I was very skeptical about this edit at first. In fact, I only watched it because I was intrigued by the trailer and I loved the dubbing of Yoda. So I came back and watched a little more of the trailer. Chapter I is a little slow, although the introduction of Yoda is genius and no slower than the original, but I ended up watching everything and continuing with chapter II. That's when I was hooked. Chapter II is brilliant, a masterpiece. The introduction of Darth Vader with the flashback, the battle of Hoth with the use of slow-mo, the seamless editing, the perfect pacing. It all works great, even the music, which at first I thought was just for kicks, gives a superb atmosphere and blends in perfectly with all other elements.
Okay so if you're a die hard Star Wars fan, you're probably going to be confused by Pulp Empire! A couple of my mates watched it with me when I first viewed v1 and didn't know what to make of it. I absolutely loved this edit, and thought it was time I submitted a review considering njvc has released v2.
It's amazing what has been achieved here! It's not Star Wars as you know it, so don't expect that! It's not even a true Tarantino style film either, but for some reason it absolutely works here! I thoroughly enjoyed Pulp Empire and will continue to watch it to give me inspiration as a fan editor for motivation for my next project.
Just watched it. I actually applauded at the end of Battle Royale. I applauded. In my own lounge. On my own. Yes, it was that good.
Nit-picks: The animated scene was a stretch, and then the call back to the cave in the Battle Royale didn't work (seemed pretty random). Probably would have been better to segue the animation into the entrance of Vader in the Cave. Or use the footage of Anakin vs ObiWan, instead of the animation?
I also found the immersion was ruined by leaving in the Star Wars music cues with the mynoks (or whatever they're called) in the Space Worm. It pulled me out of the Tarantino experience.
Genius to use Empire, by far the strongest film, and genius to use the flashbacks etc., character intros, oh man, this was creative brilliance. Up there with War of the Stars.
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyJuly 29, 2014
Thank you for the great review dangermouse! I'm going to have to go back and check that Mynock section now, I was pretty sure I had removed all the original music cues, but perhaps I missed one! As for the animation, my intention was to imply Luke was having a vision of his father at a crucial moment when he started to use the dark side. The flashback during the final battle was intended as another vision, this time showing Luke inside the helmet, suggesting he is closer than ever to following his father's path if he is not careful. But regardless, I'm really pleased you enjoyed many of the choices made and had a good time watching :)
Pulp Empire, while a product of NJVC's imagination, is really an insight into how much Tarantino has affected and influenced modern cinema. It is unmistakeable of who this edit is trying to invoke. Imagine, though, an edit that was trying to invoke Polanski, Spielberg or PT Anderson. Tarantino's style is so unique unto himself, and so culturally penetrating, that all it takes is a certain font or a music cue to bring up cherished film memories and impart them over the goings in this edit of Episode IV.
However, while this is a tribute in many respects, this edit isn't just hip music accompanied by a "You like that, didn't you" smirk. This is a legitimate effort in making an autonomous film experience.
Divided in chapters like Kill Bill, scored like many in Tarantino's ouvre, and sprinkled with character title cards ala Inglourious Bastards, NJVC pulls from every Tarantino cliche (an unfair word, I admit) in order to induce the filmmaker's special touch. Of particular fondness for myself was an animated sequence that followed Luke's walking into the forest sequence. NJVC even finds himself adding to the Tarantino reference pool by including a few choice soundtrack additions that, in another Universe, I think Tarantino easily could have found room for himself.
However, it's in this dedication (or is it reluctance?) of constantly using Tarantino's previous styles that starts to get in the way. After a brilliant opening with character introductions and unique editing styles used throughout the Hoth fight (preceded by the film's first chapter of Luke arriving in Dagoba), it seems like NJVC ran out of ideas. The film begins to lumber in its third chapter never regaining the momentum and excitement from the opening 20 minutes. A few slo-mo shots are added with some choice music which helps initially, but NJCV returns too often to this "fix," only to wear out its effectiveness over time. The animated sequence helps pump new blood into the edit, but again, the editing style from then on begins to weigh down under the expectations of something more. With only a 90 minute run time, a heavy drag in the film throughout its second act is a problem.
It's difficult to say specifically what would improve this film through the bulk of it's second act. Generally, what it would benefit from would be more stylized editing choices that don't reference Tarantino's work, as much as they are inspired by them. I feel like NJCV has the creative potential to do this, considering his choices he made in the film's closing chapter.
The final chapter answers the promise of ambition sparked by the film's opening. It has unique editing choices that I haven't seen in a Tarantino film, but feels right at home in his arsenal. It also echoes the strange juxtaposition that Kill Bill vol 2 had of entertainment and tenderness. This effect, perhaps more than anything, warrants high praise for this edit.
In all, this is a fantastic piece for the fan edit community. NJVC demonstrates how effectively a film can change in the right editor's hands. Indeed, his technical prowess in manipulating the score and audio tracks leaves me baffled. Reluctance aside, everybody should give this a viewing.
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyFebruary 27, 2014
Thank you for the great review beezo! Much appreciated :) I agree the ideas were not as strong in that middle section. It was a big challenge to find ways to keep it fresh throughout, but I'm pleased that you felt the overall experience was enjoyable.
- I noticed some sound issues. The new soundtrack is always more on the right channel and has some crackles (digital not Vinyl!). Or my headphones are bust...
- many slow-motion scenes with that unbearable funky soundtrack. Darth Vader comes out so damn cool!
- Nice sensemaking flashbacks to Ep. IV. They enhance the story, so that PULP EMPIRE can be watched as an individual movie with no further STAR WARS knowledge needed.
- Voice of PEI MEI for YODA
- The David Bowie scene - like a music video for SPACE ODDITY in the middle of a film
- njvc knows how to use the tools: very smooth video editing, great title work (outstanding: BOBA FETT)
This edit can be watched more than one time without loosing its attraction.
Thank you, njvc!
Do you recommend this edit?
Owner's replyJuly 13, 2013
Thanks for the review! Re: the right centric sound, did you watch it using windows media player? This is a known glitch with 5.1 mixes. Try with VLC, or on a DVD player and it self correct.