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  1. #1
    VIP Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Smile Theatrical Vs Director’s cut version.

    I have seen alot of DVDs that are labeled Director cut which usually mean the movie is slightly longer than theatrical version that was released to theaters. The question here is “Is director version always better than theatrical version?”

    I remember watching Das Boot on TV (theatrical version...2-1/2 hour) and enjoy it tremendously. But recently bought the director cut (3-1/2 hour) dvd version and it felt little bit too long. It seem the director added more character-development scenes and probably extended some of the battle scenes.

    To me, the theatrical version was much more tighter and moved faster, thus one could watch it in one setting. But for director cut, it seem some of scenes linger on too long (like depth charge attacks). And highlights of movie such as British sailor swimming toward them after their ship sunk, or going thru narrow Gibraltar Strait doesn’t pack the same punch due to viewer being emotionally drained and tired.

    Another example where theatrical version might be superior to director cut would be The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
    Last edited by Smokey; 07-11-2007 at 03:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    A few things to consider...

    Smokey,

    You bring up a good topic for discussion, but the first thing that really needs to be addressed is 'whose film is it anyway?" Most movies are controlled by the studio that they are being released through, since that is where the money comes from, but there are few directors who gain enough clout and success that they are able to have a bit more control over their projects and in some cases able to own the full rights to the film. This has always been an ongoing battle in the industry and probably will always be a battle. Directors go back and forth with the studio trying to establish what is known as 'the final cut' and a film will have many many cuts made at different stages of editing before arriving at that final cut. It's not uncommon for movie producers and such to sit down and watch a 4 hour version of a film before having the film cut down to about 2 hours. Directors will fight tooth and nail over executive decisions made during the 'trimming' process as the director usually wants to see their vision fulfilled. The Exec's are not interested as much in the artistry as they are in what sells the film, so this is usually where the battle begins. Is the film marketable?

    DVD has introduced us to a whole new marketing ploy though in the business of movies as we see various cuts of films that are usually unnecessary and words like 'unrated' or 'extended' cut are used in ways to manipulate the consumer into buying the movie twice...it's hardly worth it though. There are of course the infamous cases of directors cuts out there though and DVD has brought out some really great material like the Alien Quadrilogy, which had 2 cuts of each film. Ridley Scott's BLADERUNNER is another obvious choice for a famous debate over the 'theatrical' and 'director's cut, as is Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL, which is one of the best examples of how a studio completely butchered a film into an absolute mess, the 140-minute version is superior in all aspects and is more coherent. The 90-minute cut doesn't even make sense!

    Most of the time, but not always, the directors cut is a bit more complete and gives further insight into things, like DONNIE DARKO (dir. cut) or even the extended versions of THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. While some people might be more interested in a quicker, more direct presentation of the film, i'd rather get all the details and if the extra material 'adds' to the film than I would like to see it, there are only a few examples of films that I felt worked better in the shorter version, APOLLO 13 comes to mind. There was a shorter IMAX version, which cut all the dull moments out of the film and made it far more engaging in my mind.

    Competent directors should get the final cut in my mind with some minor supervision from the studio. Scorsese, Spielberg, and Coppola usually get their cut released.

  3. #3
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I can count on 1 hand the number of director's cuts I've actually felt contributed anything other than length to a film (and PS named 2 of them). Even then, I didn't feel the value it added was reflected in the additional cost, but that's a different thread. But these are movies I really go nuts for - which is what I think the director's cut versions are targetting anyway.

    IMHO, there's more often than not a good reason the stuff got cut in the first place. It's good to have the option I guess, some titles let you choose either, but it's usually a non-factor in my decision process when I got buy. The exception being my very favorite films of course. I've bought Donnie Darko 3 times now, for example.

    I respect the work directors do, but some of them do get to involved in their work which closes them to constructive criticism. Pick any Kevin Costner film - damn, I wonder how much the studios trimmed down "The Postman" from the 3hrs we saw?

    On the flipside - there's a lot of 90 minute or so movies I'm sure were cut down to please the studios that probably could benefit from the director's cut release - X3 comes to mind. Loved the concept and story, but the movie was so damn rushed it just didn't reach it's potential. Enjoyed more than the first one, but it almost could have been a trilogy in itself.

    A few self-professed film-buff friends of mine make a big deal out of some of these director's cuts though. I have a laugh at their expense as they try and talk all critical-like over an irrelevant dialogue scene or a few more explosions or something that you likely won't remember anyway.

    Choice is good, I say though, if it makes them happy...

  4. #4
    VIP Member Smokey's Avatar
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    I tend to agree with both of your statements that some movies do benefit from added footage (Sling Blade comes to mind).

    However a psychological effect might also be a factor here. For example, I must have seen the original-cut Scarface over 20 times and know every scenes by heart. But when recently watched the new DVD with added footage, the extra scenes (although interesting) seems some how out of place and unconsciencly treaded as extra footage rather than integral part of the movie.

  5. #5
    Feel the Tempo eisforelectronic's Avatar
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    I love "The Big Blue", I hate the "The Big Blue director's cut". "The Lord of the Rings trilogy" were great director's cuts. I liked the "Abyss" director's cut as well. I thought the "Aliens" director's cut was entertaining but not really needed. I thought "Leon" was a much more interesting version of the "Professional". I guess what I'm really trying to say is it's pretty hit and miss with director's cuts.

    Speaking of Kevin Costner, why is there a version of "Waterworld" that's 3 hours long? I saw it on Sci-fi a week or two ago and it was blocked off in the schedule for 4 hours. That's just crazy!
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  6. #6
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL is an interesting topic to discuss here in that the international cut of the film vs. the Americanized version are quite different in how the treat the relationship between Leon and Matilda. Essentially the American version cuts about 30-minutes and it's more of a father-figure, whereas the international cut is more of a lover relationship.

    THE ABYSS is another great film to talk about when it comes to some very important pieces being included in the directors cut, and this was one of the earlier Laserdiscs to really boast a new cut, which was on 5 sides over 3 discs. Long? Yep, but never dull.

    I also have the Japanese import of DANCES WITH WOLVES, which contains both the 3 hour cut and the 4 hour cut of the film. DONNIE DARKO is very different in the dir. cut in that it adds some title card sections to help break up the film a bit topically and also a few other scenes that help establish more character development, plus a change in the soundtrack as well.

    APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX is another famous version, which some people prefer over the original cut, to me the extra 30-minutes really drags out some sections. THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY essentially has a longer cut available that is 14-minutes longer than the original 161-minute US release, which is available on the 2005 DVD released by MGM.

    2001's ALI also received a directors cut that adds a few extra minutes that just adds a few transitional scenes. 2004's ALEXANDER came to DVD in a few different cuts and in this case the directors cut or the final cut is actually shorter than the theatrical version, which I felt helped make the film flow much better, although it's still a very flawed film for sure.

    Some other Dir. Cut worth mentioning are:

    THE BIG SLEEP
    MANHUNTER
    LAST OF THE MOHICANS
    REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
    LETHAL WEAPON
    PEARL HARBOR
    JFK
    NATURAL BORN KILLERS
    ALMOST FAMOUS
    THE LAST EMPEROR
    ROBOCOP
    SPARTACUS
    STRAW DOGS
    THE WILD BUNCH

  7. #7
    VIP Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eisforelectronic
    Speaking of Kevin Costner, why is there a version of "Waterworld" that's 3 hours long?
    More character-development scenes

    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL is an interesting topic to discuss here in that the international cut of the film vs. the Americanized version are quite different in how the treat the relationship between Leon and Matilda. Essentially the American version cuts about 30-minutes and it's more of a father-figure, whereas the international cut is more of a lover relationship.
    That is the version I have not seen. In the US release, there is a hint of lover relattionship (sharing the bed), but for most part (as you said) he is of father figur. And the worst part is the US DVD release is only available in 1:33 stanadard ratio.

    But either way, that movie is awesome

  8. #8
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    Waterworld...

    Believe it or not WATERWORLD had the potential to be a good film, but missed some serious marks as most people are highly aware. It has now become the buzz word for overblown production, but it could have been a contender...

    One of the biggest problems with the film is the huge variety of errors and the suspension of disbelief that one must go through in order to actually enjoy the film. However, if you can get pass all of those barriers and you can just let the concept flow, than it's a more enjoyable film and would have been much better in the longer cut that explains for of the relationships and actually makes the film more watchable, despite being longer. The ABC television cut of the film also puts in a key sequence that lets us know that the dry land patch that is found has a plaque on it establishing this section of dry land as the peak of Mt. Everest, which puts the films entire perspective into place letting us know that the entire world is truly under water and since that is the highest peak in the world, there is no hope to find any other section of dry land.

  9. #9
    Feel the Tempo eisforelectronic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeruvianSkies
    Believe it or not WATERWORLD had the potential to be a good film, but missed some serious marks as most people are highly aware. It has now become the buzz word for overblown production, but it could have been a contender...

    One of the biggest problems with the film is the huge variety of errors and the suspension of disbelief that one must go through in order to actually enjoy the film. However, if you can get pass all of those barriers and you can just let the concept flow, than it's a more enjoyable film and would have been much better in the longer cut that explains for of the relationships and actually makes the film more watchable, despite being longer. The ABC television cut of the film also puts in a key sequence that lets us know that the dry land patch that is found has a plaque on it establishing this section of dry land as the peak of Mt. Everest, which puts the films entire perspective into place letting us know that the entire world is truly under water and since that is the highest peak in the world, there is no hope to find any other section of dry land.
    I thought the added scenes were somewhat interesting, but honestly not enough to hold my interest. I guess I never made it to the point where they establish that dryland is Everest. That makes me wonder though, do the polar ice caps contain enough water to raise sea level more than 10,000 feet?
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  10. #10
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    It's kinda like Cliff Notes...

    Usually a shorter cut of the film is like reading Cliff Notes, you don't get ALL the details of the story, but you do get the main points. In most cases. There are exceptions though where the Cliff Notes (shorter version) is not really assembled in such a way that it carries the same meaning or message, like BRAZIL for example and the shorter cut is about 50-minutes shorter, so there is a ton of missing material and essential plot development and character development, not to mention and entirely different mood and ending to the film that makes very little sense.

    I typically enjoy the directors vision of the film and they are the ones that know the film best and are usually spot-on when it comes to the 'flow' of the film. Working closely with the editor to establish the best continuity and overall story mapping. What I do NOT like is how DVD's have become the marketplace for 'gimmicks' where there are multiple versions of the film released just to get more money out of us consumers. Booooo to that! I enjoy DVD's that allow me to choose the version that I want to see (if that permits) such as a 2-disc set with both the theatrical and the directors/extended cut.

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