Review Detail

8.6 4 10
(Updated: September 09, 2012)
Overall rating
Audio/Video Quality
Audio Editing
Visual Editing
Review by L8wrtr — November 12, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

Return of the Jedi - The bastard-child of the Original Trilogy franchise. There is so much right with Jedi, yet it is tarnished by what many see as the foreshadowing of Lucas' declining vision and abilities as a filmmaker; needless jokes that fall flat, childish pandering which yes, even I liked as a kid but have soured on over the years. As if a precursor to The Phantom Menace, many good scenes are sidetracked with injected humor that have no purpose.

With his first fanedit, Yads has taken on the challenge of making Return of the Jedi the deserving conclusion to the best space saga of all-time.

This review is intended as an unbiased review of the edit, any comments should be taken as constructive and not personal attacks on the editor.

Video Quality
Yads was at the time of this review supplied only a 25fps avi so I could only watch this on my 24" monitor. The video quality was in-line with an AVI so it is difficult to evaluate.
No score.

Audio Quality
While I don't have a full 5.1 sound system on my computer, I have a decent audio set-up and the audio sounded good. No harsh or abrupt audio transitions, no omg adjust the volume jumps or drops, but again because of the AVI I can't offer a specific score except to say there were no jarring deficiencies beyond what you'd expect from an AVI.
No score

Out the gate, this firstling shows great promise. There are no flash-frames, and the edits throughout are fairly seamless. He has made good use of classic Star Wars wipes where appropriate. But more importantly, the edits he has made make sense. There is a visual inconsistency when 3PO suddenly has green slime on his face because the scene of Jabba smacking him is removed. This may be a bit difficult for me to judge because I know this movie back and forth, but there were certain sequences where the audio is technically acceptable with no hard edits and properly timed cross-fades, but a few sequences, the Sarlaac Pit in particular, the audio work would have benefited from work in 5.1 which allows for more continuity in audio. The result is that it feels just a tad choppy, but it still works well and a casual movie-goer may not notice the changes. 8/10

Here is what really matters, how did this edit compare against the original?

Yads is merciless with the failed humor that permeates and Jedi and drags the film down. Some may feel he has gone too far in this particular aspect, but I enjoyed the more serious tone. Gone are trite scenes such as R2 zapping Salacious Crumb and Wicket, Han's constantly interrupting 3PO and other gags that permeate the movie designed for quick laughs but a) don't help the story and b) don't pay off.

More importantly, Yads has trimmed this down and removed many of the WTF? moments such as Leia going off to the Ewok day-spa on the biggest day of the Rebellion. It creates a minor wtf because you have to conclude she was captured by the Ewoks, but I think more is gained than lost.

Where it really worked:
-No droid torture, not missed at all.
-No sly snootles music interlude, Original flavor or SE. Not missed at all, transition is a tiny bit bumpy, but not jarring.
-Slimmed down Chewbacca sequence, and the music used to overlay the conclusion/transition is particularly well done.
-No "Delusions of grandeur" scene between Chewie and Han. Useless exposition that I didn't even notice was gone until I started writing the review.
-No Boba Fett. He brings nothing to the movie and he is not missed in terms of story.
-The Rebel briefing. Cut out some of the more inane and silly moments (no "Look at you, a General!" exchange)
-No awkward exchange between Han and Lando in front of the horrible matte of the Falcon.
- A wonderful piece of editing is the approach of the strike team to the Death Star and Endor on the Imperial Shuttle. By removing Han's dismissal of Luke sensing Vader as well as Han's failed attempts at light humor, the scene now plays tightly between Luke and Vader. It's very subtle but it hugely improves the dynamic between Luke and his father and helps reinforce what the real story of Episode 6 is, or at least should have been.
-Ewoks. I'm jealous here because I have (perhaps had) my own edit of Jedi planned, and it almost directly mirrors Yad’s work here. Rather than try and delete the Ewoks all together, Yads has made them simply realistic. Gone are almost all of the Ewok's miraculously staged traps to take down AT-ST's. For the most part, outside of being the distraction that frees Han and company, the Ewoks are over-run and outmatched by the Storm Troopers. The Ewoks are a vital component of the story and cannot be cut out, but here they are made to be realistic, and the Emperor's finest legion not a bunch of idiots (well, less idiotic at least, they still leave the front door unguarded in the mayhem, defense FAIL)

Where it doesn't quite work for me:
-Losing Bib Fortuna's attempt to get R2 to give him the gift. For me little is gained from cutting it, and it feels like an edit.
-Rancor scene. Yads has shuffled this a bit to make it tighter and to eliminate Boba. While technically sound, it just feels a little choppy. This was one of only sequences where I felt the presence of the editor.
-Barge/Sarlaac Pit. This is a hard one because the changes to this sequence do work overall. Removing Boba Fett forces some structural changes in the sequence, but Yads didn't settle for only removing the Fett. He has tightened the pacing and removed the flat jokes. The result from a pacing standpoint is a tighter, better battle. Most of the edits are paced nicely with only a few feeling a little rushed.
Where it looses points is the inconsistency of the musical score. The music of this sequence is some of my favorite that John Williams has ever scored, and that perhaps is part of the problem for me. Despite proper cross-fading, many changes stand out like a sore thumb to me. This is the only other sequence were I can definitely feel the editor. Ultimately even though I list this in the doesn't quite work section, it can still be seen as an improvement in how Boba has been removed.
-Then we have the finale/conclusion. I greatly admire Yad's intention here, the climax of Return of the Jedi just doesn't have the emotional crecendo that it deserves, and the music, whether Original Flavor or Special Edition is a let-down (though between the two I prefer Nub Nub). Yad's solution is a great idea and in fact comes close, but by mixing two different scores prior to the concluding fanfare, it highlights that this is an edit rather than feeling that this was the natural ending.
-Yads does not mention himself anywhere in the credits, come on man, give yourself some credit!!

So from a story standpoint the overall improvement is high in my opinion. The editor's intentions and designs are great, only held back by some technical limitations. 9/10 for story improvement

This edit is held back by a few technical bumps , but more-so by the limited release of a 25fps avi. If this were an NTSC DVD, this would be my go-to version of Return of the Jedi and would cause me to consider abandoning my own plans for an edit.

I hope that Yads returns to this edit, provides some polish and makes the DVD release that this edit deserves. As it stands, looking at the quality of the editing job here I would rate the movie a strong 8.5, but the technical aspects (both avi and some of the rougher edges) pull this down to a 7.5 which for me rounds up to 8/10.
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