First of all, I wanted to thank Silver Screen Samurai and Wakeupkeo for doing their best to try to bring The Wolverine as close as originally intended by James Mangold. Stories of directors who gets their visions butchered by studios for mainly pecuniary interests is such a common thing, that it's always satisfying to see editors doing justice to the original vision of directors.
Now as for Wolverine, The James Mangold Restoration, I didn't know about the original intention of the movie, definitely felt the Japanese neo-noir influence and the Frank Miller inspiration, but didn't thought that the entire 3rd act was artificially grafted. Since it was always the weakest part of the film in my opinion, the idea of this edit to get rid of it, along with Viper, in order to be more grounded, got my attention.
The audio and video quality were top notch, watched it on TV, not a single flaw. Concerning the video editing, The cuts were flawless, the removal of Viper and the several lines of dialogues were unnoticeable at all. But the final transition on the other hand felt a little too abrupt.
Edit: I updated my review due to the release of the v2, which improved considerably the narrative of the film. But I'm still nitpicking over the ending (sorry), I think it would be smoother if the transition between the climax and the epilogue was set right after the dream sequence and not with Logan running toward that building. Awesome edit anyway. Without a doublt my definitive version of the film.
I want to start with a major shout out to Wakeupkeo for picking this up when the original editor Silver Screen Samurai was unable to continue due to life happening. It shows a lot of character to reach out and help someone finish a dream project.
As for the edit, the quality was pretty flawless. I felt the removal of Viper really helped the flow of the movie and gives the movie a much needed streamline approach.
The V2 of this edit helps the ending quite a bit too. The Ninjas feel a bit more in place and not out of nowhere like in V1. I would say this is a recommend for sure.
It’s to bad there’s no english subtitles for the majority of the scenes where the Japanese cast are speaking…well Japanese as a little more context on there motives and actions would go a long way however that’s a problem I have with the theoretical and extended releases along with the bone claws not the edit itself but as for the edit that little trivia about the behind the scenes development and conflict between Mangold and the studio was both interesting and informative.
Just because it’s a comic book based movie doesn’t necessary mean it has to be marketed to children or that it should attempt to outshine or compete with the competition if anything a good comic book based movie should reflect the tone of it’s source material, besides teens and adults need entertainment to.
The Jean Dream sequences as I dub them were really well done with the buildup to the aggressive sequence of hard visual and audio cuts perfectly reflecting Logan’s tortured mind and foreshadowing the battle with this edits intended version of the Silver Samurai in a clever way with the tranquil luminance of the final Jean Dream sequence perfectly demonstrating Logan’s newfound clear state of mind and strengthened force of will to not leave the mortal world.
Yoshida’s shortened character arc now prevents his character assassination in the now erased studio enforced third act and better demonstrates not only the conflict between his own honour bond Japanese ideology but his willingness to abandon said ideology and attempt to continue on living and his short lived soldier to soldier friendship with Logan benefits far more thanks to the removal of said character assassinating third act but speaking of the third act.
The original intended showdown with Hanada and the rest of the ninja’s makes for a far more engaging and brutal climax than that of the tower with some impressive and fast paced fight choreography to boot with some great use of dramatic fade to whites from the explosion to the dream to reality and finally to the airport which effectively helps bypass the tower sequence all together.
Wakeupkeo’s and The Silver Screen Samurai’s names are animated and blended together into the ending credits sequence perfectly and match the style of the first portion of the film’s ending credits though I think the last remainder of the ending credits should have been changed to accommodate for the roles that are now deleted and reduced in the edit.
I have always held what seems to be the prevailing opinion that James Mangold's The Wolverine was one terrible final act away from greatness. This edit proves my faith right. By keeping the focus on Logan's story and rebirth it makes a much stronger second act in the story of The Wolverine that makes me regret that it didn't get a true sequel before the story's end. The edit obviously can only do so much - using a mention of studying biology to explain away some plot details and some dialogue removal to somewhat explain away the rest. It is however, much better than the studio mangled theatrical cut and will be the version of this movie I revisit in the future. There's only one thing that I wish made it into this version - the alternate ending!
If this was the theatrical cut then I’m certain we would have had more films of Wolverine in Japan, because this edit was fantastic.
No more silly silver surfer or ridiculous battle scenes, instead just a a more localised storyline one a much smaller scale.
The only critique would be for the unexplained ninjas, but I guess they can be passed off as being yakuza or something, but there just wasn’t really an explanation of why they wanted to take over the company. I don’t recall if the theatrical version did it better.
Anyway, excellent job!