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  #11  
Old 11-16-2012, 11:54 AM
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I really wish (as I do with a lot of things) I could feel more for the LOTR story and universe than I do. I can sit and watch them and completely see the achievement and the scale of them, and the sheer work involved in making them.

But I just can't get really hugely passionate about them. I have the extended editions on DVD but I've never been tempted to upgrade to Blu Ray. That's usually nowadays my 'tell' for how I feel about a film or a TV show.

I'm just not champing at the bit for The Hobbit, and I would like to be.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:58 PM
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Hmm... I know when I first heard about the movies being made, that was what finally motivated me to read the books. Everyone of my college friends had read them. I had gotten through most of Babylon 5 (and read Straczynski's online rantings) without reading them. But on hearing about the films, I finally realized I no longer wanted to not be in the know. And then SW The Phantom Menace turned out to be a huge disappointment, and all the talk was LOTR on the horizon. So I read them. And mostly enjoyed them. Even though some parts of the middle book stretched on and on.

The excitement of the movies made me wish I could have avoided reading the books, however there's no way to say what my reaction then would've been. As it was, each film was slightly disappointing compared to the film previous, because more and more details that seemed to make sense in the books no longer made sense. Like Arwen wasting away in mortal jeopardy because her fate was tied to the Ring or whatever. Or Samwise being tricked by Gollumn into leaving Frodo. Yeah, those things never happened kids.

I also firmly believe that the theatrical cuts are the 'truer' versions of those films, as Peter Jackson made clear when he was producing the Extended version of Fellowship. He said that he rejected the term 'director's cut' because it implies that the director-approved version isn't the one that you saw. Which in his case, isn't the case. The theatrical versions are the director's cuts; the Extended Editions are literally just that, extended editions (The terms do get confused by too many people; for example James Cameron labels his longer versions as Special Editions even though he seems to want you to regard them as director's cuts). There are advantages to the extended versions, such as being able to easily split each movie over two nights. And there are details that are conveniently missing from the theatrical versions that get referred back to with the expectation that you will have seen the extended versions (inspiring critics to gripe "we just saw these parts released on DVD a month ago"). But in general, you're watching a fan-obsessive version of each film rather than Jackson's preferred version.

Other than that I wouldn't know what to say. After last year I lost all interest in the Avengers until it actually came out and people were raving about it. And when the bloody Disney/Lucasfilm merger was announced I lost interest in ST (I think mostly because there just hadn't been any news on the ST front). A lot of critics have panned the LOTR films, and even sweeping the Academy Awards will not protect you from that. They may just not be everybody's thing.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:12 PM
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I really wish (as I do with a lot of things) I could feel more for the LOTR story and universe than I do. I can sit and watch them and completely see the achievement and the scale of them, and the sheer work involved in making them.

But I just can't get really hugely passionate about them. I have the extended editions on DVD but I've never been tempted to upgrade to Blu Ray. That's usually nowadays my 'tell' for how I feel about a film or a TV show.

I'm just not champing at the bit for The Hobbit, and I would like to be.
That's how I feel about LotR. I appreciate the technical aspect of the films, but I just can't get into it easily.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:17 PM
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Hmm... I know when I first heard about the movies being made, that was what finally motivated me to read the books. Everyone of my college friends had read them. I had gotten through most of Babylon 5 (and read Straczynski's online rantings) without reading them. But on hearing about the films, I finally realized I no longer wanted to not be in the know. And then SW The Phantom Menace turned out to be a huge disappointment, and all the talk was LOTR on the horizon. So I read them. And mostly enjoyed them. Even though some parts of the middle book stretched on and on.

The excitement of the movies made me wish I could have avoided reading the books, however there's no way to say what my reaction then would've been. As it was, each film was slightly disappointing compared to the film previous, because more and more details that seemed to make sense in the books no longer made sense. Like Arwen wasting away in mortal jeopardy because her fate was tied to the Ring or whatever. Or Samwise being tricked by Gollumn into leaving Frodo. Yeah, those things never happened kids.

I also firmly believe that the theatrical cuts are the 'truer' versions of those films, as Peter Jackson made clear when he was producing the Extended version of Fellowship. He said that he rejected the term 'director's cut' because it implies that the director-approved version isn't the one that you saw. Which in his case, isn't the case. The theatrical versions are the director's cuts; the Extended Editions are literally just that, extended editions (The terms do get confused by too many people; for example James Cameron labels his longer versions as Special Editions even though he seems to want you to regard them as director's cuts). There are advantages to the extended versions, such as being able to easily split each movie over two nights. And there are details that are conveniently missing from the theatrical versions that get referred back to with the expectation that you will have seen the extended versions (inspiring critics to gripe "we just saw these parts released on DVD a month ago"). But in general, you're watching a fan-obsessive version of each film rather than Jackson's preferred version.

Other than that I wouldn't know what to say. After last year I lost all interest in the Avengers until it actually came out and people were raving about it. And when the bloody Disney/Lucasfilm merger was announced I lost interest in ST (I think mostly because there just hadn't been any news on the ST front). A lot of critics have panned the LOTR films, and even sweeping the Academy Awards will not protect you from that. They may just not be everybody's thing.
Yeah, I think at the end of the day the fantasy/SF genre is like everything else. Whether it LOTR or Star Trek (or whatever) it's either your cup of tea or it isn't and you can only dress it up either way from there.

To be honest, my normal rule is to prefer Extended versions/Director's Cut's/Special Editions over theatrical cuts because they get less burdened with what needs done to make the film work in a theatre setting. At home, I'm not limited by things like runtime and pacing so usually I like all that cut stuff going back in.

With very few exceptions anyway and none of them notable films probably.
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:47 PM
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Yeah, I think at the end of the day the fantasy/SF genre is like everything else. Whether it LOTR or Star Trek (or whatever) it's either your cup of tea or it isn't and you can only dress it up either way from there.

To be honest, my normal rule is to prefer Extended versions/Director's Cut's/Special Editions over theatrical cuts because they get less burdened with what needs done to make the film work in a theatre setting. At home, I'm not limited by things like runtime and pacing so usually I like all that cut stuff going back in.

With very few exceptions anyway and none of them notable films probably.
I'm right with ya', Kevin. Anytime I can find extended cuts of my favorite movies, I'll jump on them. I still have not picked up the Ex Cuts for the LotR trilogy, but I do plan to....eventually.

I loved the LotR movies, but only saw them on video. Good, emotionally charged stories....and the King's coronation in RotK tears me up everytime because of one little line, as a result of all the events that led to the utterance thereof.

But they did not interest me enough at the time to catch them on the big screen....admittedly, a mistake. I can truly see how much of a bang these would have had on the cinema screen.

But I have extended or directors' cuts of many of my fave films: Dune (1984), Dune (Sci-Fi miniseries), Crimson Tide, Independence Day, StarGate, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Tombstone, Gladiator, The Patriot, the Lethal Weapon movies, all of the first four ALIEN movies, The Exorcist, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Star Trek TMP, Star Trek II, Star Trek VI, RoboCop...and probably many more that don't come quickly to me 'ead.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:11 PM
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Oh, dude. Don't even get me started on the extended (TV) cut of Dune. 'Yes,' it's a nice little companion piece to the theatrical cut. But there's a reason director David Lynch had his name removed from the credits.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:25 AM
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Oh, dude. Don't even get me started on the extended (TV) cut of Dune. 'Yes,' it's a nice little companion piece to the theatrical cut. But there's a reason director David Lynch had his name removed from the credits.
I fully agree.
It is a very nice, but EXTREMELY flawed companion piece. It's more of a curiosity for fans and aficianados who want to see just what was missing from the theatrical cut. I can agree with Lynch's decision to distance himself from it.

For one thing, the overuse of one particular FX shot (the Baron Harkonnen's dropship closing in on the city of Arrakeen) is a big turn off for me. Another shot that should not have been repeated, although it at least was cropped to try and suit the scene, was the Guild lander arriving outside the Emperor's palace on Kaitain. This shot was cropped and reused for the Harkonnen/Sardaukar joint strike on Arrakeen.

Also, the restored footage was clearly not post-produced for visual FX...as the Fremen's "Eyes of Ibaz" (the blue within blue eyes) were not rotoscoped in for these shots. These had apparently been cut out before post production.

Redubbing of some lines just made no sense.
In the Emperor's report to the Guild Navigator, his use of "House Atreides" is constantly redubbed with "Duke Atreides". Made no sense whatsoever, and one could hear the audio flaws, even without listening too intently.

Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam's question to Paul about "The Water of Life" was also clipped to half a question....most inexplicably. I think the intent was to make it part of the previous sentence, but it missed entirely.

And Paul's "Someone started a thumper!" when it was originally (in the theatrical cut) "Someone started another thumper!" Again, the audio flaw is quite apparent.

The biggest let down for me was the narration. The guy narrating the piece talks to the audience as a teacher might to a fifth grade class, and his pronunciation of certain character names is way off. (Piter DeVries....it's Pie-Ter, you numbskull, not Pitter!) This had to be the original narrator before they decided (quite wisely) to go with Virginia Madsen's lovely voice in the theatrical cut. Apparently though, Madsen only recorded the narrative necessary for the theatrical cut, or else, I'm sure they would've went with her for the extended cut.

As an aside, with Lynch's distancing from the extended cut, the pseudonym "Alan Smithee" is used. It would seem that this is a common pseudonym used by directors who do not wish their name associated with abortive alternate cuts, or studio-dictated cuts of their films.

Yes, while I enjoy the extended cut, I can certainly sympathize with Lynch's removal of his name from it.

Heheh.....did I miss anything? (Probably did.)
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:17 AM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
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I wasn't aware there were that many discrepancies, but yeah.

I find the editing in general to be very choppy. And the inserted footage to be of variable quality. Even on a bootleg imported VHS (with Japanese subtitles!) you could tell that the picture is much softer than for the rest of the film.

The wall mural was a neat idea, however its occasional re-use throughout the movie as a placeholder for special effects (establishing exterior shots of Giedi Prime, etc) received some criticism from people who thought they were viewing regular special effects from the movie.

What I find most annoying however is how the soundtrack was treated, with entire sequences of music often dialed out, replaced, reused (resulting in a lot of repetition), or even multiple cues clumsily laid down on top of each other. Not to mention the 'Prophecy Theme' (as it is titled on the album) being omitted entirely due to copyright.

Other annoyances:

Not really anybody's fault, but the movie basically exists in SD 4x3 video because of the 'mural' being shot at that resolution. The widescreen restoration on DVD shows these 'scenes' badly cropped.

Speaking of the DVD, the entire opening titles and prologue have bad audio synch by something like 5 seconds. I emailed Universal customer service about this, asking if they were aware of the problem. I expected a better response, because this was shortly after the whole Back to the Future DVD exchange program was instated due to widescreen framing issues (remember that?). They answered back that there were no known problems with the release. Apparently "Well you're being made aware of one now" wasn't good enough for them, as not enough other people had complained. I remember asking on message boards if anyone had noticed the problem, but it was clear they didn't (when the responses you get back say things like "It must be a problem with your TV" you know people aren't even stopping to listen). Guys. Come on. The narrator is introducing people after their faces have already disappeared off the screen. You don't find that fishy? At any rate, I never finished watching either version of the movie on my DVD because I was too disillusioned.

Seems to me there was already a Region 2 version of the movie with the extended version presented in its 4x3 TV broadcast ratio, however I never got around to picking it up. Maybe it's still in print. Or maybe I should forget the extended version and just upgrade to BluRay for the regular version.

Back to LOTR, I understand about people preferring the extended editions. Providing it's understood that they are just that. It is a little distressing how many viewers seem to regard the theatrical cuts as being some inferior 'abridged' version (for example when they were released to BluRay and instead everyone was wanting to know where the extended editions were), when that really is not the case. Even though it's really none of my business. I had a co-worker who was a total Harry Potter geek but hated the Rings films. Most boring twelve hrs of his life; couldn't see what the appeal was. He had marathoned all three films (in their extended editions) at a special theater screening event... an event specifically tailored to the very hardcore obsessive fans for whom the extended editions were created. If that was his introduction to the series, then I'm not surprised. It's none of my business if everyone can't have the same experience; I just happen to love these films.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:49 AM
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Well, certainly I saw the theatrical versions in cinemas on each film's original release but I had figured at home may as well wait because I think it was known that extended versions would follow on. I suppose 'inferior' version is a way of looking at it and I suppose I would have to say in all honesty that I would probably call some theatrical versions just that: inferior. Or more politely just 'different'. But if I was being impolite!

It depends on how significant a difference it may be though. Some of these versions are mostly extended sequences already in the film and might have relatively minor changes but sometimes it can give a scene a whole different feel and affect the character. Insofar as The Wrath of Khan it's not really material that Peter Preston was Scotty's nephew. When in the original version he is introduced and then his body brought up it has the impact intended. But when you see the version when you do know the relationship between the two it just gives it that extra little thing for the character of Scotty. And it's almost always character beats, sections that fill out plot and events that get culled for theatrical release to start with.

That's a pretty minor thing - there are much bigger films with much more substantial changes and additions in them along the way as well pretty obviously. I don't want to disparage theatrical cuts in a big way because there's nothing wrong with them. But normally once I've seen an extended etc version of a film I like then I never really go back to the theatrical version and that these changes usually do make a film feel more complete once I've seen it. That's just me perhaps.

Last edited by kevin : 11-17-2012 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:05 PM
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I think it has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Peter Jackson's extended cuts are going to be a different animal from James Cameron's 'special editions' of his films, which are in turn a different animal from any director's cut of one of Ridley Scott's films. Not to mention Lucas' SW special editions are a different animal from all of the above. Not only do various terms for these things get tossed around, but different directors are going to have different ideas about what exactly these things do and what their objective is.

The most obvious example of this is with the Alien films, as each one of the alternate versions of these films has a different agenda.

The special edition of ALIENS was created first. James Cameron has gone on record saying it was his preferred version of the film (sounds like it may as well have been called a director's cut). For a time (1999-2003), it actually replaced the original as the only version available. There are arguments both for and against this version. In my own opinion an 'ideal' cut of the movie would probably fall somewhere between the two existing versions (which is how I feel about most of James Cameron's movies). But I'm not James Cameron. For The Abyss, I think one could definitely make a case for the theatrical version as being inferior. But again, I also think the special edition restores too much.

Moving on, we have the director's cut of A L I E N. Again the term 'director's cut' here seems a little presumptuous, as it is my understanding that Scott mostly made this version for the 2003 Quadrilogy set because the studio was prepared to do it anyway. It got a limited theatrical release though, which seems to lend it some additional legitimacy. This version is actually shorter than the original, as Scott felt strongly about it being a different experience rather than just a longer cut of the film (the studio probably would have inserted all 12 minutes of deleted scenes, just as countless bootleggers had done off of the special edition laserdisc). For me, I think this version's biggest contribution was that it gave the studio an excuse to re-release the film to theaters. The original version seems to be preferred all around.

The ALIEN 3 'assembly cut' I dare say I think is more educational than anything else. I'm sure some fans might consider it a better version of the film, however I cannot. I wouldn't even consider it a complete version of the film, even after the missing dialogue was restored for the Anthology release. At the most, I think maybe it's on par with the TV broadcast version of Dune: you look at it, you see a fuller picture of what the director 'might' have been trying to do with it, and you see the material is there to create an alternate cut of the movie. However the longer version is like a text, blueprint or roadmap; it is not that alternate cut that could have been made, and it is a jumbled version in and of itself. David Fincher declined to participate, so the studio essentially took everything that was available and spliced it together (same thing Scott prevented from happening with his installment).

After buying the Quadrilogy in '04 and the Anthology last year, I still have never gotten around to viewing the alternate version of Resurrection. And it's probably been ten years since I've seen the original for that matter. However it sounds like this is one of those cases where an alternate version was put together simply because they were able to.

Ideally, I do believe that every version of a film should be available just for archival purposes. And I think Blade Runner is the textbook example of how to handle something like that. If I were in charge of the next SW BluRay release, I would not stop at restoring the original editions next to the final versions of those films, but I would also reassemble every version known to exist in between (and even some antiquated versions, like the 70mm print of Empire rumored to have featured a somewhat different edit of the film).

But while I realize it is arrogant of me to assume that people not that taken in with the Rings movies may have started with the wrong version of the films... I still believe that to have been the case with my co-worker.
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