REVIEW: Empire Strikes Back Revisited: Rogue Workprint

Revisiting My Favorite Movies

A couple of years ago I was introduced to a fan-edit project called “Star Wars Revisited”.  This guy called Adywan was about to release an edit of the original Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope).  He attempted to fix most of the continuity errors, enhance the existing special effects, and remove a lot of the ill-advised CG additions Lucas made to the movie in 1997.  This involved color balancing the entire movie to fix something that had gone wrong on the DVD, re-rotoscoping every lightsaber and blaster bolt, and basically going over the movie with a fine-toothed comb to fix mistakes most people wouldn’t even realize were there.  While he was in there, he decided to further enhance the movie with new effects and almost a completely new sound mix, creating what most fans believe the Special Edition should have been.

Shortly after he released his version of A New Hope, he moved on to The Empire Strikes Back.  This made a lot of people worried.  Empire is widely regarded as a “perfect” movie by fans, so some have feared that Adywan’s enhancements will detract from the perfection, especially after Adywan started talking about how he was going to build physical models and create all new shots with them and even found a group of costumers in California to film some new shots of Rebel Troopers fleeing the Imperial Walkers to replace some bad mattes.

After several delays, pushing his release date from May 2010 (the 30th anniversary of Empire) to December 2010 to sometime in 2011, Adywan decided to encourage the costuming group (a.k.a. Rogue Squadron) by sending them a rough draft workprint of the work he had completed through June 2010.  He also sent one to me to get my opinion on what I thought of it so far.

Empire The Way Your Childhood Remembers It

A New Hope Revisited may be what the Special Edition should have been, but Empire Strikes Back Revisited is the way you want to remember Empire when you first saw it.  I’ll try to explain what I mean.

All of the flaws you overlooked when you were young but bothered you now that you’re older are gone.  The feeling of excitement during the Battle of Hoth and the Asteroid Field are back thanks to the enhancements giving them more depth.  Yoda is more emotive and less puppet-like.  Cloud City is the beautiful city in the clouds the Special Edition hinted at so briefly.  The pointless Special Edition scene expansions are cut seamlessly away, almost making this more of a restoration of the theatrical version than a fan edit of the 2004 Special Edition.

The version I watched was a rough cut, with most effects shots being marked “TEMP VIDEO”, but the ideas were all there.  Adywan isn’t making the Special Edition Lucas should have made; he’s making the version Young Adywan saw in theaters, using his modern skills to fill in where his imagination had to back in 1980.  It is a worthy goal, and the time he is spending on it shows greatly.  “As long as it takes” should be the mantra for fans waiting, because the wait will be worth it.

Your childhood will thank you.

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13 thoughts on “REVIEW: Empire Strikes Back Revisited: Rogue Workprint

  1. The ONLY thing that upsets me about the Adywan “updates” is that HE HASN’T DONE THEM ALL ALREADY!!! Absolutely perfect in EVERY WAY! Sure, EMPIRE is perfect but still, I can only imagine what he will do with it! Truth is, like most SW fans… After seeing said film’s a BAZILLION times, it’s nice to see something “fresh”… Afterall, the integrity of the films are still intact. Kind of like a ice cream sunday… He just add’s the chery.. and maybe some whip cream, OH! and a little hot fudge.. You get my point? I would like to see a Blu-ray release of Ady’s Empire (is that even possible?) and also a little more BASE on the Hoth battle… I want to “feel” the AT-AT’s coming thru my house a mile (or parsec) away! You know how watching pvt. Ryan’s opening battle put you right smack dab on the beach? Well, I always thought that was what SW lacked. Now before you guys “bomb” my e-mail with how SW’s has the best sound in the Galaxy, I agree! It just that I always thought it could use a bit more. Sure, the pod race THUMP-THUMP-THUMP of Sebulba’s drives was INTENSE (could have been the shroom enhanced viewing?) but other then that…. SO, I guess my point is… PLEASE Ady, KICK IT UP A NOTCH!!! and TELL ME HOW TO GET A COPY!!! Can’t wait…

    Wanna chat SW with me on Facebook!?! Friend me at chad.wayne1 @ facebook.

  2. Barry Muntington

    Sounds good, the only concern is that by the time this gets released the OT may already be out on Blu-ray.

    Standard Def is a bitter pill to swallow these days.

  3. andy summers

    Well I’ll say fair play to Adywan good show for the long arguer’s task.

    Now my view on childhood only existed on 35mm optical Dolby stereo 4.2.4 If I had knew what 70mm was back around 1980 chances are I’d be sniffing around it like dog.

    I’m not for revamped edited films unless it really does have practically 10 out of 10 score on visual and 10 out of 10 on sound.

    I doubt we’d ever hear the original 70mm Dolby stereo mix as it was heard on the 70mm print back in 1980 as that is the version I never got to hear and I would appreciate it more today over the 1997 dts in the cinema I don’t like dts never had been a total huge fan of dts but at least I got to hear or listen to some portions in the cinema.

    The there was some sound that was slightly off with rare dialogue pans. The snow imperial guy in the walker (left pan) sounded like there was an Ewok underneath him squeezing his balls! The voice was too top end.

    Luke falling down the vector or shaft in cloud city screaming his head off, they might as well have Mark Hamill voice of joker laughing his ass off! I mean one would scream after having your hand chopped off while at the same time telling him “No. I’m your farther” “Nooooooooooo!” That would be enough to screw anyone’s head up!

    The scene where Lando presses buttons on the com-link to warn everyone get out of the cloud city, because I’ve just screwed with Darth Vader and his sending the rest of his boys down! LOL

    Well the probe that he slots into the panel has this nice high frequency pitch sound that wasn’t on the laserdisc so I’m guessing that is new sound added to the 1997 version though to the 2004 version.

    I’d just like for once for Lucas to stop! Quit mucking around, toying around, fiddling around with Star Wars and let it breath on its own as it did in 1977, 1980, 1983. Okay I’ve just about had it with remixes I’m pardon me, fucking feed up buying a version that doesn’t represent “the original” 1977, 1980 and 1983 please is it too hard to release (the original for the fans that have supported the star wars curse for most our lifetimes now.

  4. Angel Blue01

    I saw ESB for the first time on a copy-of-a-copy scratching VHS. I don’t *want* to remember that! The SEs were an incredible improvement over that presentation, not that 2004 DVD helped any.

  5. Steve "Mitz" May

    Ok, so Adywan may have been praised and attacked for toying with A NEW HOPE across the fan community. I LOVE IT! I don’t even watch the official version anymore! A brilliantly crafted peice of fandom! But for those who said EMPIRE is perfect, couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    Everyone envisions their own version of how a film should be, but how many stretch to the level that Mr Sayce has. I have my reservations on certain scenes being altered, but a number of them needed to be surpassed from what had been officially available (5 years ago, myself and a group of friends recut and I redubbed the holographic Emperor’s voice to alter the awful continuity of the ESB 2004 S.E and true to the timeline between ESB and ROTJ – only to be removed by YouTube twice and appraisal by the number of hits and comments), so i’m pleased to hear the REVISITED series can be produced and shared openly today. And for those who follow the updates and have scene both trailers will know that it will be something VERY SPECIAL.

    I have faith that it will be a fan representation of an almost perfect sequel that will exceed expectation. GO ADYWAN!!!

  6. I am as die-hard a Star Wars fan as your ever going to meet. My parents took me to see ANH (then just “Star Wars”) in ’77 when I was a toddler..I can’t even remember a time when Star Wars wasn’t a part of my life.

    I LOVE Adywan’s version of ANH. If I don’t watch the original theatrical version, I watch Adywan’s cut. It’s the SE Lucas SHOULD have made. The way he animated the Cantina Aliens, the way he introduced the Death Star, the way he improved the Vader/Obi-Wan duel, the way he turned the TIE attack after the Death Star escape a chase, the way he expanding the final battle. Plus fixing all the colors.

    The color fixes alone is why I greatly anticipate ESB:R. I was worried when I heard he was tweaking Yoda but I’ve seen the footage and it works well. I also love that the Emperor will now look the way he did in “Jedi”. Sadly the release has been pushed up to May 2012 but it’ll be worth the wait no matter how long it takes.

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