Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The controversy or the egg

I was perusing the movies in the checkout line at the grocery store tonight. Usually they are totally random movies -- I can remember seeing The Gods Must Be Crazy 2 in one such line not too long ago. Tonight, though, had a slightly more current -- and in my view, higher quality -- selection.

You see, I was a fan of I Am Legend. I know not everybody was -- they couldn't shake the Will Smithishness of such scenes as when Smith's character meets another human for the first time in several years, and goes pretty much immediately into a bit about Bob Marley. Me, I didn't mind.

To get those skeptics, the distributors of this DVD advertised it as containing an "alternate theatrical version" with a "controversial ending."

From a purely semantic standpoint, I saw two problems with these claims:

1) You can call something an "alternate version," but you are getting into pants-on-fire territory if you add in the adjective "theatrical." Unless there were actually two versions going around in theaters -- and potential viewers had to ask if the 4:55 screening was Ending 1 or Ending 2 -- then you are talking about an alternate video version, not an alternate theatrical version.

2) If this is the first time this ending is being seen by anybody, can it really be "controversial" yet? Isn't controversy something that's born of a common awareness among like-minded individuals who might be inspired to argue about the topic in question? If you suspect it will be controversial, that's not the same as it actually being controversial.

(Confession: This post was primarily to show you that I can do short in addition to long. Please come back. I'm new at this.)


Groundskeeper Willie said...

Perhaps it was an alternate ending in which the actors were being overly theatrical.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Dude, it's all marketing.

I seriously have no idea how they can all it a "theatrical" ending. It's kind of fuzzy.

As for "controversial" of two things: 1) People didn't like it in test screenings or 2) studio executives argued with the filmmakers, hence "controversial."

And I dug this movie too. I think the ending they showed in theaters was definitely better than the alternate ending.

Lord Vader said...

I think it was 'controversial' because of the fighting the execs and film-makers had in post production. I was also going to mention SPOILER Will Smith's demise in the 'controversial' ending, but now I'm not sure - does he maybe die in the 'alternate theatrical' (and by inference, non-controversial) ending?