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(coverart generously provided by Nick Kemp. Check out more of his work on Instagram @_nickkemp)
Yes, I know, yet another WBA edit, but hear me out...
My aim with this is simple: recreate Tarantino's single film cut of Kill Bill to the best of my ability using as much HD footage as possible, based on first-hand accounts of people who have attended screenings of Tarantino's own Whole Bloody Affair cut. No more, no less (well, okay, maybe a little more and a little less).
By all accounts, Tarantino's WBA is simply the Japanese uncut versions of volumes 1 and 2 stitched together with an intermission, except without the cliffhanger ending of the first volume or the recap at the beginning of the second. Pretty straightforward.
I know others have attempted something similar, but it seems like every edit I've encountered so far tinkers with the film in some way that turns it into a less-than-ideal viewing experience for me, such as leaving the volume one cliffhanger reveal in, or reinserting the deleted Michael Jai White scene (I'll never understand why so many insist on doing this).
I'm not going to bother to attempt to include the intermission because I couldn't possibly recreate that in any faithful way. Besides, we have the luxury of creating our own intermissions any time we'd like with the help of the PAUSE button.
The only small creative liberty that I might like to take is to include both the Fukasaku dedication and the Klingon proverb at the beginning of the film.
On the one hand, the proverb is the only thing I miss from the theatrical cut, and while I think the dedication is great, I also think it's a shame to lose the proverb in the process, and I think a lot of people would be bummed to see it missing from the beginning of the film.
But on the other hand, that's not in the WBA cut that Tarantino himself assembled and screened at Cannes and elsewhere, which is ultimately what I'm going for, so I'm a little torn. I'm already unable to completely recreate it the way Tarantino screened it since I'm not able to include the intermission (and that's to say nothing of the credits), so would it be too blasphemous to include both the tribute and the proverb?
I'd love to hear some thoughts on this. To keep the proverb or not to keep? Please sound off in the comments with your thoughts on the matter.
EDIT: After a night of mulling it over, I've decided to lose the proverb. It's what Tarantino did, and that's what I'm aiming for with this edit. I can always create a version with the proverb separately if enough people want it.
Japanese Uncut DVDs of volumes 1 and 2
US Blurays of volumes 1 and 2
taas007's HD re-inked House of Blue Leaves sequence
Regarding the re-inked HOBL sequence, per taas007:
The 1080p color output is created from a mix of the uncut Japanese DVD & the retail US Blu-Ray.
The high-definition B&W Blu-Ray footage is supplemented with luma information from the DVD to recover blown highlights. Then the color from the DVD is upscaled using SuperResolution, added and luma levels adjusted shot-by-shot as the retail Blu-Ray has considerable filtering ontop of the B&W pass.
In essence, it means the highlights are upscaled as they were completely blown in the retail Blu-Ray.
The shot at [1:26:41] has an eight frame color data gap as the DVD cuts to a wide shot (and thus does not provide any usable color data) where the retail Blu-Ray stays with the closeup. The first half of the shot has been slowed down to 93.7% and picks up at 100% from where the Blu-Ray continues. No visible difference.
The result is the US Blu-Ray version with the "House of the Blue Leaves fight" fully in color.
WHAT I DID:
Utilizing as much HD footage as possible, I've recreated the Japanese uncut versions of volumes 1 and 2 in 1080p, stitched them together, and removed the cliffhanger ending from volume 1, and the recap from the beginning of volume 2.
For the footage that was not available in HD on the BDs, I used the Japanese DVD footage, which is unfortunately the best quality available to us at the moment.
However, for the House of Blue Leaves color sequence, I mostly used taas007's re-inked video, except for the portions that are exclusive to the Japanese version, which are sourced from the Japanese DVD. I also used a couple shots from the credit sequence at the end of volume two.
In recreating the volume one uncut portion, TM2YC's list of changes found here proved to be an invaluable source of information, and I thank them greatly. (There wound up being some slight differences since they used the UK BD and mine was US, but they were insignificant, and the list was still a great help).
HOW DOES THIS VERSION DIFFER FROM OTHER WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR RECONSTRUCTIONS?
- It matches the Japanese versions of volumes 1 and 2, and therefore Tarantino's own cut of TWBA, probably closer than any other edit out there.
- House of Blue Leaves fight is mostly in HD with the help of taas007's footage (I've only seen one other WBA edit that incorporates this).
- The reveal/cliffhanger ending of volume 1 has been removed. This is how Tarantino's cut is, and is probably the biggest change to the film's narrative structure. Some WBA edits choose to leave this in, and in doing so, cease to be Tarantino's version of The Whole Bloody Affair. It's fine to leave it in for your own personal edit of Kill Bill, but not when you're trying to recreate The Whole Bloody Affair.
- This edit DOES NOT include the deleted scene featuring Michael Jai White as Da Moe. This was absent from Tarantino's cut that he screened, and I will never understand why so many editors choose to include it, especially if the goal is to recreate TWBA.
- This version does not include any extended Pai-Mei flashbacks during the campfire scene. It's a neat idea, but again, not in Tarantino's version of the film.
This edit has been completed! Reach out to me if you'd like to see it.