Review Detail

9.9 5 10
FanMix September 22, 2016 18075
Overall rating
Audio/Video Quality
Visual Editing
Audio Editing
Our resident word-twister ssj has achieved far more than he likely set out to do with The Sukaiwaka Fortress. What initially began as a fun idea to inject some Star Wars into, arguably, the franchise's biggest inspiration, has resulted in not only an incredibly entertaining film, but an almost academic investigation into the Kurosawa-Lucas connection and film-making in general. As a preface, I should state that I usually approach these wild ideas with skepticism because they typically result in an interesting, but not-always-so-successful product. Even the best intentions and most-skilled editors have only commercially released end products to work with, not all the individual components that the original films' editors had at their disposal. As such, some ideas can not be executed, and others are left muddled or clunky in their delivery. That doesn't seem to be the case here. Perhaps The Hidden Fortress was easier to work with because of its sparser scoring, but I suspect it brought its own set of challenges and I believe that ssj handled this incredibly well. His familiarity with the source material, instinct for character motivations, and apparent expertise in linguistics (please peruse his forum posts...) helped create the perfect storm - a wonderfully enjoyable film experience that is respectful to both The Hidden Fortress and Star Wars.

Rather than drop bits of dialog from Star Wars verbatim into The Hidden Fortress, our faneditor has skillfully manipulated them to feel at home in the 16th Century setting. Some references may pass over casual Star Wars fans, while fan-boys and -girls will likely chuckle audibly at some of the phrasing. Similarly, the new music has been expertly added, and at times reworked, to seamlessly enhance our adventure set a long time ago in a country far far away.

As for the IFDb categorical review points:
A/V Quality - I watched the 720p mp4 version, which was produced with a pleasing crispness. The stereo audio was quite nice and the audio quality was more than sufficient for this film.
Visual Editing - Seamless.
Audio Editing - Impressive, most impressive. There are a few lingering blemishes resulting from the original mono mix, but nothing to complain about, and they will be inaudible to most viewers.
Narrative - Not much has been excised from the film, but ssj has actually done quite a bit of subtle trimming and reshaping to fit The Hidden Fortress into a Star Wars adventure. The resulting narrative is very successful.
Enjoyment - I absolutely loved this.

There were a number of new lines of dialog (via subtitle) that I loved, but I won't list them here so that viewers can enjoy the surprises themselves. The same is true of the commentary, which is an absolute must watch (listen?). What I enjoyed most about the commentary, and indeed the edit itself, is that it isn't simply a different outlet for the editor to say "I changed this" or "I needed to fix that" or "well, that obviously had to go." ssj goes through what seems like a bit of exploration into these films, and continued discovery about their details through discussion about his motivations, his editing, and his exploration of why the characters may have done what they did either in the original story or in the alternate universe we are presented with. The delivery is very soothing and enjoyable, and I couldn't help but feel like I was listening to an evening program on NPR. I guess that gave even more authenticity to what felt like an academic exploration of these films.

I feel honored to have been included in some of the previewing stages, and I can't recommend this edit enough. Thanks ssj!

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