Review Detail

9.3 107 10
FanFix September 09, 2018 28453
(Updated: May 09, 2021)
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In 2008, the television show MythBusters put to the test the old adage “you can’t polish a turd”. Editing “The Last Jedi” from its theatrical release into something with any semblance of being watchable follows in the same vein of that 2008 MythBusters episode. Is it possible to take Ruin Johnson’s fanbase-splitting, franchise-tanking, canon-destroying, plot-hole filled, snail-paced slog of a “film” and make it into something that doesn’t reek of fetid fecal matter? Is it possible to turn such a bowel-bursting abomination of cinema into something that won’t induce vomiting in Original Trilogy fans by the time the end credits roll? That’s the daunting task that “The Anti-Cringe Cut” takes on. This fan-edit is aptly named, as Ruin Johnson’s original theatrical release of The Last Jedi was nothing BUT cringe. The Anti-Cringe Cut does cut out the majority of the most cringe-worthy elements contained in “The Last Jedi”, though there is still some residual cringe leftover. I like the changes and cuts that DonKamillo made to the film; the end product is definitely watchable, and is a far cry from the abomination Ruin Johnson unleashed upon the world. But, I feel the changes in The Anti-Cringe Cut stopped just a bit short, and that a few more edits could have been made to eliminate even more cringe. I’d say 85% of the cringe has been cut, and 15% of the cringe remains.

There were many changes made in the Anti-Cringe Cut that I did like, changes that made the movie more coherent and enjoyable. The Anti-Cringe logo at the beginning with a lightsaber was the perfect pre-roll for what’s to come in this edit itself. Right off the bat, I was greatly relieved to find that the entire prank-call scene between Poe and Hux had been completely cut. The comedy contained in the prank-call wasn’t funny, and it immediately soured me on The Last Jedi when I saw it in the theater. Gone also is the silliness of BB8 giving an electrified headbutt to Poe’s X-Wing console. We still get a shot of BB8 “plugging the dam”, but it works within in the context of the edit; it looks like BB8 had to manually bridge several connections simultaneously in order to fix whatever was wrong with Poe’s ship. Likewise, the scene of Snoke “Yakety Sax”-ing Hux all over the command deck for his failure is completely cut, which removes more stupid humor that felt very out of place in the theatrical release. The bomber sequence is more tightly cut, eliminating a lot of wasted time and unbearably slow pacing that plagued the theatrical release.

The entire storyline of Finn being a deserter is justifiably cut as well. Finn already went through this arc in The Force Awakens, and decided NOT to abandon the resistance. I give the Anti-Cringe Cut credit for not only removing this storyline, but for fixing or removing nearly every storyline in The Last Jedi that existed solely for the purpose of miasandry for misandry’s sake. Gone from The Anti-Cringe Cut are the nonsensical and sudden character regressions of Finn, Poe, and Luke. Character regressions that happened for no other reason than Lucasfilm feeling the need to denigrate these characters based solely on their gender.

No edit of The Last Jedi would be complete without completely cutting Ruin Johnson’s baffling decision to to have Luke toss Anakin’s lightsaber over his shoulder for comedic effect. So of course The Anti-Cringe Cut rightly cuts this out, as well as cutting out scenes where Luke milks a beast for green milk, then drinks the green milk. Cuts were also made to eliminate every “comedic” moment involving the island caretakers, and this is for the best. 99% of the comedy in The Last Jedi just flat-out missed the mark and dragged the movie to a screeching halt. 99% of Porg footage is also cut from this edit, which is also a marked improvement over the original. I found myself wondering if Luke Skywalker is a Babylon 5 fan, as early scenes on the island focus on Luke repeatedly asking Rey the downright Vorlon question of “Who are you?” several times, before then switching the Shadows’ question of “What do you want?” What I personally wanted was a cleaning up of the “Skype calls” between Kylo and Rey, and The Anti-Cringe Cut delivered in this regard! Gone are the most cringe-worthy “Skype” moments like Rey telling Kylo to put a shirt on, and Kylo’s hand getting wet from rain at Rey’s location. The sequences of Luke training Rey are reworked for the better in the Anti-Cringe cut too. Luke actually comes off as a quasi-Jedi in this cut, and not the miserly hermit curmudgeon Ruin Johnson portrayed him as. Edits were also made to introduce ambiguity as to who ignited their lightsaber first the night Luke confronted Kylo. This ambiguity is a good start, but I felt more could have been done in that regard; I’ll get into more detail on that later. The addition of the scene where Rey attacks the island caretakers’ party works well; it helps tell the story that Rey is impulsive and could be easily swayed to the dark side. This dark side temptation theme is brought up again in edits made to the scene where Rey fights Luke. Real quick cuts are seen of Luke sensing Rey turning to the dark side, though I find them to be a bit too fast; blink and you might miss them. All said though, The Anti-Cringe Cut does a FANTASTIC job with Luke training Rey on the island, especially given the incredibly poor source material it had to work with.

I can’t applaud enough the decision to completely cut Marry Poppins Leia from the film. It baffled me in the theater when I saw Leia survive both the vacuum of space, as well as its near zero degree Kelvin temperature. Especially given that actress Carrie Fisher died nearly a year prior to the release of The Last Jedi. Leia’s death was handled MASTERFULLY in The Anti-Cringe Cut, cutting from a frozen Leia floating in space to a shot of Luke on the Millennium Falcon and R2D2 projecting the “help me Obi-Wan” image of Leia to convince Luke to snap out of his funk and help the resistance. There’s also a decent edit of Luke on the island having a vision of his sister floating dead through space at a pivotal moment in the narrative. The Anti-Cringe Cut also does a god job of advancing the plot after Leia’s death; it effectively edits out or edits around scenes scenes that originally contained Leia in the theatrical release. The most notable of these are the scenes involving the planet Crait. A nice montage of shots is shown as spoken exposition dialogue is provided explaining that the resistance needs to retreat to Crait. In the Anti-Cringe Cut, it’s SO much more poignant on Crait hearing the line about “they know Leia, they’ll come” after the transmission was sent, with the subtext being they’ll come to honor/avenge Leia’s death.

It’s almost a miracle that The Anti-Cringe Cut managed to turn Vice Admiral Holdo into something resembling an actual leader. Completely cut is Holdo’s misandric dressing-down of Poe. Completely cut is the nonsensical storyline of Holdo not telling Poe she has a plan. Completely cut is Poe staging a mutiny. And as such, with no mutiny and a competent leader on the bridge, the completely unnecessary side-mission to Canto Bight is completely cut as well, and you’ll never miss it! Also gone is the bizarre and stupid storyline of a low speed chase where the resistance is low on fuel, managing to stay ahead of the First Order because resistance ships “weigh less” and are “lighter” than those of the First Order. Cutting out the mutiny, the miasandry, and the Canto Bight side-mission vastly improves both the pacing of the movie as well as the narrative story the movie tells. Holdo comes off as a no-nonsense leader who speaks few words, and lets her actions speak louder than her words. Don’t get me wrong, weaponizing light-speed is still canon-destroying and mind-numbingly stupid, but there’s just no way to edit around the Holdo maneuver, unfortunately. Holdo sacrifices herself, and the resistance escapes to Crait.

And it’s on Crait that we’re treated to numerous Anti-Cringe Cuts that trim the fat off of the I-am-not-Hoth exposition set-up contained in many of the Crait scenes. The most notable of the Crait cuts is Finn not making a suicide run towards the cannon, and breaking off his attempt when ordered to do so by Poe. This saves us from having to suffer through the cringe-inducing scene from the theatrical release where Rose thwarts Finn’s heroic attempt to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the resistance. In fact, Rose Tico has all but been edited out of The Anti-Cringe Cut, save for appearing in the background in a few scenes here and there (more on that later). The edit of Luke showing up on Crait was amazing, and a great example of how The Anti-Cringe Cut manages to edit around scenes that originally had Leia in them. The change made in the Anti-Cringe Cut to have Luke use his GREEN lightsaber when he battles Kylo is a no-brainer. Kylo played a part in ripping Anakin’s blue lightsaber in half a few scenes prior. So Luke using that exact same blue lightsaber would be an incredibly stupid way of tipping his hand that this was all an illusion. But then again, no one ever accused Ruin Johnson of being smart, and somehow the glaring, gaping blue lightsaber plot-hole made it into the theatrical release. The resistance escaping Crait is now the penultimate scene in the movie, and not the finale as it was in the theatrical release. Luke survives in The Anti-Cringe cut, and rightfully so! Meditating himself to death is by no means a fitting end for Jedi Master Luke Skywalker! The ending of The Anti-Cringe Cut uses footage from The Rise of Skywalker, and sees Kylo seeking out Palpatine, with Palpatine promising to deliver the Last Order’s entire (and already risen) fleet to Kylo, if Kylo can make good on killing Rey. This is a much more satisfying ending than the theatrical release gave us, as well as a better set-up for what is to come in the next movie.

While The Anti-Cringe Cut is an improvement, it’s not quite perfect, yet. There’s a few additional cuts I would have made above and beyond what The Anti-Cringe Cut did to further improve this movie. The first change I would have made would be to completely cut “maverick Poe” out of the movie. This would include editing out Leia calling Poe back to the base during the space battle, Poe turning off his comm system to ignore Leia, and Leia subsequently demoting Poe. With all of the other cuts that have been made, I don’t think Poe is ever referred to by either of his ranks, so this wouldn’t be a continuity issue. With the mutiny storyline cut out of the film, it also makes sense to cut out Poe disobeying Leia as well. I’d much rather Poe be portrayed as a responsible leader than a loose-cannon maverick. I’d have also cut out the line where Leia tells C3PO to “wipe that nervous expression off your face”, as it seems awkward and out of place, and doesn’t add anything to the overall story.

I’d have also entirely cut out any and all footage of Finn walking around in his leaky medical suit. There was still enough footage of Finn’s leaky suit left in The Anti-Cringe Cut to make me cringe. If it were up to me, the entire scene would consist of Finn waking up in the medbay, yelling “REYYY” as he hits his head on the inner glass of the helmet of the suit he’s in, and then IMMEDIATELY cut to whatever the next scene is. I’d also have completely cut out the scene of Kylo destroying his helmet, if nothing else, as an “up yours” to Ruin Johnson for introducing such a ridiculous plot thread. I’d have also edited Kylo’s account of what happened the night Luke came to confront him to make Kylo’s account look more like an outright fabrication, perhaps by having choppy audio/video, in the same vein that Kylo’s lightsaber pulses with choppy, unbalanced energy. This fabrication could be made even more apparent by making Luke’s lightsaber red and giving Luke yellow Sith eyes, to make it perfectly clear Kylo is making this up. But that’s just little nitpicky stuff.

I’d have also completely removed the scene with force-ghost Yoda where Luke talks about wanting to burn everything down. This scene adds nothing, and if anything it detracts from the Star Wars universe by introducing the continuity-breaking power force-ghosts now have to summon lighting and affect the physical world. And editing out the whole “failure is the best teacher” spiel is another great way to say “up yours” to Ruin Johnson. Much like Canto Bight, I don’t think anyone would miss it if the scene with Luke and force-ghost Yoda were completely cut, and doing so would help curb the bizarre pessimism Ruin Johnson decided to inflict upon Luke in The Last Jedi.

I’d also have edited Snoke’s death so that he’s killed earlier, during the time he had Rey hoisted up in the air. Preferably in a way that infers Rey killed Snoke to play into her whole falling to the dark side storyline, though if need be it could be made to look like Kylo did it. I just find it incredibly stupid for Snoke to give this long monologue that drones on about how Kylo would never betray him, and Kylo readying a lightsaber to kill his true enemy, blatantly telegraphing what is about to happen. That entire monologue is pure cheese and pure cringe. To me it would be better to have Snoke get killed completely out of left-field by an attack that even the audience didn’t see coming.

The next major edit I’d make would occur when the resistance is escaping from the cave on Crait. I’d edit the shots of Rey levitating the rocks to be much tighter, and only show close ups of her levitating the handful of rocks in frame around the cave mouth. The Anti-Cringe Cut does a good job up until this point of not presenting Rey as a Mary Sue. The wide shots where Rey is levitating all of those rocks is too much, it’s still unrealistic! The close up shots however seem within the realm of possibility, and I’d keep those shots in the final cut. But I’d cut all the wide shots that show Rey levitating way more rocks than even Yoda in his prime would be able to levitate. I’d have also edited out the disappearing dice Kylo picks up. The disappearing dice don’t really add anything to the narrative, and it was just as cringe when Luke gave the dice to Leia in the theatrical release. And the final cut I would make would be to remove the shot near the end of the movie where Finn tucks in Rose Tico. Rose is shown to have lacerations all over her face, which is a bit of a continuity problem in this edit. With the scene of Rose ramming her speeder into Finn’s ending up on the cutting-room floor where it belongs, there’s now no explanation as to how or why Rose got those cuts on her face. And honestly, with all of the footage that has been cut in The Anti-Cringe Cut, Rose is no longer anything more than a background extra, so it really means nothing seeing Finn tucking her in.

All in all, The Anti-Cringe Cut takes a movie that was a complete turd and manages to polish that turd to a respectable sheen. There’s slight room for more polishing, but overall what was once a turd is now a somewhat enjoyable Star Wars film. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone ever subject themselves to the horror that is the theatrical release of The last Jedi. I do however, highly recommend checking out the The Anti-Cringe Cut of The Last Jedi.

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