The challenge between directors and studios can often be a tricky subject. On the one hand, I firmly believe you should never touch an artist’s work; While on the other hand, lives an audience that runs out to movies such as Transformers and Grown Ups 2, and leaving critically acclaimed features like Pacific Rim and The World’s End in the dust.
It’s a sad truth, but American audiences send mix messages to studios quite frequently. Thus, creating frustrating issues like the one we see here with Harvey Weinstein. We demand intelligent cinema, yet we don’t champion the results at the box-office. Making producers dumb down the products we consume.
Back in August, IF.com reported that Harvey Weinstein was planning to trim 20 plus minutes out of the film, and lower the intelligence level so “midwest hicks” could understand the film. The result caused an uproar on the internet after the glowing responses coming out of festivals and overseas.
The latest report indicates director Bong Joon-Ho is less than pleased about the butchering of his film, and I don’t blame him. Here is the quote:
“Bong did not provide details of his differences with TWC and understatedly said from the stage that the version for English-language release would be ‘a little bit different,’ but sources close to the director say that privately he is furious. He has been quoted in other media as saying that up to 20 minutes are to be cut.”
No further details are known of how much the cuts have impacted the quality of the film, but if Bong Joon-Ho is furious, one can assume it’s not good.
If there is a lesson from all this, it might be if we really want stronger intelligent cinema, we need to start showing it, and quit blaming Hollywood. Situations like this one will continue to happen if we allow the industry to give us low-minded hits. Don’t get me wrong, I love a film every once in a while where I can turn my brain off and just eat my popcorn and chuckle. That said, is it fair to point the finger at studios when that’s all U.S. audiences are willing to pay for?