RocketJump’s video is pretty inoffensive. It isn’t really slandering Lucas, like at all. The worst thing it has to say about the man is that a lot of SE changes were unnecessary, which I hope is uncontroversial on OriginalTrilogy.com of all places.
It essentially makes the following three claims:
The Rough Cut of Star Wars differed a lot from the Theatrical Cut of Star Wars
The Theatrical Cut is great, the Rough Cut was bad
Marcia Lucas, Richard Chew, and Paul Hirsch were the people who did the editing in this movie
The first two are pretty inoffensive and the third claim barely deserves to be a claim. Where the first two claims are central to the point of the video (editing is awesome and an important part of moviemaking, to show that, here’s how the bad Rough Cut of Star Wars was edited into the great Theatrical Cut), the third claim is incidental. It isn’t trying to prove anything about George Lucas or any other person.
But anyway, if I wanted to refuse those three claims, I’d probably do the following:
Refute or downplay the differences between the two cuts of the movie, claim they weren’t so dissimilar (pretty hard to argue given how the differences are pretty common knowledge, but hey, common knowledge is sometimes wrong)
Argue that the Rough Cut was better, or that it had elements which were better (Also pretty hard to argue, but I suppose it’s subjective, even so you’re going to convince incredibly few people)
Prove that those three actually weren’t the ones who did the editing (Very hard to argue, would probably require some massive conspiracy given that they were the ones awarded for their groundbreaking editing and they’re the ones who were credited)
On first impression, everything the video says is incredibly informative for anyone interested in movie editing. Which is probably almost everyone on this forum. The only real error I noticed is that C3PO’s exposition about the tractor beam was only there for the mono audio mix.
So, now onto Nerdonymous’s video. This is very long, so here’s a summary:
Nerdonymous sort of touches on all three refutations, but never actually makes any real refutation of the central point of the video. He never really takes any sort of position. He essentially just contradicts RocketJump, and never forms any coherent, consistent position. He constantly flip flops and adopts entirely contradictory positions. One minute a particular editing choice is dumb and the Rough Cut was better, the very next it was a genius move.
Most of the video is really dishonest, ranging from most commonly twisting RocketJump’s words, to downright lying.
This video makes the occasional good point but it’s honestly a waste of your time
The video also ends with Nerdonymous trashing fan restorations of the unaltered cut of the Original Trilogy, which is frankly disgusting, and I hope I don’t have to explain why on this website of all places.
Nerdonymous’s video, like I said in a previous comment, pretty much just lets RocketJump’s video play and then pauses it to make counterarguments wherever he feels like it.
The first real thing Nerdonymous talks about is the first thing RocketJump talks about: The original opening crawl. RocketJump actually made a really silly mistake and showed the opening crawl from the 3rd draft when talking about the 4th draft, which Nerdonymous caught. The source that RocketJump used had a mistake in it, something that Nerdonymous went as far as contacting the author of the book to confirm.
Have you guys ever seen CGP Grey’s video on errors? The type of error here is somewhere between Blunder and Error Trivialus. It’s enough of a mistake that’s big enough that it would be embarrassing to someone who’s well versed in the subject. The author might be tempted to reupload the video with a correction if caught on time, but given that it’s not really that central to the video, only being there as an introduction, it’s not worth taking down a 3 year old video for. But it’s still worth acknowledging.
Nerdonymous blows this super out of proportion, though. He goes on a victory lap, editing RocketJump’s words to make him look dishonest, like he intentionally lied about the development of the opening crawl. Despite having just said that he literally contacted the writer of an official Lucasfilm source to confirm that what RocketJump said was an error within his sources. Which is a huge scumbag thing to do.
Nerdonymous also then owns RocketJump by pointing out that Lucas, Hirsch, and Chew were all behind the rough draft of the movie, too. Which, yeah, they were the editors. Nerdonymous never says it, but the impression you get from this part of the video is that RocketJump is claiming that Lucas sucks and Lucas, Hirsch, and Chew are awesome, which isn’t the case. It’s a pretty textbook straw man: Asserting that RocketJump is claiming something which he isn’t, something much weaker than what he actually claimed, and then disproving the thing they never claimed in the first place. It’s pretty dishonest.
Next thing I want to talk about is when RocketJump talks about the deleted scenes with Luke and his friends, which were cut, improving the movie. Nerdonymous remarks that almost all movies have deleted scenes, whose deletion improved the movie, and jokes about a title of “How Star Wars and Virtually Every Other Successful Film Ever Made Was Saved In the Edit”. Which… congratulations Nerdonymous, you discovered the point of RocketJump’s video. It’s about the power of editing, not about slandering Lucas or praising the trio of editors whose names I don’t want to keep listing. Seriously, the only way I think you could miss that that was the point is if you were being dishonest, and I mean that completely and fully. Maybe there’s some lack of clarity somewhere I just didn’t fall victim to, so if you guys want to point that out, go ahead.
He does this again later in the Fine Tuning part of the video where he points out that all movies’ rough cuts are disasterous, which, again, thank you Einstein. You’ve discovered the point of RocketJump’s video. It’s about how editing is an important part of the moviemaking process.
There’s a lot of that in this video. Nerdonymous goes on to complain about RocketJump’s word choice in describing Luke’s introduction, but kind of flies over the actual point of RocketJump’s description: We don’t get the time to be properly introduced to Luke, and the pacing of the space battle is killed by slow, pretty uninteresting scenes on the surface that don’t really have anything to do with anything we’ve already seen.
The rest of this segment is incredibly unfocused. He spent almost 10 minutes defending the deleted Luke scenes, and then when the big shocking reveal that George never liked them is dropped, he pivots to “They were never good and thank the Lord that Lucas cut them.” This says a lot about Nerdonymous’s mentality IMO, and it reminds me a lot about politics.
Left leaning people are typically okay with deplatforming but not okay with businesses denying services to LGBT people. Right leaning people are typically okay with businesses denying services to LGBT people but not okay with deplatforming. Not to sound like a centrist, but they’ll use the “They’re a private company and can do whatever they want” to justify the one they like and “It’s discrimination, I don’t care.” to criticize the one they don’t, and they never confront that this is blatantly contradictory.
According to Nerdonymous, they’re fine scenes and the movie would’ve been fine if they were included, but also they’re bad and thank the maker they’re gone… and then he goes right back to they were fine and the movie would’ve been fine if they were included, and never does he recognize the contradiction. This is especially bad in the next segment, Intercutting.
Nerdonymous seems to just be taking whatever RocketJump says and saying he’s wrong. Just like I thought, it never builds into any coherent argument. There’s no refutation of RocketJump’s video, just contradictions of RocketJump’s video, and it just keeps getting worse and worse as the video goes on. It’s at the end of the “Luke’s Introduction” part of the video where I started to regret ever watching this thing. It ended only 30 minutes into the video, but with writing down my thoughts so my scatterbrain doesn’t forget them, and constantly pausing to walk around or whatever because I find it hard to focus normally, let alone watching a really dry video essay that never really makes any real points, it’s taken me over 2 hours to watch those 30 minutes.
He’s not taking a position and defending it, or even coherently arguing against RocketJump’s position. He’s essentially just taking everything RocketJump does, saying “Nope, you’re wrong”, and pulling whatever the hell he can out of his ass to justify it, even if it means he contradicts himself. He’ll pick up completely contradictory positions and then drop them a few minutes later. He has three different positions in Intercutting, even, and then in the Finale he flip flops again to a fourth position on this particular issue. On how good/bad the Rough Cut was, he takes five, not even including the more minor flip flops on particular examples of changes and which one he prefers in the moment.
And shockingly, the professor’s not going to explain it (31:16)
…As someone who’s seen the professor’s video, I can attest that he actually does explain it. The theatrical cut of the movie has a clear flow of information from scene to scene, but the rough cut doesn’t really have much of a rhyme or reason for the sequence.
Nerdonymous seems to recognize this because he argues there is a flow of information between the battle at the beginning of the movie and the Imperial Conference scene, but the whole point is that the flow of information connects two scenes side-by-side. Just because two scenes talk about the same thing, and one scene comes before another (which is true of most scenes in most movies so why it matters is beyond me), that doesn’t make good editing.
There’s a lot of Nerdonymous not seeming to really understand editing? There’s quite a few times where RocketJump will assert that the way the Theatrical Cut did something was better than the way the Rough Cut did. He doesn’t really explain exactly why the Theatrical Cut was better, I assume because they’re pretty self-evident and most viewers would agree, and explaining it specifically isn’t really the point of RocketJump’s video.
This sort of thing is subjective, so if Nerdonymous genuinely believes the Rough Cut did it better, that’s fine. Although obviously he doesn’t actually think that, almost every single one of these examples is later contradicted by one of his pivots. Even if that weren’t the case, though, I find it seriously hard to believe that he doesn’t at least understand why most people might prefer serious action sequences not to be interrupted by humor, why the immediate payoff of information is better than going off and doing something else before paying off that information, etc.
Toward the end of the Intercutting part of Nerdonymous’s video, he actually makes a sort of good point (or, it would’ve been a good point if it wasn’t just another one of his pivots), that being that RocketJump’s categorization of the first act scenes is wrong, and if you categorize them differently, the alteration is much smaller. But this doesn’t even really contradict what RocketJump is saying, both of them can be right at the same time. The reordering of the scenes can be thought of like shifting around sequences so that Sequence B happens later in relation to Sequence A in the Theatrical Cut as opposed to the Rough Cut, which was an improvement because the flow of information is made smoother, like what RocketJump said.
And this is a shame, because this happens a lot in the video. He’ll say something actually informative or clear something up that RocketJump actually got wrong, or he’ll add detail where RocketJump didn’t, but whenever that happens, it’s so drowned in bullshit on all sides.
This isn’t really worth mentioning, and I don’t want this to be a play by play counter-argument like Nerdonymous’s video (if it isn’t already leaning toward that), but at the end of the Intercutting part of the video… I’ve called him dishonest before, but that’s more along the lines of twisting the truth or misrepresentation. His hypothetical reversal argument is downright lying. If you truly think that’s an honest and fair representation of RocketJump’s argument, you don’t have your head on straight. At 45 minutes in, again I want to shut off this video because this is where Nerdonymous’s credibility should be shattered, but I’m operating on the sunk cost fallacy and don’t want to.
Underneath the bullshit, I think his point is that there isn’t that much of a difference between either version, and RocketJump’s justification for the final one is weak because you can say a lot of that about the rough cut. But… no you can’t. Like, Obi-Wan’s explanation of the Force is a much better introduction to the concept than Vader just kind of namedropping it.
At the beginning of Fine Tuning he starts arguing with the editors for some reason. Like, the actual people who edited the movie. Dude, I think Paul Hirsch knows a little bit more about the editing of Star Wars than you do. He was there.
Right, so when R2D2 falls over and his head falls off, that’s a mess so don’t put that in the movie. When R2D2 doesn’t fall over and his head stays on, that’s presentable so put that in the movie. When lightsaber blades break and Darth Vader’s helmet falls off that’s a mess so don’t put that in the movie. When lightsaber blades don’t break and Darth Vader’s helmet stays on that’s presentable, so put that in the movie.
…Does Nerdonymous think that the bloopers should have remained in the movie? I’d really like an explanation from Servii and G&G-Fan for why they think this guy isn’t (pardon my French) a fucking moron.
He then continues to argue with Paul Hirsch (again, one of the guys who was actually there, he is the one who edited this movie)… and then George Fucking Lucas, the guy he’s supposed to be defending. This is point #3 where I should have turned off the video.
I think the thing Paul Hirsch was talking about with the prop failures was about how difficult the production phase was, not anything to do with the post-production. This is well documented. Shooting the original Star Wars was a nightmare and Lucas ended up diagnosed with hypertension because of it. But Nerdonymous acts like Hirsch is talking about the editing, and of course, what would the editor of Star Wars know about the editing of Star Wars?
He even contradicts himself on this. “I’m beginning to think Star Wars wasn’t actually a disaster” to “Star Wars was a difficult shoot for a variety of reasons.”
Then toward the end of the video, he plays a clip of RocketJump saying that in the Rough Cut, the Death Star was not about to destroy the Rebel Base. I thought this was because he was about to either say that it was actually, or that it would be better if it wasn’t, but then he starts going off on a random tangent ranting about how he doesn’t like that people think Leia bringing the Falcon to the Rebel Base while it’s being tracked is a plot hole. And also JJ Abrams is dumb. Which of course, has absolutely nothing to do with RocketJump is talking about and is point #4 where I should have shut off the video.
Are there people who unironically think that long = smart? Because there’s so much random padding and bullshit thrown into this video for no other reason I can think of than to balloon the runtime. This video could have been 45 minutes long and nothing would be lost. Making sexual moans for a minute straight is not thoroughness. Spending 5 whole minutes proving that Lucas understands why Leia bringing the Death Star to the Rebel Base (something 95% of Star Wars fans don’t actually get btw) when pretty much nobody has any problem with that plot point, and the original video this is supposed to be a response to doesn’t even mention this, that’s not thoroughness. Repeating the same few seconds over and over and over and over again is not thoroughness. Spending 6 minutes showing footage of wild animals pooping is not thoroughness. Spending 4 minutes repeating RocketJump quotes and ANH music cues is not thoroughness.
When Nerdonymous finally addresses this, he actually does mention one scene with Tarkin which wasn’t a reshoot and would make no sense if originally the Death Star wasn’t going to destroy the Rebel Base. What was actually added was a countdown to when the Rebel Base would be in range.
Fair enough, this is the fourth good point in a two hour video. But then he ruins it by lying, saying RocketJump was implying that inserts were some magical thing editors can come up with, and that actually the inserts were actually shot by George Lucas. Needless to say, RocketJump never said such a thing and has no reason to, because he wouldn’t be fooling anyone. Inserts are a pretty self-explanatory concept and the way RocketJump talks about them makes it clear what exactly they are.
Nerdonymous’s video ends by asserting that Star Wars was a group project with George Lucas as its leader, and that we shouldn’t discredit any of the collaborators. I’d consider this the fifth good take, but it’s drenched in the blatant fucking lie that the entire video is an attempt to discredit George Lucas… for some reason.
Here’s what I think happened:
-George Lucas has been spending the last few decades lying about the creation of Star Wars. He tries to discredit other people’s contributions to the Star Wars Trilogy to make himself come off like the sole visionary creator who took no contributions from anyone else.
-A lot of people, especially in light of the unpopularity of the prequel trilogy, re-examined George Lucas in the late 2000s and early 2010s, and swung too hard in the other direction, attributing the real success to many other people: Marcia Lucas and Gary Kurtz being the biggest two names.
-RocketJump makes a video about film editing using Star Wars as an example
-Nerdonymous is upset by this video (likely inspired by the culture war in the fandom between ST fans and PT fans) and makes a low quality, knee-jerk ass video in response
-This post was made in a conspiracy specifically to waste my night, instead of going to bed early like I wanted, I watched this moron’s 2 hour video
It’s incredibly funny that toward the end of the video, he says that you’re stupid if you don’t think RocketJump intentionally slandered Lucas, and then cuts right to RocketJump giving Lucas full credit for the editing of the movie.