Hello everyone. This is a project I’ve been doing as a hobby since a HD rip of Justice League was available. This the first time I’m posting my work here, so apologies for any mistakes.
Ever since I saw Justice League, I’ve been having an urge to do something with the film. It’s not a bad watch and I quite enjoyed my time, but it’s also a frustrating watch. As much have been widely reported, the post production of the film was a mess, as director Zack Snyder was replaced by Joss Whedon, and the final result is a mixture of good ideas, great moments, un-presentable reshoots, and a very odd, instagram-like filter to the whole movie.
Since the Korean rip of the movie came out, I’ve been playing around with it in Adobe Premiere, deciding what I can do and what I want to do with it once the movie comes out. My goals are to rearrange the movie’s flow, while altering the visual and audio aspects of the movie entirely.
Before I get into an extensive list of goals, here’s a taste of what I’ve done with the movie.
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Essentially, what I’ve done is color corrected the film, rearranged and remove certain scenes, and added a few shots back from the trailers. The general goal is to create a version of the film that is more tonally consistent and less conflicting.
(Please note that these goals are based on the assumption that there will be no extended cut or additional footage on the Blu-Ray releases. This is also not aiming to achieve the “Snyder Cut”, but rather what I feel is best for the movie, and some of them does clash with Zack Snyder’s vision.)
THE COLOR GRADING
Ah, the elephant in the room. The aftermath to Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad and the “too dark”/“not enough color”-type complaints probably pushed Warner Brothers to do this. Not counting the horrendous shots of green-screen reshoots, the whole movie has an artificial shot-on-a-phone feel to it. The colors don’t match the actual lighting of the shot, and the image has no grain, despite the movie being shot on film.
As you can see, the skin color looks pigly pink, especially on the old man in the background. Here is what I find to look more natural.
For reference, this is what the shot looked like in the first trailer, before the post production mayhem happened.
To me, it seemed like Joss Whedon and co. simply cranked up the saturation value in Post Production, without much thought in how it would look under certain lighting. This happens throughout the film.
Of course, my problem with it isn’t just that it’s “saturated” and I’m allergic to color, but that all of these images lack tone. None of the screenshots from Joss Whedon’s version sets up any mood or any atmosphere. Bruce Wayne recruiting Arthur Curry in a cold place should feel, well, cold. Human’s skin color don’t pop pink like that under that lighting. The colors are there for the sake of being there, and that’s my problem with the shots. Here are a few shots where I am the one that cranked up the saturation.
Scrolling through the timeline, some of them are much more complicated as it is plot related. SPOILERS In the scene where Superman is resurrected, the original footage in the early trailers show that his fight between the League happens at night/very early in the morning, which makes sense as the scene before they resurrect him happens at night.
Here’s how it is in the actual film.
Yes, complete broad daylight, even though all the buildings in the background have their night lights on. It doesn’t help that the scene following it takes place at actual dawn either.
There are parts that I’m having trouble with in this fight, but overall I should be able to make the scene look more like dawn.
That said, these images are based on a the rip of the Korean Digital HD release (although this is how I also remember them in theaters), and not the official one that will be on iTunes next month, so things could change. This will also be the only area I will be working on before said iTunes release, so that I could get an idea in how I want each scene to look like.
What score? Oh, that score. I am in the camp of people that find Danny Elfman’s music completely forgettable, and straight-up disrespectful in occasions. He replaced Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL’s Batman theme with his own, despite the fact that his theme was made for a 3 decade old version of the character, and even claiming that his theme was the only one that matters. Behind the scenes aside, I’m aiming to edit the score of the movie to what was established before with these characters. This is less about my personal dislike of Danny Elfman and more about thematic continuity. DCEU Batman should be using the Batman theme created for him, not for what essentially is a different character. I may keep a few motifs from the Elfman theme (as both the tracks Men Are Still Good and the Task Force X did). Same goes for Superman and The Flash. I will be using the Man of Steel OST a lot more often in the movie, and the CW Flash theme would be heard. Now, the scores for Cyborg and Aquaman are absent, and since I’m no composer, it’d probably remain as such unless someone talented in that area is willing to lend a hand.
REARRANGING THE SCENES
There are quite several bizarre cuts in the movie, causing the pacing to be a bit off. Surprisingly though, as I’ve been contemplating, there isn’t much I would, or could, change here. I will remove most of the one liner reshoots and try to restore a few shots from the trailers here and there. Here’s the short list:
-Start the movie with Bruce recruiting Aquaman, as it the reveal shot of Bruce was definitely shot like it’s the first time we’ve seen him.
-Cut the Superman vlog (the only scene I find the mustache CGI really bad. The rest is still up in the air as to which specific shots are CGI, so I don’t think it’ll bother viewers.)
-Move the Batman/Parademon scene in the beginning to a later place, or cut it entirely. If I don’t end up cutting the scene, I will remove the interaction Batman has with the thief at the end by painting him out of the shot, so that we can stop freaking out that Batman called “Alfred” in front of a criminal. That, and the fact that Batman lets him go in the theatrical cut.
-Remove the contradictions about Cyborg’s origin (In BvS, he’s created before the Death of Superman, in JL it’s after).
-Try to restore the “No protectors here” line to salvage Stepphenwolf’s character. I may need additional dialogue recorded by someone that can do a good impression of him.
-Recut the action sequences for more intensity and better pacing. The Flash “Save One” sequence will be intercut between Wonder Woman vs Stepphenwolf, same goes for the rescue in the end fight. The third motherbox will be taken while the League is fighting Superman, and will try to minimize Superman being overpowered at the end. Will also minimize Stepphenwolf’s rather pathetic ending “DONT TOUCH ME! LEAVE ME!” lines.
And that’s pretty much it. There’s not much to be rearranged here unless we get our hands on additional footage, which then the list would be much more extensive.
Ironically, this titular feat is the one I’m least confident I can pull off, but I do want it nontheless. The idea is to paint a Black Superman Suit over the shirtless Henry Cavill when he’s resurrected, then as he returns to the Smallville farm, the suit would heal up and returns to the normal color, as it is more exposed to sunlight there.
This is definitely up in the air (although my lack of creativity didn’t prevent me from naming the cut after it) as to whether or not I could pull it off. I could be scrolling my way through MoS and BvS for frames of the Superman suit that matches his movements in JL. Or I could grab a Superman Hot toy and film that to match the sequence. Or I would have to work my Blender/Maya magic to CG it on top of Cavill. I have no idea how this will go yet, but this is possibly the only way I can see the Black Suit being included in the film without including an entirely new scene for it.
That wraps it up. Sorry for the long post. What are your thoughts and suggestions?
Ps. Do you guys want this in the edit?