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Phase IV - The Evolution Cut - by Last Survivor

LastSurvivor

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sZAFWjI.jpg


Original title: Phase IV

Fanedit title:  Phase IV – The Evolution Cut

Studios: Paramount
Faneditor: Last Survivor
Originally released: 1974
Fanedit release: January 2021
Original running time: 84 minutes approx
Fanedit running time: 85 minutes approx
Cut time: 3 minutes cut 
Minutes Added: 4 
Started edit: August 2020
Finished edit: January 2021


Synopsis and Purpose of Edit:

Phase IV is a cult sci-fi movie like no other.  Often derided as a failed attempt to make an intelligent creature feature, it was to be the only feature film made by famous graphic designer Saul Bass, and is undeservedly grouped in with later 70’s B movie features such as Empire of the Ants, The Swarm and the like.  To be truthful, this is similar to saying 2001: A Space Odyssey should sit alongside Battle Beyond the Stars.   Paramount didn’t know what they had, and even cut Bass’ remarkable 5 minute montage style ending.

Intention…  To insert the original ending which Bass intended, making a more complete experience for the story.  Also, to rescore the film.  I have no problem with the original score, however I really wanted to push the soundscape style approach of the music further still, hopefully making Phase IV feel more other-worldly – you could even say, alien.  Therefore, music from Loscil and Jean-Michel Jarre will be used.  On top of this, I have never cared much for the voiceover/narration which runs through the film.  By all accounts, even Bass was not keen on it, as it spoon feeds the viewer too much - therefore this will be cut too. 

Cutlist:

 
The main intention of this edit is to use a new music score, and insert the original ending that Saul Bass shot.  Other than that, there are only a few minor trims which I will detail here. 
Also, all voiceover and narration has been removed.  Bass was never that happy with this aspect of the film, and I’ve always wanted the film to succeed without this kind of “spoon feeding” to the audience. 

-    Cut one very small scene during the opening of the film where we are seeing the Ant colony for the first time… it’s just a transition scene which goes to black.  Now instead of going to black, it just goes straight to the next shot
-    As James and Hobbs are meeting with the family at their home to warn them to evacuate, have cut the scene where Kendra waves goodbye to them due to the somewhat  corny nature of it which feels more like a shampoo advert
-    After her family have been killed by the ants and Kendra opens the cellar door which was keeping her safe, have removed the zoom-in to Hobbs, as it appears unnatural and forced
-    Trimmed the scene where James talks to Kendra to calm her down and says let’s get you some breakfast… instead of seeing her then go with James and get a drink, the scene now cuts to James immediately being distracted by more news on their studies by Hobbs
-    Cut Kendra’s line “go away…. Please go away”, after she wakes up and sees a solitary ant
-    Slightly trimmed and re-ordered some shots as Hobbs is having a bit of breakdown as he tries to find one ant in their lab
-    Cut the scene where James comforts Kendra after Hobbs had his breakdown, where he had basically blamed her for the ants knowing what they are up to.  The scene just seems to a bit too fluffy and clumsy
-    After James says “like rats in a maze”, he goes on to talk out his exact thought process as to what’s going on.. however, this feels like needless exposition, as by this point the viewer should be on-board and able to deduct things for themselves.  Therefore, have trimmed this scene to remove most of this. 
-    Slight cut to Bass’ original ending,  as Kendra leaves the lab and goes looking for the ants and literally starts to talk to them, just before they start biting her toes.   Have now cut her talking to them
-    Another very minor cut.  In Bass’ original montage ending, have removed one shot where the ant is superimposed over Kendra and James

Special Features:

Audio Commentary

Technical Details:
16:9 Anamorphic. MP4 .
AAC Stereo.
Software used: Vegas Pro 16, Vocal Remover, iZotope RX-7 Audio Editor, DVD Fab.



Special Thanks:
Sophie Welch 
BionicBob
Toodles
and everyone who has shown an interest in the edit on the forum
 

Last Impressions

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Love the artwork in your first post.

Please bear in mind i haven't watched all of your videos and will do so once i finish work tonight. I rented Phase IV at the weekend and confirm that it is a film i must have missed whilst growing up...however ..i really loved the concept of the film...of course we have to place ourselves in the mind of ourselves growing up in the 70's & 80's,  as i did, to appreciate it fully and to forgive the limited FX of the time period...some of the dialogue was a bit ropy and i am intrigued to see if you keep or remove it in the Evolution Cut .  I received the bluray this morning and took a quick look at the Saul Bass original ending...wow...that is a thing of beauty and welcome you placing it back  in your edit. I also fully agree with the removal of the narration and as someone who removed the voiceover from Ad Astra i know how arduous a task that can be.
Like you the original score didn't bother me so much but i love the rescoring you have done, in the one video i watched of yours.The rescoring just adds a new dimension to the film..the power of music eh....the rescoring fits perfectly...i am really looking forward to watching your edit once it becomes available.

Regarding the artifacts and crushing in some of the darker sequences of the film...i didn't really notice any on my TV, 
so maybe it was a render problem after all.
 

LastSurvivor

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Last Impressions said:
Love the artwork in your first post.

Please bear in mind i haven't watched all of your videos and will do so once i finish work tonight. I rented Phase IV at the weekend and confirm that it is a film i must have missed whilst growing up...however ..i really loved the concept of the film...of course we have to place ourselves in the mind of ourselves growing up in the 70's & 80's,  as i did, to appreciate it fully and to forgive the limited FX of the time period...some of the dialogue was a bit ropy and i am intrigued to see if you keep or remove it in the Evolution Cut .  I received the bluray this morning and took a quick look at the Saul Bass original ending...wow...that is a thing of beauty and welcome you placing it back  in your edit. I also fully agree with the removal of the narration and as someone who removed the voiceover from Ad Astra i know how arduous a task that can be.
Like you the original score didn't bother me so much but i love the rescoring you have done, in the one video i watched of yours.The rescoring just adds a new dimension to the film..the power of music eh....the rescoring fits perfectly...i am really looking forward to watching your edit once it becomes available.

Regarding the artifacts and crushing in some of the darker sequences of the film...i didn't really notice any on my TV, 
so maybe it was a render problem after all.

Thanks for your comments Last Impressions... that artwork I can take no credit for.  It's by Scott Saslow who was commissioned to come up with images for the French blu ray release from Carlotta films.  See https://scottsaslow.myportfolio.com/phase-iv for more info.  I love the poster too!

Glad you enjoyed the theatrical cut of the film.  It's a film that continues to fascinate me.  I never tire of watching it, and I've always wondered how the film would play without the narration/voiceover.  Personally, I feel it works better.  Add the original ending to this, and I have to say I'm pleased with how The Evolution Cut has turned out.  I'll be interested to see what people make of the new music -obviously I like it, but I know it may not be for everyone.

In terms of the artifacts and crushing, it's only really noticeable during some of the original ending footage, as this was clearly not remastered or cleaned up at all.  It still looks fine, but I noticed some artifacting and crushing on the blu ray itself.  

Anyways, thanks again for your interest and I really hope you like the edit ;)
 

LastSurvivor

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Talk about being somewhat overwhelmed... Huge thanks to both plisken1138 and 15Maf for taking the time to write reviews for this sci-fi oddity.  

plisken1138... I know you were looking forward to this, so I am so pleased to hear that you weren't disappointed.  One of my key concerns with this edit was whether it would work without all the narration/voiceover removed.  To hear that you didn't miss it at all, was most pleasing to hear.  Thanks for taking to time to listen to the commentary too... sometimes they are a bit of a slog to do, but I certainly enjoyed this one.  Hail our new antlords indeed :)

15Maf... what can I say?  It's great when you get such nice feedback from people who are genuine fans of the original version.  I can't tell you how much I love the original film, so I was genuinely hoping that this admiration for Bass' film would still shine through with this new rescoring.  To hear that you liked this aspect was such a relief, as I thought long and hard about what music to use.  Also glad to hear the little nips and tucks in removing a few scenes worked to the film's advantage too.  Thanks so much and glad you enjoyed it!
 

LastSurvivor

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Last-impressions... cheers for the review.  Much appreciated and I'm so happy that you enjoyed the score replacement.  To hear that it was bordering on being native to the original, that's so great to hear.  In terms of cutting the line of dialogue when Kendra wakes up and James asks whether she remembers him... yeah, that could have easily been cut, I agree... that one just passed me by I have to admit.  Thanks again!
 

LastSurvivor

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Citizenbuck - so glad you enjoyed the edit and thanks for your review.  I can't tell you how satisfying it is to hear that someone like yourself, who's a huge fan of the original movie, enjoyed the edit so much.  All I wanted to do with this edit is enhance Bass' vision, so it's great that this worked for you.  Thanks!
 

Malthus

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Congratulations LS, I'll have to add this to the increasingly long list of edits you've made that I want to watch. If it's anywhere near as good as your A view to a Kill edit or your Caves of Androzani cut this is a well-deserved winner.
 

LastSurvivor

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Congrats on FAN EDIT OF THE MONTH!!! 🏆:)
Congratulations LS, I'll have to add this to the increasingly long list of edits you've made that I want to watch. If it's anywhere near as good as your A view to a Kill edit or your Caves of Androzani cut this is a well-deserved winner.

Cheers guys! Truth be told this is a special edit to me and probably one of those which I'm most proud of.
 

LastSurvivor

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Thanks to @The Scribbling Man for taking the time out to submit a review. Really glad you enjoyed it. You know, I did think about doing a second audio track with the original music intact and perhaps a third with the original music and the narration. However, I suppose I became selfish and just thought, what do I want from this edit? The answer was simply having the narration removed and a new music score.

In terms of some of the sound replacement sounding a bit too modern... yep, that was a constant battle I faced in this edit. I had to ensure that I put a background "hiss" track over any of the scenes where I was putting new music, or doing any sound replacement, and that was to maintain the feeling the original film has.

Again, thanks for watching it and your kind words.
 

LastSurvivor

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@Wakeupkeo I almost forgot to thank you for the review!! Sorry about that. Glad you enjoyed the trip this movie gave you and that the new music choices worked for you. Nice to hear what a fan of Saul Bass thinks of the edit, espeically as you're a graphic designer too ;)
 
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