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Post #1456527

Parent topic
The Force Awakens: Starlight (Released)
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Date created
4-Nov-2021, 7:39 PM
Last modified
5-Nov-2021, 5:17 AM
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And another review!

The vital:

  • This could have been released in the cinema. It’s of absolute release quality, without glitches.
  • This edit is absolutely additive, and in my opinion, easily the best version of TFA I’ve seen. Definitely my archival version of the movie herein.
  • This was, to my memory, particularly clear. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been specifically focusing on the audio and narrative in my TCW edit, or been thinking about audio balance more recently because Dune didn’t quite nail it, but even compared to my memory of the original film, this was particularly clear and coherent. The edit really spoke very clearly to the audience, and it was always precisely understandable what was happening.

The excellent:

  • This edit is GORGEOUS. The colours are beautiful across the board, and I noticed it a lot while watching. They never feel artificial, they’re always just the right side of natural, but the film looks great.
  • In particular, the whitening of Jakku works really well, making it feel purgatorial, and then the lush greens of Takodana really feel like a breath of fresh air, which syncs very well with Rey’s emotional experience.
  • All of the added voiceover effects are really additive. Kylo interrogating Poe, Rey’s lightsaber visions, Rey tapping into the force to survive on Takodana, Finn’s combat with the trooper on Takodana (seriously, well done here - is this you?), Kylo reading Han and Leia’s doubts.
  • The trims and darkening of the rathtar sequence worked really, really well. Far more scary and less goofy.
  • Revealing Kylo’s inner conflict and weakness earlier, and his family ties a little later, also worked really well for his character.
  • Having Starkiller base spend far longer charging - including the changes from Hal’s Restructured, your extra visuals added in a good few shots to achieve this, and the dialogue changes - all worked to really ratchet up the tension before the double gut-punch when it fires. The trims to the air battle served to keep the focus on our emotional investment characters and keep this part of the plot clear and tight.
  • It’s really clear - clearer than the original - that while Rey’s a natural force user, she also gets a lot out of her counter-interrogation of Kylo Ren. The moment with her sith eyes hits EXCELLENTLY well. It’s meaningful and powerfully applied here, but it really serves TLJ’s “you went straight to the dark”, and TROS’ main reveal. Probably the single most additive change in this edit, based on the rest of its trilogy.
  • Snoke’s “There has been an awakening” is also way more emphatic of this new interpretation than “It is time to complete his training.”
  • The entirety of changes brought this film about as far away as I think it can be from the criticism that it’s a rehash of A New Hope.

The great:

  • Nothing in this edit breaks canon - it is purely additive and sits perfectly as a replacement to the original. One of its strengths is the few subtle nods forward which pay off in later movies and will serve to make the entire trilogy feel more coherent and planned in advance.
  • The new crawl is simply an improvement over the original.
  • The trims to humour, while subjective I’m sure, were spot on for my tastes. It retains a lot of the humour whilst just cutting back on going too far in a couple of places as the original did. A few of the jokes some have traditionally objected to in this movie felt less objectionable in light of the broader tightening. That said, I could maybe have dropped the garbage chute callback.
  • Your goddamn etched vision of Ach-To, man. Ridiculously good, and I assume even the first-time viewer would spot that, and then match it with Kylo acknowleding her visions of an ocean, to realise when she reaches Ach-To that she’s naturally strong with the force. (Is this a real object you etched, or just CG?)
  • All of your other restored and edited scenes were seamless and additive.
  • The trims to have BB-8 not reveal the resistance base worked perfectly.
  • The subtle hints at Finn’s force sensitivity are welcome.
  • Having Rey run explicitly toward Finn on Takodana served both characters well.
  • The tension between Ren and Hux felt sharper.
  • The ‘R2 is processing’ scenes work really well.
  • Loved the VFX of the shield going down.
  • All of the changes to the final lightsaber fight and Starkiller’s destruction are really tight.
  • All other edits in the changelog work for the better.

Possible revisions:

  • With some of the reordering, it felt like maybe you could have got away with fewer wipes? To me it felt like there were just a couple too many. To my memory, the vertical barndoor open wipe from interrogation to doors on the star destroyer shutting could have gone, and perhaps the sideways wipe from star destroyer to star destroyer as Kylo prays also, since the re-establishing shot would have served the same purpose.
  • Some of the wipes felt a little slow, and more feathered from Star Wars’ default. I don’t know if this is just because I’ve obsessed about it from my TCW edit - and I appreciate that the franchise isn’t consistent here - but I found that the maximum length of a wipe would be 14/23.95ths of a second, when horizontal, and less otherwise. Though that was with the TV aspect ratio. The two wipes I felt could be served better by being faster and with less feathering (perhaps nearer 0.2 than 0.5) were the iris out from the Star Destroyer back to Jakku, and the transition (I forget which) from Starkiller base surface to the control room.
  • In terms of audio balance, as I’ve said, it’s really, really good and clear. Though I felt like the voices on D’Qar were a little too quiet, so I’d maybe bring those up by 15-25%, and conversely the music and some SFX on Starkiller base, especially out in the open and in the control room, could have done with a bit more punch, so I’d perhaps bring those up by 15-30% where that doesn’t drown out the voices.
  • While I loved the whitening of Jakku, and you balanced that well with keeping some sandy yellow-brown versus the white, there were a couple of sandy yellow-brown shots earlier on that I would have pulled closer to your purgatorial white. This includes the initial shots, the shot of Rey’s home in the fallen AT-AT, and Finn’s dawn shots.
  • It wasn’t completely clear to me about Han’s tracking device on the falcon. You could perhaps draw this out a little more to make it clearer for the audience.
  • When you split Rey trying to escape, the tension is higher, but the stormtrooper does say “I’ll tighten your restraints” while not moving. You could have him ignore her the first time (perhaps just saying “dirty scavenger”), then have him say “I’ll tighten your restraints” when he approaches her, for more tension before she goes all peaceful with her successful mind trick.
  • There was one final shot of the D’Qar celebration where Rey and Leia are celebrating, where you can see Chewie (or at least some wookiee) at the edge of frame. You could maybe trim this just to completely take him out of this scene, so the first time we see him after Han’s death is his proper mourning shot.
  • I didn’t spot the binary beacon at all, though I was looking for it. Could it be brought more to the foreground?

Goddamn. Genuinely, this edit made me fall back in love with Star Wars again, and I can’t credit you for it enough. When Star Wars hits good, it hits real good, and this edit really gets that. Thank you so much for this incredible suite of passionate and respectful changes.