Read the first few (ALL-NEW!) pages of James’ updated/expended edition of the book that started it all! Available in paperback, hardcover and Kindle 11-23-23!
prologue: a director’s cut? really? or “isn’t this just a cash grab?”
“Well, THAT’s just lazy writing.” – Wade Wilson, Deadpool 2
Go on, ask the question: wouldn’t it have been better to write a sequel instead? Or a prequel? Perhaps franchised this whole thing into an episodic series on an obscure streaming service? I mean, seriously it’s been over ten years: isn’t there a whole new array of movies, television, and binge-worthy Netflix and Amazon originals to comment on now that a decade of entertainment has been poured out for our consumption, complete with a pandemic chaser?
Well, the good news is that one of those facts is the reason for this revised edition of my Magnum Opus (which would be a great title for a series starring a P.I. penguin, let the reader understand). As for a sequel, well… read on.
The term “Director’s Cut” started getting slapped on DVDs back when people used to know what DVDs were… you know, in the dinosaur days of physical media (fossilized somewhere between the Jurassic VHS and the Cretaceous Blu-ray). Other variations and offerings started springing up like “Special Edition” or “Extended Edition” and at some point, you wondered just how many times they could make you buy the same freakin’ movie.
“You’ve changed things…” – Joker, The Dark Knight
For the record, I have five versions of my favorite film, Blade Runner: the workprint, theatrical cut, international theatrical cut, Special Edition, and the Final Cut. Which one is my favorite, you ask? Honestly, none of them (or maybe all of them?) Each has something unique I prefer, and each has something lesser. In my head I take a few choices from the international, Special and Final and splice them all together as my version. If I had time and skills, I might make my own “replicant edition”. But I digress…
Bottom line? A “Director’s Cut” often comes out because the director didn’t have final cut authority over their film. They had to please the suits, or the producer overruled them, whatever. So, a fair question arises from this detail: since I authored the first version of Cinemagogue and had final cut, why do we need a Director’s Cut?
“Vanity… definitely my favorite sin.” – John Milton, The Devil’s Advocate
“…there isn’t enough space for me and your ego.” – Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale
Hopefully it’s more than pride. Little known fact: one of the first Director’s Cuts in film history takes us all the way back to Charlie Chaplin. The renowned actor/director took his 1925 silent film The Gold Rush and gave it a tighter edit, new musical score, voiceover narration, and even changed the frame rate for a rerelease in 1942. The world had changed significantly, and he was able to provide a modified experience that, by nearly all accounts, improved on the original cinematic offering.
James Cameron helped popularize this trend of new cuts in the 1990s, making Special Editions of his films Aliens, The Abyss, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. These mostly explored further character development and extended sequences to what were already quality films. Vanity? Perhaps, but I’d argue all those movies are enriched and exist as stronger narratives thanks to the new material. (George Lucas, on the other hand, kind of mangled his original Star Wars trilogy with special editions plagued with unnecessary additions. Trust me: I guarantee Greedo won’t shoot first in this book.)
“It’s the little differences…” – Vincent Vega, Pulp Fiction
From Chaplin to Cameron, these are some of the things I hope to accomplish with a Cinemagogue Director’s Cut. Things have changed over the last decade, and not just “out there” in cinema, storytelling, culture and consumption. I’d like to think I’ve refined a few dynamics as a writer and speaker, and not because I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome I am. I believe my voice has been enhanced by quality time amongst like-minded fellows.
Since publishing Cinemagogue in 2012 I’ve been blessed with speaking tours and opportunities to travel, from my greater Seattle stomping grounds to Chicago, over to Florida, even down (under) to Australia. But these days, physical travel is less necessary. In the fall of 2015 (about 3 years after publishing the book) I was contacted by a young fella named Richard Foltz and asked to be interviewed on the Popcorn Theology Podcast, where I discovered younger minds had picked up my baton and started running with it on a whole new track. And my world has never been the same…
CINEMAGOGUE: DIRECTOR’S CUT is available NOVEMBER 23! MARK YOUR CALENDARS…