Most fans of Star Wars can admit that Jedi is nowhere near on-par with Empire. Having been released thirty years ago, I decided to do some research to find out what the awesome community at Fanedit.org was doing about this film. Spence's final cut was the first edit of Jedi that I watched, and I wasn't very moved. Many of the cuts made were great, and I have to compliment the editor on the entire last act (save a few music choices I'll mention). The complete rearranging of the final battle added more tension than I ever felt during that scene. The Ewoks and their "shenanigans" were limited and tolerable, drawing the focus to the Rebellion in a much more convincing way.
Most of my problems come from personal preference, though I'll try to stay unbiased: The Tatooine scene was cut way too short. Jabba's palace has this slow buildup in Jedi, which I think adds more to Han's rescue in terms of tension and adventure. Some cuts of redundant conversations were good, but the scene moved much too quickly, which resulted in a "tying up loose ends" scene from that whole Cloud City arc from Empire. The strongest part of Jedi, I felt, suffered the most amount of cuts in this edit.
There were a lot of smaller cuts, mostly with Han, that I actually approve of. His humor was tagged down in this edit, I think that adds a ton to his character's growing maturity (which, of course, stemmed from the moment he joined the Alliance). Some transitions from scene to scene were a bit too jarring, but the characters didn't suffer from it.
The biggest problems I have with the edit involve the choice of adding tracks from the prequels. I love those soundtracks, but Duel of the Fates did not fit at all. That scene didn't need music, it dragged my focus away from the Vader/Luke conflict. The new song over their last conversation was also distracting and too overbearing. Simplicity and a minimalistic sound worked well in both those scenes in Jedi, they seem too bogged down now.
Was the edit truly bad? Not at all, and I can see why it won Edit of the Month. Would I watch it again? No, most of the cuts were just too radical for my taste.
Big strides in taken in this edit towards achieving a worthy end to this saga, but honestly I still prefer the actual film.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE that Luke spent time in between flicks training with Yoda.
I love the removal of Lopti Nek or Jedi Rocks.
I LOVE the removal of Boba Fett completely, there was no reason for him to be there in the first place.
Outside of that I'm kind of luke warm.
This is just me, but too much is removed. The movie only actually runs 1:21, and it just feels way too short.
No Obi Wan at all for one, and granted I hate that because he is my favorite character in Star Wars, but the scene on Dagobah also brings nice closure as to why he lied to Luke about his father, and while I totally understand editing the scene to remove Obi Wan's reveal of Leia, the scene could be kept in with that detail removed. Also, why edit out Yoda confirming Vader as Luke's father? Luke would definitely want confirmation of that and if you're running with the idea that they had already talked about it, IMO its very powerful to have Luke only have the medal to finally really bring up what's been eating away at him the past 2, 3 years because he knows its his last chance. And its something as an audience that we would like to see. What if Vader had lied ya know?
I liked the idea of removing the frog thing outside Jabba's, but instead it was a pretty obvious still picture, just felt off to me.
I really didn't like removing Luke force choking the guards, IMO the point of this movie is the fear that Luke is leaning towards the dark side, if he does this that confirms that in a way. Besides his continuous death threats to Jabba aren't very Jedi like either.
Idk why the Lando/han convo before the briefing was cut, sure their winks at eachother is a little odd, but han's last line is a funny quip relating to a convo in Empire before Lando betrayed him, its pretty good if the audience notices and more importantly it shows that han isn't pissed anymore at the guy that you know, TURNED THEM OVER TO DARTH VADER. Kind of major IMO.
Really liked han's silent moment looking at the Falcon.
I do not understand at all removing Vader's "it is too late for me, son." I love that line. It shows that Vader isn't just a shell of his former self, he doesn't just do things because of the great "power of the dark side" he's taking his rage out on the galaxy over his sins and the choices he's made for so long he doesn't know what else to do. IMO his admitting it is too late for him almost shows a light at the end of the tunnel.
I love Ian McDiarmid's performance (who doesn't) but a lot of him is cut. I understand removing the two scenes with him and Vader pre arrival of heroes so that his master plan is revealed more suddenly, but I still think they are executed well, and I think the second one is important but I understand the choice.
Frankly I thought moving the Emperor to the Executor was pointless. Cool idea to see the Death Star outside the window. (Except for sometimes you could see it and sometimes it clearly wasn't where it was in the scene moments before. But it looked BOSS when it was there.) But I thought the whole point of moving Luke, Vader, and the Emperor to a Star Destroyer was so that Vader's death could play out after the battle was over, and the emotional beat could happen after everything was resolved. It took place in the exact same place it does in ROTJ, just on the Executor...but right before Vader dies it shows the Rebels attacking the Executor so...I don't see the point.
So I have to admit something quickly, I was so excited for this edit. As I was downloading it I stumbled upon Spence's youtube channel and checked out some of his test videos for this. And honestly...the test videos of Vader's death and the ending montage are better. The music just climaxes at a better time in the Vader death test and the finale test is WAY more satisfying. I loved the low key force theme playing over everyone dancing with the Ewoks, I like it better than the actual ending in this cut and the real film.
So I know I just wrote a novel about this and griped the whole time, but I do recommend this edit for those who want to see a glimpse at what Jedi could have been, and I applaud Spence for making some really drastic choices here, some that worked very nicely. I'm also aware that I'm such a hardcore fan of the Wars that I have opinions that are ridiculously impossible to please.