Review Detail

9.2 7 10
FanFix June 06, 2021 2674
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Audio/Video Quality
Audio Editing
Visual Editing
***This first section is a repetition of my review for P1, Echoes of Lament, as the material here applies to both. Scroll down for specifics about this second piece.***

Firstly, this is an absolutely masterful edit. Taking ten episodes and turning them into two two-hour-long films would be impressive in any circumstances, especially done at this level of technical quality. But to do that with source material that is so utterly, completely, depressingly abhorrent is a work of skillful artistry that deserves the highest possible commendation.

I avoided watching Picard when it first came out because I hate streaming services, and because I was nervous. That nervousness increased to outright anxiety when spoilers began slipping into my sphere. When I finally bought it and watched it for myself, the emotional experience was something akin to watching a beloved friend beaten senseless, or having your dog drowned. Star Trek was a formative piece of my whole experience of life, and to see it degraded to such a degree (and lauded for that degradation by mindless hoards of critics) was literally and shatteringly depressing.

Coming from that standpoint, to say that I enjoyed even a moment of the material is pretty amazing. As it happens, this first part, Echoes of Lament, turned out to be... if not a *good story,* then at least not the worst. Utter trash was taken, molded, morphed, risen, baked, and turned into a crusty loaf that -- for all its flavorlessness -- was edible.

But, if "Lament" was a flavorless loaf, "Means of Redemption" got burned. This isn't to say that the editing is at fault—the source material is so dreadful that I cannot imagine it ever quite reaching a reasonable state. However, some of the editor's choices were not as conservative as they might have been in cutting out the bad moments. Some moments, like the retention of gore-shots (even in a limited capacity for half-second flashback purposes) were the editor's stylistic choice, not necessity, and I disagree with their necessity. I do appreciate what was cut though, because the original material was lousy with gore. Likewise, various elements of the final third of the film could have been tightened, including ridiculous out-of-universe continuity glitches like Narek's locating them based on their trajectory and heading (this makes no sense!). So, I do think that the narrative arc could have been made much stronger with a bit more cutting. That said, I noticed a few audio hiccups in places as music overlapped, and once with some distorted popping, so I can only imagine how hard it would be syncing things up with even more cuts.

Focusing on what wasn't cut is a better place to go, however. I loved the changes made to Riker and Troi's little life together with their kid - turned from something vomitoriously depressing into something a bit melancholy but, ultimately, extremely sweet. I think the time spent in their scenes was my favorite of the whole experience. So much terrible material is taken out, turning the characters into reasonable human beings instead of the tapestries of suffering and horror they were devised as by the writers. It was really beautiful seeing how the extremely clever cutting made literal changes to emotional beats within the story - which goes to show the power a good editor has when given directorial control - even on a piece that's already formalized.

I am incredibly impressed by these two films, and even if I enjoyed the second one a bit less than the first, I still commend Wraith for doing the unthinkable. They turned something actively harmful into something only a little bit worse than Nemesis, and that's an insane gap to cross. Now, I finally feel a sense of closure on a painful thorn in my emotional side, and I cannot thank the editor enough for creating that opportunity.

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