Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Maj. Heyward will create a diversion

Ah, an evening at home, geeking out with my favorite movie. This is my first time watching the DVD on Art Boy's fancy TV with his fancy stereo system. Holy mackerel. To any of you readers who may have just moved in with art boys who have nice multimedia setups... take advantage of it and watch your favorite movies now. It was so much fun to hear the incidental dialogue ("I'm with you, Jack!") as well as the sound effects, from swelling music to snapping twig (as Mark Twain wrote, "Every time a [James Fenimore] Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, he is sure to step on a dry twig"). I have been having a ball. Art Boy went to bed hours ago.

I have spent much time in recent years ruminating over which is better - the theatrical-release edition, now only available on VHS, and the "director's expanded" edition, the only one available on DVD (unless you are Ardenstone). It may be Art Boy's nice speakers, but I am ready to weigh in on the director's side: the DVD is pretty gorgeous. Sound is lovely and the loss of the Clannad song is really rather a plus. The only problem is that three of the movie's best lines have been taken out, and in a movie with this little dialogue, that is no small problem. Still, nobody seems to have a choice in these dark days. And the new last lines spoken by Russell Means - "Once we were here" - give me a delicious frisson. (Also, once you notice the canvas covering the Chimney Rock graffiti in the climax, you absolutely cannot take your eyes off it. Editing it out for the DVD was smart.)

If anyone can find Colm Meaney in this movie - and I am assured he is in it, by both the end credits and IMDb - tell me where he pops up and I will buy you a beer. (Pete Postlethwaite, no small-name actor at the time, is in it and in one scene is completely obscured by the buttons on someone else's uniform. Michael Mann is crazy.)


BC said...

Whoa- hating on Clannad. Are you also in the Enya-hating camp now? We're a long way from 1991, eh?

AE said...

We are a long way from 1991 indeed. I noticed no Public Enemy pins whatsoever on your hat, btw.

But I don't mean to hate on Clannad. The song's presence in the movie is just jarring: sweeping historical epic, then a contemporary love song... it doesn't work. I'm still down with their song from "Patriot Games."

Am waiting for LaLa to send me Enya's first album in exchange for The Memory of Trees. Nobody's biting.

Chris said...

Does Mike's super-TV-getup have a multi-region DVD player? Because, if so, you should totally borrow the original. For scientific comparison purposes, of course.

They did so much work on those battle scenes, its a different movie with good sound. All the side mutterings and exclamations are great. A TV that handles blacks and very dark shots well also helps (the entire "breed apart" scene requires playing with brightness on my TV, or it just disappears in the theatrical version).

I think I still like the theatrical version better. The Clannad song isn't *that* bad. Now I'll shut up before you have me beaten from this blog...

AE said...

Someday I think you and I are gonna have a serious disagreement.

I will always love the theatrical version, but I really think the overall pacing is better. But then I miss the excised dialogue, and the new waterfall scene always feels rushed to me. Oh, they're both winners. I don't think we have a multi-region DVD player, but Version One is all here in my noggin. ("No matter wheeere you gooo, my heart is with you!")