Raiders of the Lost Skull

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8.9
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(Updated: September 05, 2012)
Overall rating
 
9.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
N/A
Enjoyment
 
9.0
December 25, 2011

I enjoyed iit while atching. Good choices espaecially Marion’ silliness. I like the colour correction too.
A/V: 9
Presentation: 9
Entertainment: 9
Overall: 9
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(Updated: September 05, 2012)
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9.0
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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.
L
2 reviews
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(Updated: September 05, 2012)
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8.0
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8.0
January 18, 2012

Review of Raiders of the Lost Skull by NVJC

I haven’t watched the theatrical cut in a couple of years, so I wasn’t able to fully compare this to the original. On the other hand, this allowed me to watch this film in it’s own right, without constantly noticing what was present and absent.

On the whole, this greatly improves on the original, which I never hated but thought had some pretty major weak spots. Removing of the ‘nuking the fridge’ scene was excellent, nothing appears to be absent, and while I initially missed the iconic mushroom cloud shot, I was very happy to see it incorporated later.

The first half of this film is very much tighter than the original. The warehouse, the interogation by the FBI, and the scene in Indy’s house all run much smoother now. Also, the use of Raiders score definately helps the film! The motorcycle chase definately benefits from a lack of library, which always made it seem silly to me. I would have preferred a different piece of music to the one used here as it feels a little goofy (although I understand your reason for using it).

Once the adventure gets going, the absenses are once again for the better. I can’t remember preciely what was missing from the various tomb raiding scenes, but I remember disliking parts of them while now there was absolutely nothing to dislike. Mutt and Indy’s relationship is nice, it is reminiscant of his relationship with Short Round (which many hate but I consider to be fine) and the parallels with his own relationship with Sean Connery play out nicely (they were always there, but there’s less distractions now). The only problem is these scenes feel a little light and go by too quickly… but that can’t be helped and the original had the same problem. Trimming the fat is only a good thing.

At the half-way point when we meet up with Cate Blanchet again, the editing continues to be good. Marion is less annoying, Indy is less goofy. Returning to what I said about the skull scene and the overlaid montage; this is really excellent. The use of watchmen was very good, and this really addresses a major criticism of the film (later addressed by Red Letter Media), the Russians pose absolutely no threat. You also use the footage from the end of the the film excellently, the CGI alien is horrible but it works well as a sillhouette, and the flying saucer is nicely used also.

The quicksand scene is marvelous and beatifully cut, it simply appears that Mutt thorows them a rope, they are then recaptured by the Russians. Well done, you have gracefully fixed one of the worst scenes in the film.

Now, the jungle chase scene. This was the only part where the edit loses its way. I’m not sure if this scene *can* be fixed, and maybe you’ve done the best that can be done, but it still doesn’t work. Its messy, Spalko keeps popping up in different places and its not clear what she’s supposed to be doing, Mutt dissapears for half the scene then reappears at the end. The original is terrible, but IMO this cut is quite messy and is the lowpoint of the film.

The car tree/cliff scene isn’t great but is a massive improvement over the original. The waterfall scene is greatly improved by being reduced to one.

The scenes in the temple are fine. The original material isn’t great and there’s not much you can do.. I dislike everyone being casually hit with bolas and not being injured but again, what can you do.

The final scene with the skulls works a lot better now. The original film has a generally poor climax so there’s only so much you can do, but it is still vastly improved. Removal of the CGI aliens makes the ending far more watchable (although why can the skeletons talk/think, Mr Spielberg?) and Mac’s death is greatly improved. I thought i’d miss the saucer shot (I’ve always liked it) but having placed it in the flash forward, the ending where everything has collapsed actually works even better. The wedding at the end is still far too white and glowing, but meh.

One big problem I did have, however, was the sound. The music is far, far too loud! I had to literally halve my volume when it came on, then turn it back up so that I could hear what was being said in the next scene. While I do like music to be cinematic, overly loud music is a common problem now. Spielberg may have made a dud movie but he’s still no Michael Bay, and I’d rather Indie felt like Indie and not Transformers.

After watching Red Letter Media’s review, for a while I thought he might be right: the problem with this film is that it exists at all. But watching this edit reminded me that there is still a lot of decent ideas in Indie 4:

- Despite what RLM thinks, the film really does focus on character. There is a genuine love for Indie in this film, a sadness at his ageing, his acceptance of death, the mirroring of his relationships between his son and his father, and just how his character has changed over time.
- The use of the 50′s setting, Indie looking out of place, the changing roles of society, the contrast between the pre-WW2 and post WW2 world, between the USA and Russia; all of these are wonderful aspects of the film.
- Spielberg is still a damn fine director and a lot of this film is beautifully shot
- And of course, some really classic Indie. Without the distractions, you can see how nice it is to watch him crawl through tombs, caves and temples, to retell old legends and travel through exotic lands.

There is a lot to love about Indie 4, and NVJC has succesfully highlighted them. I can’t say whether this will be my definative cut, as 1) I haven’t seen any other IJ4 edits, and 2) I need to rewatch the original again, but its prospects are certainly good, and I’m pretty happy to consider this film a legitimate part of the Indiana Jones franchise.

8/10
F
Top 500 Reviewer 9 reviews
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(Updated: September 05, 2012)
Overall rating
 
9.0
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9.0
March 11, 2012

*This rating was given before reviews were required*
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(Updated: September 05, 2012)
Overall rating
 
7.5
Audio/Video Quality
 
8.0
Audio Editing
 
5.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
7.0
Enjoyment
 
7.0
January 4, 2012

Let me preface this review by stating I have watched multiple fanedits of this movie previously. I have never liked a single one and didn’t care to ever see any version of it ever again. The only reason I watched this was because I saw you were the first who attempted to remove the ant scene. There are few things I hate more in the entire universe than that ant scene. Truly. I have taken care of many sick and dying people who are less of an affront to my senses than that scene is. Sadly I must report that this edit has not yet proved to me there is a way to salvage this movie, though there are many good things NJVC did worth mentioning:

1) It is edited in HD. Video quality is fabulous. (NOTE: I watched the BD version. I understand other available versions were not rendered to the same quality standards as applied to the BD version, such as border & black issues.) The BD render looks great. No problems of any kind that I was able to pick up on.

2) Any scene with even the slightest bit of putridity got snipped out. The cuts are deep and the movie short.

3) Some of the added Raiders score was pleasant and gave an added illusion of drama.

4) The handling of the visual overlay while Indy stares into the skull’s eyes was well-done.
If I were to over-think it I might question what I saw, but it was a nice use of some of the cut visual effects and I thought you edited the scene well.

As a first-time faneditor here, there is much for NJVC to be proud of.

Now the bad news:

1) The biggest bad news is the audio. NJVC seems to have a good handle on editing video, a good nose for shit, and a decent grasp of narrative. The thing that still needs some work is audio editing. It was a disappointment that the audio was only stereo for a BD release. Additionally (as some have mentioned previously) the added Raiders music is not balanced properly. I also felt that the Raiders music was used a bit too much. It got repetitive and distracting, though I was impressed how well the movie’s actual score was able to be cut out. There must have been no music in the center track?? Lastly on this subject, some of the music didn’t cue up well with what was happening on screen.

2) The other unfortunate (but maybe inevitable) thing on this edit were the inevitable gaps some scenes had as a result of the deep cuts made. Maybe somebody some day will find a way to creatively get over this hurdle, but this edit makes a strong testimony that it may not ever be possible to have a seamless story without all the crap. NJVC clearly demonstrates some creativity and skill, but he still could not find a way to bridge some scenes or shots that were cut. There are numerous cut points that have some distracting component or make it so that the scene no longer makes sense.

All-in-all, is it better than the original? Yes, but so is Smokey and the Bandit 2. Is it better than other fanedits of this movie I have seen? It depends on what you emphasize. There is less stupid writing, but now some of the scenes don’t work the way they have been edited. If somebody put a gun to my head and made me choose, I would choose this edit over the others I have seen because I prefer bad directing to bad writing. NJVC has done the best so far in trying to salvage this dung-heap-of-a-story.

Video: 10
Audio: 5
Editing: 7
Story: 7
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