Second fan-edit I've ever watched, and this has completely sold me on the idea and potential of fan-edits. This is honestly a masterpiece of achievement. I want to show this to every person I know now.
Finally got around to watching this. Wow! This is edit is right up there with War of the Stars in its creativity and revitalizing of a story that I thought I knew in and out. NJVC has made an oddity of a gem with this one that is sure to capture the attention and inspire the imagination of viewers and fellow faneditors. Since I've never seen a Tarantino film, I've seen clips but just don't care for his stuff and style, this review may miss the reasoning behind some of the editing decisions.
Visual Editing: 9
The editing is top notch. I only took away 1 point due to the excessive use of slowed down footage which after awhile becomes a bit repetitive and taxing. The split screen shots were excellently integrated and fit the presentation.
Audio Editing: 10+
Having done some pretty extensive audio editing on edits I am in awe with how seamlessly NJVC was able to add the new tracks and preserve the pre-existing dialogue without a distracting level of the pre-existing score. This is especially impressive as Star Wars is extremely music centric and difficult to isolate dialogue.
For how drastically different the presentation is, it's really similar to the core story, just very fragmented. The mark downs come as I never really knew what I was watching. Was it a story? Was it a montage? Was it a continuous music video? Then it just ends with characters that we haven't spent much time with. This makes it hard to follow. Perhaps this is where I miss out on the presentation due to my lack of Tarantino exposure? I did like the introduction of Vader with the music and the Obi-Wan dialogue.
I really enjoyed the first 30 minutes or so, then the repetition of slow mo/montage scenes kind of got to me. The ending is pretty ambiguous as well and we don't really spend time with characters enough without the visual montage stuff to be able to focus on and care about them so it was hard to sit down and watch this the whole way through in one sitting. That being said, this edit is brilliant in what it achieves and the doors it opens to the possibilities of fanediting especially in terms of Audio editing and presentation. NJVC proves again that they are one of the top faneditors out there. Masterful in skill and not afraid to take chances and make something familiar feel brand new. This edit is a must see for aspiring to expiring editors to see.
Fantastic effort. My only criticisms are that you can still faintly hear the Williams music in a few moments, but it's forgivable and I really did not like how the Vader/Luke bespin fight was handled. It felt almost too music video-ish. But it's immediately followed up by the Prequel flashbacks set to Neil Young which might be my favorite moment in the whole thing. It's a very fun watch overall. Captures that exploitation style while still retaining all the substance and gravitas of the core Star Wars story. As someone who's favorite director is Tarantino and who's favorite film is The Empire Strikes Back, my fanboy funny bone was satisfied. Wouldn't mind seeing a Return of the Jedi one? Do the Kill Bill Vol. 2 to this movie's Kill Bill Vol. 1? Not losing sleep over that, but it'd be cool to see.
I was really jazzed to see this edit. I mean, a Tarantino style brought to The Empire Strikes Back? You can't lose! But after watching the movie I was left with a really mixed feeling. It was like taking two of your favorite foods and mashing them up together, only to dislike the ensuing result. Both are awesome apart, but sometimes certain things don't go together very well.
The back and forth Tarantino narrative was just fine, and replacing Yoda's dialogue with Pai Mei's was friggin genius. But the music queues kept taking me out of the movie most of the time. While Vader's intro with Inglorious Basterds audio and visual editing was pretty fantastic, the rest of the time things were all over the place. And I realized the problem is that Tarantino himself has a varied style throughout most of his movies-- 70s funk/soul, garage band grunge, Japanese classical, Old West gunslinger.
The issue for me was that ALL of them were tossed into Pulp Empire rather than one or two styles. This caused too much of a mishmash of styles for my taste. It felt like you were in the mindset of Kill Bill one moment, then tossed into Reservoir Dogs, then tossed into The Hateful Eight... just jarring. I respect what njvc attempted with Pulp Empire but I would has personally preferred to see it keep the soundtrack and queues to either Pulp Fiction/Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, or Django Unchained/The Hateful Eight.
I have to confess two things up front. I am a big fan of njvc's previous work, but despite that, I was very skeptical that he could pull off his stated goals or that they would work for my personal tastes. I am pleased to report that for the most part I was wrong on both counts.
This is a very ambitious edit from an audio and visual standpoint, and from a technical fanediting standpoint.
njvc is a master with audio work and soundtracking. so I had high expectations at for this part, and he did not disappoint. There were a couple beautifully scored scenes. One that really stood out for me was the animated scene.
The animated scene is also just one of many examples where he demonstrates great visual and storytelling creativity that I absolutely loved. The character montages and the use of ANH and ROTJ footage was also wonderful.
This whole edit is just so fresh and fun that any technical issues at the end of the day just don't matter very much or ruin the overall experience.
That said, there were a handful of moments where technical things did momentarily pull me out of the scene. The most problematic IMO is the use of slow motion. The use itself is not the problem. In fact it is quite important stylistically. The problem is the inconsistent use of different types and some video glitches in a moment or two. The worst glitch that I can remember is in a land speeder scene on Hoth. In fact this scene really stood out in my mind as the worst usage. There were also moments in this scene when I began to feel as if the slow motion was over-used and unneeded. Lastly and perhaps most importantly regarding slow motion, there were really two different styles used and they visually clashed with each other a bit. There was normal smooth slow motion, and then there was a choppy slow motion that looked like it was shot with a 14FPS camera. Stylistically, I really loved the choppy slow motion and would have preferred a more consistent use of this look throughout.
There were a few other minor issues I had. While I absolutely loved some of the fades njvc creates (so beautiful!), fade transitions were over-used a bit IMO for certain intra-scene quick camera cuts. Yoda just didn't quite work for me either.