Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker: Anti-Cringe-Cut

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(Updated: May 14, 2020)
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I do applaud Don's efforts, it wasn't easy trying to fix the flaws. I did enjoy the added sequences, bringing things over from TLJ.

I'd recommend this to those who disliked the theatrical cut.

Side note- I'm one of those that enjoyed the ST, despite its flaws.


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9.3
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I will never like this trilogy, but at least your making it less painful to watch. While it is a massive improvement on the original, there is a few problems:

-It felt a bit quick in places, mostly where you cut out Leia's parts.
-Luke was too transparent to be convincing (not your fault, you did your best).

Overall, short of a mash-up of all 3 movies, this is the best we're going to get.

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After watching DonKamillo's The Last Jedi edit I was super excited to see how more changes could be made with TROS. It's a fantastic effort with lots of great cuts. Admittedly, you're stuck with whatever footage you have and with limited visual adjustments possible.

Overall it's really great and WAYYYYY better than what we got in theaters. Leia stays dead since his TLJ edit, Luke is alive but on Ach To, and some of the fan service is really cut down. I love how Lando just shows up at the end because why would be be around earlier? There's a better arc for Kylo/Ben and he doesn't show up AT ALL vs. The Emperor-- and it works! My biggest joy was how DonKamillo made Palpatine spread a message throughout the galaxy, indicating his return, and Poe's line about SOMEHOW he returned is gone. Sheesh.

I do still have some issues but they're actually pretty minor. Changing Luke from being a Force ghost to still alive was tough and the visual isn't 100% convincing. Also Leia's lightsaber was changed to yellow in the flashbacks (cool idea!) but at the end battle its blue with the repaired Anakin one made yellow. A visual mistake but one this Star Wars geek noticed right away. I would have made a few more edits myself-- removing Rose completely, erase a few pointless lines and jokes, and adjusting some visuals. But overall this is a great job and my definitive version.

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Spoilers follow.

So, at last, the Anti-Cringe Cut of Episode IX is here.
I could not wait to see the film, and was, once again admired by the big changes you dropped in this one. However, I feel the narrative has been brought out to the expense of character a bit too much. I'll go through the movie analyzing the narrative decisions, highlighting the best as the ones I liked less.

First of all, I wanted to mention a minor flaw I noticed with the receding Star Wars text, as it is surrounded by an iris which paves the way for the text. I see why you did this, though.
I think the first act works wonderfully, both with the "minor" changes like the Emperor's broadcast and Kylo not crashing and the removal of certain characters and plot points. I loved the removal of Finn's secret that lead nowhere. I think that the first head-scratching moment comes when Ochi's name is pronounced: per the narrative, I didn't know who he was and it seemed a bit too soon to give out his name. Maybe, for a possible version 2.0 (which I encourage you to put out as there's so much good in your edit that can be built off of!), you could invert the two lines (to "I've seen that ship before... Ochi's ship!" and perhaps add a short flashback of Oochi's close-up so to establish him visually too, and get clear any doubt.) I liked the serpent scene and the healing's removal was necessary to pull Kylo's death through.
Contrary to some reviewers, I didn't find it difficult to accept the masking of Kylo's ship in the desert. Well done. I also enjoyed the Kijimi sequence. Babu Frik is such a fun character. Nonetheless, Poe loses a bit of backstory here, and Zorri Bliss is not really consistent as a character. To be fair, she isn't very developed in the theatrical either, but I believe that leaving some of her romance interest (if possible, without the smuggler angle of it) in Poe in the movie could have benefited both characters, fleshing them out a bit more. It would also add to Poe happily welcoming Zori Bliss and Babu Frik to the battle, which feels partly hollow in this edit (partly because it is implied Babu Frik was his friend on Kijimi, not Zori Bliss, so when they arrive you're still happy to see them cheer.)

Unfortunately, I feel a great disservice has been done to Hux too. If on the one hand, he was mistreated in The Last Jedi by making him pure and unabashed comic relief (and you fixed that in your release of The Last Jedi), relegating him to a cameo with no reaction to the previous movie's storyline doesn't help in this one, if only because he disappears from the movie after half an hour. Furthermore, I feel that General Pryde is robbed of some development too, as Hux's death could work to that end, too.
Upon the good things this edit accomplishes to help the narrative, I also liked the postponement of Chewbacca's survival, as it now comes off as a surprising reveal rather than cheap backpedalling.
I think the big narrative wonkiness (which is also a fault in the original, don't get me wrong) comes in when Rey goes to retrieve the dagger a second time: she says they're going to need it again, but they don't, and it appears there's no way around that if not to include the Indiana Jones-esque moment where the dagger points to the throne room. I understand why you removed that, but I think that more than helping the movie, it created a plot hole (unless I lost something, that is! :))
I really liked the contraction of the narrative when our group arrives on the moon of Endor, and I think that having Jannah bring Rey and Finn to the ruins immediately as they arrive works well, but not fleshing her out even a little bit I think makes her feel a bit too much like a Deus Ex Machina. Some backstory would not have hurt at all, I believe. Her, Poe and Hux are the three characters that suffer the most from this edit, unfortunately.

Now, the big, absolutely grandiose decision and change this edit forwards is the death of Ben Solo. No choice can be more logical than this. This is what makes the edit step up. It is the logical conclusion to his arc, and I wonder why the original decided to have him redeem. Obviously, this means the disappearance of the Knights of Ren in the third act, but it is most definitely forgivable as it is genius to have Kyo die.
I wonder why the planet-destroying weapons weren't done with, as they have no reason to exist if not to temporarily add threat to Poe... only for that to be swept away by Lando's speech. Speaking of which, I liked the reveal of Lando. This way we're not left wondering what he was doing on Pasaana, or why he was left behind with no reason at all, and makes it seem as if he was already at the base, and enters the quadrant only when he has something valuable to say.
Luke's force ghost, as stated before even by the editor himself, isn't entirely convincing but it isn't too noticeable while watching, at least to me. Ironically, I found the switch from TLJ footage (Luke walking down the steps) to TRoS footage more jarring. Maybe you could tone down some of the sunlight in the two shots of Luke looking down to Rey to make it mesh together a bit better? Anyways, the effect in the two later scenes come off much better. Now, we come to the second plothole that bugged me: if Luke went searching for answers regarding Palpatine, why didn't he tell Rey, his apprentice, that he knew the coordinates to get to Exegol earlier? Is it because he returned to Ahch-To and closed himself to the Force again? To make it clear, I understand there wasn't much to work with in the first place, and this would be forgivable plot hole if it had been explained why Luke doesn't contact Rey earlier. The change to Leia's lightsaber is not the one I was expecting! I think it works fine, but the shot of Leia holding the saber in the flashback seems oddly black & white almost. I imagine this is due to the colour correction, to make it resemble the yellow tint of the saber, but I feel that you may have lost a bit too much green/blue from the background. Maybe purple would have caused less trouble?
The final battle in the third act, works, lean and mean, very well. Both the set pieces work, and Rey remembering Han, Leia and Kylo adds some emotion to the moment. Well done. Nonetheless, I have to nitpick here (this is very minor): when Rey grabs Leia's saber, the saber is blue, and when she grabs Luke's... it is yellow. I think this may have been inverted for dramatic effect, and it works very well, without a doubt, but as a fan I couldn't help but notice it. I had to point it out, but had it happened in the original (other than mere lack of attention to details) I wouldn't have bothered too much; I see it a bit like Vader's saber not being rotoscoped in a shot from Episode IV.
I have to say that Luke's death is a moment that definitely lands, and is well cut together with the original footage.

During the celebration, you obviously cut the same-sex kiss. It didn't feel natural, I see why you cut it. Nonetheless, I think that it can be frustrating for some people to see that moment gone.

And finally, the ending on Tatooine. At first, I was left wondering why you changed the lightsaber to red (!) but after some thought, I got to the conclusion that it feels right for Rey's arc. This is a bold decision you have made. This is my reasoning: Rey's theme in this movie is to embrace who she is. She has the power of both Jedi and Sith, and she doesn't doesn't understand it; therefore she fears it, and herself. By building herself a red lightsaber, she is embracing the dark side to do good. It is a way of showing that colour doesn't necessarily count. What matters is what you do with it. Still, I think that the colour yellow created less confusion, as one reviewer felt confused after seeing the film.

All in all, I think your edit satisfies many of the faults the original had (except the ones which are no fault of the editor) but also creates some of its own doing. I do like most of them, and strongly encourage DonKamillo not only to finish off his ACC trilogy but also revise his edit of IX in the same way he did for VIII to implement some of the feedback me and other reviewers have brought forward!

Congratulations,

Canon Editor

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Overall rating
 
9.2
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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7.0
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7.0
Rise of Skywalker is a film of many choices, that's as true to the final official product as it has proven for many faneditors. This one, put together by the maverick anti-cringer DonKamillo, makes the kind of choices that we need a lot of with this: bold ones.

The narrative is altered to remove moments that seem more random in placement and execution, leaving 3-PO without his memory shows a costly side to the quest. Kylo no longer being a lousy (Adam) driver in the desert gives his entrance a much grander sense of menace, where as you were left kind of thinking he was an idiot when he arrived on the scene.

Rey no longer being related to Palpatine yet still have his power kind of goes unexplained, unless we're meant to take the 'diad' line as the explanation, I also feel the footage kind of lets down the line Rey crosses when she kills Kylo and Luke is very relaxed and forgiving. That cannot be helped, and Kylo's send-off with Han actually works far better in this cut as a moment of passage rather than a plot device to necessitate a random change of heart to further the plot along. It is my choice for the best edited scene of this movie.

I would have preferred if Rey had died defeating The Emperor, as somewhat of a karmic 'price' paid for killing Kylo, and the film should have ended with Luke looking out at the suns on the island from Last Jedi. Maybe you could have inserted a force ghost of Leia from the end of 'Rise' in that scene. Just a thought.

Overall, while it doesn't 'rise' to the same heights as the tour de force that was The Last Jedi anti-cringe cut, this is still a solid and superior cut to the official release that ended the sequel trilogy on a rather drab note.


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