Review by Phlegmbot — September 22, 2010 @ 9:18 pm
I’ll say this for my first fan edit viewing: I would never have known it wasn’t edited by a pro.
It looks good and, yes, the story does flow far more smoothly, and, without a doubt, the story of Harry vs. Peter is now at the forefront and is truly the spine of the movie, as it should’ve been. Great job on that.
That said, I always had two big problems w/Spider-Man 3 (a thousand little problems [e.g., why doesn't Spidey's spider-sense ever seem to work in this flick?], but 2 big ones):
1. Films always thrive on coincidence, but there are too many in SM3. Gwen is Peter’s lab partner, the model he saves, daughter of a police captain who arranges to have her give him the key to the city and so on. And Brock is a photog at the Bugle AND Gwen’s beau AND in the church at just the right time…and so on.
2. Everything in the Spidey movie-verse is lab-based, Earth science-based sci-fi. But the symbiote…the symbiote is still from outer space. This works in the comics b/c Spider-Man interacts with characters like The Silver Surfer on a regular basis. In the movie, not so much. (The ani series “Spectacular Spider-Man” resolved this by making all of the characters incredulous at the discovery of life from space…which also worked).
This edit didn’t fix the above two issues, so the level of suspension of disbelief you must utilize to buy the story is still quite high. I hate to knock something w/out offering suggestions for fixing, so below are my thoughts — pardon me if I go on a bit….
My recommendation would be to OPEN the film w/an establishing shot of ESU and then we cut to the Doc Conners/Peter Parker scene where they’re looking at the alien symbiote, and perhaps extend the time at ESU with cut or existing scenes from this movie or even the earlier ones….we then segue into nighttime with Pete & MJ on the web looking at the stars, SKIP the meteor landing, but show that the symbiote is now on his bike. So not only is the symbiote some kind of ESU lab experiment now, it is apparently following Peter from the get-go. Pete who was already warned (by Conners) not to touch it.
Gwen also doesn’t work in any way (in spite of the great efforts of our erstwhile editing genius) — her character has no arc and is hardly any kind of foil for MJ. But she’s there for drama and for Peter to basically use. So, pardon my backseat editing, but if I had the ability to do this, I’d:
1. Alter the crane accident to make it a generic Spidey saves the day scene. No close-ups of Gwen, which, in a sense, would take her OUT of the scene.
2. I believe there’s a scene in the original of Gwen as his lab partner, yes? Keep that. (Or did I dream it?)
3. Excise Gwen from Spider-Man Day. Maybe use Gwen’s audio (but perhaps deepen the voice so it sounds like some city official) over shots of the crowd and cut to Spidey doing tricks and showing off, then see MJ leaving; crop the shot of Spidey giving a thumbs up so we only see him (a little video degradation would be acceptable here in my book).
4. The proposal/restaurant scene remains unchanged until Gwen’s exit: from there, you can slice MJ’s audio track. If MJ just says “How come you never mentioned her? She’s your lab partner? She thinks you’re a genius and had her polished nails all over you?” Peter: “She’s just a girl in my class.” MJ: “Do you want to push me away?…” and everything else remains to the end of the scene.
5. It also looks like some clever editing can take the dancing scene in the jazz club out. Pete’s being a jerk from the get-go, and that could be made clear differently, with Gwen storming out and Peter still fighting w/the club bouncers.
Man, I wish I had the talent or the time for this. I’m still very impressed with the look and flow of this edit, but until the major two issues are resolved, the movie itself still comes off as too darned weak.
Spider-Man 3. The black sheep in the saga of the webshooting hero. The main problem about it being that it was a movie at odds with itself: at the same time the campiest and the darkest in the series, the most comedic and the most dramatic. In the same movie we had the hero beating his girlfriend and almost becoming a murderer, AND goofing around in sequences out of a ZAZ spoof. Well, that’s no longer the case in Badscooter’s reshaping of it: he has focused in the human drama and the love triangle between Peter, MJ, and Harry, and also in the darker aspects of the plot, pushing extraneous elements centering on the villains and parallel plots to the background, and losing almost all of the goofy comedy and plot contrivances. Which results in a much improved watching experience.
PLOT: Now the center of it is Peter’s relationship with MJ. That’s what moves the story along and what motivates the fall and recovery of Spidey. A major change, and huge improvement, is that now Flint Marko had nothing to do with Uncle Ben’s murder, and this removal is achieved in a way in which no one would suspect that was the case in the original if they had never seen it. No traces left at all. Thus, Peter’s descent into the dark side is now motivated by personal love life failure. And it will be his love for MJ what saves him (and her) in the end. Harry’s character arc runs parallel to this, and thanks to a key change near the end, what makes him ultimately tick will be love and friendship as well. It’s now more than ever a story of (as the subtitle aptly puts it) redemption. Still, if you thought the love triangle was soap opera in the original, you’ll think the same thing about this. There’s only as much that fanediting can fix. 9/10.
IMAGE QUALITY: Remarkably good. It’s SD DVD, but the source was Blu-Ray and the video is clean and crisp. There might be some very minimal stuttering and also very slight pixelization in fast motion-heavy shots, but one has to be looking for them, and looking really close, to notice. As for the edits, flawless. Not a single hard one. 9/10.
AUDIO QUALITY: I don’t have proper home theater gear so I don’t even know if this was 5.1 or 2.0, but it sounded good overall. I noticed saturation distortions in the noisiest moments, but that probably has more to do with my loudspeakers totally sucking than with anything else. The editing is again perfect, with no hard cuts at all. 7/10.
DIFFERENCE TO THE ORIGINAL: It’s way more focused and centered overall. The most offensively cheesy moments are gone (no Saturday Night Fever Pete, no cooking, no landing in front of the American flag, no JJJ pills…). Secondary characters are much less intrusive now: Gwen Stacy is no longer a model, which is much more realistic (let’s face it, Peter Parker may have his charm but is not the kind of guy supermodels drool over), and Eddie Brock has no relationship with her at all (good, everybody being connected to everybody in the original made NY seem like an awfully small place), other characters like Captain Stacy are hardly in the movie (I didn’t mind him but no big loss anyway), and silly moments have been heavily trimmed or completely eliminated all through. The biggest casualty, as I’ve mentioned, is “Sandman shot Uncle Ben”, which was contrived and I’m happy to lose. Overall, this carries a lot less fat and stupid humor. There are laughs left, but they mostly work and are funny (JJJ’s best moments, and the great Bruce Campbell). 9/10.
OVERALL PRESENTATION: This has been made available both as a single layer DVD, which I’m reviewing, and an AVI file. The DVD has a still, silent main menu and scene selection. Not the flashiest or best looking I’ve seen, but it’s all we really need and it achieves its purpose. 6/10.
ENTERTAINMENT: Head and shoulders above the theatrical release. Pacing is consistently good, and annoyance has been removed all through. This has not turned the movie into The Godfather, it hasn’t even turned it into Spider-Man 2, but this is probably as much as it can be done. 9/10.
Badscooter shows genuine talent and a great deal of cinematic intuition in this, his firstling. I might be a little biased in my appreciation because I had a bit of input in the creation process of this edit, but that means I can more clearly see where the stitches are. And right now even myself am having a hard time in spotting them! :smile:
I don’t know if someone who totally hated the theatrical release with a passion will appreciate this one, but IMO fans of the previous two installments will have a version they won’t be ashamed to keep next to part 1 and 2 on their shelves. Overall: 9/10.
I can’t say much more than the other reviews because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the original, but I must say that the pace of this edit is really good. Nothing is missing , exept maybe why exactely Harry is helping Pete at the end, it’s a complete 180° turn of his personnality here. But it’s okay, friendship feeling can be strong and it’s a nice new take of this character. This is really a nice example of the “less is more” theory, that is in this case a fact! Well done!