Directors Theatrical Versions vs. 'Updated' Editions

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Scott Weinberg, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Most of these seem obvious, but there are a few titles that really have improved via their respective 'revisionist' editions. Pick which of the following you prefer, and leave some reasons why if you like.


    Star Wars (1977)

    vs.

    Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope - Special Edition

    ---

    The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

    vs.

    Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back - Special Edition

    ---

    Return of the Jedi (1983)

    vs.

    Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi - Special Edition

    ---

    Alien (1979)

    vs.

    Alien - Director's Cut

    ---

    Aliens (1986)

    vs.

    Aliens - Special Edition

    ---

    Alien 3 (1992)

    vs.

    Alien 3 - Special Edition

    ---

    Alien: Ressurection (1997)

    vs.

    Alien: Ressurection - Special Edition

    ---

    The Abyss (1989)

    vs.

    The Abyss - Special Edition

    ---

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

    vs.

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial - Special Edition

    ---

    The Blues Brothers (1980)

    vs.

    The Blues Brothers - Expanded DVD Version

    ---

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

    vs.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Extended Edition

    ---

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

    vs.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Extended Edition

    ---

    1941 (1979)

    vs.

    1941 - Director's Cut

    ---

    Almost Famous (2000)

    vs.

    Almost Famous - Untitled

    ---

    Amadeus (1984)

    vs.

    Amadeus - Director's Cut

    ---

    Beauty and the Beast (1991)

    vs.

    Beauty and the Beast - Extended Special Edition

    ---

    The Lion King (1994)

    vs.

    The Lion King - Special Edition

    ---

    Robocop (1987)

    vs.

    Robocop - Unrated Edition

    ---

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

    vs.

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Special Edition

    ---

    True Romance (1993)

    vs.

    True Romance - Unrated Director's Cut

    ---
     
  2. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Star Wars (1977)

    vs.

    Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope - Special Edition

    --- Prefer the original version if only for Greedo shooting first. Otherwise, it's not a big deal.

    The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

    vs.

    Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back - Special Edition

    --- No real preference.

    Return of the Jedi (1983)

    vs.

    Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi - Special Edition

    --- No real preference.

    Alien (1979)

    vs.

    Alien - Director's Cut

    --- Have the DC, but haven't watched it yet. :b

    Aliens (1986)

    vs.

    Aliens - Special Edition

    --- Prefer Aliens non-SE as it's a tighter film. The added footage is neat to see, but doesn't really add anything necessary to the film.

    Alien 3 (1992)

    vs.

    Alien 3 - Special Edition

    --- A slight preference for the SE as I like the direction in which it was going. A shame it's not fully realized.

    Alien: Ressurection (1997)

    vs.

    Alien: Ressurection - Special Edition

    --- No real preference. The added SE footage is kinda neat, but doesn't add anything.

    The Abyss (1989)

    vs.

    The Abyss - Special Edition

    --- Prefer the SE as it fleshes out the story without bogging the film down.

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

    vs.

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial - Special Edition

    --- Have the SE, haven't watched it yet. :b

    The Blues Brothers (1980)

    vs.

    The Blues Brothers - Expanded DVD Version

    --- Can't say, I don't think I've seen the expanded version.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

    vs.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Extended Edition

    --- No preference either way.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

    vs.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Extended Edition

    --- Haven't seen the EE.

    1941 (1979)

    vs.

    1941 - Director's Cut

    --- Don't remember much about either version.

    Almost Famous (2000)

    vs.

    Almost Famous - Untitled

    --- Have both versions, haven't watched the latter. :b

    Amadeus (1984)

    vs.

    Amadeus - Director's Cut

    --- Have the DC, haven't watched it yet. :b

    Beauty and the Beast (1991)

    vs.

    Beauty and the Beast - Extended Special Edition

    --- Haven't seen the ESE.

    The Lion King (1994)

    vs.

    The Lion King - Special Edition

    --- Haven't seen the SE.

    Robocop (1987)

    vs.

    Robocop - Unrated Edition

    --- No real preference for either.

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

    vs.

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Special Edition

    --- Prefer the SE for the same reasons as The Abyss.

    True Romance (1993)

    vs.

    True Romance - Unrated Director's Cut

    --- Don't remember the differences that well.
     
  3. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Aliens - I prefer the longer version that was released on the initial DVD due to the inclusion of the scenes with the colonists and of course, the sentry gun sequence which is one of the neatest things in the movie.

    Haven't seen the new cut of Alien 3 yet, but I'll probably prefer that version.

    I hate most of the changes to the Star Wars films but one thing that I believe does work better in the SE releases is the ending of Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi.

    I'm firmly in the camp that prefers the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings films. Looking forward to the eventual EE of LOTR: ROTK.

    While taken on their own merits I appreciate the new scenes in the longer cut of Almost Famous but I prefer the theatrical cut in terms of pace and editing.

    I'm not sure that either ending of The Abyss really works that well for me. I like it for the character study and the performances but feel like the film just doesn't know how to end.

    I suppose the extra gore in the unrated Robocop is closer to the director's sensibilities so I (sorta) prefer that version. For myself, there isn't that large a difference between the cuts although I believe the ED209 sequence does work better in the unrated cut. Not sure I needed the extra footage with Murphy however.

    One film you missed Scott that readily comes to mind when these types of questions come up is The Last of the Mohicans. I simply loathe the changes made in the 'director's cut' of the film. Particularly the incredible dumbing down of Chingachgook's final soliloquy. Despite the improved performance of the anamorphic re-release this is one film that I still watch on LD. One of my biggest DVD disappointments was the lack of a theatrical cut on this release.

    - Walter.
     
  4. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Good call on Mohicans, Walter.

    I did see it theatrically, and I did see the DVD...but I don't recall the alterations with much clarity. But I'd certainly agree that any "souped-up" version should also include the theatrical cut. Without exception.
     
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Could I add Das Boot to your list Scott? I find the director’s cut to be far superior to the theatrical release.

    The added narrative really helps to flesh out the story of these men and their journey—and I never feel that sense of impatience that is present in some overly-long films.
     
  6. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Should we feel stupid for not mentioning Blade Runner? [​IMG]
     
  7. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    -Star Wars (1977)
    -The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
    -Return of the Jedi (1983)
    -Alien (1979)
    -Aliens - Special Edition
    -1941 (1979)
    -Almost Famous - Untitled
    -Amadeus (1984)
    -Robocop - Unrated Edition
    -True Romance - Unrated Director's Cut

    And definitely Blade Runner Dir Cut

    I havent seen any of the LOTR EEs. Im waiting until ROTK comes out and then Ill buy all 3 EEs
     
  8. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Nope. I should feel stupid for not mentioning Blade Runner...and Das Boot.

    I was tired! [​IMG]
     
  9. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    I definitely prefer the Extended cuts of the LOTR films, and anxiously await the exteneded version of the 3rd.

    I do NOT like the longer cuts of Beauty and the Beast or the Lion King, as I feel the new musical numbers seem forced and do not add anything to the picture.

    I also prefer the unrated Robocop to it's theatrical counterpart, as well as True Romance.

    And I agree with Walter 100% on Last of the Mohicans. It's one of my top 20 films ever (theatrical cut), but I cannot stand any of the changes made to the director's expanded cut. I'd rather watch my worn-out widescreen VHS tape (in the wrong AR, it looks more like 2:1 with some mild panning+scanning) than my DVD. Please release the theatrical cut!!!!!!!
     
  10. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Blade Runner, Theatrical and Director's cuts:

    --- No real preference either way, both have their selling points for me. The voice-over in the TC is unnecessary though it does add a bit of personality to an otherwise cold and aloof film. OTOH, sans the voice-over, the film seems more original and mature. As for the unicorn scene: I don't care for the idea that Dekard is a replicant, blah, blah, blah...

    Das Boot, Theatrical and Director's cuts:

    --- Don't remember enough about either one to make the distinction. I really need to pick up the DVD. [​IMG]
     
  11. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Star Wars (1977) - easily

    The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - I actually like the SE but the Luke girly scream dooms it.

    Return of the Jedi - no real preference. Don't care for the added musical number but I prefer the new ending of the SE

    Alien - haven't seen the DC yet

    Aliens Special Edition - Fleshes out the characters much better

    Alien 3 Special Edition - though I'm still not wild about this mediocre film

    Alien: Ressurection - Haven't seen the SE & probably never will. Just don't care for this film at all.

    The Abyss Special Edition

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
    - Haven't seen the SE & don't want to

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - Extended Edition

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Extended Edition

    Almost Famous - Untitled

    The Lion King (1994)

    Robocop - Unrated Edition

    Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Special Edition

    True Romance - Unrated Director's Cut

    Blade Runner
    - no preference as I enjoyed both versions

    Das Boot - DC

    some others not mentioned

    Metropolis (1927) - restored Kino version

    Dracula (1931) - prefer the original to the newly scored version

    Gojira (1954) - prefer the original un-cut Japanese language version to the Americanized Raymond Burr version

    Once Upon a Time in the West - long version

    Once Upon a Time in America - long version

    Wild Bunch - Directors Cut

    Apocalypse Now (1979)
    - prefer the original version by far

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind - prefer the Neary in Spaceship ending

    Exorcist (1973) - prefer the original to the Version I Wish I Never Saw

    Godfather series - I prefer the theatrical versions but I also like the re-edited Godfather Saga

    Mad Max - much prefer the Original Aussie language version over the dubbed

    Wicker Man - Extended version

    Brazil - Directors Cut

    Conan the Barbarian - International version

    Manhunter - DC

    Star Trek 2 - DC

    Dances With Wolves - Expanded Directors Cut

    JFK - DC

    Leon - Un-cut International Version

    Tombstone - DC
     
  12. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    In general, I like all the James Cameron DC's: The Abyss, Aliens, and, especially Terminator 2, all seem like much better movies to me than the theatrical editions.

    In regards to the Star Wars SE's: I regard these as "curiosities". They're kinda' fun to watch, but when I'm really in a "Classic Star Wars mood" I need to see the original 1977, '80, and '83 editions of the movie. If Lucas will release both iterations to DVD, I'll certainly purchase both. (However, should he chose to release just the SE's I'll probably be too frustrated to reach for my wallet.)

    Lord of the Rings: Gimme' those Extended Editions! I purchased both the theatrical and EE versions of the movies released to date; and while I like both versions, I usually end up with the EE cuts in the player. (It should be understood clearly here the difference between these LOTR extended cuts and the "Classic Star Wars Trilogy" SE's: The Star Wars SE's were released 20 years after their theatrical release; the LOTR:EE's were released eight months after their theatrical release. If the EE's had been released 20 years after the originals, I would probably regard them as "curiosities" as well.)

    Lion King and Beauty and the Beast: Prefer the original theatrical editions. (My 7 year old daughter prefers the newer cuts, though!)

    Blues Brothers: I enjoy the extended cut more.

    Of the rest of the titles listed, I've only had the opportunity to view the original versions.
     
  13. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    That Glass score is jarring at first, but I got used to it. Actually, I would have preferred that they used it with the "silent" version of the film (see the doc on the DVD), now that would have been cool...

    Apocalypse Now, Threatrical and Director's cuts:

    --- Theatrical.

    Leon, U.S. and International cuts:

    --- International.
     

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