Star Wars - Episode VI: Return of the Jedi – The Spence Final Cut

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8.3 (40)
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8.3
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8.9(14)
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7.7(14)
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8.2(14)
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Overall rating
 
8.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Audio Editing
 
6.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
I share much of Spence's disappointment with RotJ. So I was really looking forward to this. I like a lot of the narrative revisions here. Starting with having Luke on Dagobah at the beginning. It always felt wrong that Yoda tells him his training has been completed when he just returned for the first time since Obi Wan and Yoda pleading with him not to go to Cloud City until he completed his training. That said, I'm not crazy about the flashes to Luke on Dagobah when Han and Leia are in trouble at Jabba's Palace. I get the intent but I think viewers would be okay without these flashes.

The whole Jabba's section is much tighter, which was needed in my opinion. Getting rid of Boba Fett and his awful death scene go without saying as positive changes.

A minor quibble, but Luke now separates from the rest of the group as they leave Tatooine for no apparent reason and just shows up to the briefing late.

One random thing that's not really a complaint with this edit is the terrible matte painting of the Falcon when Han and Lando are talking. I'm hoping Adywan is able to redo that when we (eventually) get his Jedi Revisited.

Once we get going on the mission a lot of cheese has been removed and we get to the point a lot faster. In particular, Han is no longer the chump he was originally portrayed as. With a lot of that cheese trimmed the focus is now more strongly on the Luke/Vader/Emperor storyline, which is how it should be at this point of the story.

Speaking of which, Spence obviously thought strongly that these scenes should happen off the Death Star (and I understand his reasoning). I can't say I ever had similar feelings. Though what he's done, he's done well. I still really don't feel it's necessary. But it doesn't detract either. I very much like the Luke/Vader duel happening uninterrupted but it comes at a cost. I feel Vader's defeat comes too soon. I would've liked to have seen the shield destroyed and the attack on the Death Star begin before Vader's defeat. The cut back to the Throne Room when the Emperor attacks Luke is jarring as well.

Again I get the intent but the Anakin's Theme music over Vader's death just doesn't work for me. I didn't mind the earlier use of Duel of the Fates.

I love cutting out Han being a chump about Leia loving Luke but the cuts feel a little rough. I also like ending with the funeral pyre but right after it irises to the credits the music got twice as loud. Not sure if that happens for everyone. Seemed weird.

Overall I enjoyed it. It would be very close to replacing the original for me were it in HD. As it is, I'll probably show both to my kids and see which they prefer.

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Overall rating
 
9.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
Really liked it. This is my go to edit of Return of the Jedi. Thank you. If I'm watching the OT, its gonna be Harmy's Despecialized Ep 4, Lucas' Ep 5, and this to cap it off. I always thought it was silly that Luke appeared to be skipping in and out of his Jedi Training. I was fairly ambivalent about moving the confrontation with Palpatine off the Death Star. It never bothered me before that this took place on the Death Star, and it doesn't really bother me to have it on a ship. I felt the parts where Luke is sensing the danger on Tatooine seemed a little jarring. The transitions between the two scenes felt too quick. I do believe this movie is better off with most of the Jabba and Tatooine nonsense cut out. Not my best review, sorry, but I did enjoy it.

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(Updated: February 23, 2013)
Overall rating
 
7.3
Audio/Video Quality
 
7.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
6.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
7.0
I finally watched this, and I have to say it's a tough one to review. Overall I think I enjoyed it, and although there were many things that didn't work for me, it was a pretty interesting watch.

The main footage (I assume) is from the 2004 DVD, which means in some cases we get some SE footage I would rather not see again. Spence did cut around some of the worst stuff (the Jabba palace musical number and the Hayden force ghost, for instance), but Vader's awful candy cane lightsaber is still there. And in some cases he replaced SE footage with other sources (presumably the GOUT?), but it sticks out pretty badly. I know he did the best he could with it, but it still bugged me.

As others have mentioned, there were a few audio hiccups, mainly several places where the lip sync was slightly off and the really jarring increase in audio levels when the credits roll. Oh, and the fact that the "Fanedited by Spence" credit is superimposed over another credit feels sloppy. Give yourself more credit, man!

The prequel music worked fine, but it's always jarring for me when I hear it during an OT music.

The other two things that stood out for me were that I missed some of Han's lines (like "fly casual" and "hey, it's me") and I was at first confused by the Emperor not being on the Death Star. I thought that needed to be established better.

The opening sequence was pretty neat to watch, although I still think I prefer the original. The way Spence handled Leia meeting Wicket was fantastic. And the Ewok battle was pretty well done as well.

In, the end, I gave this a 7/10 due to the minor tech issues and the things that just didn't work for me. At the same time, I do recommend watching this, as it's a really interesting attempt at editing a Star Wars movie that hasn't seen too many edits.

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Overall rating
 
7.1
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Audio Editing
 
6.0
Narrative
 
7.0
Enjoyment
 
7.0
7/10

Decent edit. Some great ideas. Some which I didn’t feel worked as well.

Liked new cut down opening – although I did wonder why Chewbacca was instantly captured in the crawl!

The separation after the rescue was weird – why did Luke go off somewhere else – and the reunion then after the briefing was…weird. Why are they so overjoyed to see him - they saw him, like 5 minutes ago. And why does Luke choose that moment to get all mystical about her being his sister. That should have been cut.

I liked the new arrangement of the final battle. Keeps the tension up, really well handled. Although the shield should have gone down earlier – there’s enough tension in the original version of the attack run to be intercut with the Emperor.

However – why did you move them off the death star? I had no idea where they were. You seemed to indicate they were on the SSD, but you could SEE it in the battle, AND the Death Star. So they were just lurking about on another random SSD? Also it deflated the attack run of any tension. They’re not on the Death Star, so who cares if they blow it up? In the original the Death Star = Emperor, so blowing it up was a big deal and a crippling blow to the Empire. In your cut they just blew up a big gun….

Also, the death of the Emperor came too early – it should have come after the death star blowing up – it’s the death of the Emperor that the galaxy is celebrating! Everyone was cheering when the death star goes up and all I’m thinking is “but what about the gigantic fleet with the SSD and everything still parking off ready to kick everyone’s ass”. They seemed much more of a threat in your cut than the Death Star.

The duel of the fates was really out of jarring - but I LOVED the Anakin theme music at the end. Inpsired!

And the last shot of the movie being Vader. YES!

In all I enjoyed the movie. It was a fresh cut, with some amazingly good ideas. Would you ever do a v2 with the Emperor back on the Death Star and his death during the attack run (remember, it’s not a given that they succeed…)?
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Overall rating
 
7.1
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
7.0
Audio Editing
 
6.0
Narrative
 
7.0
Enjoyment
 
7.0
A/V Quality 9/10
The quality matches the source. There are noticeable video quality differences during the intersected scenes from the original version, but again, they match the source material. Audio levels were not always consistent, e.g. the ending credits volume jump and skip. Pretty good though

Visual Editing 7/10
I liked the idea of this edit, but some of the cuts are just too hard and make the scenes feel like they are going by way too fast. I know this is due to video cropping out scenes for continuity's sake, but it just seemed a bit off and rushed. The vision scene were Luke senses what is happening in Jabba's palace was a neat concept, but didn't really work for me. I've struggled with this too in my own edit of this movie. I think one obvious look from Luke and a cut to Jabba's palace let's the audience make the connection to the scene in empire and know that he is seeing what they are seeing. And who doesn't want to have Jedi vision? :) But that should go in the narrative section I suppose. I didn't care for the lightsaber duel cuts either. They felt very jarring and mispaced. Not sure how they got from in front of the emperor to coming up the steps. Video played backward was noticeable also. The death star in the background was intriguing and looked like it was still in concept phase (graphic wise), however it was integrated very well. No more jiggling stars during that scene :) Other nitpicking comes from the transitions. Not sure why a still of the outside of Jabba's palace was used for such a long duration without sound. Other transitions seemed rushed or out of place. However most of the small cuts that took out phrases were done quite well and are only noticeable to those of us who've watched the ot a billion times.

Audio 6/10
I had a hard time with the audio in this edit. I appreciate the fact that some scenes had to receive a new soundtrack for them, did you do foley? It was neat to think of you actually creating those sounds, but the mix was off in most of those scenes. I like the idea of music during the speeder chase, but the music was a little off for the scene and ended anticlimactically. As stated above, the end credits aren't synced with the edit material and jump dramatically in volume. Last, duel of the fates seemed out of place. It did heighten the intensity of the scene, but once the scene was over, the movie felt flat. This seems to be my main complaint of this edit. Great ideas, but the implementation makes me feel like a short winded sprinter who sprints 100 meters then has to walk 400 meters to catch my breathe.

Narrative 7/10
So this is hard to rate for me. I'd give you an 8 or 9 on story, but the visual aspect of the narrative distracted me from what you were trying to accomplish. As I said, I liked the vision concept, I even liked the flashback ideas, but they were forced (no pun intended) in their presentation. I think a minimalistic approach, like the one I mentioned about the vision, allows for greater story telling as it allows the viewer to fill in and actively collaborate with you as editor. I like the boldness of your edit, but I think it needed a revisited treatment in order for the visuals to equal the story you were trying to tell us, and I do like your story more than Lucas'.

Enjoyment 7/10
The enjoyment of this edit came from the concept and changes such as the death star floating behind the emperor's head. I liked the idea and the fact that Jabba's palace was cut way back. This edit gave me some great ideas for my own personal edit that I work on now and then. So, Thank you spence for your contribution. Even though it's not what I would call "the version" of rotj, I'd still recommend this to anyone that is searching for ideas on how to tighten up the story of jedi.

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