Raiders of the Lost Skull
The anticipation for Indy 4 prior to 2008 was crazy, and arguably the end product was just as big a letdown as those other Lucas related films. I recall people walking out saying “it was ok I guess”. But we all know it wasn’t. This edit attempts to make Indy 4 at least watchable, and at best enjoyable.
Changes in Version 2 (August 2012)
•Audio Remix in 5.1 surround (better integration of Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack)
•Addition of Ants/Fight with Russian scene during the Forest Chase
•Removal of Indy’s College promotion/wedding. Movie now ends at the top of the mountain
•New end credits sequence, featuring the score from Raiders of the Lost Ark
•Improved colour correction
•Minor tweaks and improvements throughout
•New motion menu for Bluray and DVD release
•New cover art/poster
- NTSC DVD-5
- AVCHD (DVD-9)
- Blu-Ray (BD-25)
- Motion Menus (BD and DVD)
- 5.1 Surround Sound
- Trailer (BD and DVD)
a) Do it in 1080p HD using the BluRay
b) Try something fairly radical with the score. Most fans of Raiders would agree that the classic score is so perfect, so I decided to integrate it into the film to try and better match the tone of the two films. William’s KOTCS score wasn’t too bad, but it certainly didn’t have the magic that Raiders has. So there you go. That’s my reasoning.
There are hundreds of changes, but here is a general feel for the major ones.
Edits to entire film.
1-Film Score: The large majority of the score has been completely replaced with the score from Raiders of the Lost Ark. This was a painstaking process, matching each musical beat to this new edit of KOTCS. The intention was to improve the tone, and evoke the old feeling of Raiders through that classic music. As a result of these changes, many sound effects also had to be replaced to allow the new music to be integrated naturally into the film
2-Colour Correction: The entire film has been colour corrected, scene by scene, toning down the over saturated look of the film. This was achieved by fixing the white balance, and bringing the skin tones back within a more ‘natural’ range. This helps bring the film more in line with the other 3 films colour-wise
Major Changes to Characters.
- Silly/goofy humour removed (eg falling off the speed train etc)
- Cheesy lines removed (eg “I’m sorry, I meant drop dead comrade” “damn i thought that was closer”)
- Poor line deliveries removed (eg “It’s Oriana himself”)
- Improved action pacing (indy using his whip looked rather slow in the original...)
- Removed her monologue when she first meets Indy. Also indy doesn’t get introduced, so his “who was that woman” makes more sense later.
- Entirely removed her sword fight with Mutt
- Removed as many bad lines as possible
- Tried to make him less silly.
- He no longer sword fights or swings with monkeys.
- Just tried to make him less annoying in general
- Removed as many silly moments as possible.
- There were quite a few poor acting moments from Marion. I just cut what I could, but it was impossible to fix everything.
- Got rid of most of his “JONSEY”s from the film.
- Removed painful banter with Indy “bet ya 10 bucks we get out of this etc”
- Removed annoying dialogue like “you don’t know him YOU DON’t KNOW HIM etc”
- He’s no longer a triple agent etc. stupid idea.
- He no longer falls on the ground for no reason, then lies on the ground for no reason before being sucked into the vortex to another dimension. Added an explosion to make a reason for his fall, then he gets sucked in almost straight away.
- Removed as many stupid moments as possible. Including dancing with the Russians and twirling his stick around when he first meets indy in the tent.
-The “HELP” scene in the quicksand is gone.
Select Changes to individual scenes (not an exhaustive list, but a general idea)
- Removed Gophers, Elvis Song, Car race to make the tone more menacing. Makes the impact when the Russian attack more intense.
- Shortened dialogue with Spalko.
- Shortened gun powder scene
- Tightened up warehouse chase, and added new sound effects/music etc.
- Removed completely.
- Cut all dialogue alluding to the bomb. This was challenging and required a mask over indy's mouth.
- Cut obvious and unnecessary dialogue “first Marcus, then dad”. Thought it was more powerful to just show this visually.
- Cut stupid expression on indy’s face after “taking them away”.
- Reintroduced ark theme to replace skull theme
- Used music from Raiders basket chase instead of “shake rattle and roll”
- Many small edits, including tightening the jump from car to motorbike
- Cut library chase.
Traveling by plane (both scenes)
- Replaced music with travelling by plane music from Raiders. This meant replacing all sound effects of planes/boats etc
- Cut scene with the ‘living dead’ spidermen in the graveyard.
- There would have been no poison on the end of the dart that indy blew into that guys mouth anyway.
In the tomb.
- No more CGI scorpions
- Removed unnecessary dialogue
- Indy no longer goes to steal the knife.
- Indy doesn’t do the working it all out scene “he put it back where he found it” etc. This becomes obvious later, and just slows things down.
- Modelled the interrogation on infodroid’s unfinished edit. Used footage from The Watchmen and Raiders to show what the Russian might do if they used the skull etc.
- Also used the sound design from when the ark is being kept on the ship In Raiders. Seemed suitable.
- Ox is less stupid
- Marion is (a little) less hammy
- Much shorter (no more stupid ox)
- No snake. This was hard to achieve, but I’m willing to live with it to avoid having that stupid snake scene.
- Shorter, punchier dialogue between the three when having their argument.
- No more comedy triple kick, or losing the knife. When indy kicks the guy, he goes down first time, then it’s straight to business. Indy doesn’t waste time.
- Very challenging scene to edit. Removed sword fight, mutt in the trees, as many shocking CGI shots as possible, ants, and fight with the Russian, Marion and her stupid facial expressions. This scene plays faster now, but at least feels like an Indy scene, instead one of the worst scenes in cinema history.
- Ants/fight with Russian reinstated.
-The jump off the cliff has been ‘zoomed in’ to give the impression the jump was not quite so high, and hopefully looks just a little more believable that they would attempt/survive such a stunt.
- Only 1. It’s still stupid, but 3 times less stupid.
Inside the Temple
- The natives no longer live in the walls
- Got rid of everyone screaming everyone else’s name.
With the aliens
- The skeletons do not merge into a CGI abomination. They remain skeletons.
- Mac doesn’t have a lie down for no reason
- Added “Water! Water!” from Temple of doom as they try to escape the temple.
- Removed Alien ship completely. They went to another dimension through a portal, so no need to see a ship.
- Deleted for version 2. Credits now start, with the closing credits music from Raiders, on top of the mountain.
So there you go, a bit of a rundown of some of the more significant cuts. Those of you who know the film well will notice many more. Hope you enjoy it!
(DISCLOSURE: Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed and still enjoy the official cut KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. Yes, it has problems, but it still an enjoyable ride in my opinion. All that being said, I do think RAIDERS OF THE LOST SKULL is even better movie, from a classic Indiana Jones standpoint.)
This is a great edit of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! I was absolutely thrilled to hear the soundtrack from Raiders in this! The removal of the more goofy and silly moments was done very nicely, and made the overall narrative flow better. The action scenes are re-edited well, and felt like classic Indiana Jones. The escape attempt action scene in the Hangar flowed so much better with that pointless dialogue ("D--n, I thought that was closer"; "YoU dOn'T kNoW hIm!"). The camp scene where the skull's looking into Indy's mind (or something) with the different Soviet Union, nuclear blast, etc clips cut in with Spalko's monologue was genius and blended in perfectly. Mutt, Oxley, Marion, and Mac are edited into better characters, which I appreciate heavily, especially for Marion since she is the best Indy love interest.
However, I do have some complaints, but most of them are minor. For starters, I could still hear little portions of Elvis' Hound Dog at the beginning. This probably couldn't be helped to much, so I overlooked it mostly. I would rate the audio editing an 8.5/10, but it doesn't allow that, so I had to settle with 8/10. Another thing is those stupid faces Indy and the Commie Colonel make on that speeding train thing. I do wish that was completely cut out. I wish more of Mutt's dialogue in Indy's house was cut, with him asking Indy if he's 80 and all that. Finally, I wish the wedding sequence was still in this cut (without Mutt about to put on Indy's hat of course), because it worked well from a storytelling standpoint that Indy would want to settle down from adventuring and be with Marion.
Even with those things I had to say at the end, I still love Raiders of the Lost Skull, and I would recommend it to anyone who is disappointed with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Impressive work. A big improvement on the theatrical, but I can't help but feel too much was cut. Been a while since I've seen the original, but the film lacked humour and generally came across as pretty bland, which is the opposite problem that the original cut has (being too silly).
The ROTLA soundtrack sporadically works, but as another reviewer has mentioned, it's more distracting than anything. The editor has clearly put a lot of work into integrating the soundtrack, but sadly it still feels out of place. Not due to bad editing, but just because it doesn't suit the tone of the film IMO.
Some of the added sound effects were also noticeable (either that or the original film has REALLY bad punch sound effects). Not great, but not horrendous. There's also a dip in volume with the ant scene - but another reviewer has gone into that.
Narrative is generally fine, except for Indi suddenly appearing in the government office without explanation - and of course, things that can't be fixed, like the interdimensional aliens with magnetic crystal skulls that for some reason decide to rule over a small portion of a single country. And they're psychic. And melt people's brains. And drag people into interdimensional space, despite being crystal corpses. Motives unclear.
Visually, there were some fade transitions which felt a bit rushed and awkward, but for the most part, and particularly after looking at the cut list, the editing is pretty damn seamless.
Enjoyment is low because enjoyment was low. It's higher than it would be for the theatrical, but although it's an improvement it's still an average movie. Kind of feels like a remake of Raiders (particularly now, with the alt. soundtrack), only instead the Nazis are Russians and the Ark is a crystal skull.
Overall? It's a good edit of a terrible movie, now made watchable. Worth a look.
One of the best Indy 4 edits, a convincing improvement on the original. NJVC's cuts are more aggressive than others and many of them work. I was surprised and impressed how many details I ended up not missing!
While the cuts in the beginning are too severe for me (too much banter is cut in favor of action), NJVC get the perfect balance half-way into the movie. This is my favorite jungle chase sequence, and the best waterfall sequence. The technical and storytelling editing skills are impressive.
My one disagreement is on the audio: the best known bits of music used from Raiders of the Lost Ark are applied too often and distract me from enjoying this story. My brain keeps focusing on the music cues in Ark, pulling me out of the Skull narrative. More judicious use of less-rousing and less-famous cues from Indy 1 and Indy 3 might have achieved the musical boost without being recognizable as copy-paste.
In all, this is an enjoyable achievement!
I can only reiterate what others have said about the score replacement: Great, great work! The opening has an entirely different feel and sets the tone well. Together with the heavy cuts it aids in making the film slightly better and more enjoyable. More or less a flawless edit, both audio and video. Minute things as others have mentioned, but will go unnoticed if one is not looking for them.
Recommended, and definitely one of the Crystal Skull-edits that replaces the original.
I've been watching fanedits for about 5 years now and reading reviews in earnest on this site but I have never submitted one. Well that's changing right now as after seeing this excellent fanedit from my (I believe?) fellow Aussie compadre njvc I could no longer contain my love for the art form under cover of silence. But I digress, on to the edit...
What drew me to the edit was the score change. As someone who regularly works with audio editing software and someone who has tried (will hopefully be finished one day) to remove and alter music for fan editing purposes, I understand how incredibly difficult this can be. FX can be replaced, but dialogue generally cannot so if the music and fx are particularly dense and you're trying to isolate dialogue amongst all that you're in for some very tough work even with the top audio editing plugins at your disposal. This would have taken a very large amount of time no doubt and to my ears all the cuts were quite smooth. More to the point, the changes enhanced the film greatly on an emotional level and that's really all that matters in the end, isn't it? So very well done, mate.
I do have two very small gripes, however. First is the ant attack scene. When the bad dude is devoured in the ant hill, his screams become noticeably lower in volume until they are themselves all but 'devoured' by the music. I realise that there is probably a very good reason for this.. that you had to turn up the music to cover the original score, so it was most likely unavoidable. I suppose the only other solution would be to replace the scream. At any rate, a very minor quibble. The 2nd gripe is merely an echo of another reviewer on here and that's the somewhat excessive use of the "mystery" theme. I felt by the time we were getting near to the end of the film it had started to lose some of its effectiveness due to overuse. To my mind, the edit would actually benefit from putting a small measure of the original score back in to amend this, or simply choosing some other parts of the Raiders (or the other two films) score to work in its stead. Well, perhaps should you ever do a version 3…
I do not have the experience with video that I have with audio but after watching fan edits for some time and teaching myself some editing software I believe I have gained at least an elementary understanding. There were no noticeable hard cuts that I could detect. The new colour correction is a vast improvement (though like some others have mentioned, I would love if it could be taken further). The skull montage is a work of absolute genius!
The awful jeep on a tree scene - I really wish that was cut (I quite liked how TMBTM dealt with this in his edit). There were some other cuts that I felt were somewhat abrupt but I put that down to narrative more than editing technique. So, onto narrative…
Well, where to begin? Everybody's most offensive moments are gone, the pacing is greatly improved, and the ending is far more inline with the franchise. I even managed to get through the whole movie without my attention wandering, and for film as severely hampered as this, that's really saying something.
As is often the case with many fan edits, the film now feels a bit short (though considering how much was cut, not as much as short as you might think). Marion's character feels somewhat empty in this edit. I'm not exactly sure what you could do about this as I can't remember the original film clearly enough, but I felt she needed just a bit more screen time, a bit more of a chance for us as an audience to identify with her, and if that means putting back in some cringe-inducing dialogue that might be the lesser of two evils? The ending - though much improved - also felt a bit abrupt. Again, not sure what you could do about this exactly. Perhaps cut away to a slow shot of the mountain from earlier in the film (if there is indeed a suitable one) just to buy you a few more seconds to let the music carry the film off better? I don't know it's a tough one.
I downloaded the AVCHD. Excellent quality.
I thoroughly enjoyed this edit. It's quite amazing how much of an improvement it is from the original film. Most certainly is now my go-to version and there can be surely no higher praise for a fan edit.