(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 an 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!") cut out. 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.
Thank you for the comprehensive review! Great to get such positive feedback. Cheers, njvc