This is an extremely professional edit. I was completely unable to tell what things were added and removed. The story is tighter, the title cards are INCREDIBLE, and the cuts made are seamless. It felt like this was the way the movie was supposed to be.
I think it could have done with maybe another 10 minutes removed, but as it is it felt cohesive and confident in its delivery. It's pretty crazy what can be done with clever editing and a plan. Great work!!
Edit: holy cow I just read through your list of changes. The amount of work you put into this is enormous and it really shows. The added effects, the tightened dialogue, the extraneous shots removed, it all adds up to a very enjoyable movie.
I'm not a big fan of non-chronlogical storytelling, and having not grown up reading the Eternals comics, the original movie had two big things going against it. It was serviceable, as most MCU movies are, but nothing that stood out. Keo's edit was a vast improvement, his trims and the reordering of scenes allowing a better and more natural flow. The chapter cards were a neat inclusion that helped set it apart from other MCU films, and while there was some audio issues, I preferred Keo's choice of music over the original songs.
This edit will definitely be my go-to version of "The Eternals" for future viewings. Highly recommended!
First, a couple of things:
1. This review contains spoilers for the movie (duh) and the specific changes made to the film by Wakeupkeo.
2. For context, I'm not a filmmaker of any kind. Not as a hobby or a profession. I have written comics for fun and very little profit, so I know a something about story, and I enjoy books and videos about the making of movies, but at the end of the day I'm really a layman when it comes to all that.
I checked out this edit because of what Wakeupkeo's stated was their intention on IFDB. The Apostasy Edit delivers on everything that was promised. Wakeupkeo has centered (in their words) "illustrating the sense of loss and disorientation that happens once that religious mission has no meaning".
In the original version of the film puts a lot of obstacles in its way. It struggles to convey theme and follow the characters. The main cause of this is the non-chronological structure. I can't say for sure what Chloé Zhao intended by structuring the movie this way, but my guess is to keep focus on the characters and their relationships throughout the majority of the runtime of the movie, rather than confining it to the beginning? That makes sense on paper, but when you have a cast of ten (at least) new characters, I think there's a certain amount of pragmatism you have to surrender to if you're going to also be working with such deep themes.
Right off the jump, the Apostasy edit fixes this. Wakeupkeo takes roughly the first half of the famously long exposition dump from the middle of the movie and places it at the beginning. No more big blocks of text. I can't believe how much this single change set the movie up for success. Instead of reading a not particularly interesting prologue, we get most of the same info in the form of a really exciting visual sequence that shows instead of tells.
Then, the edit uses the flashback scenes that are sprinkled throughout the original movie to set the table at the beginning of this version. Within 20 minutes or so (just a guess, I didn't time it out or anything) we have a good idea of who each character is, what they want, and their relationships to each other. Give the original some credit, too. All of this is buried in there, but it took some real skill to bring it all out.
Music is a huge part of this version of the film. Wakeupkeo has added tons of needle drop cues. The songs are well chosen to set the mood of the scenes where they appear. There's a certain "on the nose" feeling to the original score in certain places that fails to evoke the sense of grandeur that it aspires to. The visuals are usually enough to convey what needs to be conveyed without gilding the lily with and overwrought score.
Don't get me wrong. The movie hasn't been turned into a rock opera or a series of music videos. Wakeupkeo has left the score when it's needed, particularly in the third act. The addition of the new music vs. the scenes that retain the score makes the tone feel balanced. I also really enjoy the "angelic chanting" that Wakeupkeo added for certain scenes. That actually does add a lot of gravitas.
The new music also pulls previously unfocused sequences together. The action scenes in particular have been given new life, momentum, and continuity.
Like I mentioned before, the big exposition dump in the middle of the movie as been cut in two. The second part, where Arishem reveals to Cersi what the Eternals really are, isn't tedious, and doesn't overwhelm the audience. Instead, it's intriguing and exciting, as I imagine it was intended.
The new title cards are another helpful signpost that guides us through the Eternals' journey. This goes hand in hand with restructuring the movie to play out chronologically. It's the same idea. There are many characters and relationships to keep straight in the movie, so it works best to streamline the other things to make room in the audience's brain. For a movie like this (a Marvel movie with ten new characters that also dips its toes into deep and new-for-Marvel themes) it feels much more appropriate to guide the audience along the Eternals' spiritual journey with a stronger hand. Its like telling the viewer "okay, heads up, lets see how each character handles this stage of loss." The names that Wakeupkeo chose for the section names are perfect guideposts. (Are these titles taken from an existing philosophical idea? If it's an original concept, holy shit.) We really do see these stages play out. It's not a gimmick. Wakeupkeo was able to pick these themes out of the original film and organize them in a way that brings everything together nicely.
All those changes are huge, and obviously alter the viewing experience in ways that anyone will instantly pick up on. What isn't quite as obvious but becomes very clear when you look at the listed changes are all of the tiny well-considered cuts that really make things flow so well. It really is my favorite part of the edit. Huge improvement. The biggest flaw with most of the latest Marvel movies is very oddball editing that can add up to a somewhat slapdash feeling throughout. That's not something I would normally be able to detect on my own, but it's been pointed out to me enough that it actually has started bugging me. Here - in virtually every single scene - the small edits that Wakeupkeo made take the movie from "serviceable" to "excellent" and everything really rolls along so nicely. Great attention to detail and super impressive skill at play.
But, there were a few small things that didn't work for me. Really small things:
During fight scenes, the music ducks in and out very quickly when loud sound or dialogue comes in. For example, a Deviant knocks Ikaris to the ground. The music ducks to highlight the sound of the impact, the comes back up to normal level very quickly, then ducks very quickly again when Ikaris hits the ground and shouts. (I just made that example up - it's not an actual moment in the film. Just an example.) It would be less distracting if the music didn't return between those two beats of the fight. I think some adjustments to the settings on the compressor (or whatever tool was used to do the ducking) would fix that.
Just my preference, but I think adding music to the Hiroshima scene took away from the impact of the situation and Brian Tyree Henry's performance. All the other new additions to the music work.
The font choice for the text that introduces each "stage" doesn't match the aesthetic of the rest of the movie. Something more understated would have been better.
Related to that, showing the title of the movie is usually something Marvel saves for the end. Showing at the beginning and the end, I wasn't a fan of. Not really important except it helps the movie feel like a true part of the MCU. But a 1/10 on the scale of stuff that actually matters.
Overall, this is without a doubt superior to the official cut. I really like the movie anyway, so I might not be the toughest to convert, but the major problems I did have with it (besides the lack of chemistry between Richard Madden and Jemma Chan) are pretty much fixed. Not only that, but Wakeupkeo has made so many improvements that bring out additional layers in the story and characters. I can't recommend this highly enough for both fans of the original and people who had bigger problems with it. I can't recommend it enough.
The edit was really well done, and some scenes I really really liked, while some I did like less, however, I realize when you take specific things out of the storyline, this would cause a disruption and probably some holes in the logic. I try to say things without spoiling anything. This movie must have been really hard to edit since there are several characters in the movie with their own story arcs as well as their own endings in the same movie, so much respect to the editor!
Short review - Great edit of a not so great movie. I still don't completely enjoy the movie, but it's far better than the original. The narrative is really improved here, and just overall a better experience.
I'm not sure if it's because I downloaded the lower quality file or if it's with the 4k version as well but the audio quality wasn't the best. I'll have to download that version and compare. I did enjoy the added songs, and didn't notice them too much except for the Tool song. Though I really enjoyed having it in there.