Media Production Mentoring

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The Luke Cut

Several of my friends told me that they very much enjoyed The Snyder Cut. So I decided to check it out. And, yeah, I had a good time. But as I watched video essays about the film, a recuring theme surfaced that my friends had also mentioned: It's a little bloated. It doesn't drag, per se, but it's long and has stuff that could probably be cut.

That's when someone said, "Why didn't they just hire an editor to cut it down instead of spending $100 million?"

Well, turns out that the studio execs really wanted a Marvel Movie instead of a Snyder film, but the question stuck. I enjoy editing, so I decided to take the question as a challenge: Could I cut The Snyder Cut down to a "reasonable" length?

I immedately decided on some guidelines/rules/parameters/limitations:
  1. I need to leave Zack's cool slow-mo shots and stuff because he'd want them.
  2. I can't cut major plot points or rearrange them; I'm not making a different film.
  3. I am only "trimming the fat".

Granted, there were obvious technical limitations, too. Namely, I can't go and select a different shot or remix the music because I don't have access to any of that. The only tools I had were what I could do with my editing machine and an already edited video and music track. I also can't re-record anything or rewrite a scene. I can only cut (and cross-fade, and utilize a few other tricks and tools in my NLE).
The Luke Cut Timeline
The Luke Cut Timeline

I had a blast. It took me a week or so of editing in the hours I wasn't doing my full-time job or spending time with my family or taking part in the various activities that demand my time. And I found a tremendous amount of statisfaction in cutting the almost 4 hour film into less than 2 hours and 15 minutes (including the Epilogue) and several sequences I didn't care about at all, but needed to be there "for Zack".

The Good

There's a sequence where a group of guys pull up to a bank. They slowly get out the vehicles, huge guns drawn. They look suspiciously up and down the street before menacingly approaching the front door where a guard is watching them. As they make their way across the two-lane road, the guard finally takes note of them and lifts his gun to confront them before he is shot in the back of the head by the leader who has already walked past him. Yeah. It made no sense. I was able to tighten the sequence so it makes a little more sense:

I was able to edit out a line that frustrated me the first time I watched it. A little girl asks Wonder Woman, "Can I be like you someday?" And Wonder Woman says, "You can be anything you want to be." ...which is factually untrue. Wonder Woman is an Amazon goddess. So I cut her reply, and the scene plays much, much better:

A group of Amazon warriors have been guarding a box for a thousand years, or whatever. They have a huge group of them standing guard all the time. A portal opens and winged demons -- with weapons -- start pouring out. They stand there. An evil looking guy drops in and monologues about how he is there to steal the box and how they will all lose. They stand there. The big bad guy insults them. They give a comeback. Then one warriors finally shoots an arrow and the battle beings. Or, you know, the demons could come through the portal and immediately start shooting...

And there's some swearing, including an f-bomb when Batman claims he is going to, one day, kill The Joker. We could just cut out the swear word.

The Bad

There are a few sequences that were absolutely worse. The biggest example: I cut absolutely everything related to Commissioner Gordon from the film. However, there is one scene where he shows up to tell our main characters where to go next. The rest of the scene, I've been told, is just fan service and to look cool. But in the Luke Cut, it makes no sense because you don't know who J.K. Simmons is or how everyone showed up at this roof top.

Also, watching my cut, I did notice there were places where it felt off and needed some adjusting. This isn't surprising since I had simply cut the film and walked away. I did, however, gain a greater appreciation for the role of a director working with an editor to ensure the vision is not lost in edit.

And had I broken the rules I gave myself, I could have cut more and made the movie more fun.

The Ugly

Want to hear us talk about a movie I can't share with you because even uploading highly edited clips brought down copyright claims against me? Of course you do! Check out our little "podcast" where we dicuss it:

The Luke Cut - e59 - No Way to Hollywood

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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