May 04, 2013
This is the reason a category like "FanMix" exists in fan edits, and lordy do I wish there were more of them. What a truly fun and original idea. I watched this with a few friends and some beers, and I have to say I think that's the ideal situation. Much laughter and amusement was had.
A few notes, as the star ratings apply a bit differently to this kind of edit:
A/V quality: as some others have noted, it's hard to do slow mo when they didn't film it in slow mo. You don't have as many frames as you need, and it can look cheap. That said, even though there was a LOT of slow mo used, it didn't distract too much.
Visual Editing: wow, so many bold choices here. The split screens, some new wipes, fades... lots of it amazing. A couple of those slow mo fades went TOO slow and were distractingly cheesy for me, but overall it was great.
Audio Editing: I was not holding this film accountable for replacing every scrap of Williams' score, as Tarantino always mixes in many different styles and crossfades seemed fine to me. As such, no "remaining bits" stuck out to me, unlike what some other viewers have mentioned. I actually have to give njvc a perfect 10 since it's so hard to isolate dialogue from score and re-edit without losing parts.
Narrative: ok, look, the original ESB was not made in a vacuum. You had to have watched the first Star Wars, and ESB basically had no ending, either. I would not expect this edit to "fix" that. It's made for those familiar with the Trilogy, and with Tarantino's films. So don't expect the same kind of narrative flow of other movies. And sorry Tarantino superfans, his movies aren't nearly so "tight" as you think. Tarantino always writes stylish SCENES, and his overall narrative is secondary. He's definitely a director that focuses on style over substance, and in fact most of both his style and his substance is taken from other films and other writers and directors. This film is a perfect mash-up then, because it does to Tarantino exactly what he's done to other filmmakers. Well, except this film actually gives credit to the inspiration. So Tarantino could do that if he re-titled some of his films "Reservoir Dogs in the City on Fire", "The Glorious Dirty Dozen Bastards", or "Game of Killing Bill".. But I digress. For what it's trying to do, essentially give you all the feelings without heavy focus on plot, this film accomplishes its throughline.
Enjoyment: this will depend a lot on what kind of style you enjoy, but the 70's and Tarantino influences are obvious in the choice of music and montages. Neil Young doesn't do much for me, and the extensive use of his song at the end of the film consequently fell flat for me. On the other hand, some people commented they didn't like the way The Ecstasy of Gold was used, but all my friends and I were super into that. Generally, if you like Star Wars and Tarantino films (particularly Kill Bill), then you should enjoy this highly.
The only other thing I'd add is that I think the film could've leaned into the "fun factor" a lot more heavily. Most people have pointed out the character montages (especially Vader's) as a highlight, and I would've liked to have seen a fitting one for Leia, as well as ones for Lando, Tarkin, Chewie, and the ever-crapped-on droids R2 and 3PO. I'd agree that about 50-75% of the way into the film, the narrative gets a little straight and boring. In the original ESB, they use the lulls of the Falcon in the cave and the gang at Cloud City in order to then shock you when the cave moves and Vader shows up. However, this is a different kind of viewing experience, and that 'building tension' doesn't work the same. With about 30 minutes cut out of the film, this is more of a lean action movie, so that late mid section needs to move accordingly. I actually didn't miss much of the cut material (do like the Taun Taun stuffing) except that (as some others have noted) the ending fell a bit flat for me. The previous use of split screen would've been great to have Luke and Vader psychically communicating at the end, and I feel there's a cut of that somewhere that would've added to the sense of poignancy and attempting to avoid fate that njvc was going for.
All in all, a super fun film, and one I'll show to anyone who wants to know what a "fan edit" can be. This defines the field. Thanks njvc!