Yesterday I finally got the chance to watch Batman Forever: Virtual Workprint (a fan-edit which brilliantly intigrates all of the deleted footage from this Joel Schumacher-helmed production), it now stands as my all-time favourite live-action Batman film.
Experiencing this fan-edit was a truly eye-opening experience and left me feeling a bit of melancholy. The fact that Warner Bros. have actively refused to officially release this version of the film, which some are rightfully calling "The Schumacher Cut", is, quite frankly, embarrassing. Not only is this fan-edit better than their studio cut, it is FAR BETTER. Fan-edits of this caliber are a testament to how out-of-touch executives are when it comes to what audiences desire.
So let's talk about Tim Pope's The Crow: City of Angels.
A convicted rapist, Harvey Weinstein, turned this gothic love story into a blatant remake of The Crow. Scenes of substance, such as grizly beheadings and compelling visions of the afterlife, are ripped away from this movie, rendering the theatrical cut (and "Exclusive Director's Cut" alike) a glorified mess. Featuring the all-time worst editing choices, like Sarah shooting at the crow (when she just lovingly painted Ashe's face) and the main villain sending Iggy Pop to capture Sarah only to let her get away after she disarms him, it's almost shocking that the movie is even watchable, mainly this is due to the unique set-design and dream-like cinematography (as well as Graham Revell's majestic score).
While this film does have a fan-edit, known as The Second Coming, which you can easily track down on YouTube, it has to use still images and wordy descriptions to clearly fill-in many of the blanks. The biggest sufferer is the climax, a finale which originally had a greater sense of peril and urgency; such as the aforementioned beheading of a pursuing henchman and Ashe crashing his motorcycle into a horse-drawn carriage beforehand. All of this eventually leads to one of the most compelling endings ever: Ashe, the newly resurrected Crow, makes the choice to not return to the afterlife with his son, damning himself to spend eternity among the living. The hero fails in Shakespearian-fashion, no coincidence since Vincent Perez molded his performance around Hamlet.
To say that this film deserves a cut that adheres closer to the original vision (from director Tim Pope and writer David S. Goyer alike) is the understatement of the century. Miramax owes it to their customers, especially considering the fact that they, almost as a sick joke, released a version to Pay-Per-View in 1997 which WAS the original cut. Running at over two hours, this "PPV Cut" was magnificent and is the first memory I have from my childhood. If this cut was available right now, there's no doubt in my mind that this would (easily) be my favourite comic-book film of all-time.
So, on August 30th (the 25th Anniversary of the film), I continue to wait for Miramax to deliver the good news: that they've finally agreed to share this "PPV Cut" with the world. I genuinely believe that, if this version gets released, it will go from being known as "one of the worst movies of all-time" to one of the best. It's been twenty-five years, and I'm still waiting.