hint of threat to come being the final piece of action in the film, then you've finally gotten your wish.
Unfortunately, these edits do have extreme technical limitations, as these edits can only be done with the materials available to the pubic. So while the omission of the Gungan peace parade at the end of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace might seem like a good idea for more serious moviegoers, it manages to create an awkward editing problem that isn't as slick as the finished film itself. Of course, when it comes to awkward editing, we can only imagine how interesting Topher Grace's Episode III.5 – The Editors Strike Back must have turned out, seeing as he turned all three prequels into one 85 minute long film.
Still, warts and all, the "Anti Cheese" edition, or any re-editing of Star Wars' prequel films for that matter, presents an interesting exercise in movie watching. With debates and discussions raging on about how to introduce new fans to the series, as well as how die hard fans should truly be maximizing their enjoyment of the George Lucas portion of the saga, these three films throw some more fuel onto the fire. Thankfully, that fire shouldn't rage on for too much longer, as Star Wars: The Force Awakens breaks radio silence and wows fans in theaters across the globe as early as Thursday night.