Okay, the last few weeks have seen a fury on the internet with what’s known as The Phantom Edit. This is a digitized version of The Phantom Menace (Star Wars Episode I) that someone has taken, created an MPG version, edited out all the stupid parts (mostly Jar Jar and Anakin yelling “Yippee” all the time) then re-distributed it. There were rumors that Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, etc.) had created it and the rumours continue.
Well, I hunted down a copy and took a look (hey, I’m curious!). After a day of downloading with my trusty cable modem, I got the files (two MPG files 500+ megabytes each) and watched it last night. It was ok. In fact I tip my hand (or is it hat) to the person who created it. It’s faster paced, more action based, makes the characters more acceptable and overall I think a better version than the one Lucas released.
After seeing an interview with Lucas about it on Access Hollywood, he didn’t outright say distributing the film was a problem but he certainly doesn’t want people making money off it (can you blame him?). Well, guess what’s on eBay right now? The Phantom Edit on video tape. Guess what the price is up to?? $91.00 US. My god. What kind of idiot would pay almost $100 for something you can download off the internet. True, maybe they don’t have a fast connection or the skills to go looking for it (took me about 10 minutes with a quick search on Yahoo). But would you be willing to pay almost $100 bucks for something like this? I mean, it’s digitized from the original and shrunk down to 320×240 (about 1/10 the original resolution) so it’s typical internet video quality. Good to look at in a small window on your desktop, crappy to look at on a 27″ television. Where is some peoples heads these days?