The first rough cut, without opening/closing credits, ran 76 minutes. The second rough cut, also without credits, runs 73. I tell you that to tell you this: one of the first things Matt mentioned to me before beginning our latest editing session by telling me “Christopher Nolan’s first movie? 70 minutes long.” And that, my friend, is what you call optimism.
We’re a long way off from Nolan territory, but I can say I’m finally starting to feel OK with the movie. That is, in earlier editing sessions, all I could see what the stuff that didn’t work, while this time, with most of the stuff that didn’t work either having been cut or smoothed over as best as possible, I can get a sense of how this movie will click. Granted, there are many gaps to fill in – this draft still has no visual effects added, and after that we still have music and sound editing/mixing to work on. But at this stage of post-production, the film finally has shape.
It also has speed. This is a movie that flies. As noted last time, several scenes which previously stood alone are now intercut, while other long wide takes are broken up by the inclusion of shorter close-ups. This not only reduces any sluggishness some of those scenes would’ve had on their own, but also creates a greater sense of urgency (or whatever a meat monster comedy’s equivalent of urgency is). Yesterday’s editing basically involved cleaning/tightening the cuts, trimming a couple frames here, a half second there, and that stuff adds up. The rapid-fire pace is far from the easy-going, long-rambling flick I imagined while writing and filming, and I have to say, it’s all the better for it.
An interesting side effect when you look at the same footage for over a year: you wind up discovering all sorts of things no other viewer will (hopefully) ever pick up, be it a glaring plot hole (it took me this long to realize, “hey, wait, they’ve got a Jeep, why don’t they just drive away from the monster?”), a stray actor in the background (is that Brad back there, barely visible as a dot long before his character shows up?), or a goofy face somebody makes when nobody in the audience will be looking (read: every scene involving Jack and/or Mike).
Next up: as mentioned, Matt will send the Final Cut file to Ryan, who will begin the slow road to visual effects.