Star Wars: Renascent
Voice Modulation Example
Star Wars Renascent looked pretty awesome, it's quite an ambitious project, and it fails. I tried to like this edit, I really wanted to but I just couldn't. Out of place music and strange places in which it switches between movies were just weird. Using Adywan's revisited version of ANH was a good idea, but sadly that means many stupid special edition changes were still left in. AOTC remained as horrible as ever, leaving in atrocious dialogue in and keeping as much Jar Jar and shitty romance as possible, why?! Scenes intercut before they've actually played out, leaving many sequences with no resolution or outcome and just moving on to the next one after the occasional flashback. AOTC looks so much different than ANH and it stands out horribly, especially when deleted with incomplete CGI is used and it looks even worse than it already does! The tone and feel of AOTC and ANH clash and don't blend well, everything is just confusing and in your face. I feel like the only intention of this edit was to say "Hey look! AOTC completely ripped off that scene! Let's glorify obvious poorly done throwbacks and unoriginality!"
The audio quality is fine, nothing fuzzy or strange. The video quality on the other hand is terrible, this is a DVD9 folder, it should not be a grainy 480p video.
Visual editing was alright, though many times when it suddenly cut to flashbacks it seemed quite jarring. Many intercut sequences were awkward like Shmi, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's death. Strange color correction decisions were also very distracting, even when they were supposed to invoke emotion they just seemed flashy and pointless.
Audio editing... oh boy. When music was introduced into scenes it seemed to dominate the characters' voices, this was very apparent in the elevator scene with Obi-Wan and Anakin. So much of the music was very out of place and didn't feel like star wars. The death of Anakin's mom and Luke's uncle and aunt was a good concept but didn't play out well due to sudden changes in musical scoring and all sound effects disappearing were extremely distracting.
Over all, this is ANH: Revisited with some of the worst clips from AOTC cut into it. This does not provide an entertaining experience, it shows how far off the prequels are from the original trilogy.
The new score, when present, changes the tone of the movie. The music turns familiar scenes sublime, now oozing with depth and gravitas. A few scenes become art-house sci-fi, in a good way, solely because of the musical changes. Same dialogue, same visuals, but a different emotion runs through them, sometimes powerfully. This alone is reason enough to see this cut.
I really liked the discussion @ Ben's desert abode. The PT flashbacks were spare; that scene was cooked just right (aside from some sound issues, which others have mentioned).
Kenobi's death scene and aftermath were beautifully scored and conveyed greater emotion than in the original film.
When used briefly in flashback sequences, parts of the prequels come across brilliantly. No longer do these scenes get a chance to smear nonsensical poo all over this fable; they're present long enough to emote or provide exposition, and then they're gone.
And Anakin's and Padme's clunky romance is mercifully condensed, making it more believable. Still hokey, but, hey, Asteroid Man's not to blame.
But then there are prequel scenes that go on too long.
I understand that the intention of the edit is to present two parallel stories, those of Anakin and Luke. It's almost too balanced in presenting both of their stories, and therein lies a significant fault. Luke's story of departure and adventure is simply compelling; Anakin's whining, sexual creepiness, and fascist politics are not. Although Asteroid Man doesn't state his intention was to provide an episode-IV-centric story admixed with tiny bits of episodes I through III, one can't help but think that that approach might have provided a leaner, more potent cut.
The parts of the PT that should have been kept were those necessary for storytelling. Action sequences from the PT, for the most part, aren't necessary to ground the events that happen two decades later. From the perspective of the original trilogy, is it necessary to know the particulars of Padme's assassination attempt, or the silly chase that ensues?
Even though I'm biased toward the OT, I felt there were some episode IV scenes that could have further trimmed. The boarding of the rebel ship near the start of the movie, as well as the on-ship battle that followed, could have been cut drastically. The trash compactor scene shows the heroes' teamwork and was an iconic part of a stand-alone movie, but in a hybrid movie that scene is unnecessary, as it does little to advance a broader narrative.
Sometimes the blending of the two stories works really well. Luke's discovery of his dead aunt and uncle, and Anakin's discovery of his ravaged mother (the last-minute nature of his interest which I thought was ridiculous in the studio version) are interweaved neatly. However, in the second half of the edit, this interweaving creates multiple climaxes, and I began to wonder when it would end.
Summing it all up: I was hoping for a blazing two-thumbs-up experience, as suggested by the trailer, and at its best, this edit is hauntingly evocative. More of this stuff, and I'd be totally pumped to see Asteroid Man's renascent versions of episodes V and VI. For much of its lengthy run time, though, Star Wars: Renascent made me feel as though I was watching a mere mashing together of episodes IV and II.
Review by dubmaster — October 8, 2011 @ 6:39 pm
I have to write that I really love the concept.
My only problem with it is the music is too loud when Obi-Wan explains to Luke how his Father died, maybe the volume should be tone down by a quarter or less than half. I enjoy the new choice of score but it needs a more subtle approach. Just my two cents here.
I adore the fact that you add the Imperial March theme when Vader appears or when Star Destroyers are flying around the Death Stars.
The concept is great. I also appreciate the AOTC moments more, and the romantic montage between Anakin and Padmee is more efficient here.
Keep up the good work.
Review by The Aluminum Falcon — October 4, 2011 @ 6:09 am
I watched the digital copy and here is a slightly-updated version of my review from originaltrilogy.com:
“All right, well I saw the whole thing and here are my thoughts. To preface this, I must say that I loved the narrative style of this edit. The Godfather II-style works here: a story of similar fathers and sons. I took notes while watching this so here they are:
A technical thing I noticed was that the alien captions varied between ANH and AOTC. The AOTC alien captions were the plain DVD subtitle track captions while the Greedo captions were hardcoded; I don’t think this could be helped though unless Asteroid-Man would create new captions exactly like Adywan’s.
While watching, I thought that the AOTC speeder chase looked slightly color corrected to look more real, so it seemed less CGI-like; in any case, I did enjoy it here because of the Classic OT music Asteroid-Man inserted at the beginning of it as well as the precise excising of the CGI shennanigans. Speaking of music, all of the added music was utterly fantastic and achieved an alternate mood, which I believe was Asteroid Man’s intention. Some scenes, in particular that were improved, are R2D2′s capture by the Jawas which is now more menacing, the Death Star round table sequence, and absolutely especially all the sequences during Geonosis, which now were filled with excitement and suspense as opposed to before when John William’s rather luckluster score was all to be heard. The only music addition which seemed a bit too sudden and a tad rough to me was the Imperial March during Vader’s entrance. It seemed very sudden.
The love between Anakin and Padme now seems genuine and there appears to be chemistry between the two actors. I was a bit surprised at the new scene but it worked, and it made the promise not to fall in love mentioned at the end all the more effective. Also, not being distracted by Ewan MacGregor at the cloning facility was a definite plus. When Anakin and Padme leave the ship on Geonosis and are immediately apprehended, it was a very good move to cut the conveyor belt scene, as it’s unnecessary action; however, I was surprised to see the tail end of it rather than the alternate negotiations deleted scene presented on the DVD.
The Phantom Menace clips were a bit surprising; I didn’t expect them. The green tint was personally a bit much for me, but I found I got more used to it the second time I saw a TPM clip. Anyway, as AOTC and ANH transition, it is very effective and I like it later when they seem to be one narrative and flow more together, as you put it. An early transition I did like was between Anakin killing sandpeople and the Death Star; it seemed to suggest how evil in the past leads to evil in the future, very Godfather II like. The only (IMO) awkward transition was when the AOTC timeline suddenly jumped back to the bar where they were chasing the Zam. Granted it goes well with the Cantina, but it seems odd to go back in one timeline. This did not deter my enjoyment though.
Also, I was surprised that Asteroid-Man cut the legendary “I care” scene since it made Luke a little less light-hearted and more grieved. This actually accentuated his likeness to Anakin and was a pretty good change; Luke seems more sullen like his father.One thing I was actually surprised Asteroid-Man didn’t go as far as to cut out the TIE fighter scene. It is classic but it may not fit as well into this edit.
Now onto my most favorite parts of this. I liked how the protocol droid in Geonosis is not C-3P0. The voice modulation clearly pointed this out; you can assume he’s just a droid of Padme’s and it works since we didn’t see him at the Lars Farm. I also liked Obi-Wan’s death; it’s very powerful how the music overpowers everything and there’s no dialogue. It also makes it a bit surprising when Obi-Wan talks to Luke in the X-Wing from beyond the grave. You felt Luke was more sad there and also switching to AOTC seemed to allow Luke to grieve longer and not suddenly be happy when destroying an X-Wing. In short, it had good music and was a good version of the scene! I really did love the scene where Ben describes Vader. The tint and the distortion on Vader’s face fits perfectly and those who don’t know would not suspect it’s Anakin. The music works fantastically too.
However, the absolute end-all best part of this edit for me is the Owen and Beru/Shmi deaths which Asteroid-Man successfully blended. The effect on the video was great and showed the emotional turmoil both main characters were suffering. The music was emotionally overwhelming in this one and it was perhaps the greatest parallel of father and son. For me personally, it was just as powerful as the christening/assassination scene in the first Godfather.
So, those are all my thoughts about the edit! I really did love it and can’t wait to see the full DVD version… It’s a fantastic reimagining and retelling of the Star Wars story in it’s own right.”