The first hour and a half or so of this edit is phenomenal and truly amazing, if it stayed that good it would almost have a 10/10 score for me but sadly I have complaints. After the scenes about the virus start things start to get confusing as time becomes harder to keep track of. Instead of easily pin pointing where in time I am watching like the rest of the film the final "third act" is a bunch of tribes from various movies, mostly interacting with Americans. The scenes dragged on so long and had been done better earlier in the film. These scenes really ruined the movie and its pacing, it should have been replaced with world wars and famous disasters but instead it ended, boring and confusing. HOWEVER the first hour is truly amazing and a wonder of cinema and I highly recommend at least watching the first half.
Somewhat shamefully, my anticipation for this, TMBTM’s latest fan-editing exercise, was dampened by a certain scathing review which appeared for one day and then disappeared the next. I thought to myself, could one of the best fan-editors in the community have really dropped the ball that badly?
The concept of Cosmogony excited me greatly. A deep, meaningful and very ambitious fan edit about “us”, using visuals and music to power the heart of the story. It’s quite honestly the kind of edit I’d been longing for an experienced editor to turn their hand to. The trailer just whetted the appetite even more, with Jean Michel Jarre’s mystical, majestic music marrying to beautiful imagery with effortless aplomb.
Most challenging question for an edit of this nature, especially one which runs over 2 hours, is simply in how well it can engage the viewer. After all, it’s all very well having pretty images to look at, but after about 30 minutes, if there’s no substance to engage us then one’s concentration and interest will undoubtedly begin to wane.
Initially, as the different chapters begin to unfold I was preparing myself for a narrative which would feel very loose and not necessarily hang together that effectively. It was a delightful surprise therefore to realise that TMBTM has taken much more care than that, with a linear storyline which actually makes sense, has relevance and perhaps most surprising of all, an emotional power which touched me greatly during various parts of the edit – particularly in the relationship we have with our own planet and how ruthlessly we treat it at times. In a way, I wasn’t prepared for how successful this element would be and I have to applaud TMBTM for his efforts here.
The music choices are varied, but uniformly excellent. Being a fan of the aforementioned Jean Michel Jarre , I was jumping for joy at the use of some of the composer’s lesser known pieces. He’s certainly the most prominent composer used (including some good use of the symphonic versions of his work), but there’s also some inspired choices from the likes of Judas Priest too. I have to admit that I was skeptical of actual songs being used, but TMBTM squashes such fears with the lyrics of the songs chosen being very relative to the scene they are combined with.
On the technical front I was amazed at how good the picture is for what is a single layer DVD. Yes, it would have been amazing to have this edit in HD, but to be fair it didn’t bother me one bit. Not to mention that ripping blu-ray files for the amount of films which are used here would demand a very big hard drive and a RAID RAM set-up to work well in the editing suite. Also, I love the stereo mix on the audio front. It sounded excellent through my system, and the absence of 5.1 mix didn’t even cross my mind. Plus, with the amount of extra “stereo” based music used in the edit, it would just seem superfluous to create a 5.1 mix for an edit like this.
Overall, Cosmogony is a fantastic piece of work. TMBTM always produces fine work, but here, with what many will label as a self-indulgent arty fanedit, he has arguably created his finest achievement to date. Perhaps not an edit for everyone, but I loved every beautiful second of it.
When TMBTM announced this project a few months back I was deeply intrigued. Taking the viewer on "a journey about us" is no small feat, and I think if anyone but TMBTM attempted such an ambitious project it would have failed.
It's really difficult to talk about this project as it's more about the emotion than a story per say. That said, it's a beautifully crafted piece that, I think, everyone should experience: fans of films for the entertainment value, and fan editors to see what one can do with fanedits.
I only have a handful of minor criticisms. I would have much preferred 5.1 over stereo. I would have also liked an HD release as this definitely warrants a 1080p viewing in my opinion. (Combined I knocked off 1-star for this.) It did feel a tad long and could have been trimmed by a few minutes here and there. Finally, I think it would have been more effective in the scenes with just music, especially in the beginning, if there were subtle sound effects too. (No points off for this, just a personal preference.)
Some might say this is pretentious. It might be, but the edit is effective is worth at least one watch.
Parts of Cosmogony were beautiful, combining tone poetry with reflections on life and humanity. I'm reminded of some of the documentaries and movies that have caused me to think of my place in the universe, and this ambitious edit is like a feature-length collage built from those pieces.
Cosmogony felt overly long in places, and large swaths of footage from The Emerald Forest carried unintentional goofiness that didn't match the tonality of the rest of the edit. The soundtrack was overlaid evenly and with skill and was appropriately ethereal or elegiac in places, though other musical selections didn't work so well and took me a bit out of the experience, particularly the overly dramatic synthesizers attached to the Apocalypto chase sequence.
The meditative and almost spiritual nature of TMBTM's effort reminds me of blueyoda's superb (fe) la vie series, in that they rely on no primary cinematic source to tell a deeply emotional story that cannot be neatly summarized. Definitely worth a watch.