1) earth is not found
2) earth is found in present day
3) earth is found in our ancient past
4) everyone dies.
I found 3 to be the most likely and satisfying proposition and that's what the show creators went with.
In any case, I found a LOT of problems with this edit. I even went through the trouble of comparing the two side by side (DVD and this edit).
First the positive:
most edits are seamless and I watched the 2GB mkv video version of this, not in surround sound.
Also didn't notice anything jumping out audio-wise. I liked the beginning with the translations. Well done.
Also, I think there were a few deleted scenes added to the fanedit which I appreciated (or I don't remember those scenes anymore).
Now the not-exhaustive list of the negatives, in no specific order:
1) Athena is killed? WTF? And Helo dies too? So Hera is raised by Baltar and Six (or whatever that 'real' cylon is named)? Why? Did not work for me at all.
2) "Disposition of fleet: unknown". Very unsatisfying for a viewer, I would think. That just raises more questions. This is under the category of "fan fix." After watching this, I felt like the original edit gets so much more right and the editor isn't fixing anything but mudding it up more.
3) the raptor "accidentally" shooting off nukes vs now in the fanedit it is by human intention. This seems like choosing to turn a metaphysical event into straightforward human action-taking. The meteoroid hitting the "zombie raptor" comes across as divine providence, given what is going on in the story and not "deus ex machine", in the sense that it is completely random and a cop-out. So that change didn't work for me either. And that raptor gets left behind the fan edit. More open endings instead of less.
4) The colonists land on earth and the title reads "10,000 years before the Fall of Caprica." I read through the changes the editor made. Am I missing something here? How can the colonists land on earth BEFORE the Fall of Caprica?? Caprica falls and THEN the colonists leave their 12 colonies in search of Earth. What you could maybe write is "present day earth: 10,000 years AFTER the Fall of Caprica."
5) It seems the editor tried to fix issues with the story that weren't there: in the fan edit, it seems ONLY the Galactica makes it to Earth, the rest of the fleet is bye-bye, never saw the Galactica again once it jumped into battle. Apparently the editor does not understand that after Galactica jumped to earth, she couldn't jump anymore but Adama sent a jump-capable raptor to the fleet and that raptor then guided the fleet to earth. I read the editor's change list and he apparently did not understand this point and thought there was a plot-hole where in fact there is not.
I'm sorry to be so negative. I know how much work goes into something like this. I just think this edit made things worse than better. I am definitely sticking to my original episodes.
Starbuck doesn't disappear. But the alternative is not more satisfying to me. Crying at Sam's bathtub.
This review may confuse viewers because it contains spoilers filtered through a lens of the originally released ending. If you watch this ending assuming that certain events mean the same as in the original, then you will find yourself unsatisfied. Most pertinent to this reviewer's questions, the original gives us two different Earths, which miraculously both have the same constellations and indigenous homo sapiens. This edit does not.
As to the reviewer's criticisms, though, I welcome them as much as the praise from the others. The reviewer dislikes how I replaced divine providence with human intention, a happy ending for beloved characters with a painful and foreshadowed one, and a thoroughly likeable set of parents for Hera with a morally ambiguous pair. He also dislikes how in some places, instead of answering certain questions, I simply raise more.
I can safely say that all of these are exactly what I set out to do, and that they characterize what I like in my Battlestar Galactica and in my storytelling in general. I can also assure the reviewer that I am not in misunderstanding of the jump capabilities of Galactica and its raptors, and that my dates chosen were extremely deliberate--watch without assumptions from the original, and this may become clearer. The images and text for the menus in the DVD version may also be considered minor Easter eggs.
Thanks for the kind words on the audio and video editing--it's good to know that even for people who have different tastes in stories, the technical aspects still worked.
I was quite excited to follow the progress of his edit and now after a bit of a delay I can finally take the chance to post my thoughts on the experience.
I watched the DVD version from my HTPC, and technically the edit is very well put together; the video looked great for SD quality and the audio featured a nice 5.1 track that is always welcome. A deserved 10 for AV quality.
Now in terms of editing I only have to point out that I found a couple of the transitions including a fade here and a cut there to be somewhat jarring, but considering the intention behind them and the fact that there is not much choice in how to implement them I'd say they can be overlooked. Because of this its 9s all around for the editing scores.
It's been a while since I last watched this flawed piece of entertainment - since it originally aired back in 2009 I think. And I was amazed at how easy it was to jump back in and feel all the excitement at the truly awesome first part of this extended episode.
I'd have to watch the original version again, but I believe that Menbailee has left the first half completely untouched, and that's a good call in my book. The Galactica and her crew's final mission intertwined with those character development flashbacks provide a pure gold final cap on a great series and remain a "by the edge of your seat" type of quality television.
Now, the controversy comes along right after that is when things got murky in the original version and is of course where this edit really mixes things up.
First off, I really liked how final moment for Starbuck is handled this time around. It went from something extremely vague to a proper final scene that brings close for the character while still leaving a reasonable amount of lingering questions about who she is and what really happened to her to personal interpretation. Nicely done :)
Also, added that, trimming the final hour to focus on the protagonists was a very smart choice. By focusing on Adama's final farewell for Roslin; added to Baltar and Caprica Six's realization and Lee the chief's somewhat clean slates at the end of the journey provide a satisfying conclusion.
As much as I feel that many of the editing choices were very spot on, I can't say that I agree with all of them. Particularly the rest of fleet's fate as teased in the special features caught me by surprise and I'm still torn on whether it should have been handled somewhat similarly to the original ending or not... however it did feel like a plot thread left just dangling.
Because of this last issue I give 8 for Narrative; and a solid 9 for overall Enjoyment.
To sum things up, this edit is a very smartly condensed and improved version for the 2000s version of Battlestar Galactica. One that many fans of the series would likely enjoy more than the original.
Congrats and thank you to Menbailee for taking the time and effort.
But as Bob said into the review enough ranting.
Video quality Bob said all that needed to be said, Good over all but some ups and downs with some of the deleted scenes. The one that stuck out the most was the flashback one with Boomer. also on this scene. First it's very well placed and does well to draw the intended emotional response. But on a side note, man they must program those sleeper Cylons all super crazy good cause she totally sold that her fake family died.
Moving on Audio. I did find a few audio errors in the edit. but to be fair to the editor I am in the middle of a re-score so every little audio anything pop's out at me. But with that said there are no horrible transitions.
Touching on the one Earth idea Bob mentioned. It works but I did have to pause it to kinda grasp what the change meant before moving on.
Here is where Bob and I differ. I personally loved the sending the fleet into the sun part of the episode. I never got the impression they left 100% of it on the ships. I just got the impression they got rid of all advanced tech I.E Battle Stars/Weapons and anything super advanced. That being said the editor did a good job of removing that scene. However one part that felt off was when Adama takes the last raptor of the ship. It's understood that's that no one is to step foot on the ship again, yet we see Starbuck up there later. Not a huge thing. (But great way to give her a new resolution, she ends up with well i dont want to spoil it)
Lastly addressing the Adama leaving forever part. Even though the lines about him saying goodbye to everyone. It still very much felt like he went to be the same hermit. I think it was the way Starbuck and Lee said goodbye to him that kinda made it still feel like a permanent goodbye. I assume they were supposed to be showing sympothy for him since his love was about to die?
Oh yeah as Bob said best part of the edit was the resolution of the Opera house.
I love the original show with almost blind passion.
So when the Ron Moore reboot was announced by SyFy (or was it still SciFi, back then? lol) I was nervous and skeptical. But the mini-series quickly won me over and I became an avid fan when the series proper launched. For me, seasons one and two are near perfect. Season three was strong though you could sense the wheels on the show were starting to get loose. Season four the show went completely off the rails for me. And the series Finale? It was a very maddening experience for me.
What did I dislike about the Finale? There are soooooo many things....
--- Hated the flashbacks! Feels like filler created so they could give Baltar one last retro-con.
--- Little or no pay off to all the established major subplots like the Opera House Prophecy
--- The fact, after spending four yarhens with these characters, watching them sweat, bleed and sacrifice to survive, once they finally get to Earth they give up all tech and go their separate ways.... uh, really? So the theme of working together meant nothing? I mean, with no tech, alone in small groups, in a hostile planet, you just know all these Colonials will be probably be dead in a few years!
--- The vague Starbuck plot resolution did not bother me too much, but it frustrated me after a season of seemingly trying to be bold and clever, Moore was afraid to make a final statement either way about the existence of God/Gods.
--- Oh yeah, Adama, the symbol of Human Complexity and Endurance, just gives up and leaves his people!
--- And then, were are told they found Earth over a 100,000 years in the past, so we now know the Colonials had absolutely no impact in the creation of our modern civilization.... basically giving the finger to the core theme of them being Ancient Astronauts and the forefathers of Man.
--- And for one last kick in the balls, the New York Epilogue which darkly hints (despite what Caprica Angel says) that Man is doomed and Machines will rise to destroy us again.
So in the end, the entire four seasons of story investment was for fracking NOTHING!!!!
I know this must sound like a rant, but stick with me, it does turn into a rave.... LOL.
So now we have Menbailee's version of the nuBSG Finale.
And I must say, it is a solid and more satisfying experience than the original.
Menbailee's goal seems to be to try to retro-con the Finale to it resolves/pay offs most of the previous seasons set ups. And I think for the most part he succeeds, though some of his solutions open new subjects for debate and speculation.
The Opera House Prophecy is given a BRILLIANT solution. This is my favorite part of the fan edit. I really think the concept Menbailee came up with was so genius and obvious, I can not fathom why Moore and company did not think of it themselves. Great work M!
One of the main plot points Menbailee was obsessed with resolving/proving was the Earth Constellation Conundrum. Menbailee's theory is there is only ONE Earth, thus the Cylon Earth and Second Earth must be one in the same. (personally, I really like the idea of finding a second planet and naming it after your hopes and dreams, but I understand Menbailee's edit objective) His solution to this problem was very interesting and I think executed as well as it could be considering the source material available, though some viewers might find it confusing as there is really only a Title Card that suggests what has happened. It also opens up a whole Timey-Wimey Can of Worms in regards to paradoxs, alternate history or repeating history all over again. Not to mention what happens to the rest of the fleet.... though there is a fun bonus feature connected to this....
The final fates of our heroes end on a slightly more positive note. Adama does not give up. The fleet is not destroyed. There is plan to survive and build. In fact, Menbailee alters the Colonial's Earth Arrival date, clearly establishing that they are our founding fathers. And Starbuck's ending is very different, and during the Jump Scene, Menbailee tries to provide a subtle clue to Kara's origin, though I think it opens a whole new line of unresolved discussion. Menbailee also smartly cuts the New York Epilogue, so the story ends on an uplifting note of Hope.
As I said, a much more satisfying story.
Though Menbailee does retain the Caprica Flashbacks, which I still feel reveal absolutely nothing new or significant about our characters. Though I must admit, I did like how Menbailee recut the final Apollo scene with the bird. Very clever.
There is a lot of story in this movie, and it could be challenging for the viewer who has not seen the show in a while, so I think it would have helped if the edit had retained or created a "Previously..." teaser to bring the audience up to speed.
Technically, for a firstling edit this is very good work. Audio was fine as far as I could discern. The video quality fluctuates because Menbailees incorporates lower quality deleted scenes and/or has cropped/zoomed in other scenes. But these are acceptable as they function wonderfully to tell his new narrative.
The bonus features are fun, though they could have used a little more editorial/technical polish.
So if you are a New Battlestar Galactica fan, and like me was frustrated and disappointed by the original series finale, I highly recommend you check out this fan edit.