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DVD: Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut

Earlier today we decided to watch a DVD. According to my current system, it was time to either watch a Doctor Who, or one of the DVDs I actually own but have never watched. Since Cynthia is here though, I let her pick from all the available DVDs in the house that I haven’t watched yet including all of the other Netflix ones besides the categories I mentioned. But she ended up picking one in the “Own but haven’t watched” category anyway. Not the one I would have watched next on my own, but that is OK. She’s a guest and all. :-)

Anyway, she picked Donnie Darko. Years ago I had seen it at a midnight showing in a theater with Rebecca and company in DC. A few years later it was given to me on DVD for Christmas or my birthday or some such, and I watched it fairly soon thereafter. I remember assuring Brandy that it was a family safe movie, but then five minutes in two of the main characters start using some highly amusing, yet not 8 or 9 year old safe language and Amy started hiding her eyes and covering her ears. Oops.

A little later they released a Director’s Cut version. I bought it as soon as it was available, but then it sat on shelves and in boxes for two and a half years until we watched it today.

First lets start with I liked the original quite a bit. The Director’s cut adds a LOT. The Donnie Darko page on Wikipedia has a listing of the differences. When we finished the movie I was saying that they must have added “about half an hour”. I was close. Turns out it was about 20 minutes of new scenes.

For the most part I like the additions. There is an argument that can be made that some of the appeal of the original version was just how confusing it was, whereas some of the things added are attempts to clarify what is going on… especially the places where the text from the time travel book is shown… and that this takes away from the “WTF just happened?” feelings that leave you talking and wanting more when you are done. Like too much explanation spoils it.

Having said that, it isn’t like they end up spelling it out cleanly. You still get some of that effect. And for the most part I liked the additions. But I think I am glad I saw the original version first.

Cynthia saw it for the first time in extended form. I’m thinking it was still odd and disturbing, but perhaps not quite so odd and disturbing as if she’d seen the original version.

Oh yeah, right as the dramatic tension was building near the end, Roscoe started baking uncontrollably from the back yard. He had treed some sort of animal that hissed back from above. We couldn’t see it because it was dark, but we had to pause for about ten minutes to get him back inside and stuff. Threw things off a bit. But not too badly. Then the sound got messed up (by my needs to be replaced A/V system) right at the end when Mad World was playing. Hated that. HAd to keep getting up to kick the system to fix the sound. Grrr…