Most people don’t realize that the word “Fan” is short for “Fanatic”. Nowadays being a “fan” of something can mean getting creative with their fandom, either by creating a “Fan Film”, meaning a movie set in the universe of their story, or they can re-edit an existing movie. Today, with computer power and video getting to be more and more a part of everyday life, editing or re-editing movies into new things are hitting an all time high. In the short form, there are video “remixes”, like the misleadingly happy trailer for The Shining (dubbed “Shining”). Or people are taking all the deleted scenes and putting them back into a movie without the studio or director’s involvement.
In 2002, the first world renown fan edit hit the world in the form of someone taking the un-copyprotected Japanese laserdisc of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace and re-edited the film, removing almost all of Jar Jar Binks, changing the running time by nearly 30 minutes shorter. Not only did they do this, but they started renting VHS tapes from the local Blockbusters and taping over the copies of the real movie with their fan edit. Here’s the weird part, the public PREFERRED this cut of the film. The reaction from Lucasfilm however was “You may not edit our copyrighted material without our permission”.
Here’s the greatest irony of the situation. George Lucas created the world where anyone could digitally and nearly lossless quality, and edit anyone else’s movies. Starting with the “Edit Droid” program, on to the latest Avid and Apple and Adobe editing software, we’re in a world where anyone can edit with ease, especially from a DVD.
On such sites, Star Wars is still the most re-edited set of movies by far. People seem to spend an awful lot of time trying to make the Prequels more of what they intended, but one version caught my eye and I have no downloaded and watched it. Star Wars IV A New Hope Revisited. There are hundreds of big and small changes to this edit. This guy upped the ante and did full out ILM quality CGI renders and everything. He even did a 5.1 surround sound mix.
It’s as if someone took the super-fan list of things we noticed having seen this movie hundreds of times from age 5 on (I’m projecting) and went ahead and really fixed them. Things like a line of dialogue from Han Solo saying “I know some maneuvers, we’ll lose them” and then showing a shot of the Millenium Falcon flying straight. Or every time they cut to a close up R2D2’s head, they were re-using the same shot from the Death Star even when he is in the Falcon or Chewbacca not getting a gold medal at the end, and all kinds of nit-picky details that only the most fanatical devotee would notice. They are ALL fixed in this guy’s personal edit of Star Wars.