When Less is More: 3 Movies That Prove Theatrical Cuts Reign Supreme
These films shattered the myth that directors know their movies better.
It is a common belief in the film industry that producers often ruin many masterpieces with their ruthless commercial approach. However, there are cases where they are the ones who save movies from failure, because the director is not always able to see the potential of his work.
We have picked three films where the theatrical cut literally literally saved the movie.
3. Donnie Darko (2001)
This cult classic combines elements of science fiction, psychological thriller, and coming-of-age drama. It tells the story of Donnie, a troubled teenager who is visited by bizarre visions of a giant rabbit named Frank.
The theatrical cut strikes a balance between philosophical undertones and mystical darkness, but the ideas of Richard Kelly, who directed Donnie Darko, differed from those of the producers.
Kelly wanted to restore the deleted scenes that the studio had asked him to cut. In this way, the director tried to clarify the movie for the audience, but answering questions in this way could have taken away the mystery that Donnie Darko was loved for.
2. Apocalypse Now (1979)
Set during the Vietnam War, this military epic tells the story of Captain Willard, who is sent on a dangerous mission to assassinate the renegade Colonel Kurtz.
The theatrical cut was an impressive 2.5 hours, and in 2001 Francis Ford Coppola released a new version of the film that added another 49 minutes to the running time.
The new scenes only slowed down the pace of the movie and did not reveal the idea in a new way. The theatrical cut manages to convey the urgency and madness of the war, while filling the atmosphere of the film with the chaos and madness of the bloodshed.
1. Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
The movie that launched one of the most popular franchises in cinema history is a prime example of how a director must know when to stop.
George Lucas' space opera follows the journey of Luke Skywalker as he becomes a Jedi Knight and fights the evil Empire that seeks to enslave the galaxy.
In the late 90s, Lucas decided that the original trilogy needed a technical makeover, and he wanted to bring A New Hope up to modern CGI standards.
Certainly, the computer graphics improved some aspects of the film. But the additional scene enhancements turned Han Solo into a goofy wimp who gets lucky in his fight with Greedo. And the CGI in the smuggler talking to Jabba the Hut scene ruined the visual style of A New Hope.
The director's cut has been heavily criticized by fans, who recommend watching the original movie without any changes.