Star Wars: Neon Noir ★★★½

Watched as part of the June 2017 Letterboxd Scavenger Hunt
My list | Evan Whitford's master list
#15: An Alternate Cut Of A Film You've Previously Seen

2017 movie viewings, #90. This is such a clever idea for a project, and I really wish I had liked it better; basically, some Star Wars fan took the nine-hour prequel trilogy, cut out all the terrible parts until getting the total running time down to an hour and a half, then synced it to a faux-'80s soundtrack in the style of Drive or Blade Runner. (It's unbelievably still up at YouTube, two years after getting posted, if you want to check it out yourself.) Unfortunately, though, there are numerous problems with this project despite the clever premise, chief among them that it simply doesn't hold up as a narrative movie, coming across instead as the series of standalone clips that it actually is, an inherent weakness of "mashup culture" that prevents it from ever becoming a serious form of the arts.

Other problems? Well, the mashup creator doesn't exactly get the "only good bits" part right; this is still filled with crappy little moments of Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman making googly-eyes at each other while tediously sitting around green-screen stages, while for some reason this edit skips almost the entirety of the first film altogether. The faux-'80s soundtrack also suffers such a fate, dotted here and there with real clunkers of songs; but most damning of all, even with the carefully edited highlights reel seen here, you can't get away from the fact that the prequel trilogy simply wasn't very good to begin with, and a mashup is never going to have the ability to transcend the quality of the source material it's mashing up, forever destined to instead be either a clever version of an originally good project or a clever version of an originally bad project. A noble effort for sure, and I've saved a permanent copy to go with all the other Star Wars films on my hard drive; but this is more of a gimmicky experiment than an entertaining standalone project to watch again and again, and should be kept in mind when checking it out yourself.

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