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.
This is beautiful.
A beautiful, bold and lyrical experiment in artful storytelling.
I will be honest, I did not quite grasp it all. But what did not register with my intellect definitely manipulated me emotionally. There were moments where I did struggle with the narrative; where it felt a bit too long or drawn out, but then the story would evolve and I would find myself engrossed again.
I don't know if is this something I would watch repeatedly, but I do feel richer for the experience.
Thank you TMBTM!
Having been intrigued by TMBTM's idea's for this, I went in with both eyes open. And, I can say I'm glad I did. A truly breathtaking experience, mixing stunning imagery, with a stunning soundtrack and a cohesive narrative.
Telling the story of us, where we've been, where we are and where we're going, TMBTM has taken some of the classics of our lifetime (The Mission, 2001, The Outlaw Josie Wales, etc), stripped them down to a core component and slapped them together to create a mind bending voyage of our past, present and possible future. And, it works. Although I would have said the scenes at the end would have been better at the beginning, but this was his choice to put them where he did, and it also works. The imagery at the beginning of space and various nebulae is truly stunning, and gets you in the mood for what is to come, and is also helped along by generous amount of Judas Priest and Beethoven, amongst others.
Picture-wise, it's great, with just a bit of pixellation here and there, but it doesn't stop the enjoyment. The music levels were sometimes a bit too high for my liking, but given the subject matter (and that it's Judas Priest), it can be forgiven.
This is the sort of movie that should be shown at festivals, as it's a thought provoking, moving and epic edit that shows that TMBTM has a true talent.
TMBTM makes them like no one else makes them. This is an epic, mind bending, meditative, spiritual, philosophical brain bender of an edit. I loved the ambition and the scope, and was able to keep up with the intention of the chosen scenes most of the time.
Personal preference would have seen less wailing electric guitars (those sections distracted me a little) in favour of some ambient tracks from Arvo Part, or Sigur Ros, and I think the whole thing could have been a few minutes shorter, but that's not really the point here.