21 April 2008

Terry Gilliam (addendum)

1985 | Brazil: The "Love Conquers All" Version
I went into this with an open mind. Despite admiring the director's cut a great deal, I was thinking: "it's still 100% Gilliam's footage, they have to follow the basic script, the actor's performances won't change: how can it be bad?" It can be plenty bad, actually. Through the power of editing, the idiot suits from Universal cut the film into worthless pabulum. The change in the ending is, of course, the absolute greatest sin. The shot of Lint and Helpmann interrupting Sam's dream in the torture chamber is removed, making Sam's dream of Tuttle's rescue and country living with Jill a reality.

There are a myriad of smaller changes that grate almost as badly, especially if you're familiar with the director's cut. There's only one dream sequence -- "helpfully" surrounded in a sitcom-style white, hazy border so you know what it is -- and it's merely the pleasant part of the first dream in which Sam flies through the clouds and spies Jill. Tuttle is specifically IDed as a terrorist. The rack of TVs playing the Central Services ad at the beginning does not explode. Lines by Jill wisely cut by Gilliam are reinserted, weakening her character quite a bit. Michael Kamen's score is applied in an entirely different way, drastically changing the mood of certain scenes. I could go on, but it's not worth any more thought. (4/10)

2008 | The Madness and Misadventures of Munchausen (produced by Constantine Nasr)
A feature-length documentary found on the 20th anniversary DVD and BD that chronicles the problematic production of the movie. Unlike the debacle that was The Making of Alien³, this documentary is impressively candid. None of the interview subjects have trouble speaking their minds and none appear to have been censored. Eric Idle dubs the whole experience a nightmare, Sarah Polley essentially accuses the production of breaking child labor laws, producer Thomas Schühly talks a whole lot of smack, and Gilliam himself describes how he punched out his own windshield after screaming at a financier. It was all quite interesting and answered all of the questions I had about the making the movie (like, Robin Williams refused to be credited because he hated Schühly). Nice work. (7/10)