Harvey Weinstein is notorious even among studio moguls for messing with films in order to ‘help’ their ‘commercial potential’. This usually means stripping away much of that film’s character through drastic re-editing or the addition of incongruous elements that Mr. Weinstein, in his wisdom, has decided will increase the film’s market value, regardless of how poorly they fit into the filmmaker’s original vision. Anyone seen Shaolin Soccer, the film Stephen Chow made before the awesome Kung-Fu Hustle? Well, Weinstein not only reportedly cut thirty minutes out of it for its long-delayed US release and added Carl Douglas’ Kung-Fu Fighting onto the soundtrack, but also un-dubbed the film, replacing its English dialogue with subtitles.
The bad news is that Weinstein may be on the verge of dragging another film into his slaughterhouse. Even worse is that the picture in question is Richard Ayoade’s charming Submarine, which I had the pleasure of watching at last year’s London Film Festival. Apparently the film tested less well than expected at a New York screening, resulting in Weinstein’s knee-jerk reaction to tone down the British accents and edit the dialogue. All this may not come to pass of course and since the film is out next month in the UK, perhaps its commercial performance there will have some bearing on its fate in the US.
Even though I admittedly felt that the film’s final act dragged a little, the success of Ayoade’s film relies on its ability to create and maintain a very distinctive and British atmosphere of clumsily ethereal childhood, in the same way that many people’s younger days are remembered through a lens of affection and embarrassment. The idea of Weinstein taking his scissors of creative death to such a delicately balanced film is too depressing to even think about.[Variety Fair, via WordandFilm]