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Buckaroo Banzai: jrWHAG42 Edition

Jrzag42

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Hello everyone! I have finished my first full edit of the cult classic film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. I went in with no clear cut idea, I just wanted to mess around and practice editing for when I do have a proper idea. It was a lot of fun to work on, and I am happy with how it is coming out. Disclaimer, this is not necessarily meant to be an improvement over the original.

So what does my edit do? I have cut down the film by around 30 minutes by removing several scenes and trimming most remaining scenes to remove unnecessary shots and lines. The result is a fast-paced 73-minute roller-coaster ride of adventure. I intended for it to retain all of its heart and soul, I think I've succeeded but I'm open to criticism.
This is for fans of the original who don't think of the film as sacred and are willing to experience it in a new way. It is also for those who don't like the film on account of it being "boring".
My source is the NTSC "SPECIAL EDITION" DVD.

It's essentially finished, I'm happy with it, but I'd appreciate feedback.

Cut list
1. Film now starts with the club scene. Various small trims.
2. Immediately followed by a shot of the mountain with tire tracks leading up to it in black and white with a newscaster voiceover, we see that Emilio Lizardo is watching TV. 
3. B&W shot of jet car, we see Emilio fastening the equipment leading into his flashback. No more rummaging for the equipment, he already has it. Various trims to flashback, no more "Holy Toledo" because I didn't like the delivery. 
4. After the flashback and the guy taking the TV, we transition to Buckaroo and co. in the bus. Scene ends after "Or else Buckaroo wouldn't be ready to make a fool out of himself"
5. Emilio then breaks out, various trims.
6. Back at the bus, Rawhide reports of Emilio breaking out immediately after, removed him saying "Last night". Various little trims. Mr. Wizard is brought up, Rawhide says that Emilio is a raging lunatic, to which Perfect Tommy says "So was Mr. Wizard," I though that little change was funny, no other reason for doing it. I worried a bit that it might be mean spirited, but I also thought I might be overreacting. I can remove it if nobody else finds it funny. This conversation now goes as normal, I wasn't happy with it.
The rest of the movie follows regular scene order.
7. During the conference there is a flashback to Buckaroo exiting the mountain and finding the alien thing that he brought over, again in B&W.
8. The hunters in the woods who find the alien ship are trimmed a lot, I find them annoying.
9. The president is completely removed.
10. The president's secretary is removed from the final act, he's annoying and unnecessary. He only appears at the conference. 
Beyond these noteworthy changes there are trims to almost all of the other scenes.

First 20 minutes (I've since made a slight adjustment as mentioned in the cutlist, so this isn't entirely accurate, but mostly.)

oQP1lmk.jpg


Original post:
Remember all of those times when I said I was going to start editing "for real this time"? I've finally sat down and started editing something. It's a little movie called The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension.
I went in with no clear cut ideas, just to experiment for fun, practicing for when I do have a real solid idea. I've restarted a couple times, trying out different ideas. My current idea is attempting to cut it down to a TV episode length, restructuring it in the process. Once again, this is for fun, I don't intend to improve upon the movie.
It starts with the scene in the club, the introduction to Penny and all that, minor trims here and there. It's followed by Emilio watching TV with a couple flashbacks to the jet car, various trims here and there. Cut to Buckaroo and friends in the bus, it's now cut into two scenes. After the line "Or else Buckaroo wouldn't be ready to make a fool of himself" or something like that, we cut to Emilio escaping and calling John Bigboote. We cut back to the Hong Kong Cavaliers with Rawhide coming in and telling them about Emilio escaping, with mention of "last night" removed. I cut out the scene of Buckaroo checking out the reports of the nuclear activity, we just cut to Jeff Goldblum. He's listening to the radio and hears mention of the nuclear activity anyways, so the audience gets all the info they need.
There's other cuts here and there, I'll update this with more details when I get the chance to look through my project, I'm just typing this quickly from memory.
I'm far from finished, I only have around 30 minutes edited right now, and those 30 minutes may be subject to change further. I'll see about posting samples when I get the chance.
 

Malthus

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jrWHAG42 said:
My current idea is attempting to cut it down to a TV episode length, restructuring it in the process.

This sounds like a really fun idea. I am certainly not a fan of the film itself and only own a copy because I was given it as a gift. With that said there's so much about it I want to like. On paper it's brilliant, there's a great cast and some fun visuals but I found it bloated, unfunny and sluggish. A truncated version could be fantastic. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
 

Jrzag42

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Thank you for your kind words, Malthus. I can't guarantee you'll like it, I can't make it more funny and I plan on retaining most comedic moments, though I do aim to make it feel less sluggish. I feel like the first 10 minutes are the worst offender of sluggishness in the movie, it was the first thing I sought to remedy.
 

bionicbob

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Love this! 

BB is easily in my Top Ten FAVE movies of ALL TIME!!

If I were to make a suggestion, since you are going to treat it as TV episode, I would maybe cut as PART TWO of a Three Part crossover.   Much like the original movie itself, with the exception of perhaps a "Previously on..." tag at the beginning, just dump the viewer into the deep in of the Buckaroo pool and then end it on a big cliffhanger.   :D
 

Jrzag42

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bionicbob said:
Love this! 

BB is easily in my Top Ten FAVE movies of ALL TIME!!

If I were to make a suggestion, since you are going to treat it as TV episode, I would maybe cut as PART TWO of a Three Part crossover.   Much like the original movie itself, with the exception of perhaps a "Previously on..." tag at the beginning, just dump the viewer into the deep in of the Buckaroo pool and then end it on a big cliffhanger.   :D

Definitely like this idea, and I have had it in mind after reading an old post along the same lines. The way I have it currently, there's stuff that's implied to have happened prior to the start (with enough context given so that the audience isn't lost). I hadn't really thought to end it on a cliffhanger though. As I come closer to the end I've been thinking that I might not be able to get it down to an hour, so maybe ending before the end with a reasonably placed cliffhanger is the way to go.
 

LastSurvivor

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Seems it's about time i watched the original version. Sounds good!!
 

Jrzag42

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I have reached the end, I cut it down to 73 minutes, 69 without credits, removing 29 minutes in total. Tonight I will watch through the whole thing and see if anything needs to be fixed or if there's more I can trim.
I did not end up leaving it on a cliffhanger currently, I will see if I change my mind on that later.
The last thing that I need to do is craft a "Previously on..." segment at the beginning like Bob suggested.
 

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At the end, you could do a "Next time on Buckaroo Banzai:"

Cut to Murphy from Robocop getting his hand shot off.

Not for the actual edit. Maybe a special feature.
 

Jrzag42

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As I'm watching through this, I think I've decided that I'm not going to add the television presentation. The way I've cut it, it just feels like a fast paced movie, it doesn't have the normal pacing of a TV episode. To achieve that I'd have to cut more whole scenes and leave the remaining scenes long, whereas currently I haven't cut many whole scenes, just trimmed them. I'm content with this.
On paper it's brilliant, there's a great cast and some fun visuals but I found it bloated, unfunny and sluggish. A truncated version could be fantastic. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
I think I've succeeded in making it feel less sluggish, the movie now moves very quickly. As for bloated, I've completely removed the president and the secretary from the second half as well as removing insignificant lines from characters with minor roles, so there's one less plot thread and less characters to focus on, I think that constitutes as less bloated. Unfunny? I think I've managed to trim a couple of lines that came off as annoying, though some humorous moments are too iconic to cut, or I liked otherwise. I really hope that this can appeal to those who hate the film as well as those who love it.

I plan on finally uploading samples tomorrow, and I'd also like to upload what I currently have for previewing.
 

Jrzag42

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I had a bit of a hiccup with rendering, but that's all sorted now. I watched through it again and I'm satisfied. I'm uploading the preview right now, so please PM me if you're interested. I'm thinking it's the final version, but I just want some feedback first to be sure.
 

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The magnificent TM2YC was kind enough to watch and review this thing. A couple of issues were pointed out which I am currently working on finishing. I mean I'm not working on it right this second, but you catch my (Tokyo) drift. Pretty soon I will have this project officially (officially) completed, which is pretty epic, I'm very excited.
 

Jrzag42

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My sister agreed to watch it with me, it made me happy to hear her say that she liked my edit a lot more than when I showed her the original a few months back. It was my first time watching the whole thing in over a month, there were a couple times where I felt I could've done things differently, but all in all I'm very happy with how this came out.
 
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