D.D. D.C.

Is less more? It's been said that it's much more challenging to write a simple piece of music like ”Twinkle, Twinkle” than a complex symphony. The truly talented artists and musicians are those who are able to have a vision early on of their final creations. More often than not, the process may involve going too far and then paring down, removing that which is unnecessary. In filmmaking as with any other creative endeavor, editing is required and there's a very good reason why there are deleted scenes. A filmmaker will film more than he or she needs for the finished product, and then cut together the most cohesive story with the best pacing. Sometimes a director will be unhappy with a theatrical release, and at the DVD stage we may see a director's cut version, with some scenes removed and others put back in their place. Sometimes, these versions are just as good if not better. The Butterfly Effect and Army of Darkness are two good examples of this, especially the latter. Back when Sam Raimi had considered a fourth film with Bruce Campbell as Ash, Army of Darkness ended on more of a classic sci fi cliffhanger that would have set up that movie beautifully. Those plans changed and so we got a different, more conclusive ending to the film, although plans are now underway for a remake. I don't know why. A sequel would make more sense than a remake, and fans would love to see Bruce again. Maybe they could cast someone as Ash's son if they wanted a younger lead.

Editing is hard. Once you've created something, it's hard to let go and trim away that which is unnecessary, hence the typical length of my own blog entries. Daredevil struck me in the theaters as being a movie that was perhaps too truncated.(editor's note: spoilers follow; read at your own risk) Daredevil's major flaw was that, in the last thirty minutes of the film he fights one major battle after another. Being stabbed in the first battle does slow him down for a while, but then he somehow gets a “second wind” for two more brutal fights. Overall I enjoyed it though and found it very faithful to the source material for the most part, but my defense of it to my friends really never rose above the level of, “eh, it wasn't as good as the other Marvel films, but I liked it better than Hulk. Certainly they could have found a better Matt Murdock than Ben Affleck, but Jon Favreau was spot-on as Foggy and, in my opinion, you can NEVER go wrong with Jennifer Garner. Ultimately, there were many scenes which were VERY strong—notably either of the two scenes with Evanescence playing in the background, and the climactic scoring that builds to the “guardian devil” conclusion—and I decided it was a good movie with some flaws. So I was very excited when I heard there would be a “better” director's cut coming out.

I wouldn't call the DD DC better. “Longer.” “Different.” “Coolio.” These are words that spring to mind as I try to organize my opinion into cohesive sentences. The interspersed scenes involving a murder trial with Coolio as the accused add little to the film until the very end, and the outcome of that scenario makes Daredevil's remark to the Kingpin about him being exposed finally make more sense. Still, it still seems like they could have gotten there quicker. The main complaint in the special features by the creators is that all this good stuff was cut because the studio wanted it to be faster-paced. When I saw the theatrical version, I definitely sensed something missing and found it to be a sloppy edit with noticeable holes. But by putting back EVERY deleted scene, the director adds in a lot of interruptions to the flow of the original, so much so that I find myself preferring it.

It wasn't all bad though, and for $12.99 I my regrets are reduced. There was more dialogue between Matt and his father. We see a brief scene of a silhouetted nun watching over young Matt in the hospital, a definite allusion to his mother from the comics. Karen Page gets much more screen time in this version. A lot of the fights were much longer. The bar fight was cool in the theater, and more of it wasn't a bad thing. The Kingpin battle was longer, which was an improvement over the theatrical version which left me with a sense of “that's it?” Elektra's battle with Bullseye is longer, and I can use that to rationalize Matt having marginally more time to recover from being stabbed. Elektra's fight with Matt on the playground is longer, which is a bad thing since it reinforces how utterly stupid and campy that was. Way to hide your superpowers there, champ. Way to beat up a blind guy and not wonder why you aren't winning sooner, beautiful.

Ultimately, I think there IS a good Daredevil movie out there, somewhere between the two versions. If they cut too much out of the first one, they put too much back into this one. They took a few scenes out as well, including some of Matt's confessional conversations with the priest, and his love scene with Garner. They explain the latter decision away by pointing out how they wanted to make Matt's luck even harder. If anything, the playground scene is what should have been cut down. Matt's lost his vision, gained often overwhelming enhanced senses, had his father killed, seen guilty men go free, been stabbed by his girlfriend and subsequently seen her murdered by his nemesis, been portrayed by Ben Affleck, and had his movie cut twice by people who almost yet don't quite get the idea.

His luck is hard enough.


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