I sat down to watch the De-Feminized Fan Edit with the intention of doing an overly serious critical take. I wanted to see if it would be possible to actually look at this project as a movie.
Spoiler alert: it’s not
At a mere 46 minutes, I still had to watch it over the course of two sittings. This, I believe, is due to the creator missing a fundamental understanding of two things.
I was hoping there’d be enough of a cohesive aim in the cut that some sort of vision would come across. I wanted to look at this through the auteur framework. But it’s not. It’s so disjointed and messy that I have trouble believing that this wasn’t a joke.
As far as film construction goes, there’s absolutely no sense to the structure. Scenes seem to be sorted based on location rather than narrative, putting training montages and exposition dumps together when they have nothing to do with any of the action going on. I managed to follow along for the most part, not because of what was on screen, but because I had seen the movie 2.141 times before. The chop job makes the resulting work less of a movie (which it should be), and not even a TV episode (which it purports to be), but that of an awful movie trailer that just won’t stop. The result is that a mere 30% of the original in length feels at least as long as the original production. That’s both impressive and pathetic.
Speaking of pathetic, let’s talk about the reasoning for this edit. The creator of this work set about to create “basically The Last Jedi minus Girlz Powah and other silly stuff.” What follows in his (I think the gender is safe to assume) note is a list of extensive edits. I’ll include the full note at the end of this post, misspellings and racist notes included. This window into the reasoning behind the edit is incredibly disturbing. There’s a real anger there. It’s not necessarily at the female characters, but more toward the fact that women exist at all. The notes point out more issues with how Luke and Kylo are portrayed, with the problem with women being screen time. The editor is happier to kill off Luke than to have him use spirituality and mental abilities during the finale. Poe is similarly truncated to death, being the one to kill himself during the rebel fleet’s escape rather than allow Haldo to exist on screen at all. There’s an attempt to put Kylo back to his Force Awakens agro self but, due to the ineptitude of the cutting, comes across as more unhinged than a serious threat.
If the men are “fixed” by removing cerebral and emotional elements, the presence of women is simply turned invisible. Sometimes literally. The opening crawl is modified by blacking out the name of Leia. Paige Tico is cut, and Rose is trimmed to be more of a bother to Finn than equal (and, let’s be honest, sometimes superior) presence. And like the men being punished for showing emotion or growth, women are punished for physical strength. Haldo is removed, making the leaderless rebel retreat completely nonsensical and aimless. Rey is relegated to always be shown as clueless when with Luke, and physically weak when near Kylo. My favorite cut is with the Finn/Phasma fight, and its accompanying note.
Phasma is finished after the first blow by Finn. (Women are naturally weaker than men, she isn’t force-sensitive, and we know nothing about any exo-skeleton in her suit)
She’s literally wearing a metal exoskeleton (albeit un-powered) at all times. She’s about twice Finn’s height. And Finn has never shown himself to be force-sensitive. Clearly this guy has trouble keeping his personal headcanon separate from the actual Star Wars franchise.
All of this would be hilarious if it weren’t so frightening. The Last Jedi had a huge amount of fan backlash for somewhat nebulous reasons. It’s hard not to read this anger as being due to women in the franchise. And not for being poorly written, or even taking screen time from classic characters, but simply for existing. And what’s frightening is how far-reaching this discomfort over a Star Wars movie with near gender parity is. Yes, there are the outliers that call for boycotts of the franchise or even those who cobble together embarrassing tantrums that they call fan edits. But a look at the disparity in the Rotten Tomato scores from critics and viewers is even more troubling. I personally have some problems with the movie2 but nothing that would cause me to go out of my way to pan it on such a scale as this. And it goes beyond even what we saw with the most recent Ghostbusters movie. That backlash was attributed to a supposed replacement. With the current Star Wars trilogy the backlash is over equality. The 46 minute cut of Last Jedi is bad, and offensive, and fueled by misogyny and racism, but it doesn’t worry me nearly as much as the 49% audience score.
The Last Jedi: De-Feminized Fanedit (aka The Chauvinist Cut)
Specs: 1280×720, x264, 46 minutes, MP3 2.0 audio
Basically The Last Jedi minus Girlz Powah and other silly stuff.
It would probably be easier to make a list of things that were kept instead of things that were changed. Hardly any scene got away without cuts.
The resulting movie is (wait for it …) 46 minutes long.
Yeah I know, it’s not ideal. It’s made from a CAM source (the most recent HDTC one with the Asian hard subs, which is pretty watchable). It has issues. But it had to be done.
You will probably enjoy it most when you view it less as a blockbuster movie and more as some kind of episode from some non-existent mediocre Star Wars series.
Here’s a short rundown of changes (spoilers! full list in description.txt):
– No whiny/reluctant/murderous psycho Luke.
– NO HALDO! She simply doesn’t exist. Her whole subplot doesn’t exist. The Kamikaze is carried out by Poe. ( = Poe dies.)
– Leia never scolds, questions nor demotes Poe.
– Lea dies. Kylo kills her.
– Kylo is more badass and much less conflicted and volatile.
– Kylo takes on more of Snoke’s guards, Rey struggles with a single one.
– No bomber heroism by china girl in the beginning.
– No Canto Bight.
– No superpowered Rey.
– Luke is not a semi-force-ghost and is smashed by the first laser cannon shot. (sorry, I just had to!)
– Phasma is finished after the first blow by Finn. (Women are naturally weaker than men, she isn’t force-sensitive, and we know nothing about any exo-skeleton in her suit)
– Asian chick speaks less, doesn’t bully Finn, Finn doesn’t try to escape, she is never formally introduced. She is just there and occasionally smiles at Finn or screams “Finn!”. She has no sister. Serves her right for all the heinous stuff she did.
– Lots of little cuts reducing the number of female facial shots. Too many to count. (Pun intended.)
– Quite a few scenes rearranged so that the flow of the shortened movie is still somewhat coherent.
Obviously it’s far from perfect. The source is not even on DVD-level. Some of the technical edits were slacked because why not, it’s a CAM source (e.g. some masks and Snoke disappearing). Sometimes there’s an extreme zoom despite the mediocre quality. There are plotholes and continuity errors and some cuts are not as smooth as they should be, especially audio transition-wise. But for what it’s worth, it can now at least be viewed without feeling nauseaus about most of the terrible big and small decisions they made in this film. Also, at least the intro sequence is now very watchable and actually much cooler without all of Leia’s nitpicking. Now it’s all one united Resistance fighting without inner conflict and that’s much more satisfying to watch. Due to the extreme shortening, the whole movie is much more fast-paced now, at times unfortuantely also rushed due to a lack of usable filler footage
Notes [ + ]
|1.||↵||There’s a weird story behind that time I just saw the first 20 minutes. It involves some sort of clerical error and possibly an alternate universe. I’m pretty sure I was in a David Lynch short for that period of my life.|
|2.||↵||Mainly that 1) it’s about 20 minutes too long and 2) the Canto Bight sequence was uneven and needed to be tightened up.|