Elektra (2005) - Director's Cut
|Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Fantasy|
|Fox || Unrated - 99 minutes - $26.98 || October 18th, 2005|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-11-20|
Writer(s): Zak Penn (story) and Stu Zickerman (story) & Raven Metzner (story), Zak Penn (screenplay)
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Will Yun Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Terrence Stamp
Theatrical Release Date: January 6th, 2005
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Marvel Comics over the past few years was the king of creating good to great comic book movies with the two Blade movies (1999/2002) and moving on to the X-Men movies (2000/2003) and Spider-Man (2002/2004), but lately they've become overly confident in their product. Following those successes, mediocre to downright poor Marvel films followed with The Punisher, Daredevil (although I liked it), Fantastic Four and Elektra. The latter of these isn't as bad, but it embodies the reason Marvel (and even DC) should stick with their major characters and leave the B-level one's alone or as supporting characters.
When I first saw the theatrical version a few months ago, my first thought after it was over was why? Why did this movie need to be made? One can argue that its box office failure was due to the release date in January, but releasing it later wouldn't have changed the fact that the movie was average... at best. Will a director's cut of Elektra do the same as it did with Daredevil? In a word, no. Director Mark Steven Johnson added in more than 30 minutes of footage that truly changed the complexion of the movie, with Elektra, Rob Bowman adds in a whopping two minutes, two minutes that I didn't really notice.
As for the movie, it's merely OK. The set design seemed to have been done on the cheap and certainly the supporting actors alongside Jennifer Garner were also on the cheap as well. I can understand why. Although the movie Elektra is spinned off from made over $100m (squeaked past it), it was still a risk with an actress who had yet to prove to be a movie star. In any case, the way I describe the overall product is that it's a well made TV series pilot, which isn't a surprise since director Bowman made his career out of directing "X-Files" episodes.
Garner, for her part, does fine with the role, but in hindsight, a stronger actress was needed since she had to carry the film on her own. Elektra boasts supporting actors including Goran Visnjic (TV's "ER") and Terrence Stamp, who is all but wasted as Elektra's blind mentor. And although Garner certainly doesn't have the star power to carry a movie on her own, I do think she does her best despite the obstacles.
This director's cut expands over two discs and features 4 documentaries/featurettes and the other stuff on the original release.
Director & Editor Commentary - The first DVD release carried only some deleted scenes, a featurette, but no commentary track. I was interested in hearing what director Rob Bowman had to say about the movie. Sometimes, although rarely, a commentator might have some honesty in the final product, and in this case, there was a little of that. Bowman does address the failure at both the box office and critically. But like any good director, he doesn't back away from it, in fact, he still believes in the film and hopes others will give it a second chance. While I still can't agree that Elektra is anything but an average movie, I applaud him for sticking with it. Bowman is joined by editor Kevin Stitt, so they do have some good stories to bounce off each other.
Relentless: The Making of Elektra, Parts 1 & 2 - Extensive making-of documentary split into two parts: production and post-production. Part 1 runs at an impressive 105 minutes and features a ton of behind-the-scenes footage which, at times, also has commentary from Bowman explaining what the purpose of this or that take was or how impressive that actor was doing a scene. While there is a little butt-kissing, I was very impressed with this part and was intrigued at what part 2 might provide. And in the second part, we get to see the process of getting all the elements together from editing to sound mixing to visual effects. Like part one, this one too is quite broad in scope and, at least for me, was far more interesting than the movie itself. Major kudos to Bowman, Fox and all those involved in getting this docu-featurette onto the DVD.
"Elektra: Incarnations" Mythology Documentary - Not as interesting as "Relentless", but for the comic book fan (be it DC, Marvel, Image or just in general), this could be a worthwhile viewing (if you could care less, then best bet is to skip it). Anyways, this documentary features interviews with artists (Frank Miller) and others involved with the Elektra character since her introduction. Also covered is her (Elektra) purpose as well as industry stories (scratching Elektra's heroin addiction). Basically, you'll learn all you want about this character just in this nearly hour-long documentary.
"Elektra in Greek Mythology" Featurette - For the comic book-geek, history buff, this is the featurette for you. This one features a Greek Studies professor, explaining the history, drama and tragedy of Electra. This certainly gives a good background on Elektra's name (as briefly referenced in the film by Mark), but if you are onl interested in the movie then this might not be your cup of tea. The problem for me was it reminded me of my Russian history class which had to the most boring experience in my life.
Multi-Angle Dailies - Four different takes of a scene from the movie where, using your "angle" button, can switch the different cameras (and a combined one). Nothing of note, but still fun to actually use that damn angle button on the DVD remote (a feature, I believe, the manufacturers thought would be used more often).
Deleted Scenes - These scenes were available on the previous release. There are three scenes: "Sai Approach", "Come Back to Me" and "Rounding Up the Troops" and are accompanied by optional commentary from Bowman and Stitt. Unfortunately, they do comment on the first and last scene, but are completely silent for the one with Ben Affleck. I would've liked to have heard why the scene was cut, but still interesting to see what was filmed.
Alternate/Extended Scenes - There are 6 scenes in all, totally over 13 minutes, again with optional commentary, and for the most part they were cut for the right reasons. But, there are also a couple that, if isolated, are cool, but within the movie would've slowed it down even more. The one I found to be good was a cut between Elektra and her younger self as she climbs the stairs of the Natchios estate, comparing her ordeal with the death of her mother. There is an alternate opening which includes scenes edited in throughout, as well as an alternate ending of sorts with an X-Men like moment as the head good guy sits across a table with the bad guy showing everything that happened was merely a game.
Galleries - This disc also includes 5 galleries: Costumes, Production Design, Weapons, Unit Photography and Storyboards. For me, I don't have much interest in galleries unless there's some commentary to talk about the process or what not, but if you have an interest in film making, then maybe how they went from drawings to the final product could be fascinating to some.
Also included (on the first disc) are the theatrical teaser and trailer.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
This director's cut not only adds in two minutes of new footage, but, and this is according to Bowman on the DVD insert, he remixed the sound for the home theater system. He explains that movie theaters have eighteen speakers where home theaters have around five. Now, while I appreciate his work on making this different from the original release, I have to admit that I did notice that the DTS track wasn't as full as other releases. That said, some of the sounds actually had some impact. Sitting in my family room, the ground shook with each bullet or hit.
The picture is presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35), which is something I found out Bowman fought to get as the studio wasn't sure they wanted to spend the extra dough. The colors are crisp and the red of Elektra's sexy outfit pops out of the screen (and is the most notable thing about the movie itself).
As a comic book fan, in general, I found Elektra to be one of the most mundane and average comic book movie ever. There's nothing really memorable, such as an action sequence, nor the performance from the lovely Jennifer Garner. However, Elektra does make a good time-waster and a film you don't have to think about... at all. As for this release, I found the special features, and the two-part documentary, to be better than the movie itself. If, however, you could care less about features and only about the movie, you'll certainly find the original release on sale (that is if you actually liked the movie).