Sunday, 2 May 2010

Director's Cuts

I'm doing another blog on this as I've seen two in the past week that make we wonder why studios butcher their own films so badly.

I've seen Kingdom Of Heaven and Dark City Directors Cuts and wondered why in hell they were not released in these versions initially. In both films the films are longer but feel shorter to watch, as they are paced properly, so you don't look at your watch, wonder why the stories feel like they have bits missing from them.

Dark City suffered from a terrible introduction in its original theatrical form, that took all the mystery out of a mystery noir film, meaning that you were always watching, impressed by the atmosphere but knowing where it was going. So it was marking time and then whatever they threw at you as an image made an impact but made the film seem disjointed and unsure of itself. This new cut allows the film to be a mystery, seems to have had a few more additions but importantly allows you to enter the world as it was originally intended, meaning that the film feels myserious and interesting, engaging you to follow the images. I hadn't seen it for so long that I'd forgotten some of it. It felt likea  proper story for the first time, and its strange ending worked, in a way that was clunky and odd before.

Kingdom Of Heaven, meanwhile, lost about fifty minutes of story. Not sub-plots, not just character bits but mostly actual story and character elements that make sense of what is going on. Its original cut felt like an epic ruined. It aspired to be epic but had a TV-movie feel to its story-telling. No-one had weight. Now adding the rest of the story, all the characters have interesting motivations that cannot avoid causing disaster in response to others, the fights now mean something, the actual story means something. Its one casting flaw, Orlando Bloom, in the lead, remains. He feels too young and there are times when you know there's more in the set-up than what we see. But its director's cut is still a real epic and one of Ridley Scott's best films. (I've recently seen Body Of Lies, one of Ridley Scott's worst, most boring films, which had so many problems, including beign too long)

I still don't get why studios butcher their own films. People watch films for stories. They may like the story of not but why butcher the chance of people seeing the actual story, instead making it alieanating by strange tactics. All it does is make you lose money. Both of these films were financial failures. I can't help but think they would have done better if they were released the way they were meant to be shown.

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