Film reviews by A. Will –
Hollywood…Hollywood, oh Hollywood! … a generalized name to those responsible for the oh so familiar clipping, editing, and literal miscalculation of needed components once a film is completed. Time-after-time I’ve seen films destroyed at the box office and mauled by critics, all due to a supposed Hollywood reediting. But, hey, there’s no issue, because six (6) months after that edited cut-up version hits theaters, everyone can go buy the director’s cut. Woohoo! This has to be one of the most tragic situations in cinema.
Let me break this down a little more. So, we have the common theater attendee who sees a movie first-run, and then we have the individual who waits a week for thousands of reviews to see if the movie is worth seeing. The first-run attendee sees the movie, thinks its crap, and adds a bad analysis to the list of already slandering reviews. The waiting individual sees these reviews and automatically writes the movie off — forever thinking it’s horrible. Six months later the film comes out on DVD/Blu-ray, and features a director’s cut to the film that is far superior to its cut-up version. In most instances, the two groups named previously, combined with those who just don’t believe in buying movies have missed the true director’s vision of the film. This angers me to no end, but has most recently angered me just this past week. Therefore, I feel I must enlighten those that find themselves in the groups above with a few prime examples.
I want to start off with one of the most underrated films to date that has received a horribly cut version to the big screen, therefore producing a horrible response to the film in general: Waterworld. How many people just scrunched up their face or turned up their nose at me just now? This is my point exactly. Waterworld was a huge failure at the box office due to its disjointed plotline filled with more holes than Denzel Washington in Training Day. Now, I know many people have a problem with long films, and the original duration of this film was about 2 hours. However, a good movie is a good movie no matter how long it may be. With that being said, I came across an extended cut of Waterworld not too long ago — with a whopping 2 hour and 57 minute run time. What the hell!? To put even more salt in the wound, the longer-intended version of the film vastly surpassed its predecessor. I was in lateral awe of the changes in the film, as well as the seriously misjudged cuts to the original release. But, what I really couldn’t get my head around was the fact that the majority of people who either already saw the original release of the film, or wrote it off completely due to bad reviews, will probably NEVER see this. This is completely unacceptable and unfair to the director, actors, and fans thereof … A once unexplained disjointed rendition restored to its original vision only to be wasted and scattered in its own ashes.
A second movie that received somewhat better initial acclaim, however also mixed in reviews, was that of Watchmen. Now, I myself personally loved the film, and it rests on my top ten list of favorite movies to this day. However, the initial release of Zack Snyder’s mammoth 2.5 hour film was treated with mixed reviews and some claiming that it missed serious pieces of the novel and so on and so forth. Again, I believe we are met here with Hollywood’s shutter at film length towards its audience. I am fully for editing and cuts made to a film that don’t complete it or attempt to diminish it in some way; however, there should be no reason to eliminate the meat of it. With that being said, six (6) months later we’re introduced to the director’s cut of Watchmen. Scenes are added from the gritty character of Rorschach, as well as some other key plot elements. The result gives us a much more complete and submersed experience. And if that wasn’t enough, the Ultimate Cut of Watchmen was released months later at about a 3.5 hour runtime; yes, this is a long film. Is it a good 3.5 hour film? Hell yes! It flies by without me even thinking as I sit and watch a movie that reminds just why I love them so much. This version is the true homage to the novel now including the Tales of the Black Freighter scenes, as well as more Rorschach and subplot material. It would have brought tears to my eyes to see this released in the theaters, SMH.
In any event, I do not wish to rant and rave forever on what seems to be a very consistent issue in filmmaking. The love of film I have motivates me to make sure as many people as possible see the true vision of all works of art. A painting taken and painted over, changed and altered is not art at all. I fret that Hollywood will never understand this and will continue to be motivated by the product that will produce the most money. I know many of you will read that last sentence and say, “Well isn’t that what everything is motivated by?” Sadly, in many instances this is the truth. Although, I seem to be digressing somewhat and this article has gone too long already. I guess what I’m really trying to say is: Hollywood will continue to cut films. I just hope I can convince some people to seek out the vision the director intended you to see. Also, MAKE SURE YOU CHECK OUT WATERWORLD: THE EXTENDED CUT, AND WATCHMEN: THE ULTIMATE CUT!!