Review Detail

8.8 13 10
TV-to-Movie August 13, 2012 3999
(Updated: September 13, 2012)
Review by bionicbob — April 27, 2011 @ 12:41 am

As anyone who follows the TV Shows Threads knows, I am a HUGE Smallville fan!
But more over, I am a lover of all things Superman.
My comic book collection is overflowing. I grew up watching George Reeves weekday mornings before school in the 70s, I was in theatre seats for all the Chris Reeve movies, I loved the late 80′s Superboy series, enjoyed LOIS & CLARK in the 90′s and have been a devoted follower of Smallville these past 10 seasons. Thus, when Last Survivor announced his Smallville project, I was very curious.
The timing could not have been better. With Smallville ending it’s series run later this year, it felt right to go back to the very beginnings of the series and relive the genesis of this generations’ Superman.

First off, I will get the basic technical stuff out of the way. The dvd menu design is simple, functional and to the point. Just the way I prefer it. The editor provides a nice summary of his intentions as a bonus feature, along with his two trailers. All very clean and nice.

I watched this edit on my good old 56inch rear projection tv (yep, still no widescreen tv for me yet) and the images and colours were clear and sharp. I listened to the movie through my stereo system and the quality was very good, never had to adjust the sound while watching.

While watching I did not notice any significant interlacing, flash frames or fluctuating video quality. I did observed the widescreen matte would sometimes change from normal black to a dark grey briefly. Considering the source material and type of edit this is, most the of audio and scene transisitions work very well. There were a couple I thought could be smoothed out slightly more, but for the most part, I was really impressed. There are a few scenes which are obviously cut and/or restructured, but they were not a significant distraction for me.

I really liked the new music choices for this story. The score used for the opening and closings for Parts 1 and 2, pefectly capture the lyrical quality you want for this type of epic edit. The new opening credits and score, was extremely impressive. It paid a nice tribute to the comic book origins of the material, while maintaining a modern dramatic style. Well done.

So on the tech side, I think this is a very well constructed and executed edit. It shows great skills and great promise.
I would give the tech stuff a solid 8 out of 10.

Now we move into the subjective stuff—narrative choices made by the editor, viewer accessibility and overall entertainment value.

As already outlined by Last Survivor, he has taken season one and the season two opener, removed all the Freak of the Week plotlines, and focused solely on the lives of the main characters of Smallville, the Kents, the Luthors and their supporting entourage.

I was skeptical when I first read this, really wondering how well the season long “B” and “C” storylines would hold up. As my memory is stained with the many horrible and repetitive freak villains that ruled through season one. Happily, the subplots of the daily struggles of young Clark and his friends and family work really well. Which is a testament to the strong writing team of the first season and the wonderfully engaging cast of actors.

That said, this edit definitely does not flow like a feature film. It is very, very episodic in nature, filled with teen angst, and soap opera twists. This is particularly evident in Part 1 of the edit, where all the various plot lines seem random and disjointed. However, in Part 2 most of these threads quickly come together, forming a mostly coherant tapestry, and a satisfiying conclusion.

As a long time Smallville watcher, I found the 4 plus hour movie experience to be a fun nostalgia ride. I enjoyed revisiting many of these storylines. But what would someone unfamilar with the Smallville series think?

They may find the edit a bit too long, I think another 20-25 minutes could have been eliminated. There were some story bits I thought could have been cut to keep the story moving faster and more focused. Such as the “adoption’ bit from Part 1 and the “nanny” bit from Part 2. But these are minor things.
If there is one potential weakness to Last Survivor’s edit removal of the Freaks of the Week, it is we the audience don’t get many opportunities to see Clark being heroic. They talk about it alot, but we, the audience, don’t get to see too much of it. This started to worry me as I watched, but Last Survivor has smartly closed Parts 1 and 2 with a big action piece, thus finally giving the audience a glimpse at the hero Clark is destined to become.

So I think structurely the narrative works and a non-Smallville fan will be engaged and will understand the storyline. Due to the nature of this type of tv edit, not all the storylines are tied up in a neat bow by the time the final credits roll. There are some unresolved threads and cliffhanger elements. But instead of being a destraction or disappointment, they work well as nice tease of things to come. Make sure you watch the entire end credits for a little surprise!

So again, I would give the creative/entertainment elements of this edit a strong 8/10.

I think this is very good first time edit and I whole heartedly APPROVE IT!

So if you are a long time Smallville fan, or have always been curious about the series but have never watched it, I would recommend checking out Last Survivor’s SMALLVILLE DESTINY.

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