Phase IV: The Evolution Cut

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Talk about elevating the source material, sheesh. This was awesome, awesome in the dictionary definition of the word. About as close to feeling like 2001: A Space Odyssey as a foot-fetishizing killer ant story with a crazed researcher and a leering linguist can get. I will very much look forward to returning to this edit in the years to come.

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(Updated: March 21, 2021)
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After this edit won FEOTM,I was convinced I needed to see this edit! I'm a graphic Designer and love Saul Bass as a Graphic Designer. Never been much into horror or old movies, but I feel obligated to check out this project so I ordered the DVD.

I would definitely recommend watching the original first, to be sure how much was edited. I am not big on older movies, but this one was surprisingly well done in a strage, timeless sci-fi way. Very interesting cinematography to be sure. Classic 70s vibe.

Now, on the the review of the edit - the original Phase IV was insane, but without the narration, I feel like whateder I'm on just "kicked in", the beginning felt like a drug flashback, (in a good way LOL) This edit is so... cerebral. Saul Bass's visuals seem so much deeper and more like an art piece. The Hubbs character seems a little less sinister, awhich I do miss a little, but Lesko seems a little less creepy on Kendra, which is a positive. Love the soundtrack updates.

And that ending. That drug trip kicked back in for sure! Sooo much better.

I knew Saul was a little insane like we artists all are, but man what a weird good movie. So glad I bought the disc and took this ride! Thank you for bringing attention to this weird weird movie. I'm not usually a big fan of older movies either.

Some fanedits are definitely hit or miss, but this is the good stuff and why I love this community. So weird, I love it!!!
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9.5
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10.0
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9.0
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10.0
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9.0
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10.0
Saul Bass's only directorial contribution to the world of feature-film is Phase IV - a cerebral, science-fiction horror(?) concerning a dramatic increase in ants' intelligence and ability organise.

Last Survivor's edit removes overdub narration and restores Saul Bass' original ending, which was changed for the theatrical release. This brings the film more in line with Bass' original vision. Additionally, this edit embraces the film's atmospheric side with an all-synth re-score, utilising the likes of Jean-michelle Jarre.

On the audio editing front, it's hard to fault this. The score-work is perfect and fits the mood of the film wonderfully. Levels are excellently balanced and really show that care has gone into ensuring any changes are appropriate for the source material.

There is one piece of foley that is observable, but not distracting. This is mainly betrayed by where the new SFX sit in the mix and also the quality of the SFX, which are crisper than what has come before. This is fairly subtle though and you are unlikely to notice unless conscious of where the change has been made.

The narrative is easily followed without the presence of overdub narration, though aspects did feel a little rushed to me and so I wondered whether this would have been rectified with some of the narration intact. I will have to compare with the original to be sure. Regardless, the story is communicated well enough. I'm also not a fan of narration, so would possibly opt for this version regardless.

No complaints on visual quality. The only shift is towards the end when we transition into Saul Bass' original ending, where there is noticeable dirt/scratches etc., but this is no fault of the editor's and I didn't find it distracting.

My only real qualm with the edit is that it would have been nice to have had the original score/narration included as an audio option. This would allow both for an easy comparison and also for the film to be seen in a more pure form: with its original score and Saul Bass' ending restored. I do see that there is an editor's commentary though - nice touch! Will have to check that out sometime.

Enjoyment is high. Narratively, I wasn't keen on the ending this time around (again, will need to rewatch the original for comparison), but it was very cool on a visual level. The music choice is excellent and provides an atmosphere that I think I will find hard to separate from the film. I used to listen to a lot of Jarre, so it was nice to re-encounter his music in this form.

Overall an excellent piece of work and definitely an edit I'll revisit!

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Top 50 Reviewer 106 reviews
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(Updated: February 09, 2021)
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This is absolutely incredible.

I am a huge fan of Saul Bass. Phase IV and his short film the Quest are among my favorite movies of all time. I was really excited to see someone had taken on this film. But I can't imagine how Lastsurvivor did this. The audio and video edits were seamless. The changes were all respectfully and only enhanced the original movie. I like the new ending a lot. Congratulations to the editor on an amazing accomplishment.

I highly recommend this.

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Yes
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(Updated: February 02, 2021)
Overall rating
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
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10.0
Who would have thought 8 minutes of insects going about their business would be such a meditative experience...me neither . For a time there i was ensconsed.
I bought the bluray on the premise of watching Last Survivor's edit after I viewed the original. I had an inkling that I'd seen Phase IV in my younger days but it turned out I hadn't. I'm so pleased the editors passion for the project drove me to explore some horror/sci-fi in all its 70's glory. The film was great but this Evolution cut has turned the dial up another level. The new music is nuance -bordering on native to the original, as if it has always been there under the surface like the movies ant-agonists ...Last Survivor enticed the separate audio channel out for us to enjoy for the rest of our days or at least until the ants takeover.
I wholly agree with the disposal of the unneeded narration ..let the visuals do the talking. Some fine sound FX replacement was carried out, so kudos to the editor for his undertaking.
Now for the crowning glory , the reinsertion of the original Saul Bass ending...im so pleased this become available - its a thing of retro beauty - tinges of 007 opening credits, historic cigarette & perfume commercials, a real experience of the time period and kitsch as kitsch can be - a visual and musical crescendo of the 80mins of celluloid that came before it, heightened by the rescoring.

I have no technical issues with the edit but I would have made one dialogue edit, when Kendra wakes up and Michael asks her if she remembers him - this is a personal choice.

This edit is one of the strongest i've seen - as strong as an ant
L
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