In November of 2002, Episode II made its way to the large screen format known as IMAX. At the time, IMAX film differed from regular film in a number of ways. The film itself was quite larger (70mm with no compression) and the film ran horizontally as opposed to vertically. These are just two of the differences.
At the time, IMAX films could only be a certain length so the running time of the film had to be reduced, which led to the deletion of entire scenes creating yet another version of Episode II – The IMAX version.
It’s basically the same as the digital print of Episode II but with big chunks left out. It’s a shorter, more concise version, you might say.
While I don’t have a definitive or official list of changes, here’s a little something written by Craig Lenti. It’s a mixed review of the IMAX version of the film but it also contains a partial list of some of the things that were edited out.
I just came back from the 7:30 IMAX screening. Want the short version? Rent the full screen version…turn the bass up REAL high…and sit real close to the screen. Plus fast forward a couple of parts that you find boring. Welcome. You’ve just experienced AOTC in IMAX.
As someone who is a HUGE star wars fan and saw AOTC 5 times this summer , 4 of which were digital, this was kind of a waste to me. I was REALLY excited before the movie started… and then the previews started, and it went downhill from there. I was hoping MAYBE it’d be in it’s original aspect ratio but nope…full screen.
Here’s a partial list of some of the things they deleted:
- Original meeting with Palpatine right after the assassination attempt
- Meeting Jar-Jar at the elevator
- Small cuts right before Coruscant chase
- Anakin levitating the orb and some dialogue in Amidala’s chamber
- Obi-Wan, Mace and Yoda discussing Anakin
- Padmé saying goodbye to her handmaiden
- Library Scene
- Padmé and Anakin meeting with Queen on Naboo
- The Meadow scene (entire thing)
- Part of fireplace scene (quick and painless)
- Boba turning Slave 1 to fire at Obi-Wan
- Meeting Owen, Beru and Cliegg
- Part of meeting with Dooku and Obi-Wan
- Any discussion after Obi-Wan’s transmission and attack (scenes with Bail Organa)
- Small cuts in the droid factory scene
- Credits are EXTREMELY short
That’s all I can remember at the moment. There was a lot of important dialogue missing and Palpatine is barely in the movie now.
As far as the presentation, again I cannot get over watching this movie in Pan & Scan. The bass was up WAY too high and the ending (Imperial March) was barely discernable under that heavy bass. The print was too dark and shadows made everything too dark. There was some pixelization/macroblocking in some scenes. It was also VERY close to the actors faces. I was close to the back of the theater and it was just too big. You could see all of Hayden’s make-up (tanning lotion anyone?) as well as Ian McDiarmid’s.
This brings me to the picture quality. Full movies should NOT be in IMAX. There’s too much going on – too much fast motion. It’s really made for slow pans and interesting “worlds” but not for a movie that you’re supposed to listen to and experience. After a while it just gave me a headache. Alot of the fast scenes just became one big blur.
So that’s that. I’m glad I went and I can now say that I experienced it, but I’m not thrilled with what I saw.
THE ORIGINAL ENDING SEQUENCE
In the 2nd draft of the screenplay, the wedding shots came before the shots of the Clone Army departing Coruscant for war.
Also note that in the digital print and on the DVD version of Episode II there is an added shot of Anakin’s metal hand taking Padmé’s hand during the ceremony. This was originally added for the theatrical digital print and then carried over to the DVD and subsequent releases.
Here’s the excerpt from the 2nd draft of Episode II:
EXT. NABOO LAKE RETREAT, LODGE, GARDEN – LATE DAY
In a rose-covered arbor overlooking the sparkling late, ANAKIN and PADMÉ stand before a NABOO HOLY MAN.
THREEPIO and ARTOO stand by, watching, as the HOLY MAN blesses the happy couple and, amid gently falling rose petals, ANAKIN and PADMÉ kiss.
EXT. CORUSCANT, MILITARY STAGING AREA, BALCONY – LATE DAY
PALPATINE, JAR JAR, BAIL ORGANA and the OTHER SENATORS, with TWO ROYAL GUARDS, stand looking down at the square below.
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF CLONE TROOPS are drawn up in a strict formation or move forwards in near files to climb the ramps of the Military Assault Ships.
On the balcony, PALPATINE’S expression is deeply sad. Everyone watches somberly as, in the square, loaded Assault Ships take off. Others land immediately in their place. The sky above is thick with transports. CLONE TROOPS march and board the ships.
The Great Clone War has begun…