Extended Editions: Enough is Enough

It seems that 2006 may be the year of the 'Extended Edition'. Not a day passes without another super-duper extended release announcement hitting the site; 5 minutes here, 20 seconds there - no matter how minor the restored footage is, there appears to be a market for it.

So who buys these discs? I guess it must be the completists and fans - but are there that many people who care about another 6 minutes of The Replacement Killers or 9 minutes of Casualties of War enough to justify spending more money on another DVD?

The main problem with most of these extended cuts is that the film's Director usually isn't involved - instead, it appears, more often than not that a nameless committee is involved in re-editing and tampering with the director's intention. Most deleted footage is removed for artistic or pacing reasons - if it was supposed to be in there to start with then it would have been. These cheap and easy cash-ins are designed to extract more money from those who have too much to spend, often by means of a big 'Unrated' tag plastered across the cover art. Would anyone stand for an unnamed artist adding a few flowers in a nice vase to the Mona Lisa? Would we accept Penguin books writing an extended ending to Shakespeare's Macbeth? Of course we wouldn't, so why are films treated any differently?

Most of these extended cuts are to me just as bad as colourising a black and white film or chopping off the sides to fit a 4:3 TV.

There are some extended cuts that are of merit - Fincher's Alien3 shows us what the film could have been before the studio got hold of it, while the upcoming Superman II release gives us a rare opportunity to see how the film would have been if Donner's cut made it to the cinema. However in the sea of mediocre extensions, these true gems are becoming harder and harder to find.

Last updated: 19/04/2018 06:18:18

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