Saturday, July 18, 2015

What's Your Favorite Director's Cut?

Second or third time's the charm!

For many years, the popularity of home video, DVD and Blu-ray gave filmmakers more opportunity to release their "preferred" versions of their work in the form of Director's Cuts. Some of those, like Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, have become the most widely accepted and preferred version. Others, like Donnie Darko, have been criticized for spelling out too much and diminishing what made the original movie special.

Do you have a favorite director's cut? What's better about it? Show your work.

39 comments:

  1. It's hardly an original answer, but here goes anyway. I adore the Extended Editions of The Lord of the Rings films. Jackson refused to call them "Director's Cuts" but it's pretty clear he too prefers the longer versions.

    Also, Daredevil is surprisingly not that bad when you watch the Director's Cut. It's still not great, but a pretty bad movie upgraded to an okay one.

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    1. The Extended cuts of Lord of the Rings films were the first things that came to my mind as well.

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    2. Thirded. The "LOTR" extended cuts are the first and last words when it comes to expanding the theatrical cuts without rendering them obsolete. Ditto for Terminator 2:Judgment Day (another director's cut that isn't called that), which also expands the enjoyment of the theatrical cut's story without making it seem too empty and hollow.

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    3. I actually disagree, I much prefer the theatrical cuts of lord of the rings. I think the longer versions have very uneven pacing.

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    4. Fourthed! I always find new content when watching the extended versions.

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    5. I agree with Josh. As a strictly movie watching experience, I prefer the theatrical cuts of LOTR. (Although I wish they'd kept the Christopher Lee scene in Return of the King).

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    6. I prefer the theatrical cuts of LOTR too.

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  2. Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the first film that comes to mind. It was always my least favourite of the original films so I don`t know it beat by beat to spot the specific changes but it just feels so much more watchable in its Director`s Cut. The addition of the missing ambient sound effects of the Enterprise is alone enough to make the film significantly more immersive. And the new special effects that actually depict the exterior of V`ger provide the film with a sense of geography that was missing from the Enterprise`s journey through it. It`s a shame that these new effects were only rendered in standard definition because they seem to be the holding point for getting the director`s cut released to Blu-ray.

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  3. To me it´s clearly Ridley Scotts "Kingdom of heaven", which is a whopping 50 minutes longer, It´s an entirely different film than the theatrical cut. It explains a lot more, it has more background and it deepens the much maligned performance of Orlando Bloom and explains why he is the way he is.
    The theatrical cut is just a skeleton of the story, the body is in the directors cut.
    The person who made the cutting decision has to be punished for that (I´m talking to you, Mr. Tom Rothman).

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    1. Very true, the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven "changes" the film so much for the better.

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  4. Too Easy for me, Army of Darkeness or as we call it here The Medieval Dead, extra goofy comedy scenes, you can never have to much Bruce
    I agree for the same reasons as you I dislike Donnie Darko Directors cut,
    The ultimate has to be to get the Directors cut of Nightbreed years later

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    1. Hmm, "Army of Darkness" is a toughie for me. I like the original ending, because Ash aking too much potion and sleeping past his time feels so right for the character we've hung around with for three movies. But the 'S-Mart' ending kicks so much booty and leaves you so pumped and excited, not to mention it sets the stage for the upcoming Starz! series with Ash back in modern times. I like them both! :-(

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    2. I agree about the ending but all the extra shots mainly with all the little Ash's and Bruce singing London Bridge is falling down while standing on the nail, and a few bits of extra dialogue here and there, I like the mini Ash's scene a lot

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  5. Hate to be boring, but it's Blade Runner's Final Cut. It's just so much better than the theatrical cut, which I actually think it's a pretty poor film. I'd like to say Once Upon a Time in America or Brazil, but I've never seen the original versions, so I'm not sure how much better they are.....though I have a suspicion.

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  6. Ridley Scott seems to be the king of Director's cuts. Blade Runner Final Cut and the Kingdom of Heaven Director's cut have to be my favourite, particularly KoH as it completely changes the movie from generic sword and sandal action movie into a masterpiece about the difference between faith and religion. Superb.

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  7. While it's not exactly a director's cut in the truest sense (because much of the footage was never shot) and not even entirely successful, I still love the fact that the "Donner Cut" of Superman II is a thing that exists in any form. It's a fascinating look at what might have been.

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    1. And if nothing else, inserting those very early shots of Reeve and Allen are fascinating to see how they were good together from the very beginning.

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  8. I gotta go with the "Payback - Straight Up" cut. It is honestly a completely different film from the theatrical version across the board from tone to music to plot. The finale is completely new footage. It's probably the most different directors vs theatrical cut example that I have seen.

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    1. Straight Up is interesting because it feels like a completely different film from the theatrical, but I think both are equally good. Straight Up is very much a homage to classic noir, and feels like a 60's noir film, where Payback theatrical feels like a 90's twist on noir. I still think I prefer the theatrical, but Straight Up is great too.

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    2. That's a great way to describe those, Brian. I loved Payback when I saw it in the theater but after watching Straight Up, I prefer now for the reason you state. Agreed though, both great films.

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    3. Never new there was a directors cut for this.

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  9. Return of the Jedi: this movie has been fine-tuned into a perfect experience. In the 1997 cut when that cartoon monster actually comes out of the Sarlaac Pit, I finally got it. "Oooh, there's a monster in there." Then, in the 2011 cut when the Ewoks FINALLY started blinking, I truly understood their plight as a species for the first time.

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    1. I'm just glad they now show the REAL Anakin Skywalker in the final scene, instead of that dried up old guy from the 80s. I was never even sure who he was until they changed it.

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    2. You guys see "Droid Tales" on Disney XD? It's Threepio retelling the saga to the rebels after they defeat the Empire on Endor. When Luke sees the ghost of Anakin appear next to the ghosts of Obi-Wan and Yoda, he says "who are you?" Anakin says "it's me, your father!" And Luke says "you didn't look like that five minutes ago..."

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    3. Haha, no I haven't seen that but that's pretty good. In all seriousness I love the trilogy so much if Lucas released a yearly re-edit I would watch it. You can always go back to the originals if you want.

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  10. As good as the Blade Runner final cut is, I have to go with the Dark City director's cut. Some great addition-by-subtraction (the Sutherland v/o, singing dub) and a more complete narrative with the focus on the swirl.

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  11. Star Trek the Motion Picture. While it's still a flawed film, the directors cut is closer to what Robert Wise would have delivered had he not been pressured by the studio to get the film out sooner. This cut also includes some nicely integrated new effects. It's a much more satisfying viewing experience. Too bad it's only available on DVD.

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    1. But you have to admit it benefited from hindsight. Kind of doubt having more time to edit the film back in 1979 would have meant Wise would have found out the proper number of moons over Vulcan...
      Or suddenly realized how god-awful Shatner's delivery of "Oh my god" was - and that was the take they went with - without audience feedback. :-)

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  12. I prefer all of the extended cuts of James Cameron's films. More of a good thing I guess. Aliens, The Abyss and especially T2. You can perhaps argue about the first two but I straight up think the extended T2 is superior and it inserts a lot of great character moments.

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    1. Was there a cut of Terminator 1? I just watched T1 on Netflix, and wouldn't mind more of that tech noir vibe from the first third of the film.

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  13. The recut of Touch of Evil, the way Orson Welles originally wanted it-- the so-called lengthy memo cut.

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  14. I think the obvious two are the Blade Runner final cut and the LotR extended cut, and while I agree with those choices, I think Apocalypse Now: Redux deserves some love. I think it's a weaker film than the original, but I also think it's a completely different film and a really really good one at that.

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    1. I started with Redux and now when I see the original Apocalypse Now it doesn't even feel like the whole movie.

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    2. I have a 5.5 hour workprint of Apocalypse. Sit through that and I swear you'll feel like you have malaria.

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  15. I think the only one I can add to these are Fritz Lang's Metropolis finally being seen as intended.

    Although I do give props to the Director's Cut of Joe Johnston "The Wolfman". Couldn't correct the plot issues but I think the characters are better served.

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    1. Agreed on The Wolfman, good call!

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  16. I've got a lot of love for the "bootleg" cut of Almost Famous. Doesn't necessarily make it a stronger movie, but it's got more of what you love about the movie and inserts a couple of great scenes.

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  17. The extended version of That Thing You Do is enjoyable because, as Patrick stated, it is fun to spend more time with these characters. The extended scenes of Prometheus provide *some* explanation for the peculiar character motivations, but overall the movie is still disappointing.

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