Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday Talkback: Inferior Director's Cuts

When it comes to DVD releases, it seems the conventional wisdom is that "Director's Cuts" are always somehow superior to the original release. Packaging and publicity touts that the film is at last presented in the way which the filmmaker always intended, as opposed to what happened when the studio or producers took the movie out of his hands. And to be fair, there are plenty of films where the Director's Cut is superior, as well as a few where the director's cut comes up about even.

But how many cases can you think of where this Director's Cut is actually far inferior to the theatrical release? (Cue the legion of Star Wars fans rushing in to complain about Greedo firing first, "Jedi Rocks" and needless CGI.) Are there any cases where you recall seeing the "intended" version of a film, only to come away thinking that it was better before the director got his way?

I'll get the ball rolling with Death Proof. I rather enjoyed it as part of Grindhouse and given that even in his worst film (Jackie Brown), Tarantino managed to keep me entertained in places, I was interested in seeing the uncut version of the movie. Big mistake. If you thought the first version was too talky and slow in some places, do yourself a favor and steer clear of the complete cut. It adds 25 minutes that feels like 40. Sometimes, Tarantino works better when he has to kill his darlings.

Your thoughts? What films got ruined by their director?

14 comments:

  1. Close Encounters and The Abyss didn't get 'ruined' by Directors cuts, but they weren't as good as theatrical.

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  2. The "Director's Cut" of "Army of Darkness" suffers from being too long and poor pacing. HOWEVER, it does have a lot of unseen footage.

    Plus, the theatrical ending was WAY better.

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  3. Many people think Bladerunner was better with Harrison Ford's voiceovers, which were deleted from the director's cut.

    I think the two versions are equally good, albeit different, experiences.

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  4. Wow, I've never heard anybody claim that the theatrical "Abyss" was better than the extended, or that "Blade Runner" was better with the voice over. You hear something new every day. :)

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  5. Donnie Darko's Director's Cut is pretty unwatchable.

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  6. Also, Anchorman's sole theatrical F-Bomb joke was completely wiped out on the DVD with the follow-up F-Bomb palooza. I also miss some of the alternate jokes like Champ's, "I woke up in this Japanese family's rec room and they would not stop screaming" in place of the chocolate squirrel joke.

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  7. This isn't so much a Director's Cut comment (actually, it isn't at all because it was a studio cut), but I'm still dumbfounded by the preference for the American cut of The Decent over the UK cut. And now a sequel is being made off the inferior one.

    Sometimes you have to consider that a specific film was originally cut that way for a reason. Why mess with a good thing whether it be with a director's cut or a regional cut?

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  8. This doesn't have to do with Director's Cuts, but Patrick's Anchorman comment reminded me that I vastly prefer an alternate joke in the TV version of Ghostbusters. In the theatrical version, Venkman comes out of the hotel ballroom shouting, "We came! We saw! We KICKED ITS ASS!" but since they couldn't say that on broadcast TV, they used to use an alternate take of Murray dryly saying, "What a knockabout of pure fun THAT was!"

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  9. Which leads me to The Big Lebowski's immortal cable dubbing of "This is what happens when you f*** a stranger in the a**" with "This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps, Larry! This is what happens! See what happens, Larry? This is what happens when you feed a walrus scrambled eggs!"

    Or another classic from TBS's Dumb and Dumber.

    L: Yeah, well maybe we shouldn't be friends anymore.
    H: Where do I sign?
    L: Right on my *sandwich* after ya kiss it!

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  10. Same with director's cut of Independence Day. Granted, that film wasn't too good to begin with, but the director's cut is just aweful.
    Also, what's up with Disney always adding 'extra songs' to newly released classics that are like American Idol rejects?

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  11. 宇宙萬物中,沒有比人的存在更值得驚訝的!是怎樣的緣份讓我能在分享你的心情~~ ....................................................

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  12. "Many people think Bladerunner was better with Harrison Ford's voiceovers, which were deleted from the director's cut.

    I think the two versions are equally good, albeit different, experiences."

    I don't like the VOs and definitely like the Director's Cut better, but I must admit I probably wouldn't be able to make heads or tails of the story in the Director's Cut without having heard the VO several times first.

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  13. Oh, and as for Director's Cuts that ruined the original, I thought Apocalypse Now Redux sucked, starting with the title, although I did enjoy the scene with Kurtz pontificating as Cambodian urchins crawled all over him.

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