Rome: Decimated focuses on Titus Pullo, a cheerful, impulsive foot-soldier in the Roman army. He’s my favorite character and the heart of the series, really. And it has some of the story of his commanding officer Lucius Vorenus, a middle-class, moralistic prig, and some of the war between Julius Caesar and the Senate, which everyone is caught up in.
One of the commentary tracks on the commercial DVD says the conceit of the series is Pullo and Vorenus go through Roman history like Forrest Gump. They’re always in the right place at the right time to change the course of history. This fanedit rolls that gimmick back, to make the plot more serious and less dependent on wild coincidence.
As great as it is, the original series has a lot of soap opera, and Rome: Decimated aims to scrub a lot of that out. The romantic intrigue, marriages, affairs, etc are trimmed. Gratuitous sex and torture scenes are cut. Many of the major characters in the series are reduced to bit parts. There’s also many scenes that are very on the nose, as if the producers are shouting “see how weird and cruel and pagan the people were in ancient times!” Material like that can be a lot more subtle and folded into the background.
Cut the Egypt episode
Cut the subplot about Pullo and the Republic’s gold
Cut Pullo’s first contract killing
Trimmed Pullo’s trial
Trimmed Vorenus’s home life, marital and financial problems, and his various jobs as an ex-soldier
Replaced Vorenus’s final scene with the season 2 version
Cut Caesar’s romantic liaisons and home life
Cut the storylines of Atia, Timon, Octavia and Servilia
Cut Antony’s romance
Trimmed the storylines of Pompey and the Senate leaders
Added season 2 battle scenes for the battle with Pompey’s army
Cut or trimmed various scenes of religious and governmental procedures
Cut some Senate sessions
Cut stage performances and some newsreader announcements
Added some subtitles to tell where scenes are happening
Customized the start and end credits
Its been an interesting day watching this back to back with Kerr's Assassination of Julius Caesar. You both approached the Rome TV show from such different angles. I honestly expected Kerr's greater focus on the politics to be more to my taste, but as it turns out, I think I enjoyed this edit more overall with the greater focus on the two soldiers. This approach is more in line with the original story in which the politics are the backdrop. The story of their friendship is just so potent that it really makes everything else click. You took the best of the material from season 1 of the show and wove it together in a very satisfying way.
4 hour runtime is a bit long. I think this might have benefited from dropping a few more scenes and getting the runtime down closer to 3 hours, but if I can make it through Fellowship of the Ring, I guess I can make it through this. It works as a movie in its own right. The ending is depressing but well done and I'm glad you chose to end it the way you did. If you never did anything with season 2, I still think this stands on its own fine.
There were a couple rough cuts/fades in part 1 that reminded me I was watching a fanedit, but I didn't make note of when they occurred. A minor blemish to a job overall well done.
A very entertaining edit from start to finish. If anything, I would have trimmed the Caesar/politics plotline a little further, focusing on the parts of it that directly affect Pullo and/or Vorenus, as in its current form it sometimes feels like it's switching between two movies, the Pullo/Vorenus one and the Caesar one. But both plots are interesting so it's no big deal.
Editing itself is very well done for the most part, with the exception of a couple of dissolves (most prominently the one 1 hour and 15 minutes into Vol. 1, after the fight with the disguised soldiers) that contain changes of shot from the original in the middle of the transition, something that calls attention to itself as edited. Video and audio presentation were top-notch, and I liked the very informative maps included.
Terrific work. I'm a big fan of Brumeous' first fanedit "Solaris Station"(1972), on which he reduced the running time of Tarkvosky's worthy but snails-pace epic and tranformed it into a much more enaging sci-fi film.
And the story is the winner with his edit of "Rome", too. I only made it half way through the original 1st series. I knew there was something wrong with it, but I was vague as to exactly what. This fanedit has made the shortcomings crystal clear to me: too many subplots and soap opera nonsense. Let's face it: only a few TV writers have the skill to juggle a huge number of plot strands - "Game of Thrones" is one of the few exceptions - and Brumeous has been creative and thoughtful in untangling and streamlining the knotty mess of subplots. He's turned "Rome" Season 1 into a much better piece of storytelling. It now has a palpable sense of momentum and a clearer narrative purpose.
Technically the editing is bang-on, save for a few crossfades in the middle part of Disc 1 which felt a bit abrupt, e.g. cutting away from the scene where Ceasar's men are about to discover treasure hidden on wagons that are leaving Rome as his army approaches.
Video quality is good but not perfect. Using double-layer DVD discs to allow a higher bitrate would have made the video indistinguishable from the source. An MP4 or MKV encode with the x264 codec at around 2000kbps would also achieved the same result. Bare in mind that I'm fussy about vid quality.
"Rome: Decimated" is fine work. Hopefully Brumeous will be editing Season 2 as well.
This was a great edit. Even though I own it, I never got into Rome. I couldn't get more than a few episodes in as I really hated all the soap opera aspects. I was glad to hear this was being edited and I'm happy to say it works quite well. Focusing almost exclusively on Pullo and Vorenus is excellent. The characters are well balanced and, like you say, are the heart of the show.
Overall I highly enjoyed it, but some of it bored me a bit. But that's me and my personal tastes. All the editing was top notch.