So I used up the rest of by Best Buy gift card this weekend and bought a couple more DVDs for the collection. The one that inspired me to go to the store was one that I’ve been waiting to come out for awhile now.
Donnie Darko: The Directors Cut. I never saw either version in the theatre, my exposure to it was renting the DVD a couple years ago after a co-worker said what a good movie it was. That co-worker was right, I loved the movie and had planned on buying it for awhile, but then I heard there was going to be a directors cut released so I waited. I never got the chance to catch the DC in the theatre, so I had to wait even longer.
Now I will admit I’m not the smartest guy on earth, and I’ll own up to not fully understanding this movie the first time I saw it. Or even the last time I saw it. However that aside, the movie gripped me and that is where the movie really succeeds. It has a lot of different levels of things happening that you can take the simplest thing from it (a messed up kid trying to figure out what it all means and questioning everything in life, which is something everyone goes through), or you can delve deeper into it and figure out (which I did by reading up on it on the internet to see if my theory of what happened was accurate, which is was on a very basic level, and by watching the special features that explain some of it as well) and get a thought-provoking super hero story, or a story about time travel, or a story about parallel universes, etc. In hindsight, there was so much going on in the movie that you could get something different from it on each viewing.
The directors cut adds in a bunch of deleted scenes that better help the story along. Some people in message boards think it spoils the movie, but having seen both I disagree, I think it really helps convey the story a bit better. Lady Combustion never saw the original and she said she’d be way more lost if it wasn’t for the little Chapter text blurbs that came up at certain points in the film. There was one musical change too during a scene but it neither detracts or adds anything different to the film, either one was good.
The picture is rock solid and is going to look great on your uber-expensive TV. The sound was equally amazing with its Dolby 5.1 mix that really fills up the room and sounds really cool when Frank is talking to Donnie inside his head. There are a couple cool bonus features too like a documentary on the film and this messed up documentary on the biggest Donnie Darko fan which was funny, and a little creepy at the same time.
I may actually go back and pick up the theatrical cut of the movie since it can be had cheap. It is a shame they didn’t include that as an option on this new edition like they did with the T2 special edition.
In a day where movies seem so uninspired and disposable, it is a rare treat to have such a memorable film come out that is not only very thought-provoking and sometimes confusing in a very good way, but one that will warrant many repeated viewings with the ability to have you discover something new every time you watch it. I couldn’t recommend this more, so far it is the best DVD to come out this year, and it is going to be a tall order to be able to top it..
Official Donnie Darko website (this was very interesting)
An explination of the deeper story in the film (warning: spoilers, don’t read it unless you have seen the movie already!)
Order the DVD here