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Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - The Spence Edit

spence

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Hi Everyone!

Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite movie, and I love parts 2 and 3. Going to see Crystal Skull on opening night is probably the worst cinematic experience I've ever had. You could just feel the room deflate, all the energy disappear, the excitement turned to disappointment. I hated it.

However, time has been kinder than expected to the film. Maybe it's comparing it to what passes for modern "adventure" filmmaking, but it's sort of outdated style kind of works in its favor. There's a lot of things that do work about it. Harrison Ford and the rest of the cast are game. Though it's kind of a "left hand" movie from Spielberg, he's still the greatest movie director of our lifetimes, so it's still got some great visuals and action. The story could be intriguing.

My two main gripes with it:
1. The modern CGI and cinematography isn't very good, even for it's time, and sticks out like a sore thumb. It's just kind of ugly. It also doesn't "feel" like Indy.
2. There's little sense of urgency in between the shooting and punching. Everything just sort of happens and crawls along until the next action scene.

There's been some great fanedits of this, but a lot of them either remove more than I would like, or less than I would like. The focus is often on removing the things that, from a story perspective, "don't work" as opposed to just making watching the film a fun time.

So I've decided to tackle the film myself. This will be a fairly light edit, I don't intend on creating new effects or radically changing the story. I just want it to be a fun adventure with one of my favorite screen characters of all time

Changelist:
- Change the color/white balance to look more like the old films.
- New transition from the Paramount Logo to a newly created mountain shot. "Hound Dog!" plays from the beginning over it until we transition to the car.
- Cut Mac's lines about betting on getting out of this.
- Cut "I meant drop dead comrade" and the punch that precedes it.
- Cut the line about "wubbalyoos".
- Cut Spalko trying and failing to be psychic. This goes nowhere, and she never successfully does anything telepathic in the film so the whole concept is dropped.
- Cut some of the searching around the warehouse.
- We only see the hand of the alien for now, as an attempt at keeping some mystery.
- Cleaned up the Mac is a Bad Guy reveal.
- Made Indy start running quicker after shooting the guy in the foot.
- Cut Mac's "You don't know him!" bit.
- Removed a cutaway to Spalko and Mac getting in a truck.
- Trimmed a lot of silliness in Nuketown, Indy is now significantly more concerned.
- Cut a lot of the tumbling of the fridge, so it seems like he maybe could have survived.
- Cut the bit where they're scrubbing the radiation off of Indy.
- Cut Mutt repeating "That's my mother" so he only says it once.
- Sped up the gap between "knife" and "gunfight"
- Lots of trims to the crypt sequence to speed it up and get the story moving.
- Cut the bit where Indy tries to purloin a knife.
- Cut "saucer men from mars"
- Cut Ox dancing at the campfire.
- Trimmed Marion's introduction so it's more quippy and feels like banter from Raiders.
- Cut the snake being used as a rope. Mac and Spalko show up after Indy says "why the hell didn't you make him finish school?!"
- Cut some of the back and forth in the back of the truck.
- Cut Indy slicing into his pants.
- Cut Marion grinning.
- Seriously trimmed up the jungle chase sequence to move faster and have less obviously silly moments.
- Some minor cuts to the ants scene for pacing and to remove unnecessary silly jokes (like Spalko crushing an ant with her knees)
- Only one waterfall, which is a combination of the three original ones.
- Some light trims to the end section of the movie for pacing and to remove unnecessary gags.


I just started work on this today, but so far I'm seeing some good results.
 
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Eleven66

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I love the movie, it's often silly but fun. I agree about the third act, though. Curious to see how you will improve things here and there
 

spence

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I love the movie, it's often silly but fun. I agree about the third act, though. Curious to see how you will improve things here and there
It's amazing how much my opinion on it has changed. I used to think it was the worst movie I'd ever seen. Either time has been kind to it, or I've seen a lot of s*it since.
 

Bailey

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I like the sound of this. Too many edits of this cut out too much (I happen to like the fridge scene myself, silly as it is). Looking forward to it.
 

Necramonium

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The CGI is also something that has been grinding my gears since the movie released, seeing the previous Indiana movies all had real stunts, and used (by now) old school effects, but they still look great, like in the Last Crusade, when he walks over the "invisible" bridge, still looks flawless these days! If only you could edit out Shia Labeouf completely, rofl.
 

spence

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The CGI is also something that has been grinding my gears since the movie released, seeing the previous Indiana movies all had real stunts, and used (by now) old school effects, but they still look great, like in the Last Crusade, when he walks over the "invisible" bridge, still looks flawless these days! If only you could edit out Shia Labeouf completely, rofl.
I never particularly hated him in this, or anything really. Could've been a very stupid part with the whole Greaser thing, but I think he made it work well enough.
 

spence

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So here's some initial work on the two scenes I worked on today, the fridge scene and the jungle chase. Very far from final.

Fridge:

Most of the scene is unchanged, except there's less silly bumbling around from Indy.

Jungle Chase:

This has a lot of changes, but it's really fun to edit. The big things missing are part of the sword fight, and Mutt in the trees. I think it's funnier to have him sort of disappear and you forget about him until he saves the day. It also makes the gag of all the monkey's showing up actually funny as opposed to a silly moment.
 
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spence

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Here's my first pass at Marion's introduction. The scene is a little bit quippier and fast paced now, and I got rid of some of Indy's goofy reaction to seeing her. I still wanted him to be visibly pleased to see her, but that goofy shrugging needed to go.


Marion Test
 

Darth Kermit

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I like it! Don’t remember the original scene very well, as it’s been about a year since I last saw it (and I’ve only seen it twice), but I definitely think this version feels like the Indy of old (or as close as you can get).
 

spence

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Here's another thing I'm working on. I wanted to remove the silly scene with Indy being forced to use a snake as a rope to get out of the quicksand. There isn't a simple answer to this, unfortunately.

My possible solution is to crop out Indy and Marion from the scene where they get captured. Of course, this was a serious crop. So I used a version of this shot from the 4K blu-ray (rest of the edit is using the 1080p Blu Ray as a source), cropped it, then ran it through Topaz AI a few times to up the details. Then, I added a some sound effects to signal that Mac was walking up behind them.

I still need to play with the colors, but I think this could work.

Snake Removal
 

Last Impressions

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Hey Spence. There is always room for a new Crystal Skull edit ...i always liked the edit by NJVC - whatever happened to him/her?
... there was another edit on here which incorporated footage from the Fountain but although the idea was great . The Fountain is one of my all time favourite films , so its a bit jarring for me personally:)

Also 15maf did some cool VFX work in his, what he did with the countdown clock was fantastic - Quote "LED countdown digits have been replaced with Nixie tube digits (Using After Effects camera motion tracking and frame by frame placement. 1957 was a little too early for tech like LED’s as they didn’t really start to feature until 1960’s as far as I’ve read)."Unquote



Good luck - the preview clips are looking great.
 

spence

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Hey Spence. There is always room for a new Crystal Skull edit ...i always liked the edit by NJVC - whatever happened to him/her?
... there was another edit on here which incorporated footage from the Fountain but although the idea was great . The Fountain is one of my all time favourite films , so its a bit jarring for me personally:)

Also 15maf did some cool VFX work in his, what he did with the countdown clock was fantastic - Quote "LED countdown digits have been replaced with Nixie tube digits (Using After Effects camera motion tracking and frame by frame placement. 1957 was a little too early for tech like LED’s as they didn’t really start to feature until 1960’s as far as I’ve read)."Unquote



Good luck - the preview clips are looking great.
Thanks! I saw a few edits back in the day but that was ages ago. Trying to avoid them right now so I can come at it with my own ideas.

The one thing I'm a bit stuck on is the opening shot. I want to cut the little prairie dog thing out, but not sure what to replace it with.
 

Ender

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The one thing I'm a bit stuck on is the opening shot. I want to cut the little prairie dog thing out, but not sure what to replace it with.
If it's the CGI that's offensive, why not get footage of an actual praire dog?

If you just hate the concept, go with another mountain, I guess. The only alternative I can think of is making it a mountain on the hot rod's licence plate.
 

spence

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If it's the CGI that's offensive, why not get footage of an actual praire dog?

If you just hate the concept, go with another mountain, I guess. The only alternative I can think of is making it a mountain on the hot rod's licence plate.
I actually don't mind the prairie dogs through the rest of the opening, I plan on keeping those. I just think it's a really bad move for the first shot of the movie to be iffy CGI.
 

Ender

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Poster Number One

I would put "The Spence Edit" in smaller lettering and a different font so it doesn't read like "Kingdom of the Crystal Skullthespence Edit". The title is just "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". "The Spence Edit" is just a specification of the version.

The image is nice, but the palette is cold and devoid of the film's main setting of the Amazon, let alone New Mexico. Gives a bit of a false impression of what the movie's about.
 
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