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Dark City (1998)

They built the city to see what makes us tick. Last night one of us went off. | guide

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Old Nov 8, 2005, 05:09 PM   #1
Seraph
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Now this sounds better:

Quote:
A friend and I saw a cut of DARK CITY almost a year before it came out at one of those test screenings.

Now I know you love this film, and I know people who love the film, but honestly, you don't know how wonderful this movie was before it got butchered.

The version I saw was far superior to what actually came out. It's been awhile, but I'll attempt to elaborate what made the film different.

1. There was no opening scroll with Kiefer Sutherland's VO telling you about the aliens and how they had been watching us. The film just put you into the environment. We had no idea of time and place or that any "alien" was watching the human characters. We discovered these things slowly as the film developed. This change had a major impact on the whole film, because without that lame VO and scroll, you have no idea what kind of world the story is taking place in. Is this a comic book world? A period piece? A fantasy? Then when you discovered the answers, it packed a powerful punch. It was hands down one of the biggest Wow's I had at the movies ever.

2. The editing style had completely changed! The film originally played out it's scenes in a more Kubrick like fashion. The version I saw a year later was cut like a Michael Bay movie. I distinctly remember a scene where Jennifer Connelly and Rufus Sewell are having a conversation in a room. Originally, it was a wide master shot and two close ups. The pace was slow, methodical, but never boring. The tone was mysterious and engrossing. Suddenly, in the new version, this scene was harshly edited with 1 - 2 second cuts between the actors. THEY WERE JUST TALKING FOR GOD'S SAKES. Clearly, someone felt the pace was too slow, so they had to SPEED UP the tempo of the scenes. I found it intrusive.

3. The music, like the editing had changed. Now the cut I saw might have had a temp track, but the style was mysterious and outer worldly. The new cut was more pulsating, loud and clangy. Again, it seemed like they were trying to speed things up. Never mind that this loud clangy soundtrack was pounding during mere conversations.

4. In the first cut, the aliens themselves were like little scorpions when they left the humanoid shells. They were a more physical effect. Either stop motion, or puppets. Perhaps they were temporary effects, but they looked much better than the glowy MORTAL KOMBAT video game things that flew out of their bodies in the current version. The original creatures were goopy and real. The later ones were as you remember, a computery looking effect.

There were more changes including more or less of the guy writing all over the walls of his apartment. I can't remember if that was new to the later cut or if there was more in the original. The fact is, I haven't watched DARK CITY in awhile, but that first cut was a great experience which I cannot wait to re-explore on DVD. To all of you who love DARK CITY, you don't know what you missed. Hopefully this will be the cut that gets released.

http://www.joblo.com/index.php?id=9203
There's a directors cut dvd coming out too.
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Old Mar 5, 2006, 09:22 PM   #2
jill_valentine
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Re: Now this sounds better:

Anymore word on the directors cut DVD? A friend of mine has taken to shouting at me to see this film every time we meet, so I better see it soon for the sake of my beleaguered eardrums...
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Old Apr 3, 2006, 02:31 PM   #3
Nexus
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Re: Now this sounds better:

The director's cut needs to come out sooooon, dammit. I still absolutely do love this film to bits, but that spoiler-ridden voice-over at the beginning really lets it down. The film would be much more mysterious without it.

It's as bad as the voice-over for Blade Runner - why do so many great SF films tack on a voice-over? If Americans are too bloody thick to "get it" at screen tests, that's their problem!

Last edited by Nexus : Apr 10, 2006 at 05:27 PM.
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Old Apr 6, 2006, 06:06 PM   #4
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Re: Now this sounds better:

It's the noir thing.
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Old Apr 10, 2006, 05:30 PM   #5
Nexus
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Re: Now this sounds better:

Quote:
Originally posted by Seraph
It's the noir thing.

What, Dark City? Then no. Blade Runner has it for "the noir thing", because like all noirs, it has a voice-over so we know what the protagonist is thinking and going through. Dark City has it to explain to the idiots eveything that's going to happen later in the film. It only uses the voice-over once, at the beginning, like an introduction, and it never uses it again. It's absolutely pointless.
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Old Apr 16, 2006, 02:19 PM   #6
Seraph
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Re: Now this sounds better:

Eh? I think you need renaming to the fabulous tangent man.

The voice over fit into the noir theme, it's not as traditional as the inner thought monologue but it is just as intrusive - the actor should be able to portray any inner thought without the A to B stepping stone dialogue. Point being, it's another stylisitic element (which was also used as a [bad] narrative tool) that feeds into the noir vibe - they could have jump started the narrative in many different ways (screen scroller, talking heads anything) they didn't, they went specifically for v/o.

Yep that's the absolute limit of my sense making this evening, sofa curling shall be the high point of my activites for the night.
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Old Apr 16, 2006, 02:48 PM   #7
Nexus
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Re: Now this sounds better:

Yes, I think you're right there. The voice-over wasn't planned, but they could have used scrolling text - but they didn't, to make it noirish. But either way lets the film down and the narrative is more effective when it throws the audience right in with no explanation.

Last edited by Nexus : Aug 27, 2008 at 08:38 AM.
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Old Aug 27, 2008, 06:26 AM   #8
Splendiferous
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Re: Now this sounds better:

Been looking for this thread for a week or so

BEHOLD!

I will buy it when I have money
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Old Aug 27, 2008, 08:36 AM   #9
Nexus
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Re: Now this sounds better:

The DC is much better, and closer to the original version. Not only is the voice-over dropped, but the ridiculously bombastic score is exchanged for ambient sound, and the editing is less scattorshot. watching the new version, I felt I was now able to truly soak up the mood and plot details like I had never done before. And we get to hear Jennifer Connelly's real singing voice too!
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 04:50 AM   #10
Lt_Johnny_Rico
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Re: Now this sounds better:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexus
The DC is much better, and closer to the original version. Not only is the voice-over dropped, but the ridiculously bombastic score is exchanged for ambient sound, and the editing is less scattorshot. watching the new version, I felt I was now able to truly soak up the mood and plot details like I had never done before. And we get to hear Jennifer Connelly's real singing voice too!

YES. YES. YES. YES to all of these. I bought the Director's Cut recently but never got around to watching it. So glad I made that purchase.
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Old Sep 17, 2009, 06:43 AM   #11
DarthJohn
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Re: Now this sounds better:

I agree, i got this on Blu-Ray and it rocks better in it's new version.
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