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Customer Review

166 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extended Cut turns mud into Gold, May 24, 2011
This review is from: Gods and Generals (Two-Disc Extended Director's Cut in Blu-ray Book Packaging) (Blu-ray)
The theatrical release of the film was just one giant mess of a film. Great acting, sets, cinematography, and of course historically accurate, but still a mess. A search on rottentomatoes.com shows the film to have about an 8% rating which makes someone wonder 'did Uwe Boll direct this?' Plenty of people will hate it because the only slaves depicted in it are the exceptionally well-treated ones. Even watching it again, some of those scenes do still bother me as well, but a new viewer needs to take in account this film about the civil war is NOT focused on the issue of slavery. Of course, the theatrical version isn't focused on anything at all and the was the biggest problem with it.

I initially saw it when it first came out on DVD and expected 'Gettysburg' and what I found instead was a horrendously uneven and unfocused plot. Every scene was either dragged out too long, or rushed, and the transitioning always felt random. With this new extended cut, the movie gains an extra hour. That's right, a near four hour movie is now a near five hour movie. Now I'm a sucker for extended cuts even when the original was mediocre at best. My personal favorites are Dances with Wolves (another hour of greatness), and Kingdom of Heaven (fixes EVERYTHING, except the mis-casted Orlando Bloom). An example of a terrible one is Alexander: Final Cut (Jesus would have trouble raising THAT from the dead).

Gods and Generals is now officially the one movie that benefits more than any other film by having an extended cut. With the added hour and re-edit of the entire movie beginning to end, the pacing of the whole film is restored. Viewers ignorant of the civil war will understand whats going on much better. The characters gain more depth with the added scenes on and off the battlefield. There's a subplot about John Wilkes Booth that adds thematically to the film in a way that's subtle and yet profound, especially towards the end (no, JWB is not portrayed as a 'hero').

In short, a well-intentioned yet disastrous film becomes (I am NOT joking) a cinematic masterpiece. If you at least appreciated what the Theatrical release was trying to accomplish you'll enjoy this new extended cut. You may not be ecstatic about it as I am, but you'll at least agree that it's a solid improvement.

Theatrical Release: 4/10
Extended-Cut: 10/10
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 28, 2011 8:16:14 AM PDT
Mister Myst says:
Great review. I had the same reaction you did to the theatrical version, so it stands to reason that, like you, I'll really enjoy the Extended Cut.

On a side note, I wish they'd stop putting reviews for the theatrical version on the director's cut page. Ah well. Thanks for the insight on what I can expect from this.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2011 2:00:29 PM PDT
Zepharim says:
Thank you, I appreciate it.

I knew I was taking a big chance with just dropping $30 on it, but I guess I wanted to like the original so much that I gave the director another chance. It really is proof that directors (competent ones anyway) should always have the final say on a film's cut. I mean they're the lead artist after all, no one has a clearer vision of the film's goal than them. It became clear to me as I watched the restored version that all cuts and alternate edits were a vain attempt at fitting the mammoth into theaters.

Though I watched it entirely in one sitting (thoroughly enthralled, despite having seen 3/4 of it already) you may want to treat it as a mini-series and do it over two or three nights. Either way, let me know what you think of it. I'm so curious how others react to it.

And yeah, it seems like Amazon tries to address this issue with stating "this review comes from the DVD version" and the like. *shrug* It's better than nothing I suppose, though I agree, irritating.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2011 8:37:36 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2011 8:38:12 PM PDT
Mister Myst says:
Sadly, I'll have to wait until July to get it (don't have a BluRay and can't afford to get one at the moment)..., but I will get it, just not right now.

As for what other people think of it, Greg Caggiano's blog gave a really in-depth review of the extended cut and likened it to a 5-Act Shakespearean play. His only complaint was the fact that it took this long for it to be made available to the public.

I think I'll follow your suggestion about viewing it in multiple sittings. Considering it was just shy of 5 hours, it should have been a mini-series, not a movie. John Adams was a hit, but if it had been a movie, I don't think it would have gotten the positive reception it did.

I might still keep my DVD of the theatrical cut, mainly as a curiousity piece.

Posted on May 20, 2013 11:49:38 AM PDT
M. Muse says:
Yeah, I thought it was funny when people criticized the film for depicting a few slaves as being well-treated. I suppose the public expects every slave owner to be a racist, whip-crackin' redneck, even though this was hardly the case. My understanding is that most of them were businessmen, no matter how they viewed the issue of slavery. Why would a businessman go out of his way to destroy his own business assets?

Posted on Nov 22, 2013 1:39:58 PM PST
Thanks for your review. I felt pretty much the same about the theatrical version, so your comments have really peaked my interest. The only problem is I don't own a Blu-Ray player. :(

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2013 2:31:38 PM PST
Cart says:
Almost everything taught in schools, in books, and on tv/movies about slaves and the south is a myth.

Posted on Apr 7, 2014 5:53:03 PM PDT
totally dude says:
I'd say that the extended cut turns mud into manure.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2014 5:55:12 PM PDT
totally dude says:
I could be okay with depicting slavery as benign, but the film bonks you over and over with the message that the war was not about slavery at all. It is constantly showing some black actor singing the Confederacy's praises and even ripping the Emancipation Proclamation. I mean, really?

Posted on Sep 1, 2015 6:57:04 PM PDT
CZ says:
I dunno, I enjoyed the final cut of Alexander. I thought that movie and Colin's performance were really underrated. But then again I loved Revolution (w/Al Pacino) , so maybe I am a poor judge of films.... ;)
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