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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8.6(14)
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7.7(14)
Narrative
 
8.2(14)
Enjoyment
 
8.2(40)
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(Updated: September 09, 2012)
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Review by videohead — August 25, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

I would have to agree, this to me was by far the worst of the original trilogy, and with that said this is a great edit of the final episode in an epic saga.

A part of me really misses the rancor pit scene (though i agree with the reason that u took it out).

One of the little shots that always bothered me was – at the execution scene where r2 launches Lukes saber into the air, why does luke have to look up to catch it? hes a jedi, he should just catch it, light it, and swing it all in one movement. little things like that would make the jedi’s in the movies look that much tougher in my mind.

The only cut that looked strange to me was after the rescue when Luke leaves the group he just pops back up in the next scene and is like “hey guys!” while i was just like “wait, didn’t you just leave?”, a very strange cut in my mind. I think the talk he has with Obi Wan should be left in.

The only real problem i had with this edit was that the ending, it felt a little flat to me. I mean this is the final episode in an EPIC saga, and the ending should show that. Now with that said i still hate the original ending and yours is still superior.

Overall great job! 8/10
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(Updated: September 11, 2012)
Overall rating
 
8.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Audio Editing
 
8.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Review by QuickCut — January 15, 2012 @ 7:36 am

This isn’t my go-to version of ROTJ, but it’s pretty well done.

Technical quality – 8/10 – in general, the video was pretty good quality, but there was some flickering or something during the opening crawl. The audio was great except for the end credits when the volume abruptly went really high.

Presentation – 8/10 – special features and scene selection were a nice thing to include, but the random clip after I clicked play was rather abrupt and unnecessary.

Editing – 8/10 – all the transitions were nice, but there were some choices I didn’t particularly like that I’ll address in the entertainment section.

Entertainment – 8/10 – if a few things were cleaned up it would have been a 10. First of all, the cutting between Luke and Han/Leia. I got why you were doing it, but it wasn’t real clear. The transitions to Luke were too abrupt. When Luke and the rest leave Tatooine, it makes no sense why Luke leaves since you relocated the Yoda scene. The Ewoks could have been trimmed a little more and the scene where Wicket pokes Leia with his spear was way too short. There are various bits that could have been trimmed but I won’t recount them all. I half-wish you had left in the ghosts at the end. Other than that, I liked most of your cuts, especially the trimming of the Tatooine sequences, the edits to Han’s character, the changes to the battle, and the added prequel music (only good thing about the prequels).

Overall – 8/10
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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.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
DVD
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(Updated: August 28, 2014)
Overall rating
 
8.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
7.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
I really like Return of the Jedi, but in terms of ending a saga, it's really disappointing. The story is flat and tensionless. The special editions added more nonsense to an already weak entry to the saga.

I presume the source for this edit was the 2004 Special Edition DVD + 2006 GOUT DVD (for replacing SE nonsense), so the quality isn't the best. Same goes for the editing. It's not bad, but in some places it feels choppy. Especially in Tatooine where Luke senses his friends. Still a minor problem though, it doesn't hurt the experience.

Spence has created a great narrative in this edit. He fixed the Tatooine plot perfectly, for example. In my opinion, the Dagobah scene should have been left as it is, Obi-Wan and all. Also the new ending is IMO too abrubpt. I wish that would have been left in. The biggest problem, though, is the Death Star/Star Destroyer swap. In the original movie, we find out that The Emperor is confident enough to see the final stages of the Death Star II, and so he is in it. The Rebels decide to end the war once and for all with this information and destroy the Death Star. There was tension there, but not enough. Here, though, he goes to the Star Destroyer, and the Rebels attack the Death Star. Huh? This plan makes no sense, why not destroy the Star Destroyer? Also the tension is gone here. And Luke ends the war. It's abrubpt again.

Finally, we end up with a fanedit that is just as good as the original, but I prefer the original because of the narrative making more sense. It's a good edit, though. Just not as good as I expected.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
DVD
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Overall rating
 
7.9
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
5.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
7.0
A/V Quality 10/10
No issues with the actual A/V quality. Clean picture, great DD5.1 sound.

Visual Editing 9/10
No issues, really. Sometimes it was pretty obvious when you were switching source material, but it worked fairly seamlessly. The colour correction was very well done.

Audio 5/10
Sorry, but this was the low point of the edit. It's a mixed bag of great ideas that were poorly executed. The speeder chase is great, but the volume is too low. The Duel of the Fates was great, but not mixed in very well. There's a slew of noticeable audio sync issues throughout the edit. And what the hell was with the music over the end credits? In the commentary you mentioned that you watched this edit 4 times - I'm surprised that at least a few of these issues weren't noticed and fixed before it was released, especially with all the time and energy you put into whole thing.

Narrative 10/10
Perfect. Improved the original by a huge margin. All the changes made were for the better. A couple of things were odd - Luke sensing the Leia was in danger was a neat idea, but it didn't work in practice and Luke and Leia hugging like they haven't seen each other in years on Tatooine - but did not really detract from the overall experience.

Enjoyment 7/10
I'd bump it up to 9/10 were it not for the audio issues. But what I really loved was the commentary track. I honestly only bothered to check this one out when I read that there was a faneditor commentary track included. I love edits with faneditor commentary and I really wish more editors out there would do them, especially for radical edits like this one. I love hearing what was changed, how it was changed and, most importantly, why it was changed, as it happens. The commentary track on this is a must-see and provides a lot of insight into the thought process and planning that went into this edit. It was very enjoyable, and perhaps, even more enjoyable than the edit itself. And your explanation as to why there's a giant bottomless pit on the star destroyer was gold.
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