It was Halloween '03, Dude... the Quadrilogy DVD set was already being finalized and they wanted to give it a marketing push. They considered the special edition of ALIENS and the new 'director's cut' of A L I E N (which Scott had conceded to make because the studio would otherwise have put something together without him; they wanted two versions of each film for their DVD set). A L I E N won the coin toss. You had about two weeks to catch the movie (at least here in Vegas we did), and some auditoriums screening it were IMAX. The teaser for the dreaded ALIENS vs Predator ("whoever wins... we lose") was specifically attached to this limited release.
For me, it was a chance to finally see the first movie on a projected screen. And the rearranging of footage handled better than it could have been. Major improvement over the bogus 'director's cut' VHS bootleg I previously had (which was literally some turkey buying the '92 special edition laserdisc and dubbing it to VHS with the deleted scenes on Disc 2 now inserted into the dub).
The TMP director's cut is interesting, because it calls into question exactly how these things are prepared technologically speaking. I had always previously assumed that most director's cuts existed on film, and I still want to believe that's been the case. However it was obviously not the case with TMP, which can't be released to BluRay in its present form because the newer digital effects were rendered in SD.
It's frustrating in a way, because it almost feels like the TMP director's cut both does and doesn't exist. Even if they recreated the fx in HD, it would still be much lower quality than the actual 1979 film. To really do it justice, I think you would have to go 2k at the least if not 4k. I believe the LOTR extended cuts were edited in 4k (whereas the theatrical cuts still exist on film), however don't quote me there. Clearly Paramount was thinking "Meh... people are only going to watch this on DVD, right?" Even though ENT was already being prepped for shooting in HD.
So then how were most director's cuts made prior?
The Blade Runner director's cut supposedly received a limited theatrical release, so it must have existed on film. The Final Cut likewise was screened in some theaters (although in the age of digital cinema, it suppose it could have been created by scanning the film and re-editing it in digital... then printing it again for any 'analogue' theaters wanting to screen it... does anyone here know?).
What of The Abyss and ALIENS? Were they ever screened theatrically in their extended versions? Are those special editions proven to have existed on film?
The ALIENS special edition was first created for broadcast on CBS. It had 'some' of the restored footage, but not all of it. And the special edition proper was initially available on laserdisc in the early '90s, after additional special effects work (for some of the previously unused scenes) was completed.
So... would Cameron have had the freedom to reedit his movie on film? Or would it have been "meh... they're only going to watch it on laserdisc, right?"
The Abyss... same situation, same question. Additional effects work had to be finished for the special edition release... on laserdisc. Would they have reedited on film for that?
My thinking is you wouldn't cut up the original negative, even in the analogue days. Because then you'd only have to change it back (and each time, you would be destroying it). So maybe you make a new negative from one of your interpositives... and then splice THAT together with the previously unused footage. If the studio will pay for it.
Or do you scan everything to videotape and then reedit your movie there (if you know it's not getting a theatrical re-release)? Only now you have to 'rebuild' the new cut of your film every time there's an upgrade in home video technology.
Nowadays, you don't even know what's film or digital anymore (JJ Abrams likes 35mm film; I guess that's a comfort). But at least with the advance of HD and the mastering of films at 2k/4k/6k/8k, you can assume there's an approximate level of quality across the mediums. If they wanted to release the extended cuts of LOTR theatrically, they could (and did).
So did Paramount really drop the ball on ST:TMP? Or is that just the way it was 'often' done up until that time?
Last edited by samwiseb : 11-18-2012 at 12:24 AM.