*Review and Rating updated (because this edit has grown on me)
I just finished watching the final cut of Pulp Empire. I had previewed an earlier version, I think it was just the draft before the one njvc ended up releasing.
I'll start by saying that with an edit of this kind it is pretty much impossible to please everyone, similarly chances are not everyone will agree on the creative choices made by the editor. With that said. A lot of what I say in this review is not about the technical quality and the editing, but rather the creative choices, what worked and "felt right", and what didn't work for me and in my opinion didn't "fit". So a lot of the review is going to be ("music cue, i liked" "i wasn't 'feeling' this") so not the most articulate review ever!
I must admit I was a little biased going in as a result of watching some of the sample clips that njvc posted (i.e. Darth Vader - Hugo Stiglitz is GENIUS).
DVD Design etcs:
- professional menus! really slick
- awesome intro scene and opening credits, music worked, and black and white made it feel like the opening to Kill Bill
- awesome music cue with "like we're being watched!"
- Pai Mei, mixed on this, good idea, and an Asian master kind of fits with yoda's zen jedi master, but i dunno, i guess mentally it was a bit incongrous to me with yoda's grunts and hmmms, and the pai mei voice
- music cue "you know him?!", excellent
- music cue, for me it didn't work, when he cuts himself free from the ice cave
- freeze frame character intros, i liked it!
- Bernard Herrmann Taxi Driver score! njvc must have decided to pander to me for a good rating ;), this was a sexy choice IMO
- music cue "well i'll see you in hell" excellent
- Imperial probe droid music cue, awesome
- Darth Vader Hugo Stiglitz FAVORITE PART OF THE ENTIRE EDIT, awesome
- split screen works surprisingly well for the battle
- sneaky job of sneaking in a clip of luke in the death star trench!
- i was a fan of using the Death Proof car sounds for the Falcon
- music cue when the "cave" is shaking and then collapsing
- music cue for "apology accepted" good stuff
- Boba Fett "intro" was cool
- the David Bowie training montage has grown on me as I've watched this edit a few times since my initial review
- music cue when going into pit was cool
- anime scene another sequence that has grown on me in subsequent viewings and the music that goes along with it is good
- "decide how you must serve them best" music cue is excellent there
- Joni Mitchell, i knew exactly what njvc was going for (a la Jim Croce Django) and this really worked perfectly for me
- and awesome music cue, getting out of the millenium falcon to lando intro
- across 110th street, i like the song anyway, so i liked that you included it
- music while leia is worried about 3PO,not sure if this was intentional but i liked that it sounded as if it was playing on the radio in the room
- perfect music cue, with Vader at the end of the table and Han starts shooting at him
- i liked the music cue when darth vader overseeing carbon freezing
- music cue, "I love you, I know", (and parallel between Han being frozen in carbonite, and The Bride buried alive in Kill Bill Vol 2 excellent! not sure if that was intentional or not)
- music cue, Lando's security taking away storm troopers, enjoyed this
- quick elapsed time progression matched with vader's breathing was a nice touch
- i initially liked the ecstasy of gold remix, but then went it shifted in fatboyslim/chemical brothers (the brother's gotta work it out) remix, for me it just didn't fit with the scene
- but excellent spot to stop/pause the music as vader falls over the edge
- Awesome O Fortuna! Really liked this choice
- crescendo matching with Luke getting his hand sliced off, very nice
- im probably the biggest neil young fan on the forums, (only TMBTM surpasses me), i didn't like Old Man at all, the slideshow, and especially the inclusion of prequel footage, although luke's screams of "noooo!" sort of matching up rhythmically was a nice touch
- I liked this, title cards intercut with some more footage
- loved the split screen comparison special feature, "about this edit" (also gave some more insight into some of the creative choices you made!)
Some General Thoughts/Comments
- partially out of chronological order narrative, I get it, cause Tarantino's narrative is often this way, but for me it didn't completely work (the 1st chapter with yoda, maybe cause it gave the edit a bit of a slow start, but you can argue its stylistically like Reservoir Dogs which has just a bunch of dialogue in that opening diner scene)
- overuse of slo-mo, there was a lot of it, but i guess it was necessary as a kind of editing shortcut/trick/work-around, but at the same time because of how much it was used it became a part of the style of the edit
So what more can I say. njvc is a bold, brave, risktaker IMO. This is what fanediting is all about, simple fanfixes are entertaining but projects like this are almost always more interesting. I have a lot of respect and admiration for this sort of outside the box thinking. I have some idea of what a huge rescoring/audio editing undertaking this was and how challenging it is to rescore a movie like the Star Wars for nearly the entire movie (impressive, most impressive).
This edit may not be for everyone. I could definitely tell that njvc had a ton of fun making this edit and that he was, first and foremost, making this edit for himself.
I'm going to show this edit to some of my friends who are big time fans of both star wars and tarantino, so I'll be interested to see what they think.
I really enjoyed this edit. I think that njvc was able to accomplish exactly what he set out to do. The fight scenes and sequence between Vader and Luke was amazing. I would highly recommend this edit to any star wars fan. This community never fails to amaze me, keep up the great work.
I watched the 720p mkv. Video quality is largely excellent.
Complaints: Some of the slow-mo stutters. The slow-mo during the snow speeder part made the snow blur on the lower part of the screen and I think it occurred a few other times. Too much slow-mo. Too many fades. Movie is not changed as much as I expected. For being Tarantinoized, the middle section of the movie is arguably too linear. I didn't like the Ennio Morricone butchering at the end but it wasn't terrible either. Yoda's buzzing wind sound when talking is somewhat distracting, but I'm sure I only noticed it because somebody else mentioned it first.
Positive: I didn't notice any Williams sound leaking in and I listened with headphones. Maybe it wasn't up loud enough to notice? I liked all of the other songs besides the aforementioned Ennio one. New Yoda voice is great. Character montages are great.
Very Positive: I really liked the new cyclical structure to the movie. The structure parallels the father/son dark path theme that njvc highlighted. Luke's path towards the dark side is not really the focus until Jedi, but njvc successfully made it strong in Empire. While Jedi makes it very dark, njvc makes the son following in the father's footsteps more sad or even nostalgic. I really loved the video slideshow with the Neil Young song because of that nostalgic feeling it made. The brief shot of the empty jedi council chambers at sunset is what did it for me. It makes me think of Vader longing for a time long in the past that he can never return to, and here is his son possibly going down the same path. As an added bonus, you get to see Anakin's decent brooding acting without any of his terrible dialogue or delivery.
Conclusion: Music is great, entertaining, probably not changed as much as people expected. I liked the ending for the way it made me feel which is hard to articulate, and I think that is a very good thing. Recommended.
I was pretty excited to see this fanedit. The preview clips looked great, and it was a daring take on my favorite SW film. Overall, I enjoyed it. There was some great, and some not so great. Could this have been a Tarantino film? No. Was the edit enjoyable? Yes.
I won't reiterate in detail what a lot have said already. Some points are obvious - too much slow motion, music choices didn't always work, and some chapters were worked better than others.
There were moments that I absolutely loved. The multi-panel shots were great. The intro to the final chapter was awesome. I even didn't mind the Neil Young song. It works for this. (but faneditors, please: No more Neil Young in Star Wars. You're killin' me.)
On a tech side, the release was nice. I watched the 720p MKV. There was a weird issue with the aspect ratio being off on my main TV, though when played on a different TV, it displayed fine. There were some weird issues from slow motion, but it wasn't too distracting. The only other editing item I will mention is mix of the music. I really wanted it to be louder for most of the film, but I'm not going to subtract too much for that, because of all the amazing work the editor did sound wise.
Bottom line rating for me is ~7.5 stars. Thanks NJVC :)
Overall, I felt that this was a brilliant edit - there were a couple of niggles, but nothing that should stop anyone from seeking it out and watching it ASAP.
+ This is probably the most seamless and stylishly put together FanEdit I've seen. The split-screen Hoth battle especially is excellent and the Tarantino styling is spot-on. Character intros were v cool. Loved the use of B/W.
- Only gripes (and this is incredibly minor) was that I felt there were a couple too many instances of slow-mo.
+ The song selection was very mostly good and appropriate to the scenes. Loved the Joda-dub/sub work!
- I'm not sure if QT would have used the (admittedly awesome) Chemical Brothers track, and it felt a little out of place given the genre of music used elsewhere. Also, it felt as if there was almost too much new music (I noticed this mostly during the Could-City scenes) - not sure how much of this was due to editing out Williams though.
+/- I had a niggling feeling that the reordering of the story could leave first-time viewers scratching their heads. Obviously most people will be coming to the edit already being familiar with the story, so this is probably not an issue.
I seem to have written much more negative than positive in this review, but I'll just stress again that these are all at best minor issues with an incredibly professional piece of work. Well done, njvc!