DARK CITY: Director's Cut Coming To DVD

To celebrate the film's 10th anniversary, Alex Proyas is bringing his original vision of the cult-favorite Dark City to the public.
Thanks in part to an online fan petition expressing interest in seeing his cut of the film, Director Alex Proyas (The Crow) got the opportunity to restore New Line's 1998 noir fantasy film Dark City to his original version for the Warner Home Video 10th anniversary DVD release.

"It's quite a different version of the movie, and it's about 10 or 11 minutes longer, I think," Proyas told Sci Fi Wire's CINDY WHITE at Comic-Con International in San Diego on July 24.

The new release is, in essence, the director's first test-screening version of Dark City, to which the audience responded unfavorably, thus moving the studio to make "adjustments."

But when the opportunity arose to reassemble that earlier cut, Proyas made an exception to his rule about not watching his old films, and he's glad he did. "It was great fun, because...I hadn't seen the movie for 10 years, and I could see it quite objectively. It was a good experience."

Scripted by Proyas, Lem Dobbs (Kafka), and David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight), Dark City is the story of John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell), who wakes with no memory at the scene of a grisly murder and soon finds himself hunted by the police (William Hurt), a woman claiming to be his wife (Jennifer Connelly) and a mysterious group of pale men (including Kiefer Sutherland, Ian Richardson and Richard O'Brien) who seem to control everything and everyone in the city.

The production design by George Liddle (Rapa Nui) and Patrick Tatopoulos (Godzilla) was a composite of different styles and eras, combining the look of 1940s Manhattan with German Expressionism, especially Fritz Lang's Metropolis, which inspired the Strangers' Underworld, the largest indoor set ever built in Australia. Roger Ebert named Dark City the best film of 1998.

The revised version more closely reflects Proyas' original intention, as he discovered in viewing it, but he acknowledged that it is quite different from the acclaimed theatrical release. "You have to be careful, because a particular film that's been around for a while now, there's a fan base and there's an ownership of that version, and I don't want to come in and mess it up for them. So I hope I haven't done that. I believe this is a better version, and I hope other people will agree."

But fans will get more than just rearranged and recut footage, as the director took advantage of the chance to redo some of the film's elaborate visual effects as well. Added to this are special features such as three audio commentaries and two documentaries. It's a package that the studio hopes will be lucrative.

"I guess it's like any other equation in the film industry," Proyas said. "They've got to know they're going to make their dollars back. And it's taken some time for the movie to have enough of a following that they would feel secure enough that people would buy this thing."

Fans will have the chance to buy the director's cut of Dark City on DVD and Blu-ray beginning July 29th (Aug 4th in the UK).

[Thanks to DVD Times (UK), Green Cine, and PETER SCIRETTA at Slashfilm.]
0 Yes
0 No
Sci Fi Wire