July 28, 2019
I finally got around to giving this edit a watch, and I was not disappointed. I haven't given this film the same sort of close look I have to the saga films, and remember my three previous viewings as somewhat ho-hum. I really enjoyed it this time around, with DigMod's edit flashing across my screen. In fairness, it might be partly due to having given Solo a rest and returning later with fresh eyes. It wasn't until I read the cutlist that I started to remember bits and pieces that he had removed seamlessly.
If you'd have asked me, I would have told you I didn't think optical wipe transitions would have been necessary, and I don't think they are, but they really did feel nice to have. The visual work that (I'm told, because I sure wouldn't have noticed) was necessary in a few places was seamless, as was 100% of the audio work. I listened on a good (stereo) system and noticed no issues, and I'm somewhat of a stickler on that stuff. I wonder if it would have been better to allow the "we'll have you flying in no time" gag to remain since the added optical wipe transition there does not allow for any new material to be seen.
The opening 'Fox' fanfare and SW opening crawl worked better than I thought they would, though I would still prefer if the same content were presented with the blue ALTAIAGFFA text. Just a personal preference; the editor's intentions are implemented effectively.
The film doesn't feel edited at all, apart from the opening crawl. I appreciate giving the implication that Han came up with the 'Solo' surname himself, rather than a hokey moment in which an Imperial officer assigns it to him. In the new canon, we know Solo was an improvised name anyway, so this change almost certainly won't be sniped by any future Star Wars works. Removing the Maul cameo was much appreciated, and removes a serious WTF moment many audience members had who hadn't cared to venture deep into what I still consider to be rather ugly cartoons. L3 wasn't nearly as annoying this time around, though there were only a few moments I consciously noted had been removed as I was watching, the remainder going undetected.
I was genuinely surprised at the extent to which I enjoyed my viewing experience, and it seems this edit is greater than the sum of its individual trims. Fantastic work; it makes me glad that I don't have to trudge into the muck of this film myself. Very, very well done.