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Director's/Extended Cuts that massively improved a film?

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It's a fairly common practice in Hollywood: a film gets gutted of content and made "cinema-friendly" for its theatrical release, then has an Unrated/R-rated Director's Cut or Extended Edition that adds all the "good stuff" back in.

The thing is, though, these so-called Unrated/R-Rated Director's/Extended Cuts usually don't add anything substantial, amounting only to a couple extra minutes with a little more blood and/or a few more violent shots added (back) in (Terminator: Salvation's DC, for example, only adding 3 extra minutes with the Moon Bloodgood semi-nude scene and a scene with Marcus stabbing some guy in the shoulder with a screwdriver).

However, there have been some that actually went out of their way to give us a better film. What are some Director's Cuts that massively improved a film?

A couple that spring to mind off the top of my head: 

DareDevil: Director's Cut-The 30 minutes of extra footage fixes a lot of the theatrical cut's issues. The fights are better and grittier (a facet of the character/franchise) and have real impact, the story is structured better (the Matt/Elektra love story is now secondary to the main story with a lot of the romantic cheese removed, certain scenes transition better, too), the added Coolio/hooker subplot patches a lot of holes from the TC while adding a lot more depth to Matt and his legal team as well as Kingpin. It makes for a darker, grittier, and much more complete and better film. And remember: this was all stuff that had to be cut to avoid an R rating, barely.

It's a shame because Fox's drive to go commercial ruined what otherwise could've been a solid film (Mark Steven Johnson's original pitch was supposed to be even darker and less campy than the 2004 DC). It's not as good as the Netflix iteration, but it's a marked improvement over the TC in every way. The playground scene is still full of cringe, though, there's no fixing that.

Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition-An extra hour of footage per film makes an already epic movie trilogy even better (Return of the King is the biggest beneficiary of the added content of the 3 films). I don't think this needs much of a descriptor.

Last edited by KManX89 - on 27 July 2019

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KManX89 said:

It's a fairly common practice in Hollywood: a film gets gutted of content and made "cinema-friendly" for its theatrical release, then has an Unrated/R-rated Director's Cut or Extended Edition that adds all the "good stuff" back in.

The thing is, though, these so-called Unrated/R-Rated Director's/Extended Cuts usually don't add anything substantial, amounting only to a couple extra minutes with a little more blood and/or a few more violent shots added (back) in.

However, there have been some that actually went out of their way to give us a better film. What are some Director's Cuts that massively improved a film?

A couple that spring to mind off the top of my head: 

DareDevil: Director's Cut-The 30 minutes of extra footage fixes a lot of the theatrical cut's issues. The fights are better and grittier (a facet of the character/franchise) and have real impact, the story is structured better (the Matt/Elektra love story is now secondary to the main story with a lot of the romantic cheese removed, certain scenes transition better, too), the added Coolio/hooker subplot patches a lot of holes from the TC while adding a lot more depth to Matt and his legal team as well as Kingpin. It makes for a darker, grittier, and much more complete and better film. And remember: this was all stuff that had to be cut to avoid an R rating, barely.

It's a shame because Fox's drive to go commercial ruined what otherwise could've been a solid film (Mark Steven Johnson's original pitch was supposed to be even darker and less campy than the 2004 DC). It's not as good as the Netflix iteration, but it's a marked improvement over the TC in every way. The playground scene is still full of cringe, though, there's no fixing that.

Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition-An extra hour of footage per film makes an already epic movie trilogy even better (Return of the King is the biggest beneficiary of the added content of the 3 films). I don't think this needs much of a descriptor.

It explains why I thought the trilogy was such a long watch xD I remember looking at the booklet and it specified which chapters were part of the Extended Cut ... which was probably like half the movies.

I wouldn't even dare to watch the theatrical version nowadays.



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Watchmen. Loved it so much more after the Director's Cut. Still a product of its time and a Snyder film but I didn't want it to end.



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d21lewis said:
Watchmen. Loved it so much more after the Director's Cut. Still a product of its time and a Snyder film but I didn't want it to end.

Came here to say this



Alien 3 Assembly Cut. I haven't seen the original cut to know exactly how much worse it is, but I've seen the ending of it and that's enough. Besides, everyone hates on that movie anyway, I assume it must be that the original cut sucks really hard as I found the assembly cut to be quite enjoyable.

I haven't seen the LotR extended trilogy and don't think I ever will, honestly. 4 hour movies are very much not my thing.



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I really liked the LotR extended cut, but it is for watch at home only. There is no way I would have sat in the theatre for that long. They did the right thing to cut it for the theatre, and they did the right thing to release the extended version for the home.



Almost every Ridley Scott’s movies.

Blade Runner and Kingdom of Heaven are two great examples of movies that got better with the Director’s Cut.



Blade Runner for sure. The difference between the theatrical and director’s cuts is night and day.

I’m in the minority that prefers the theatrical versions of LOTR.



While I still don't think it's a great movie by any means, Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition is a dramatic improvement over the theatrical cut. I nearly walked out of the movie theatre. Superman, Clark Kent, and Lois Lane were improved greatly by the additional footage.



I wouldn't say massively improved, but the extended/uncut version of Team America: World Police was better than the theatrical release. Just as an example: Gary pissing in Lisa's face, and Lisa pooping in Gary's face added a bit of depth to the characters that I felt was lacking from the original cut.

I have similar feelings about the extended/uncut MacGruber vs the original.



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