A director’s cut, viewers either love them or hate them. In the case of this particular list, movie lovers probably would have preferred if these directors’ cuts never saw the light of day. It might be hard to believe, but sometimes the studio knows better than the director!
Whether it’s Steven Spielberg taking the firearms in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and replacing them with walkie-talkies, or Michael Bay making Pearl Harbor a few minutes longer for reasons unknown, director’s cuts aren’t always the better version. From changing around characters and storylines to replacing props and altering the movie’s overall tone, here are some film’s director’s cuts that ruined the theatrical version.
Somehow, Dumb And Dumber Became Creepier
If there is one Farrelly Brother movie that has become a cult classic since its release, it’s the Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels-led film Dumb and Dumber. The movie is just the right amount of ridiculous, making it extremely funny and rewatchable. And while it might not be the best movie out there, the director’s cut did it no favors.
The unrated director’s cut takes the lovable characters of Harry and Loyd and makes them quite creepy, making the entire viewing experience borderline uncomfortable. Not to mention the array of gross-out humor they decided to add. Let’s just say Seabass spitting on Harry’s burger is a lot more visual.
Bad Santa Becomes Depressing
One of the adult-rated comedies a lot of people enjoy watching over the holidays is Bad Santa. Starring Billy Bob Thorton as a conman who poses as Santa in order to steal from a mall safe on Christmas Eve, the film is hilarious in the best kind of way. Too bad the director’s cut makes this comedy sad.
While director’s cuts tend to make movies longer, Terry Zwigoff somehow managed to make Bad Santa shorter, and not in a good way. Zwigoff opted to edit out a lot of the funnier scenes, making the comedic film depressing — aka the last thing someone wants to watch over the holidays.
Dawn Of The Dead Was Filled With Clutter
George A. Romero’s 1978 film Dawn of the Dead is wildly considered to be one of the best horror films ever made. Due to its use of satire mixed with gruesome effects, some believe Romero is responsible for making the zombie genre what it is today.
And while fans and critics both sang praises to the theatrical version, something that earned a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, the director’s cut is nothing to call home about. The “extended cut” offers 15 more minutes of the film but to no startling conclusion. All it does is create more questions and a whole lot of clutter in the narrative.
Star Wars Shouldn’t Have Been Messed With
With a fan base like Star Wars’, there’s nothing a director’s cut could do unless it were absolutely perfect. In George Lucas’ case, it wasn’t. And, folks, Lucas probably rues the day he decided to make re-mastered versions of the original trilogy.
While the revamped CGI wasn’t a huge issue, Lucas went and changed up a character’s personality. And, let’s just say that stunt was frowned upon. Battle cries like “Han Shot First” started to be thrown around the internet, leading to the huge “Greedo Shot First” controversy. If this cut taught directors anything, it’s to never mess with a fanbase.
Apocalypse Now Becomes Overly Stuffed
Often seen on lists containing some of the greatest movies ever made, there’s little that critics and movie lovers would change about Apocalypse Now. The Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando-led film is often regarded as being downright perfect. But director Francis Ford Coppola didn’t seem to think so, releasing a director’s cut of the movie years after its theatrical release.
Unfortunately, the director’s cut didn’t do the beloved film justice. Adding new sequences and elongated scenes, the Coppola didn’t bring anything new to the picture aside from an overly stuffed plot. While some fans don’t mind this cut, for most, it does nothing for the already stellar epic.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Traded In One Prop For Another
In 1982, Steven Spielberg released one of his most iconic movies, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Following the story of a young boy who wants to do nothing more than help his new alien friend find a way home, the film was pretty much an instant classic. And if there is one thing that should never happen to classics, it’s messing with them.
Ironically, Spielberg agrees, having stated his regret in releasing a director’s cut to the film. In this version, Spielberg had all of the firearms replaced with walkie talkies, wanting to make it more kid-friendly. In the end, they looked nothing more than out of place.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Wasn’t As Funny
While Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues didn’t hit home like the original, it still had more than one funny joke to appease the audience. And, with Will Ferrell leading the charge, people were going to see the film regardless of its critical reception. But one thing fans didn’t ask for is the extra thirty minutes of the director’s cut.
Advertised as including 763 new jokes, Adam McKay released what he called a “supersize” cut of the film. Ironically, the over 700 jokes don’t really land, making for a very long thirty minutes. Someone should have told McKay giving unfunny characters more screen time wasn’t doing the film any favors.
Daredevil Went From Bad To Worse
The thing about Daredevil is that a director’s cut should have helped out the already horrid theatrical version. Alas, it does something worse. Mark Steven Johnson’s director’s cut adds thirty more grueling minutes to the movie. Sorry, but the people don’t need another half-hour of a broody Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner playing a game of will they won’t they.
In a horrible instance of getting something no one asked for, Johnson decided more scenes of Daredevil being a lawyer were needed. So, defending Coolio against a murder charge got some screen time. At least he wore a suit and not his leather costume?
A Perfect Getaway Messed With The Plot Twist At The End
The 2009 thriller A Perfect Getaway might have been overlooked by moviegoers upon its release, but that doesn’t make it any less of a great film. With mind-bending twists and a story that will have people sitting on the edges of their seats, it’s a shame it wasn’t given the time of day.
Director David Twohy opted to capitalize on the film’s at-home release, creating a director’s cut. It made matters worse. Adding in one too many random nude scenes and a flashback that completely takes away a major plot twist, the “unrated” version was unnecessary. It didn’t do much for anyone who enjoyed the original.
The Added Gross-Out Scenes Did Nothing For The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Judd Apatow knows a thing or two about directing a great comedy, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin is no different. Starring none other than Steve Carrell, the film is a laugh-fest from beginning to end. But one thing Apatow never seemed to master is editing, something made very apparent in the movie’s unrated director’s cut.
Adding in long scenes that don’t seem to go anywhere or have any purpose in the overall plot, Apatow managed to make a silly movie have more unfunny scenes than fans thought possible. Someone should have told him that gross-out scenes and added nudity don’t tend to add anything to a plot.
Added Time Didn’t Help Terminator 2: Judgment Day
In 1991, James Cameron released the second film of the Terminator franchise, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Receiving numerous accolades, including four Academy Awards, the film became the highest-grossing picture of the year. Then, director James Cameron decided to mess with it, adding on fifteen extra minutes of footage.
And, as the story seems to go, the added minutes did nothing to enhance the movie. For fans of the theatrical cut, a four-minute-long dream sequence, a two-minute-long introduction to Miles Dyson, and extra footage of Dyson and the T-800 taking out the Skynet components weren’t exactly necessary.
The Warriors, A Cult Classic That Shouldn’t Have Been Tampered With
One of the ultimate cult classics came out of the 1979 film The Warriors. Following the story of a turf battle between two New York gangs, the movie was everything people could have hoped for. that is, until the videogame company, RockStar, decided it wanted to make a game based on the movie.
It was then that director Walter Hill decided to piece together what he wound up calling the “Ultimate Director’s Cut.” Adding in nothing more than videogame-like transitions between scenes, something that takes away from the pace of the film. Pro tip: stick to the original.
Pearl Harbor Shouldn’t Have Had A Director’s Cut
Considering Pearl Harbor wasn’t a great movie, it says a lot that the director’s cut ruined the theatrical version. Based on the 1941 bombings on Pearl Harbor, the movie was, ironically, kind of a slow snooze-fest after the action sequences came to a halt.
Even so, that doesn’t mean director Michael Bay had to swoop in and make matters worse. Adding a few minutes to the original, Bay does nothing more than enhance some visuals and prolong some scenes. Essentially, the director’s cut is the theatrical cut, and there really wasn’t much point for Bay to go through the process of the new edits.
Miami Vice Should Have Rethought Its Song Selection
Starting off in the middle of a loud club, Miami Vice throws viewers into a movie that thrives off of sensory overload. Jarring at first, it soon becomes obvious that the film thrives off the overload and not necessarily on its subpar plot. At least it’s self-aware.
But not self-aware enough for Michael Mann to add in some unnecessary scenes into a director’s cut. With a movie that isn’t heavily reliant on its storyline, adding in a few extra minutes to various scenes is a bit overkill. But nothing is as horrible as using Nonpoint’s metal cover of “In the Air Tonight” for the final fight scene. Just no.
Donnie Darko‘s Mysterious Plot Should Have Stayed Ambiguous
While the plot of Donnie Darko is a bit confusing, it has become a cult classic since its theatrical release in 2001. With imaginary humanoid rabbits, wormholes, and a creepy emo Jake Gyllenhaal, fans were excited when director Richard Kelly decided to make a director’s cut for home video.
Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver. Using many of the deleted scenes from the bonus features, Kelly’s cut does one thing: it takes away the mystery surrounding the film. Sometimes, it’s best to leave certain plots unexplained, leaving it to the audience to come to their own conclusions.
Team America: World Police Was Way Too Uncomfortable
South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker held nothing back when they created the film Team America: World Police. Filled with gross-out humor and more than one stomach-turning gag, the film wasn’t for everyone upon its release. Those who thought the theatrical cut was inappropriate, though, obviously didn’t watch the director’s cut.
Filled with crude graphics, bad language, and an intimate scene that lasts way too long, the “Uncensored and Unrated” version of Team America would have been better left in the directors’ minds. Instead of flirting between the line of funny and uncomfortable, this film sprints past uncomfortable.
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind Made A Huge Mistake
In 1977, Steven Spielberg released Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. The film was praised by fans and critics alike, winding up with a solid 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately, Spielberg wound up going back to the film, releasing a “Special Edition” in 1980.
It wasn’t well-received, especially by the director himself. At the end of the film, the main character, Roy Neary, climbs aboard the alien mothership. Not seeing the inside of the spacecraft envokes a sense of wonder and mystery. So, what does the cut do? It takes the mystery away and shows the inside of the mothership! Later, Spielberg expressed his regret in doing so.
Sin City Didn’t Need Ten Extra Scenes
Arguably one of the best comic book adaptations, Sin City has the story and characters jumping off the pages and onto the silver screen. The 2004 neo-noir is pretty much filmed like a comic. Still, there were a few scenes that didn’t make it to the final theatrical cut, spurring Robert Rodriguez to make a director’s cut.
In his cut, Rodriguez includes ten new scenes, all of which were meant to enhance the story. Well, they didn’t. Instead, they are actually of little importance to the movie’s story, doing little more than drawing out an already long movie.
The Abyss Could Have Spared The Lecture
Thrilling, suspenseful, and full of sci-fi elements, The Abyss was truly a wonder when its theatrical cut was released in 1989. Unfortunately, director James Cameron did what he does with most of his films, he messed with the story, making a director’s cut no one really asked for.
Instead of showing then huge wave at the end of the film, Cameron decided to put viewers through a ten-minute-long anti-Cold War lecture where a non-terrestrial intelligence (alien) explains to Ed Harris the issues of humanity. Namely, he says that they’ll be wiped out via a giant supernatural wave if they don’t change their ways. Long story short, it wasn’t needed.
Aliens Added Unnecessary Footage
Starting right off the bat with the miraculous recovery of Ripley floating through deep space, the theatrical cut of James Cameron’s Aliens is one that shouldn’t have been tampered with. With a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the sci-fi film has become a classic to the franchise. That’s why fans were blindsided by Cameron’s choices in his director’s cut.
Journeying back to the alien planet, Cameron makes the strange choice to show life and death among the settlers. Some think it was a way to humanize the girl Ripley later finds. While others believe it was just unnecessary, along with the extra footage of the alien’s lifecycle.