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.
Aside from positive reviews I sought out NJVC's Indy 4 edit mostly out of curiosity to see how well the score was replaced. Audio is always the most challenging aspect of fan editing with music sometimes difficult to isolate. However I was blown away to see how well NJVC integrated the Raiders score, simply marvellous!
With the original score, right from the opening scene you feel like your in an Indy film. Thankfully this continues as cues are carefully selected.
Cuts are seamless and with 32 minutes cut I was surprised that the film didn't feel rushed.
Highlights for me include the opening, Indy's Crystal Skull nightmare sequence (which brilliantly utilises some of the footage cut earlier in the film including the iconic shot of Indy and mushroom cloud), editing of the jungle scene which is reduced to the bare minimum and the ending which now feels more epic with the replaced score.
Nit-picks would be not seeing the new title (Return of the Crystal Skull) in the opening credits and the one shot of the flying saucer in the nightmare sequence.
This edit is more than watchable, NJVC has created an enjoyable Indy adventure!
NJVC's edit of KOTCS is a handy replacement for the loathsome original. There is no reason anyone should be watching the original with this in their collection. NJVC has succeded in the stated goal to make this feel more like Raiders but it still feels like a very drab and boring relation to that masterpiece.
Audio/Video Quality: The audio and image quality is absolutely stunning (Near faultless). The new score is wonderful although I thought the original wasn't so bad. I thought it just needed more of the stronger themes, not replacing entirely. However while the colour correction is an improvement it doesn't go nearly far enough. The image is still wildly over-saturated and of course the artificial glow that is filtered over everything is still present. But the glowing halos over every part of the image that even approaches white is almost impossible to remove.
One of the best scenes is the skull montage in the jungle camp which contained the only error I could see. The montage contains sequence from Raiders and since those shots are in a slightly different aspect ratio they are bleeding out round the edges. A shame that the only error is in the best edited bit. Knocked off 1 point but would've been a frction if that was possible.
Visual Editing: This is a huge improvement on the original. Trimming out alot of stuff that needed to go. e.g. flying saucer, gofers, doom town, motorcycle skiing. But IMO it also removes stuff that didn't need to go and leaves in other bits that did. e.g. removing Spalko's (Wonderfully tongue-in-cheek) awesome scene stealing monologue but then immediately after, leaving in her using telekinesis? I thought characters like Spalko, Mutt and Mac got a bit lost somewhere. Also I was hoping that Mac's constant flipping of sides was going to be streamlined more.
Audio Editing: Clearly a ten out of ten. I'm sure the work and effort that went into the score replacement was huge but it seemed effortless. The score always matched the action and the replaced sound effects were undetectable to my ear. The way the score comes in over the credits is sheer magic.
Narrative: Sadly this is where the edit fell down for me. The original's plot is so convoluted and boring that it's barely watchable. From the the post rocket sled de-brief to the quicksand scene it's still 40 minutes of our heroes jumping all over the globe in an attempt to disguise that every scene is a drawn out exposition of the plot...
EXCITING CHASE! / Sit in AirForce base explaining the plot / Sit in Indys home explaining the plot / Sit in Cafe explaining the plot / BRIEF CHASE! / Walk through market explaining the plot / Stand in cell explaining the plot / Explore tomb while explaning the plot / Tie Indy to chair while explaining the plot to him / MILDLY FUN QUICKSAND SCENE!
But even after all that I'm still unclear about what happened to who and when and how? So I'm unclear what could be done to fix this but something needs done to up the pace in this segment.
I've checked the original and the original exposition sequence lasted 47 minutes but I feel it needs cut almost in half to stop the audience falling asleep.
Enjoyment: The first 15 minutes and and the last third are top draw Indy entertainment but the exposition 40 minutes I've mentioned is so boring that I struggled to get to the last third. I think this is the reason this film may be unfixable at anything like feature length but for a 90 minute cut this is probably as good as it's gonna get.
This probably sounds like quite a negative review but make no mistake that NJVC has improved this film dramatically. I've given it an enjoyment score of 6 but the orginal cut would be something like a 2 (If I was being generous). And lastly the way NJVC ended this thing is a masterstroke, removing the cheesy wedding and replacing it with something, warmer, more subtle and more in keeping with how a Indy film should end... hurrah!
This is the third edit of Indy 4 I've watched, and while they all have their pluses and minuses, I think this might be my favorite due to the new score alone. I'm not an expert on movie soundtracks, but this just *felt* more like an Indy film with the music choices that the editor made, and the integration was really well done. Reading some of the reviews, I was very concerned about the audio, but the new music and sound fx were very well balanced with the existing dialogue. I'm assuming the reviewer comments about poor audio levels were made based on v1, as opposed to the v2 I watched.
The other new and exciting thing the editor did was the use of additional footage during the crystal skull spell sequence, including some very clever usage of Doom Town. By far my favorite editing of this scene!
Beyond that, there was the usual mix of editing choices that I both agreed and disagreed with. There were a few things that I have seen done better, but by and large the editing choices were well done.
A/V quality and editing were generally excellent. I only watched the DVD9 for now, but I look forward to adding the AVCHD to my collection if I'm able to obtain it.