What are some of the best, worst, or otherwise notable non-theatrical versions of movies? They can be director’s cuts, deleted scenes, alternate endings, alternate versions, international versions, extended versions… whatever.
Here are a couple of my picks:
Awesome: Aliens with all the deleted scenes.
Totally ridiculous: the “crop duster” alternate ending to Independence Day.
I hate the director’s cut of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Especially the dreadful endless scenes of spousal angst. The inside of the ship didn’t do much for me, either. The only scene in the director’s cut that should have made it into the original movie was the ship in the desert.
There was an alternate ending on my DVD for Infernal Affairs. It blew chunks. It lacked the emotional impact of the original ending.
I also prefer the Japanese cut of Kill Bll, Vol. 1
The “extended director’s cut” of **My Sassy Girl ** is not as good as the theatrical version. The added scenes just drag.
I also prefer the original release of of **Battle Royale **rather than the “extended director’s cut”
**Volcano High ** was released in the states as a bastardized version, with rap artists doing the dubbing. This should never have been done.
Many Jackie Chan, Jet Li (and other) films have been released in the U.S. under re-named, re-edited, re-scored, and horribly dubbed versions. Sometimes in a minor way and sometimes to the point where the movie no longer makes any sense at all. The list of such movies is very long.
IMO, the director’s cut of Das Boot transformed a tautly paced, almost unbearably tense thriller into a meandering, loosely edited ramble.
They added about an hour to the film, but most of the added scenes served only to reinforce the notion that time spent on a submarine was often boring. The problem: the original cut made that point just fine. By adding so much “downtime” to the flick, they instead reinforced the idea that time spent watching this movie is often boring. I much preferred the original, which was one of the most harrowing films I’ve ever seen. (I’m rather claustrophobic, which no doubt intensififed my reaction to it.)
Various scenes throughout the film have slightly different edits or linger on the violence just a bit more. Of these minor items, perhaps the anime sequence is the most notable.
But the main difference is the “House of Blue Leaves” scene. To placate the MPAA, Tarantino shot a portion of the sequence in black & white and cut several of the more gory scenes altogether. The Japanese version has it all, in full color.
For specifics, see the “alternate version” page at the IMDb here
I have always had a big issue with the Directors cut of Blade Runner. Ridley Scott always harped about how truly awful and horrifying it was to have the disgusting, revolting, utterly meritless voice-over by the title character. The problem is that he’s wrong. I LIKED the narration. It gave the movie a retro-noir feel that really complemented the dirty, grimy atmosphere of the flick. Decker was a blank, featureless character at best. With the voice-over, you at least got to hear some of his views and get a little depth out of him.
Eh, I don’t see how those are at all improvements. “Now with more gore!” doesn’t really add to overall movie. I like the switch to black and white for the massive BLue Leaves battle, it was an homage (forced by the MPAA or not) to the genre the film was working in.
As far as the most disappointing “Director’s cut”, I nominate Apocalypse Now Redux . I enjoyed the extra Kilgore scenes; as for the rest, as “Chef” said, “Never get out of the boat!” The scenes with the Playboy girls and the French plantation owners destroyed the flow of the film I had grown to love, IMHO.
I’d tend to agree with you, except for the original ending of Clerks. While I can see, somehow, that ending the movie with Dante being killed kinda makes sense in the context of the movie, it would’ve been an incredible downer.
Normally I like sad endings, if they make sense. Sommersby, for example, I thought had the only ending it could have had, even though it was horribly depressing. But ending Clerks with the original ending intact would’ve been like Ducky not getting Molly Ringwald’s character (whatever her name was) in Pretty in Pink.
I agree entierly, although I thought everything of Kilgoure’s after “someday this war’s gonna end” just diminished his character. I’m also ambivalent about the extra Kurtz scene. where he reads to Willar din his “cell”. But you’re absolutley right about the extra scenes being a diversion from the pace and the flow of the film. I’m amazed Coppola didn’t see that and just leave well enough alone.
Although it’s been restored since, the original Director’s cut of Close Encounters also cut down one of the high points of the film: the scene in which Roy Neary throws half of his yard into the house through the kitchen window. I remember how disappointed I was when I went to see the revised version in the theater, and most of this scene was missing. No glimpse of the crystal-cathedral interior of the mothership could made up for that.
Hypno-Toad, I agree with you on the voice-over in Blade Runner–which is always a hard thing to admit to, since someone will invariably sneer, “Oh, so you need to have the movie explained to you.” It’s not a matter of explaining the plot; it’s a matter of setting a good, old-fashioned classic noir tone with a narrator’s voice. You don’t really need Fred MacMurray’s voice-over in Double Indemnity to explain things either, nor William Holden’s in Sunset Blvd., nor who-knows how wry and weary detectives in who-knows how many film noir dramas, but it is part and parcel of the flavor of these movies, and the whole genre.
The movie I came in here to mention–although I was sure someone else would have got to it first–was Fellowship of the Ring. While there are some nice additions in the extended versions other two LOTR films, I think the additions to the extended Fellowship make all the difference to the movie. Just a few seconds, a shot or a new bit of dialog here and there, explicates how the Ring betrayed Isildur, establishes the Shire and the hobbits’ world, makes sense of the previously choppy visit to Lothlorien and even more choppy conversation between Frodo and Gandalf in the cart at the beginning, and makes Boromir almost a tragic hero desperate to save his city rather than just a big lunk who’s fallen under the Ring’s power. Those changes raised this from a movie I kind of enjoyed to one of my favorites.
Worst deleted scenes have to be practically everything they added to the extended addition of Return of the King. I hated the theatrical version, but I rented the extended edition in the frail hope that the pacing, story logic, et cetera might improve in the EE.
I was wrong. And now I am left with recurring nightmares inspired by Peter Jackson’s over-literal interpretation of the Mouth of Sauron. PJ’s gonna be the first one they put against the wall when the revolution comes.
The hate I feel for the narrated happy ending of Blade Runner knows no bounds. I love the ending in the director’s cut. Plus, I don’t know who the hell told Harrison Ford he has some gift for voice-overs. I’ve heard him narrate several things, and he’s dreadfully monotone on every one.
I actually came in here to mention the French Club scene from “Singles”.