BY JASON DAVIS
We all hate being the victims of the double dip. You know, when a studio re-releases your favorite movie promising a never before seen version, or updated extras that won’t make the completist in you hesitate for a minute…
but sometimes these special editions are far from worth it. Today we look at Eight Great extended editions that are well worth your hard earned buck.
Hellboy Directors Cut (2004)
Del Toro’s tale of big Red got an additional 13 minutes of footage added to the Director’s Cut. While the added time does not provide any key plot revelations they do accentuate character moments and subplots that flesh out the story nicely. Dr. Broom’s condition is diagnosed early on, and the father/son relationship with Hellboy is given more time on screen. Likewise, Hellboy and Liz are given more space as a couple. The moments are very nuanced and subtle, but they make the film feel like a great comic you take your time with.
Fantastic Four Extended Cut (2007)
From the opening title sequence, to more of Johnny Storm being Johnny, Tim Story’s Fantastic Four packs in a full bonus of 20 mins. Some of the additions like Reed’s Wolverine cameo seem out of place and rightfully edited out, but for the most part seeing more of The Thing with Alicia Masters, Sue with Doom and Johnny with the ladies allows the audience to connect a bit more with story. Though there are some chronological issues with the added scenes, overall this cut makes the film a bit more fantastic.
Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut (2006)
For years we heard how Donner had shot 75% of Superman 2 and how his replacement, Richard Lester, re-shot and re-edited it, almost completely forfeiting the original footage. None of us ever thought we would be able to see Donner’s version. Down from the heavens in comes something called the internet and a massive online petition makes its way to WB’s desk. Although the ending is a repeat of what was used for Superman: The Motion Picture, we are still given the privilege to see a work print of what Donner had in mind for part 2… oh if Superman could only spin the earth back and change history.
Watchmen Directors Cut (2009)
Snyder’s cut reinstates about 25 minutes to the existing film. Small, yet nonetheless great moments are included like Rorschach’s escape from the comedian’s apartment, Dr. Manhattan’s cry for everyone to ‘leave me alone’ (and having everyone actually disappear), Hollis’ tragic death montage, and Dan’s savage beating of one of the Knot Heads. All in all the extra scenes create a fuller, richer cinematic experience that even Alan Moore can be proud of – ok, maybe not.
The Punisher Extended Cut (2006)
Thomas Jane never got his chance to play Castle again but fans were given a chance to see more of him in this 2006 release. For starters an animated sequence that takes place in Kuwait during a raid with Frank and a team of US soldiers was added. The animation was mostly unecessary, and somewhat crudely done. The real reason to pick this edition up are the added 17 minutes of footage. A subplot between Castle and his friend Jimmy Weeks has been reintegrated into the storyline, giving us more Punisher badassary.
Spider-Man 2.1 (2007)
How can an epic movie be made better? By adding another 8 minutes of epicness to it. Quiet moments like Peter sitting next to the police scanner in his room waiting to swing into action adds a layer of somberness that is very welcome to the film. The famous train battle with Doc Ock has been extended by a few minutes, with the destruction of a law office that lines the subway train. Snippets of dialogue between Peter and Harry and MJ also help add a more natural rhythm to Raimi’s masterpiece. To me it’s the definitive version of the film.
Daredevil Directors Cut (2004)
Mark Steven Johnson’s director’s cut of Daredevil is the biggest reinvention of a film on our list. Not only were several scenes added (a whopping 30 minutes!) but many were also taken out. A subplot between Matt Murdock and a drug addict he is representing, played by Coolio, is reinstated. The addition is welcome, giving us more of the legal battles Murdock would fight during the day. Certain themes like Murdock’s struggle with Catholicism, and how his heightened senses are always ‘on’ was added in, making our hero more human. The requisite love scene with Elektra was also taken out – making her death that much more poignant.
Superman Extended Edition (2000)
With renewed interest in the Superman franchise WB commisioned Michael Thau to restore this landmark superhero film. During the restoration process 8 additional minutes were added. It doesn’t sound like much but the additional time provided us with some extra Donner-awesomeness. Bits of brilliance like Noel Neill’s and Kirk Alyn’s cameos, Lois Lane name checked as a little girl on the train, a cameo by Donner himself, and Luthor’s booby traps set up for Superman at his underground hideout – all make a perfect film, SUPER.