Raiders of the Lost Skull

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9.5
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10.0
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Ah the power of music!

Aside from positive reviews I sought out NJVC's Indy 4 edit mostly out of curiosity to see how well the score was replaced. Audio is always the most challenging aspect of fan editing with music sometimes difficult to isolate. However I was blown away to see how well NJVC integrated the Raiders score, simply marvellous!

With the original score, right from the opening scene you feel like your in an Indy film. Thankfully this continues as cues are carefully selected.

Cuts are seamless and with 32 minutes cut I was surprised that the film didn't feel rushed.

Highlights for me include the opening, Indy's Crystal Skull nightmare sequence (which brilliantly utilises some of the footage cut earlier in the film including the iconic shot of Indy and mushroom cloud), editing of the jungle scene which is reduced to the bare minimum and the ending which now feels more epic with the replaced score.

Nit-picks would be not seeing the new title (Return of the Crystal Skull) in the opening credits and the one shot of the flying saucer in the nightmare sequence.

This edit is more than watchable, NJVC has created an enjoyable Indy adventure!

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Yes
Format Watched
DVD
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(Updated: December 14, 2015)
Overall rating
 
9.2
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
I've been watching fanedits for about 5 years now and reading reviews in earnest on this site but I have never submitted one. Well that's changing right now as after seeing this excellent fanedit from my (I believe?) fellow Aussie compadre njvc I could no longer contain my love for the art form under cover of silence. But I digress, on to the edit...

AUDIO EDITING:

Pros -

What drew me to the edit was the score change. As someone who regularly works with audio editing software and someone who has tried (will hopefully be finished one day) to remove and alter music for fan editing purposes, I understand how incredibly difficult this can be. FX can be replaced, but dialogue generally cannot so if the music and fx are particularly dense and you're trying to isolate dialogue amongst all that you're in for some very tough work even with the top audio editing plugins at your disposal. This would have taken a very large amount of time no doubt and to my ears all the cuts were quite smooth. More to the point, the changes enhanced the film greatly on an emotional level and that's really all that matters in the end, isn't it? So very well done, mate.

Cons -

I do have two very small gripes, however. First is the ant attack scene. When the bad dude is devoured in the ant hill, his screams become noticeably lower in volume until they are themselves all but 'devoured' by the music. I realise that there is probably a very good reason for this.. that you had to turn up the music to cover the original score, so it was most likely unavoidable. I suppose the only other solution would be to replace the scream. At any rate, a very minor quibble. The 2nd gripe is merely an echo of another reviewer on here and that's the somewhat excessive use of the "mystery" theme. I felt by the time we were getting near to the end of the film it had started to lose some of its effectiveness due to overuse. To my mind, the edit would actually benefit from putting a small measure of the original score back in to amend this, or simply choosing some other parts of the Raiders (or the other two films) score to work in its stead. Well, perhaps should you ever do a version 3…

VIDEO EDITING

Pros -

I do not have the experience with video that I have with audio but after watching fan edits for some time and teaching myself some editing software I believe I have gained at least an elementary understanding. There were no noticeable hard cuts that I could detect. The new colour correction is a vast improvement (though like some others have mentioned, I would love if it could be taken further). The skull montage is a work of absolute genius!

Cons -

The awful jeep on a tree scene - I really wish that was cut (I quite liked how TMBTM dealt with this in his edit). There were some other cuts that I felt were somewhat abrupt but I put that down to narrative more than editing technique. So, onto narrative…

NARRATIVE

Pros -

Well, where to begin? Everybody's most offensive moments are gone, the pacing is greatly improved, and the ending is far more inline with the franchise. I even managed to get through the whole movie without my attention wandering, and for film as severely hampered as this, that's really saying something.

Cons -

As is often the case with many fan edits, the film now feels a bit short (though considering how much was cut, not as much as short as you might think). Marion's character feels somewhat empty in this edit. I'm not exactly sure what you could do about this as I can't remember the original film clearly enough, but I felt she needed just a bit more screen time, a bit more of a chance for us as an audience to identify with her, and if that means putting back in some cringe-inducing dialogue that might be the lesser of two evils? The ending - though much improved - also felt a bit abrupt. Again, not sure what you could do about this exactly. Perhaps cut away to a slow shot of the mountain from earlier in the film (if there is indeed a suitable one) just to buy you a few more seconds to let the music carry the film off better? I don't know it's a tough one.

VIDEO QUALITY

I downloaded the AVCHD. Excellent quality.

ENJOYMENT

I thoroughly enjoyed this edit. It's quite amazing how much of an improvement it is from the original film. Most certainly is now my go-to version and there can be surely no higher praise for a fan edit.



Owner's reply December 14, 2015

Thank you for the comprehensive review! Great to get such positive feedback. Cheers, njvc

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(Updated: September 05, 2012)
Overall rating
 
9.0
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N/A
Audio Editing
 
N/A
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N/A
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N/A
Enjoyment
 
9.0
December 25, 2011

While I frequently check out what’s new in the FE community, the percentage of edits I’ll actually watch, let alone enjoy is pretty darned small.

I’ve tried to watch other Indy 4 edits and find them just as painful as the original version (which is appalling in itself.)

I watched and am reviewing the avi version.

With apologies to the editor, I usually write long involved reviews, but the thing is, when other people do that I usually just skip to the summary. So I’ll just cut to the chase:

Oh, GOD! YES! Thank you! I watched the entire film and never flinched or attempted to chew my leg off to escape the horror. Indy is a badass again and not a buffoon.

The pluses: Pitch perfect editing. I never saw the seams. I never felt like there were plot holes. I never felt like anything good or important was missing. Midway through I stopped thinking about the original version and what was missing and just enjoyed the film.

The negatives: The black levels were REALLY uneven. In some cases the blackest black was dark gray. This was emphasized by the letterbox borders which shifted with them. In the chamber of the skeletons at the end, the borders actually started flashing. Yikes.

The music… well this was both a plus and a minus. I LOVED how it improved the experience, but it was frequently too loud. Sound effects and dialog during action scenes were frequently drowned out. The action lost its weight and I frequently zoned out on the action because the music pulled me out of it.

I also wouldn’t have minded the editor stretching a bit into Indy 2 and 3′s music where appropriate. (And used a little less of the fanfare (bada da dum, bada da daaaa.) which got busted out too early and often.)

Honestly, 1/2 star movie is now a 2-1/2 star movie. But the editor gets 3-1/2 out of 4 for doing what I would have considered impossible.

Oh, and one more negative: No DVD version. I guess I’ll have to recode that myself (which at least gives me the opportunity to fix the borders).

Outstanding work njvc.

Oh, one more thing…
ALMOST nothing felt missing. I never had a problem with Mutt fencing Spalko (that I recall). Without it though Mutt never gets his ‘moment’, even though it is made clear that Spalko quirkily carries a sword, that Mutt has had fencing training and is good with a blade.

The story still works, but the pay-off is missing.
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Overall rating
 
9.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
I had started a cut of this movie like a year ago, but never finished it. I was always saying to myself, its still not as good as I think it could be so I just let it sit, that in mind.....

The Intro was cut just like I thought of, all the way to teaching in the university.
You did exactly what I did for the fridge seq too... HAHA..... Very very awesome intro, felt more like an Indy movie from the start. No more kids trying to race a military convoy and elvis presley music just doesn't belong in an Indy film.
Music inserts all over the film where awesome and you chose perfect places to add subtle reminiscent Indiana tones, as well as complete changes of the action sequence's scores, as well as a few other places. Again made it feel more like the other films.

Grave scene – I love that you removed the stupid fight with the tribal guys... scene was lame & pointless.

Nice hypnotized skull scene, I had just cut it, but you used it and made it a useful & an interesting scene... It actually plays well for things that happen later on in the film, well done...

I still hate that ant sequence, but there is little you can do about it.. You did a similar cut as I did, except I just stopped at the close up of Indy. I didn't show him even going into the ant pile/nest.

I also cut the chase sequence a little different, kept in the sword play, but I did a little bit different with the swinging thing... I cut around it, and it worked out well. But your was fantastic, that scene always looked like a projected background.

Well done with the ending, no UFO and crap.... It plays out much better now and I love that you just started the theme song and rolled the credits right after Indy's line..


This was really awesome, I was gonna finish the cut I started a year ago after my T4 but forget it, after seeing it, Its great... This made it much more enjoyable and more keeping in the Indy genre. This is my go to copy from now on... I'm just gonna delete what I've done.
Thx for sharing man.. really well done.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched
Blu-ray
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Overall rating
 
9.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
this has got to be the best version yet. i thought the flow was fantastic and the overall editing superb!

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Do you recommend this edit?
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Format Watched
DVD
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