Sunday, 18 January 2015

Review: The Mentor

World of Blackout Film Review

The Mentor Poster

The Mentor
Cert: n/a / 93 mins / Editor. John Venzon
WoB Rating: 5/7


I'm not normally one for fan-edits. They're usually reductive in tone as well as content, since apart from deleted scenes and alternate-takes, the only thing you can really do with a film and an editing suite is take things out (and usually as a petulant thumbed-nose to a writer/director who doesn't care).

A project by film editor, John Venzon, The Mentor differs by being a cut of the original 1977 Star Wars, told largely from Obi-Wan Kenobi's point-of-view, and exists with Kenobi being the central character throughout. The story begins on Tatooine at the Lars Homestead at the time of Owen's purchase of the droids, and follows Luke Skywalker until me meets old Ben in the Jundland Wastes. It's at this point that the pared-down edit begins to incorporate flashbacks from the Prequel era as Kenobi begins to tell Luke about his father, and as the film goes on, the PT-era interjections grow longer and more detailed, until we have the story of Kenobi's relationship with both Skywalkers running in tandem, culminating with the duel at Mustafar and the first Death Star.

As an idea, it's certainly an intriguing one, and the editing itself is pretty much flawless (although ANH and the Prequels feel jarringly different at times, particularly when pre-Special Edition shots of the 1977 film are used back to back with the digital crispness of RotS). The first half of the film, when it's still predominantly telling the story of A New Hope, is a lot more robust, treating moments between Obi-Wan and Anakin as memories and asides. As we move on, however, the flashbacks grow to encompass scenes where Obi-Wan wasn't present, so wouldn't be able to reminisce on them, and give a sort of potted-history of the Clone Wars which can't really work within its screen-time. Characters appear who haven't been introduced or even alluded to, and the shown events of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith will make no sense to anyone not already familiar with Star Wars. This is no fault of Venzon's, the stories just aren't structured to be told this briefly. What's really interesting is the events which have been removed entirely from the A New Hope screenplay, and the way that certain scenes are truncated further with little negative effect on the Kenobi-storyline.

In short, The Mentor is fascinating, but ANH doesn't flow as smoothly as it could because a lot of its context is removed. Then the Prequel-era story doesn't flow as smoothly as it could because it's got lots missing and most of the plot-mechanics are removed. But full marks for effort and technique, and for seamlessly entwining the performances of Guinness and McGregor.

You can watch/download The Mentor here, on Vimeo.



Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
You can't pay to see it, it's a fan-edit. You can watch it here, though.


Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
Again, internet.


Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
Yeah, these questions aren't really geared towards this kind of viewing experience, are they?


Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Ah, right. Well, sort of?


Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
*shrugs*


Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.


…but what's the Star Wars connection?
…it's Star Wars?


And if I HAD to put a number on it…




DISCLAIMERS:
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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