Northwest Passage: A Twin Peaks Fanedit
Best TV-To-Movie Edit 2011 Winner
- 720p HD release in AVCHD format (two DVD-DL discs),
- SD release on DVD (two DVD-R discs),
- 720p MOV file (h.264 Apple TV friendly version)
First 10 Minutes
Winner "Best TV-to-Movie Edit" in the 4th Annual Fanedit Awards
Technically great. Audio/video are excellent, and it looks great in widescreen. You get the whole Laura Palmer story all in one sitting. Most of the pertinent scenes are here and fit in seamlessly, with a few exceptions. All of the unenjoyable filler is removed. No more Nadine ridiculousness or idiotic Civil War reenactments!
Negatives: The edit is just too straightforward, almost to the point where it is un-Lynch-like. Really the only Lynchian weirdness left is the visions various people (especially Cooper) have. Gone is any mention of the Black Lodge, which is my favorite aspect of the entire series. The long sequence in the Black Lodge is abridged and reduced to a vision Cooper has in the Road House when he remembers who the killer is (as revealed to him by Laura Palmer in a dream). It's clever editing, but I really miss the Black Lodge being an actual place, which makes the riveting scene where he enters it, as well as the subsequent long sequence inside it, much more impactful than what is seen here.
I would have left in: 1) Almost everything related to the Black Lodge, 2) Enough of the Windom Earle plot (which was pretty good) and surrounding subplots where the events of the final episode, including the entire Black Lodge sequence, make sense, and 3) Any scenes of Lynchian weirdness. For example, the scene where Agent Albert Rosenfield suddenly professes how he models his life after Ghandi and King. All this additional material would probably add an hour or two to the edit, but so be it.
Curiously, Q2's other Twin Peaks fanedit (to the Fire Walk With Me movie) adds in additional subplot elements and strengthens the Black Lodge element, so these two fanedits aren't really compatible.
There are a couple minor problems with the narrative where a transition is awkward because something got edited out that was necessary to explain a subsequent scene. One is the attempt to steal Laura's diary from Harold Smith. The entire Harold Smith subplot was so reduced that we don't know what Maddy is doing when she shows up and looks for the diary to steal.
There is a small problem with the widescreen conversion where, in the scene in the Black Lodge (here just a vision) where Laura flicks her fingers downward, her fingers are out of frame.
A very competent effort, but not what I was looking for. I'm not sure who would enjoy this other than people who don't like David Lynch but are curious about the main story in Twin Peaks.
The first thing that perplexes me about this fan edit is how a 300 minute running time qualifies as being re-imagined as a feature film. When was the last time you saw a five hour movie at the show? The second thing that perplexes me is why Q2 thought editing out all of the subplots and character digressions in Twin Peaks was a good idea since that is actually where a good amount of the entertainment value lies.
Some of the viewers who gave this rave reviews claim to not like David Lynch and that is likely the best audience for this fan edit. Anyone who enjoyed Blue Velvet or Lost Highway would be doing themselves a disservice by watching this version instead of the complete program. On the other hand, if David Lynch isn't your thing and you still for some reason want to watch Twin Peaks then I guess this is the version for you.
The plotting from series one episodes is clean and if you aren't familiar with the program it's likely you won't even notice that anything is missing. Q2 had more problems editing down season two. Leo Johnson is depicted as a major suspect but is shot off-screen. The attempts by Donna, Madeleine and James to investigate Laura's murder are so muddled it would have been better to cut them completely. Their first person of interest, Dr Lawrence, has a heart attack off-screen. Their second investigation, of the agoraphobic Harold Smith, suffers from abrupt jumps in time and culminates in a scene where its difficult to tell exactly what Donna, Maddie and James are even trying to do.
Northwest Passage largely rights itself after Harold's death as the focus shifts away from Laura's friends back to Agent Cooper and his attempts to solve the case. The reveal scene is no less powerful in this version than it was in the original series and provides one of Twin Peaks greatest moments of horror and tragedy.
I'm honestly on the fence about whether this fan edit is worth watching or not. You do get 5 hours of mostly excellent Twin Peaks, which is nothing to sneeze at, but so much that is wonderful and strange about the show is missing--seeing characters I loved when first watching the show pop up for one scene and then disappear completely is frustrating.
Q2 also did the Fire Walk With Me fan edit that added 90 minutes of deleted footage. That version improved on the original because it allowed you to spend more time in the Twin Peaks universe. It's counter-intuitive to me that the same person who made that would also chop down the Twin Peaks television program to create a subplot free version. How could somebody with an affinity for Twin Peaks do both?
I finally got around to watching this, and WOW! I'm not a huge David Lynch fan; I get it, but it's not usually for me. As such, I never sat down to watch Twin Peaks, so this is my first exposure. The short version: I loved it! It starts of engaging and a little odd, and then when the season two stuff starts happening, it just gets nuttier and nuttier. The pacing of this thing is a wonder, considering how much was cut. I had no problem following the plot, nothing necessary to my understanding of the narrative as crafted here appeared to be missing, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. There did seem to be some stuff that could be further cut as a few side characters come off as underwritten to the point of being superfluous, but as a Twin Peaks neophyte, I can't say for sure what impact that would further have on the end result. Either way, I enjoyed all of it, and I actually want to sit down now and watch the whole series!
I had the pleasure of seeing this fan edit at the Paley Center in Los Angeles recently. Kudos to Q2 for a job well done.
Quality: Expecting a tv show from 1990 to be editable, look good, and maintain high quality audio is absurd. Based on what Q2 had to work with, I was impressed with the quality. But, keep in mind that I was seeing this in a theatre being projected from who knows what. It was excellent seeing the show in widescreen. The one thing that I really noticed was the difference between the episodes leading up to the reveal and the addition of the final episode in the waiting room. It was a jarring difference in quality visually. But somehow Q2 managed to keep the audio and music especially undisturbed.
Visual: At times, I noticed edits that were awkward. When you're splicing together multiple episodes, dealing with audio changes, continuity, I can definitely understand the difficulty involved. I give it an 8 because it was occasionally noticeable, and I disagreed with some of the changes. It may have been more noticeable to me in particular since I've seen the show enough times to know exactly where a cut was made. The main thing I noticed was how long Q2 managed to stay in a very fluid run until all of a sudden there was a cut to black that I didn't expect. That threw me.
Audio: This deserves a 10 because I was amazed at how well the audio ran throughout. Not one smidge of a dropped line, music was fluid, beautifully done. I suspect that use of the soundtrack may have been involved.
Narrative: The lead up to the reveal was awesome, very well done, cuts made appropriately and the strength of Laura's story was surprisingly fluid without all the filler. The reference to the loud swedes was hilarious. I had to downgrade the narrative because the reveal was choppy and very disappointing to me, as a huge fan of the series. In my opinion, I don't think there's anything wrong with the reveal being somewhat early, which is the original intention. One of my favorite scenes (is this weird?) is Leland looking in the mirror and changing to Bob, the first reveal, and then Maddie's death scene. I can't believe it was on television. It is an amazing scene, shot with gut wrenching transparency, the rolling through Bob and Leland, it's sickening and exciting in a way that only David Lynch can achieve. I couldn't believe my eyes when all we saw was Bob. It was also very awkward when they discovered Maddie, the whole gazebo thing, there were portions of that which could have been left out altogether. The road house reveal should have played verbatim as jumping to the end of the season left a sour taste. As someone who's seen the ending many times over, Dale was not there in relation to Laura for any reason, I did not like this.
Enjoyment: Let's face it: seeing anything about Twin Peaks in an actual theatre was very fulfilling and I'm so glad this opportunity was available. Whether or not we had bells and whistles in the LA screening, it was still amazing. I was loving every second of it. This is definitely aimed at those who haven't seen the series and would probably be better in that case. I will not end up watching this again, just due to the way it ends. But like I said, huge kudos to Q2 for a job well done.
AV Quality: I left this score as a 10, but on the mp4 version I watched, the volume levels were extremely low. On my stereo, I normally have the volume at 9. Some discs or channels I might have to up it to 12. This video I had to turn my volume up to 18 to hear it. This didn't negatively affect the viewing experience at all, just a minor inconvenience at the start.
Visual: Again, I left this at a 10, but there was at least 1 error I spotted. Specifically, there was a video transition where the fade out scene, there were a few flash frames where you could see the start of the deleted next scene in the fade out.
Audio: There were 5-10 transitions where unfortunately the audio really gave away that these scenes were pasted together and didn't originally air that way. Usually it involved the first scene having a heavy score and the 2nd scene starting with no music. So the change was pretty abrupt. Not 'hard cut' abrupt, but enough to be somewhat jarring and remind that this is an edit.
Narrative: Narrative was strong, but I downgrade do a 9 because there were some plotholes. But cutting that much material, its pretty much inevitable, and the editor probably did about as good as could be done.
Enjoyment: For reference, I would score Twin Peaks Season 1 a 9, this edit a 7, and Twin Peaks Season 2 a 3. So I liked this edit much better than season 2. However, next time I am in the mood for rewatching, I will just watch season 1 again. Generally, with this sort of cult classic show, they tend to get better with each rewatching. I expected to love this edit since the Laura Palmer arc really was the most important one and many of the others were real stinkers (ie 40 year old cheerleader). But my favorite part of Twin Peaks was the quirky humor, and cutting out all the side plots cut out most of the humor (along with cutting out all the garbage). This edit has its comedic moments, but it was pretty serious most of the time. I hadn't really noticed before how much of the comedy was built into the side plots.
Recommendation: I would recommend this edit for someone who has already seen Twin Peaks (at least season 1). Being able to watch a completely story during a single afternoon really is nice, even if its not everything I may have hoped it could have been. However, I would not recommend this edit for someone who hasn't seen season 1 yet. This edit really starts off slow for at least an hour, so I could definitely see somebody new to the series getting bored and giving up.