166 of 178 people found the following review helpful
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
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