The Mummy (1999)
In 10 year old me’s defence the taped off tv copy I had was missing the first 35 minutes or so of the film. This means that the film is pretty much action all the way through and it barrels along at just the right pace to make you not question things to closely. Also, and this is crucially important, the titular Mummy makes an appearance about 20 minutes into the running time.
In the actual cinematic cut The Mummy doesn’t show up for the best part of an hour. I’d take my ‘missed the start whilst taping it’ cut any day.
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
The plot takes place on a train journey through Germany. It centres around a old lady who the central character has seen after waking up hung over. No body else on the train remembers or will admit to seeing her why is this?
It is a good set up for a film. It is also the best movie on this list by far. If you haven’t seen this film. It is a great film. It is perfect to kill an afternoon or a lazy Sunday.
There’s a caveat to this however (and I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Hitchcock film). This film is better if you skip the first 27 minutes of the film.
I first caught ‘The Lady Vanishes’ from the point the heroine wakes up on the train with the delightfully caring old Grannie sitting opposite her.
This was really fortunate because, it adds entire layers to the film i.e. is the main character reliable? If you see the first 27 minutes of the film however, this question completely disappears.
The 1979 remake with Cybill Shepherd and Elliot Gould also has a beginning out should miss but that one only lasts 15 minutes. It must be the only time in auteur Anthony Page’s career that his editing was better than the Master of Suspense’s.
Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions
I like to call this the ‘Stay in the Matrix cut’. Fast forward your way through the super boring bits in Zion that no body cares about. Such as the new Operator (whose name I cannot be bothered to find) talking to his wife, the orgy scene in the bowels of hell, Morpheus’ religious sermons, the Council of Zion and the fight scene ripped from Aliens.
Remember however, to stop in at ,or just remember, the bit showing that Agent Smith
is now in Zion also. That bit is the only bit of the Zion sequences important to the plot.
All in all this carves a lot, but sadly not all, the fat off these sequels. It makes them infinitely better to watch.
How you ask? By tattooing all the prison plans and escape details onto his body and then getting sent to the same prison himself.
Stop it there and I am completely on board with you. The writer’s just couldn’t stop themselves however. Instead of just having Lincoln framed by corrupt cops or gang members or an enemy he has made they decided to make Lincoln Burrows as the patsy for an all seeing shadowy cabal that controls the world.
There was no need for this. Prison Break has a high concept enough concept already. If you are going to sell this then you shouldn’t dump a tonne of stupid on top of it. There is no need to add a conspiracy dimension to your cops and robbers conspiracy movie.
When it first came out on TV I ignored those bits and I did the same when I rewatched it again on netflix. It’s much more fun that way.
Spielberg’s Lincoln was fantastic. It was beautifully shot and brilliantly acted. Plus it was basically an extended version of West Wing, a show that I love. Lincoln dealt with hugely important historical events and gave a sense of the politics of that time.
It showed just how difficult the decisions were that Lincoln had to make. It created in the movie character Lincoln (I don’t know enough about real life Lincoln) a believable politician who also did the right thing. He was flawed but basically saint.
By the end of the film you have created basically a figure who is mythical within his own time frame.
I’m watching this and I feel that Spielberg understands this. He knows where Lincoln is going. The audience knows where Lincoln is going. The whole set up is note for note perfect.
Lincoln is reminded of the hour and goes to leave saying “I suppose it is time to go. Though I would rather say”.
The iconic silhouette of Lincoln with his hat walks down the corridor in the White House and camera shows the Butler as if he also feel the weight of this moment of time. The music plays poignantly and Lincoln exits stage right.
Just cut there that’s the movie. That’s perfection.
Instead it continues for 10 more minutes of utterly pointless footage. He may have been competing against this film at the Oscars but that doesn’t mean Samuel Jackson wasn’t right.
Lord of the Rings : Return of the King (extended cut)
Not only is it unsatisfying story telling to keep doing what are essentially extended post-credit sequences but within the narrative of the movie it makes no sense at all either.
Peter Jackson killed off Saruman back at the start of the film some 14 hours ago. So (spoiler alert) Saruman is not around to make a final appearance as a bad guy like he does in the book. There is no need to keep the film going.
The only one of these scenes that is remotely acceptable after the coronation is Frodo and the elves sailing away from Middle-Earth and that should come after the credits.