Saturday, August 7, 2010
Sometimes, less is more
Last night, I thought I was going crazy… or, at the very least, that my memory had really degraded beyond an acceptable measure. Let me explain…
A few months ago, I had enthusiastically recommended to my wife "Heavenly Creatures", an early Peter "Lord of the Rings" Jackson movie which also marked Kate Winslet's film debut. I'd bought the DVD some years ago and watched it a couple of times, and thought it was a really interesting, well-crafted character study of two teenage girls who murder one of their mothers. It's based on a real event that happened in New Zealand. And there are some very nifty special effects in it which are used to illustrate the elaborate fantasy story the girls create.
So several weeks ago, Jeannine expressed interest in watching it, and I went to my drawers of DVD's to pull it out. Not there. I thought it might be in one of the several piles Emily had made in the living room. Not there, either. I scoured all the places where I might have set it down, and even queried some friends to whom I may have lent it. It was nowhere to be found.
So I ordered another copy through amazon.com, and two nights ago, we started watching it. I immediately thought I noticed something odd -- there was stuff in the movie I didn't remember. And… it wasn't quite as good as I remembered, either.
We left off watching it at about the halfway point, and then last night picked it up again and watched the rest of it. And that odd feeling continued to grow. The movie seemed too long, scenes went on and on, and there was more stuff I didn't remember. I was starting to get embarrassed that I had highly recommended this film to my wife, who was clearly not too impressed.
Then, for some reason I can't remember, I picked up the DVD case and saw two words which explained everything:
So that was the reason I was seeing things in this movie I had absolutely no memory of seeing on previous viewings! I breathed a big sigh of relief…. and disappointment, because as far as I was concerned, none of the material which had been restored to this "uncut" version had made it any better. In fact, it had made it worse -- it dragged, it went over and over the same points, it felt too long.
As the old saying goes, "Sometimes less is more." It certainly was in this case. -- PL