Luc Besson's The Big Blue

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ken Stuart, Aug 15, 2001.

  1. Ken Stuart

    Ken Stuart Second Unit

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    Hello,
    I finally saw this in its entirety a few days ago, and just got around to posting this message.
    If you like Luc Besson, be sure to get The Big Blue on DVD.
    Simply put - an excellent film.
    The video and audio quality are both excellent (not surprising, considering that it is the same director as The Fifth Element).
    The film is one of those that defies classification, since it has elements of romance, comedy, tragedy and documentary. The acting, directing, photography, editing and score are all excellent.
    Overall, it is loosely based on the life of Jacques Mayol, the world champion free diver, and the film has unexcelled underwater photography (Luc Besson's parents were both professional divers).
    However, it also has a very human story to tell about the characters. This is done at a very leisurely pace, and there are many scenes in the film that are worthwhile for their own sake (the one where Enzo is playing piano by the edge of the Mediterranean comes to mind).
    The director's cut on the DVD adds a number of scenes cut from previous versions, as well as restoring the further cuts made in the American release, and restores the original ending. All of the scenes help to give dimension to the characters, and I think making the film "tauter" (by removing some scenes) is to change its character and style - it is a "loose" film.
    I have the American version on tape from a broadcast on cable, and I can't emphasize too strongly that you should see the DVD version instead of the American version. The original version has music by Eric Serra, who did many of the scores for Besson's films. The American version substituted a professional, yet horrible soundtrack by Bill Conti, the sort of soundtrack that tells you exactly what you are supposed to feel at every moment in the film. [​IMG] And, worse yet, as mentioned, the American version changes the ending.
    The DVD is widescreen anamorphic and is in 5.1 sound, both of which contribute to the experience of the film.
    My rating: 8.5/10
    [Edited last by Ken Stuart on August 15, 2001 at 01:16 AM]
     
  2. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

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  3. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

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    Ok, I just visited imdb and read about the US ending. I can understand about that but not the score. Eric Serra’s music is so wonderful and beautiful and it’s the essence of the movie, there is no doubt about it. Why on earth they thought that they have to replace the music? Not to mention that Bill Conti’s original works are not that great. Remember For Your Eyes Only? THE worst music ever for a Bond movie!
     
  4. Frank L

    Frank L Stunt Coordinator

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    Being that I am a marine biologist I can tell you that I absolutely love this movie!! I saw it when it first came out, in 1989, I was 18 and it changed me completely. I'm telling you, my friends and I, we knew the thing by memory.
    I only had the US version on tape (bought it) and knew about the director's cut (version longue) which had originally played in Europe, but not being in Europe made it impossible to get.
    I was so glad when the DVD came out, moreover because it was the director's cut. I am very pleased with the DVD, I would've liked it if it had had a commentary with Barr, Reno and Besson, but that's just a wish.
    Now to answer the question about what was the original ending (as opposed to the american ending), here follow SPOILERS:
    1. The american ending shows Jacques going off with the Dolphin, and then cutting to an aerial scene where you see him and the dolphin swimming in the water. Obviously this was in order to make it a happy Hollywood ending.
    2. The original version shows Jacques going off with the dolphin, and then fades to black. Leaving the ending open to speculation, and in my opinion a much better one.
    Basically the US version just added an extra scene to make it sure he was alive and well.
    I gotta say though that while I love Eric Serra's score, I have a special place for Bill Conti's one, it may be because I watched the movie with it first.
    All in all a great movie and a great looking DVD.
    F
     
  5. Lannie Lorence

    Lannie Lorence Stunt Coordinator

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    I've only seen the US version: a long time ago in the theater. I'll try to catch the real version soon though. Thanks for the advice.
     
  6. Frank L

    Frank L Stunt Coordinator

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    Lannie Lorence thus spoke...
     
  7. Roland G

    Roland G Stunt Coordinator

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    Trivia
    When "The Big Blue" was released in Frances you were even able to smell the sea.
    I heared that on a local "art" radio station here in Vienna when they had something on with the titel "how does the summer smell?" and they talked about how effective the use of smells was and how audiences could travel to the sea inside the cinema....
    I know you couldn`t use this feature on most films...but it works in "The Big Blue"...put some jod and other sea stuff in the air and you have the perfect mood for the film.
    Roland...who is again sorry for his poor english
    [Edited last by Roland_Gaberz on August 15, 2001 at 03:44 AM]
     
  8. Frank L

    Frank L Stunt Coordinator

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    Really? Heh... men that's funny.
    [​IMG]
    You know this makes me wish Luc Besson would be the kind of director that gets more involved with DVD (like Ridley Scott for example), and do commentaries, documentaries, etc. I would love to know more about The Big Blue, but also about other Besson movies like The Fifth Element, Subway, etc.
    F
     
  9. John GB

    John GB Stunt Coordinator

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    I would also mention that if you're a Jean Reno fan, this is one not to miss. As far as the scrore goes, I've had a CD of the soundtrack for years and it's one of my favorites.
    All in all, a great movie and a great DVD.
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  10. ChristopherM

    ChristopherM Stunt Coordinator

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    Anybody who enjoyed The Big Blue's underwater photography and/or Eric Serra's music should look out for Luc Besson's Atlantis. This is a movie without narrative - simply a wonderful series of underwater sequences set to music by Serra. Germany will get a DTS DVD release on 20 August, so hopefully other countries will follow soon.
    I'd add that the R1 DVD of "The Big Blue" has an isolated Eric Serra score, which I for one consider to be worth the price of the DVD on it's own. People who buy DVDs from different regions should note that the UK R2 version does not have this, although I admit that I have not compared picture quality on the two editions.
    By the way, for those who haven't already noticed, Luc Besson takes a cameo as one of the competition divers in The Big Blue, while Eric Serra was cast as the bassist in Besson's Subway.
     
  11. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

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    I waited a long time to see this in its extended, Euro version in 5.1, and I must say that this DVD is a beautiful presentation of a mesmerizing film. Anyone on the fence about seeing this, time to get off the fence.
    Thanks for a very informative thread here, BTW. (I'm going to look for "Atlantis.")
    MC
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  12. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    This is one of my favourite films. I loved it when I saw it in the theaters and when I bought my first DVD player I waiting anxiously for this DVD to come out. Of course I snapped it up the first day it was released and I wasn't disappointed at all.
    I think the ending in this version is better than what I saw in the theater for sure.
    Patrick
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  13. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    As big a fan of Eric Serra as I am, I have to say that I find Conti's score to be the more engaging. Besson's often doesn't seem to me to match the emotional dynamic of the scene.
    LB fans should also seek out Le Dernier Combat, a B&W sci-fi piece of his with about 4 words of dialogue. It of course also features Jean Reno.
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  14. Brian-W

    Brian-W Screenwriter

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  15. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    I am greatly pleased to see so many others enjoyed this film like I did. This really is one of my favorite movies!
    Serra's music is incredible. The movie, as mentioned above, has many elements to it. One of those elements not previously mentioned is the Supernatural! This movie really sets a mood and has a feel to it like no other.
    It is interesting so many people think of this as a good transfer. It was transferred from a used film reel. You can see the "cigarette burns" used to que a reel change throughout the movie. There is occassional dirt as well, but all things considered, it is a pretty good looking disc!
    I love this movie.
     
  16. Frank L

    Frank L Stunt Coordinator

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    Rob Tomlin thus spoke...
     
  17. MartyD

    MartyD Extra

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    Andrew,
    Let me guess that you saw the film with the Conti soundtrack first? Otherwise your comment is utterly puzzling. I saw this movie first in Germany with Serra's score and then again in the US with Conti's score and I could not get myself to finish the movie in the US. About 45 minutes into it I stopped it and returned it. For me the movie was ruined. I think Eric Serra's score makes almost 50% of this movies experience. Especially the scene where he dreams in his bed and the water comes down on him. I literally was making sure I was breathing during that scene and that was in no small part due to the fantastic music. The only thing that did not age well for me in this movie is the comedic performance by Rosanna Arquette. Other than that this film is pure magic.
     
  18. Mike Friedrich

    Mike Friedrich Stunt Coordinator

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    ~ I couldn't agree more, when I first rented the R1 dvd version I really loved this movie, I would however now like to see the European version after reading this post.
    I'm intrigued and ready to purchase.
    bodymov'n :cool
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  19. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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  20. Chauncey2

    Chauncey2 Extra

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    Mike F.,
    If you have seen the R1 DVD, then you have seen the European version of the film.
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    Chauncey
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