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 :)
This edit was everything I could have hoped for. I really enjoyed the beginning and end of the movie. The middle felt a bit like empire was just re-organized but the audio effects reminded you that you're watching an edit. I thought the animated scene was a good touch, the introductions to all of the characters was fantastic and the ending was spectacular. Overall this edit was amazing and I highly recommend watching it.
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 absolutely loved this edit. The split screen in the battle of Hoth was a masterpiece. After viewing I noticed from the stats that more than 30 minutes were removed from the film. I have not seen the original in more than 10 years, and I honestly cannot say that I recalled anything important missing. The intro scenes for Darth Vader and Boba Fett are brilliant. What would I have changed? I needed to be softened up a little before getting hit with Neil Young in the last chapter, but it grew on me as the montage progressed. This is an inconsequential nitpick though. Thank you for a wonderful time, NJVC!
The opening of this edit really surprised me. Opening a Star Wars movie in medias res is a new one - and it fits the Tarantino style perfectly. I actively felt myself wondering how we got here. Even though we already know, the movie forces you to look at the narrative in a new way. Probably the best opening scene to a fan edit I've seen yet.
The majority of the film is pure QT style. The music choices and editing style are a near perfect match, and provide a take on Empire that's equal parts humorous and legitimately cool. Some portions of the film feature an abundance of slow motion and montage - the purpose appears to be to maintain sync with the musical choices. It may be a tad jarring in places, but the artistry of these sequences is very good. They may disrupt the pacing a but, but in and of themselves, they're quality. The use of title cards and a nonlinear narrative really complete the experience. The way Yoda was handled was nothing short of inspired.
But the real standout of this edit is the ending. The Empire Stikes Back has one of the most powerful endings in the history of cinema. I like this version better. I don't say that lightly. The way in which it is presented here adds a tremendous emotional punch that surpasses the original film. I was amazed. I sat in silence, jaw agape as the credits rolled.
You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't set some time aside to watch Pulp Empire.