November 02, 2019
Zarius follows up his Ford Awakens edit to continue the sequel trilogy with the inclusion of a lost iconic hero. While I didn't enjoy the original TLJ movie, the idea and scope of this edit was intriguing in retaining Solo and I was curious as to how this would play out in an edit.
The inclusion of Han did feel a little forced as he literally just pops up on screen for a second and then disappears. Zarius was clear about this, and I don't think it was the main focus of the edit so I didn't base a lot of my rating on this, but it it really was a blink and you missed it moment. This is understandable from a source footage stand point, but I found it a bit distracting.
A more central focus to the edit was Zarius' attempt to tighten things up by removing some key sequences of the film. The removal of the opening space battle was handled well and the edit moved along without too noticeable of cuts, but as the edit progressed some of the transitions between the end of scenes and incoming scenes felt a little forced at times. Some scenes did feel like they had been shortened here and there to achieve the new narrative. Those narrative changes, while they increased the pace of the film, left me a little confused with characters and their intentions/motivations (cut space battle but Rose still talks about her sister, Kylo's helmet and wound, Holdo and Poe, etc.) Interestingly, I think the narrative changes actually took a lot of focus off of Rey and put more on Finn and his journey, or at least that's what I remember the most after viewing.
The audio and video quality looked and sounded good for the presented rendering file size. Some visual and audio cuts were a bit to fast or hard for my personal taste and the narrative changes, while intriguing, were perhaps limited by the source material. Again, I didn't really enjoy the original movie, so the enjoyment rating is more a reflection of the original film and that my interaction with the film itself didn't really change as a result of viewing this edit. I do commend Zarius for taking on a lofty task of continuing a story that includes a character that isn't in the movie itself. It will be interesting to see if JJ can pull it off with the upcoming Rise of Skywalker.