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

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(Updated: September 09, 2012)
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Review by STANKPAC — March 28, 2011 @ 2:38 am

*This rating was given before reviews were required*
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(Updated: September 09, 2012)
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Review by geminigod — March 24, 2011 @ 3:15 am

I have enjoyed watching some of your past edits, Spence, so when I saw the positive reviews for this and a couple of your listed changes, I simply had to check it out. It is funny, I have always had a soft spot for this movie, and probably as a result I have never given much consideration to ways it could be better until after watching your edit, and now my head is swirling with thoughts about how Jedi fails in its story structure and pacing.

This brings me to the most positive part of this review. Your creativity in this edit has lit my brain on fire, and for that there is no question that you deserve a 10/10 for creativity/originality. I have always been annoyed by the timeline of Luke going to see yoda in the middle of the movie and how apparently easy it is for one to become a jedi, considering such little time seems to have passed in-between Empire and Jedi. Moving this to the beginning with a different title crawl that establishes a modified timeline is such a no-brainer now thinking about it in hindsight.

Other good editing choices that stand out in my mind are your treatment of the ewoks. I never hated them as much as some, but I like how you gave them a more ominous, warrior-like feel as well as leaving Leia’s fate more of a mystery.

One edit that I am neutral on is the removal of Bubba fett. The Rancor scene as well. Honestly I am neutral on most of the Jabba stuff. They way you have it setup feels like there is something missing and it is a little too rushed, but on the other hand I have always felt like the Jabba stuff dragged on too long. Not sure what the happy middle is here, or how best to cut it. The two biggest things that stood out in my mind as annoying with the Jabba stuff are: a) There needs to be a lead-in sequence of some kind to Jabba’s palace and the characters therein before having Leia free Han from the carbon freeze, and b) the quick cuts to Luke looking disturbed on Tatooine as if he has had a vision with the force I found to be annoying and distracting from the present scene and totally unnecessary. I’m sure there are plenty of Rebel friends he can communicate with to find out the bad news. No explanation needed for Luke’s arrival. Perhaps you could lead into the jabba scenes with the droids arriving? I always enjoyed the long walk down the corridor and the scary monsters with 3PO yelling to R2 to wait for him and the subsequent intro to Jabba (and then contrarily the calm walk Luke takes down that corridor later showing off his powers with the force and completion of his training as a Jedi). I suppose the problem with this idea is then how does R2 get Luke’s lightsaber. Spare? Maybe he force sneaks it to R2 when first entering Jabba’s palace? Not sure an explanation is needed.

Now onto other more critical aspects.

1) There is a super tiny 1/2 second musical error during scene transition between vader scene and yoda scene. Sounds like a tiny bit of tatooine music is still there.

2) On a general note, I feel as thought you went a little too overboard in making cuts. Some of these things convey important information, develop characters, help to build suspense, or provide some comic relief that for this viewer was sorely missed. While my motto is usually “less is more”, in this case I think you took it a bit too far at the cost of the story, and not even for the sake of excising bad dialogue or scenes. Some examples: The Obi-wan conversation, The big corridor walks in Jabba’s palace, the chat with the droid eyeball in the door to Jaba’s palace, the shortened party sequence where they are accepted into the ewok tribe and 3PO tells their story. Han telling Chewy to “fly casual but don’t look like you are flying casual,” Han getting angry with Leia for being so lovie with Luke, Han saying, “Not bad for a little fuzzball.” And so on.

3) Still a little fuzzy on the point of placing the Emperor on the star destroyer instead of the death star. From the Emperor’s point of view this strikes me as highly strategically illogical , and thus I find it to be far more bothersome than the minor issue of pacing that you were attempting to address. (Nevermind the whole issue of the emperor falling into the reactor core!)

4) One slightly weird sound issue at 0:23:19.

5) There is a major sound problem in the end duel where you try to stick in the duel of the fates music. In principle this is a fun idea to subliminally cue into Anakin’s fate from the prequels (plus it is a good score!). However the sound quality of this is god awful! Better to stick with the original score if you can’t incorporate it at a fidelity comparable to all the rest of the sound in your edit!

6) There is a sound volume issue with the end credits. It is at much higher decibel level and just about blew my ear drums out when it came on!

Video is fantastic. Movie looks great to me on a HD screen and I didn’t notice any technical issues with this or hard cuts. The added visual effects you put in also look awesome! (Cept for the fact that I dislike the reason you put them there in the first place! Sorry. :( .) 10/10 visual.

Sound is tough to rank because overall the sound quality (i.e. resolution) is quite good on it, which I scrutinized with a professional-grade (2-channel) audio setup. However you have a few critically serious sound problems that need to be addressed, as described above. Audio = reluctant 6/10.

General story flow, pacing, scene transitioning, etc. = 9/10.

Overall, Great job! I really really hope that you can take the time to do a second pass at this and do a version 2. Given my dislike for the special edition from Lucas, and the poor video quality from my original edition, this is a strong contender for being my primary edition of this movie if the above mentioned issues can be addressed!

PS: Chewbacca making Tarzan noises is an example of hockey comic relief not at all missed. Good cut!
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(Updated: September 09, 2012)
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Review by TMBTM — March 27, 2011 @ 10:42 am

This is a very well thought, very bold fanedit.
People above already said more or less what I think but let me say that the pacing is awesome.
Maybe some scenes feel a bit rushed at time, but overall it worths it, IMO.

- The sadest tone of the movie is very well done by placing the Luke/Yoda scene at the begining. bravo.
(And to cut at the funeral pyre of Vader also end the movie on the same sad tone)
- I like Han Solo a lot more as a character in this edit.
I never really thought about that, but, yeah, his jealousy is really useless
After the “I love you. I know” scene in ESB and Leia’s “Someone who loves you” at the begining of Jedi, what proof Han needs more?
- Ewoks are handle very well. They never bother me as much as other SW’s fans, but the Leia/Wicket scene always felt like a “pace killer” to me.
So glad this one was removed.
- I loved all the small, very smart cuts all along the movie. Made me smile.
- The only thing I think could work better, pace-wise, is to have the first shot of Luke “reacting” to his vision a bit longuer (or maybe place a little later, I don’t know)
Now at first it looks like you forgot a random little video in your editor. We of course understand just the moment after but
it put me out of the movie as it is now. I know it’s “prequel’s canon” but what about adding some “dream like” effect on it?
- The other thing is: as cool as it is to have this amazing shot of the Emperor with the death star right behind him, I’m finaly not entirely sold, story-wise.
Because the Emperor is too self confident in his new weapon, it’s his weakness. He is sure the rebel will be defeated.
So why not be in the safest place during the battle? Also, in the original I like the fact that the rebel are about to blow the thing while Luke is on it. It’s part of the thrill to me.
I understand the concept that “if the rebel wins, the Emperor would be killed no matter what, so if the scene takes place somewhere else it has more meaning”,
but Luke is not coming to kill the Emperor, he comes to save his father.
Anyway, fanedits are for alternate takes on movies, and you did an amazing job achieving your goal and vision. Congratulations!

- Video quality is VERY good.
- Audio have a level problem at the start of the ending credits. I also feel that the music during the speeder chase (amazing by the way) could be raised just a little.
- Bonus are a real plus. Kuddo to Spence to take the extra time to do that.

So, all in all I’m not sure it is the ultimate ROTJ for me but I enjoyed it a lot, and a lot of fans had/will love it.
Try it now!
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(Updated: September 09, 2012)
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Review by tylerdurden389 — April 14, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

Just finished watching this. Here’s my thoughts. First let me start by saying that I am not a huge Star Wars fan anymore. Never cared for it as a child, but I was quite obsessed with it around the time leading up to the special editions (I was 12-13 years old during this time). I did actually see Phantom Menace (4 times to be exact), but my fascination with all things Star Wars fizzled out shortly afterword, and I never even saw ep. 2 in theaters.

Anyway, I definitely like this version over the theatrical/special edition. However, I feel it’s too short. I understand that dialogue and Ewok stuff was cut to avoid camp, but I think some things could’ve been retained. I LOVED the entirely new opening. From the text crawl, to the introduction of characters. Superbly done. I like how now we understand that Luke has been training since the end of Empire. I always wondered about the timeline between Empire and Jedi, and what Luke’s training consisted of. I liked how we got through the Jabba stuff much quicker. However, I didn’t understand where Luke flew off to after they fly off of Tatooine. Also, his return when they’re discussing the plans to attack the Empire. I understand that by using the fade cuts of Luke being aware of what’s going on with his friends meant him rushing to save them (Which was GREAT btw. I loved how they did this at the end of Empire and was disappointed it wasn’t utilized in Jedi), however I hated losing his conversation with Obi-Wan. I understand that the dialogue was bad since it negates things from the first film, but it left me wondering how Luke figured out that Lea was his sister. I suppose this works better though.

I personally didn’t care for the added music during the forest speeder chase. We heard the triumphant Star Wars-ey music during the big action sequence from before, so no need to re-hash. Actually, I just say that cuz for some reason I LOVE the sounds of those speeders. Speaking of music, since I could care less about the prequels, I DID NOT care for the “duel of the fates” music for the first half of the saber fight at all. Also didn’t care for the music change for the Vader reveal at the end. i also didn’t like the special edition ending with all the other planets celebrating, but it’s better than the Ewoks celebrating. As for the final shot of Luke burning Vader’s body, there was no sound of fire, only the music. The scene didn’t seem “complete” (ugh, I hate using that word in context of this film, lol).

Lastly, did you add in sound effects of Harrison Ford grunting from the Indy films for when he fights the stormtroopers? Nice touch if you did. Anyway, this film will never be on par with the first 2, but this edit certainly is an improvement. I consider the theatrical/special edition about a 6 out of 10. I give this fan edit an 8 out of 10.
T
Top 500 Reviewer 13 reviews
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(Updated: September 09, 2012)
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Review by Captain Khajiit — April 16, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

Spence’s edit shows that ROTJ has the potential to be much better than it is. I didn’t think that I would enjoy watching a ROTJ edit this much.

Video: The quality was good overall. In some scenes the color correction doesn’t quite work, but this aspect of fanediting is *very* hard to pull off. Some extremely ambitious effects work was undertaken, mostly successfully. 8 out of 10
Audio: The audio editing and audio quality were excellent. Most of the cuts were smooth, which was impressive given that they were done in 5.1 and this film is rather heavily scored. There were a few relatively minor audio problems that others have noted. 8 out of 10
Entertainment: I found this more enjoyable than watching the theatrical cut or the special editions. 8 out of 10
Editing: There were many clever edits and most of the changes were successful. I still feel that more could be done with this film, but Spence has really shown the way. 8 out of 10
Presentation: there is cover art available for those that want it. The menu is basic, but that’s fine with me. There are some nice special features. Great to see and hear you, Spence! 8 out of 10

Overall: It’s a solid 8 out of 10 from me. I hope that Spence will consider revisiting this film at some point after he has had a break from it, but as it stands this version is very highly recommended. :-)
C
Top 100 Reviewer 33 reviews
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