Extra! Extra!

March 4, 2010 at 19:51 (1)

Finally got a chance to sit down and watch the Cirque Du Freak extras tonight. I started with the deleted scenes. Most of them were fairly minor, and easy to see why they were cut — while several would have rounded out some characters and scenes a bit more, most could hardly be considered essential. One that I would have liked to see in the movie was a scene where Rhamus Twobellies swallowed Alexander Ribs — it didn’t move the plot forward, but it was fun!!! There were quite a few more deleted scenes on the Blu-Ray than on the DVD, but I wouldn’t say that people who watch the DVD are missing out on much as far as the extra scenes go. Next up I watched the two featurettes, the first being a guide to becoming a freak, and the second being a tour of the Cirque. They were very interesting, especially the first — they really give you an idea of what a big production this was, how much thought and time and effort went into it. I think some fans were dismissive of the movie because of the changes that the makers made, but what they failed to consider was all of the re-imagining that took place, and how much care and affection went into the film. It might not be the movie that diehard fans of the books would have liked to see, but it was made for all the right reasons, by people who wanted to make a truly special film, not just cash in on a vampire craze. I think, if you were lukewarm about the film when you first saw it, these featurettes might help you appreciate it more if you choose to give it a second chance — and if you liked it first time, like I did, it will help you enjoy it even more the next time!!! All in all, I was very impressed with the extras and would definitely recommend you check them out if you plan to watch the film. I haven’t used the U-Control function yet, which gives access to even more cast and crew interviews, but hope to do so soon, if not before I head off on tour then when I return.

8 Comments

  1. James Dean said,

    I find it really hard to appreciate that somebody who considers themselves such a huge film buff (even listing Sunrise, Seven Samurai and Raging Bull among their favourites of all time) can even claim that The Vampire’s Assistance was even nearly a decent film… The argument of taking it on its merits as a genre film is also a very weak argument. The Godfather, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, Star Wars, and Apocalypse Now are all brilliant genre films. Even family films like Indiana Jones.

    We all know the effort that goes into making a film, but that doesn’t entitle it to some special praise. Hard work is required to make a good film, but sometimes that hard work doesn’t pay off. One can’t really say that some books are unfilmable (look at One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and The Lord of the Rings are prime examples) . Sometimes Hollywood fails and all this covering up doesn’t help anyone.

    You said before the film came out that you would judge it on its own merits, but you continue to gloss over its faults with weak counter arguments. I don’t know whether you’re being honest with yourself, us or are just pushing for more DVD sales. Regarding Twilight, although your books were written first, Twilight film production started first (how long was Cirque du Freak in “pre-production”? one wonders whether it would have ever reached actual production but for Twilight) and the last minute name change was just to catch onto that craze… You can’t deny that.

    You’ve also said that critics were split down the middle regarding the film. I don’t know whether you read Robert Ebert or The Irish Sun, but I hope you realise the credentials of some of these so-called critics. Plenty of useless films have blurbs on the cover calling them “The film of the year!” but The News of the World is probably being paid to make such ludricous comments.

    I haven’t covered everything that I wished to, but finally I’d just like to say that I’ve always had respect for your film critiques. From what you’ve said over the years, it’s quite unbelievable that you can truthfully say that you (YOU!) really liked this film a lot. It was a well-below-average teen genre flick,

    Disgruntledly yours,
    A Film Studies student

    • Darren Shan said,

      I make no money whatsoever from DVD sales, so that isn’t a motivating factor. In my opinion it’s a good film, simple as that. I didn’t “say” that critics are split down the middle — they are. On my message board I listed every single review that I could find of the movie when it first came out. They’re all there for you to peruse if you so choose. Half of them dismiss the film as you do — but more than half of them liked it. I’m not making that up — go check if you don’t believe me — and none of those critics had any ulterior motives.

      My best friend Kenny and I have watched as many films as each other and have very siilar tastes, yet we still split down the middle over many films and director. I think Hitchcock was vastly overrated (being a film studies student you’ll probably love him, because his films are so easy to write about — sorry, couldn’t resist the little dig!!), while Kenny thinks John Ford was nothing special. I can find no redeeming features in “Blade Runner”. I know many fans think it’s a classic, but like many other people, I watch it and see a piece of crap.

      We’re all entitled to our opinions, you to yours, and me to mine. What we should never do (and being a student you probably haven’t learned this yes — students usually have a superiority complex, which is the right of youth, and you have no need to apologise for that) is assume that OUR view can be the only correct view. It all comes down to a matter of personal taste. One viewer’s piece of crap is another viewer’s classic. I respect your right to not like the CDF film, but equally you should respect mine (and the thousands of fans who have given it a high score in IMDB) to say i enjoy it. Which I do.

      And you are, as many of the critics of the film were and are, quite simply wrong about Twilight. The CDF film WAS in pre-production before Twilight. That’s not a matter of conjecture — as someone who was personally involved in the project, I know it to be fact. If you want to go far with your studies, you need to learn not to decide that something is “true” simply because you want it to be true. It’s a very neat argument for critics of the film to claim it was a Twilight cash-in, but it wasn’t, no matter how much you might like it to be. The name change and poster design and promotional campaign were certainly influenced by the success of Twilight and the wave of vampire movies and TV shows of the last year or so, but when it was green lit, Twilight wasn’t a factor. Universal acquired the rights to the books in February 2005, and Paul Weitz came on board in January 2007. It was a long-planned project which was developed and filmed without any thought given to the “vampire craze” which simply didn’t exist at the time.

      • James Dean said,

        I’ll accept your comments as heartfelt and sincere, albeit, I must admit, slightly predictable and disappointing.

        I hear there’s a new film out called Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. I might go and see it.. Who knows I might be pleasantly surprised….

        Oh wait, I think I’d rather watch a Hitchcock film.

  2. Alex said,

    Hmm, i was nodding my head throughout James Dean’s comment. I think he has made a good point.

    I am in two minds whether to buy and watch Cirque Du Freak on Blu-Ray. I want to watch it because it’s a bit more of the Darren Shan world… But i hate that it’s so different from the books. Reading James Dean’s comment makes me dislike the film even more…

    I do however appreciate that a lot of effort was put in to making it the best film it could be. For me though, it isn’t good enough by far.

  3. James Dean said,

    Thank you Alex… I’m not trying to be controversial for the sake of it, I’m genuinely concerned about film-making and don’t like to see people compromising their integrity for little or no reason.

    The point is not the film is not like the books (that’s not the issue at all – two different media, two different interpretations… remember the first Harry Potter film? It stuck so closely to the book it was useless… i really enjoyed the third film, while it deviated significantly from the book)… The point is the film. It should all be about the film. Not the book. And the film was poor. Effort doesn’t necessarily make a good film…

  4. Sarah said,

    Still haven’t seen the film. 😥 I was meant to see it at cinema but time seemed to fly and I missed it. Just looked it up and it has come out on dvd now I see. 😀

  5. Emily said,

    well, after receiving my DVD through the post today at last, I got a chance to watch the extra features and I do agree with Darren. I enjoyed the tour bit, it was nice to get a better view of some of the tents, and I loved the idea of unique ones for each character, and it was clear that plenty of effort was put in by the design team to make the set, which I think gave a nice dimension to the Cirque.

    I can’t say I agree with some of the above comments. It isn’t perfect, and in truth I was a little bit disgruntled at first about the obvious deviations from the books, but I enjoyed it, for all its ‘faults’. And Darren is perfectly entitled to like it, even if some people believe the film to be poorly made! Difference in opinion is going to happen, you don’t need to leap down Darren’s throat, just because he enjoys “his” film and likes to write about it on his blog.

    Moving on, what I would love to see is a Demonata film, but kept exactly as dark and gory as the books. It would have to be made as a 15 or even an 18 but boy, if it was done well, it could be SPECTACULAR!!

  6. Bee F said,

    im firmly on “james dean”s (surely not his real name!) side here, having seen the film twice at this point. the 2 young leads acting is ropey at best, the special effects are ordinary and alot of the main actors were miscast in roles they simpy arent suited for (this isnt me being an unhappy fan or anything- i dont actually like the saga-its just an observation as a former film student myself). john c reilly never looks comfortable, ken watanabe has never seemed so wooden and Willem defoe is utterly wasted in his miniscule role.

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