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Needful Things




  • Theatrical Version
  • Extended Version
Release: Mar 15, 2013 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: DaxRider123 - external link: IMDB
Comparison between the Theatrical Version and the Extended Version (both included on the German Blu-Ray released by Warner).

21 differences:
* 5 scenes with alternative footage
* 2 re-cuts
* 2 cuts in the Extended Version

Difference in time: 553.2 sec (= 9:13 min)

The Movie

Ben Affleck's third movie as a director was praised by critics when it hit the theatres and during the Academy Awards ceremony it received three Oscars - among other things for the best movie. It also received a Golden Globe and a British Academy Film Award for best movie.

Affleck also plays the main character (CIA member Tony Mendez) who wants to free six Americans from the Canadian embassy in Teheran in 1979. They fled from a mob of protesters who took anotehr 50 Americans as hostages in the American embassy. The political situation is tense after the USA granted the Shah asylum and the Iran now no longer lets Americans get into their country. As a disguise, Mendez and his team pretend to shoot an exotic science fiction movie - Argo.
This may sound like a typical Hollywood idea, however, it was based on a true story which only came to light years later, after the US secret service released old documents. Overall, the movie is very much concerned with entertaining the audience, thus it includes several humorous sequecnes, e.g. John Goodman's role as comedic relief (similar to his role in Flight.

The Versions

In terms of releases the strategy was a little different. Very early on during pre-order days the German Blu-Ray cover on (which was taken down very quickly) included a logo which said "Extended Version" - thus fans were speculating about the version which was about to be released. But Warner waited with the announcement of the Extended Cut until the day of the Academy Awards (24 February 2013). This cut was released on Blu-Ray only a few days later in the UK (4 March 2013) and Germany (8. March 2013). The disc also includes the Theatrical Version. Interestingly enough, in the US only the Theatrical Version was released at first and many months later in December 2013 a subsequent edition followed that contained the Extended Cut. The American audiences might have felt a bit cheated here.

However, is the Extended Version worth buying (or are DVD fans really left out in the cold because of the Extended Cut's Blu-Ray exclusiveness)? Not really.
Almost all of the new scenes expand Tony Mendez' family background and thus show his ex-wife and his son who doesn't really see his father too often. Most of the time, Tony is on the phone with them. Of course, this is supposed to make the movie more dramatic, however, rather slows it down at times and - in terms of staging - sometimes comes off as a little too clichéd. Thus, it was not the worst idea to cut this storyline down to a minimum for the Theatrical Version. It's also interesting to see that due to such a change, the movie Battle for the Planet of the Apes now is the trigger for the movie idea for a different reason. During a phone call between Tony Mendez and his son the latter watches Battlestar Galactica and talks about it. Tony watches the "Planet of the Apes"-sequel all by himself subsequently to this phone call.
Additionally, there's a longer extension (two scenes that run back to back) towards the beginning of the movie which sow the main characters of the movie earlier on. Thanks to the skilled actors (e.g. Bryan Cranston) this might be a nice addition, however, for the plot it's rather irrelevant.

All in all, fans of the movie might be interested in the new additions, which all have one specific purpose and thus are not just deleted scenes that were randomly put back in. So if you want to see the movie with family problems as a sideplot, this is the version for you. If you don't care for this - stick to the Theatrical Version.

Time designations are given as follows:
Theatrical Version / Extended Version
12:54/ 12:54-12:57

Another exterior shot, which will be shown during the next two sequences in the Theatrical Version.

3 sec

12:58-13:01/ 13:01

Here we see this shot in the Theatrical Version.

+ 3 sec

13:01 / 13:01-15:40

In return, the Extended Version ends outside with another shot. The new conversation between Tony and Engell already begins off-screen. Thus we have a first scene which presents Tony and talks about his job.
Subsequently, Tony talks to Jack (another character that gets introduced to the audience). The entire thing happens on a retirement party for an old colleague. Jack makes cynical comment and then talks about Tony's private problems with his ex-wife and his kid.

Engell: "A story is a story until people believe it. And then that story is called the truth. And the truth now is, according to the White House, that 50 Americans are prisoners in a 6th-century shithole because this agency missed the warning signs. So now a subcommittee wants congressional oversight. Apparently, they wanna see what they're buying."
Tony: "I'm a covert exfiltration officer, sir. If they see what I'm doing, I'm not doing my job."
Engell: "Well, the director's upstairs right now sipping a lemon water, crossing out 800 names. That's not a story, that's the truth. Exfiltration readiness freezes until further notice."
Tony: "And if assets require it?"
Engell: "Then we're not responsible. What you're responsible for is to sit at your desk, keep your mouth shut and do your fucking job. Can I count on you to do that?"
Tony looks frozen.

We see a retirement party where an old colleague talks to Mikey who just retired.
Man: "Mostly we're gonna miss kicking his ass in the office pool, but again... This is the last white tiger right here. He's a good man. He's got a shitty drive swing, but he's a good man. God bless. I... I just wanna say to Mikey... Well, first of all, good luck doing less in retirement than you did at work. When you're fishing down in the Extended Versionerglades, trying to catch your next ex-wife, don't you forget us at Langley. Twenty-sExtended Versionen years this man gave his country. You know what this says. This is a great American right here."
Jack sat down on the table with Tony.
Jack: "Give the outfit 27 years, they give you a trinket with a bird on it"
Man: "Yeah, I just wanna say that, yeah, we're gonna miss him. He's..."
Tony: "My dad was a Steelworker, local 43. When me and my brother were young, he'd take us to the Chrysler Building and say: 'Look at that. Your dad built that.'"
Jack: "You're supposed to be out in the country."
Tony: "She wanted more time to think."
Jack: "What are you telling the kid?"
Tony: "He's smart. He knows."
Man: "...but I don't wanna stand here without taking a moment for our 50 men and women who can't come home, so..."
Then follow two exterior shots.

Overall 159.4 sec

Cut in the Extended Version
21:54-21:58 / 24:34

During the interviews, the first shot of the man who says "Men who served in Vietnam for what they believed was right are angry." was cut out.
The Extended Version continues with the sentence "I'm mad as hell..." and the guy is shown in a closer shot.

+ 3.3 sec

Alternative Scene
22:02-22:16 / 24:38-25:06

The identical rest of the interview is shown in the Extended Version which also uses the same shots. The Theatrical Version already cuts to Tony's apartment. Inside, Tony looks at newspaper articles while the interview runs on TV in the background.

Theatrical VersionExtended Version

Subsequently, both versions are a little different again.

In the Theatrical Version the same shot is shown longer and the host says goodbye to the audience and refers to the date. Tony closes the file and picks up the phone.

The Extended Version immediately shows Tony picking up the phone, however, from another angle. When the phone rings, the host says his sentence (referring to the date) and Tony switches the channel. You see what's on TV when Tony sits down.
At the end there's a close-up of Tony's son Ian before the latter picks up the phone as he does in the Theatrical Version.

The Extended Version is 13.9 sec longer.

22:32 / 25:22-25:23

Ian is shown slightly longer lying on his bed.

1.4 sec

Alternative Scene
22:33-23:31 / 25:24-27:59

Ian watches something different on TV which results in an entirly different ending for both versions. Only in the Extended Version Tony and his ex-wife talk to each other and we get a better insight into their problematic relationship. After that, the Extended Version shows the meeting (which starts without Tony) earlier. When Tony joins them, the Theatrical Version is a little longer in return. But first things first:

In the Theatrical Version Ian says: "Battle for the Planet of the Apes."
Tony: "Tell me, what channel is it on?"
Ian: "Five."
Tony changes the channel.
Tony: "All right. What'd you do at school today?"
Ian: "Nothing. I don't know. Nothing."
Tony: "Can't be nothing. Something must've happened."
Ian: "After school I got some baseball cards. That was fun."

Tony subsequently presents his plan in a little more detail - the sentence in brackets was also included in the Extended Version, however, it's shown in an alternate take: "Okay, you know those science-fiction movies? Star Trek, Star Wars. They need an exotic location to shoot. Moonscape, Mars, desert, you know. Now, imagine this: (They're a Canadian film crew on a location scout for a science-fiction movie.)"

In the Extended Version Ian says "Battlestar Galactica."
Tony (shown in an alternate take): "What channel is it on?"
After Ian responded with "Five", Tony turns on the TV.
Tony: "All right. Catch me up."
Ian: "It's the best show in the world. First thing, the bad guys are called Cylons."
Tony: "The metal guys, right? Now, who's the guy with the cape?"
Ian: "That's Starbuck. He shoots at Cylons and he always wins."
Tony: Who's the little dog guy?"
Ian: "He's not a dog, he's a Dagget, and his name's Muffet."
While we see the mother, Tony apparently says something that makes Ian react.
Ian: "No, Dad. That's Star Wars."
The mother enters the conversation from another phone.
Christine: "Ian, I asked you to turn the TV off 40 minutes ago. Hang up the phone. I need to talk to your dad."
Ian hangs up.
Christine: "Tony."
Tony: "Hello."
Christine: "You know, when you keep him up at night he falls asleep at school."
Tony: "I'm sorry. I don't... I miss him."
Christine: "Well, we can figure out a time for you to come see him."
Tony: "I miss you too."
Christine quietly shakes her head for a while and fights her tears.
Christine: "I know. Uh, bye."
Tony: "You there?"
She hung up and Tony NOW finally watches the Planet of the Apes-movie on TV (all shots that we see are different).

The others take counsel until Tony quickly enters the room.

Engell: "Okay. All right, we really have to get started here. Our NE's work something up on this? David?"
David Marmor: "They would pose as teachers from the international school."
Robert Pender: "We went through all that. It's boarded up."
Marmor: "Suppose the airport guards don't know that."
Pender: "Suppose. Suppose Heckle and Jeckle go over and save them."
Tony comes in.
Tony: "Hi. Sorry."
Engell: "Have a seat, Tony."
Tony (shown in an alternate take): "They're a Canadian film crew on a location scout for a science-fiction movie."

The Extended Version is 96.3 sec longer.

Alternative Scene
23:33-23:37 / 28:00-28:08

In the Theatrical Version we only see a shot of Tony, while in the Extended Version we see another shot of Pender, followed by the same take of Tony.
During the first shot of the Extended Version Tony additionally says (because this sentence has not been said yet, unlike in the Theatrical Version) this:
Tony: "Star Trek, Star Wars. They need an exotic location to shoot. Moonscape, Mars, desert, you know."

The images originate solely from the Extended Version.

The Extended Version is 3.9 sec longer.

23:40 / 28:11-28:14

After the identical side view of Pender and Marmor (during which you only hear Tony talking off-screen, which is the reason to why you won't notice that he in the Extended Version missed out on one sentence) Tony continues talking off-screen until both versions are in sync again.

2.2 sec

33:16 / 37:50-38:15

We see Tony and Lester entering the house. They sit down and have some smalltalk with Max.

Max: "Come in, come in. Please, sit down. Give my love to Ruthie, Lester. How's she doing?"
Lester: "She died."
Max: "Ah, jeez. I'm sorry.Oh, Gott, tut mir leid."
Lester: "Nine years ago."
Max: "Well, you know how it is, Lester. You know, we got a lot on our minds in this business."

14.9 sec

36:37 / 41:26-41:57

At this point, Tony talks to his son on the phone.

Tony: "So tell me what's happening now."
Ian: "Dad, just turn on the TV."
Tony: "I don't have the same channels where I am, bud. You gotta explain it to me."
Ian: "There are these giant spiders, and they're attacking all these people. And these people have to fight the giant spiders. They're scared. They can't fight a spider. The thing about the spiders is, they're from an inter-dimensional gateway."
Tony: "What is that? Like a black hole?"
Ian: "Yes, it is a black hole. I know all about it."
The following shot of Jack starts slightly earlier (not illustrated below).

31.2 sec

42:30 / 47:50-49:39

After reading the script we see a new scene which expands Tony's family life. We see little Ian playing with action figures in his room. His mother answers the phone. She invites Tony to Ian's birthday party, however, the father apparently doesn't seem to be sure if he can come - at least he doesn't know how to react.
Subsequently, gets the group into trouble and the mission is apparently supposed to be cancelled for now.

Christine: "Hello?"
Tony: "Hey."
Christine: "Hi."
Tony: "Hi. How you doing?"
Christine: "Good. You sound good."
Tony: "I am. It's like, we might be doing something good."
Christine: "You know, we're having his birthday party at a bowling alley. So you should come."
Tony: "When is it?"
Christine: "On his birthday..."
Tony: "I see. Nice choice. I just didn't know if it was a weekend, or... But that's fine. Okay, I might come. I'll try."
Christine: "Don't try, Tony. Just come."
Both are silent for a short moment.
Christine (to Ian): "Hey, did you brush your teeth?"
Then she continues talking to Tony
Christine: "I gotta go enforce this."
Tony: "Okay. Go enforce. I'll talk to you soon."

Engell gives Jack a magazine which includes an article about the three of them. Jack shrugs. Then we see Tony talking to Jack on the phone.
Tony: "Well, why'd he do it?"
Jack: "He did it because he did it. He saw a covert intelligence officer saying 'cheese' with R2-D2. They're going with the teachers."
Tony: "It's a fucking death sentence, Jack."
Jack: "Well, then it's on Engell. It's done, Tony. Wash your hands."
They hang up and Tony looks out of the window.

Overall 109.4 sec

Alternative Scene
42:30-42:48 / 49:39-50:09

Along with the previous extension, the short meeting between Tony, Lester and John is different in the Extended Version. Even though it uses the same shots every now and again, we show you a summary to the point when the plane starts off.

The Theatrical Version cuts from Lester's hand reahing for a glass to comic pictures of the movie on the table. Then Lester fills up both glasses.
Lester: "There is it. What'd I tell you? First shot of the picture."
John raises his glas.
John: "Argo fuck yourself."
All: "Argo fuck yourself."

In the Extended Version Lester sits down first.
Lester: "Listen, I've done 30 movies. Half of them, the pricks upstairs tried to shut down. Not this one. My ass is staying right here and I'm gonna run a movie company."
He gets up and gets the bottle and three glasses out of the cupboard.
Lester: "Hey. The first Shot of the movie."
John (raising his glass): "Argo fuck yourself."
All: "Argo fuck yourself."
Then we see different shots of them drinking.
Tony: "How'd you get around the pricks upstairs?"

The Extended Version is 12.3 sec longer.

Alternative Scene
42:54-43:07 / 50:15-50:19

When Tony arrives at the building, both versions use alternate takes. In the Theatrical Version he walks rather slowly, while in the Extended Version he seems to be in a hurry.

Theatrical VersionExtended Version

Subsequently, only the Extended Cut shows a conversation between Tony and Jack in the hallway.

Jack: "How'd you get the meeting?"
Tony: "I went over D. Op's head - and I used your name. You can forget about that time-share in Ocean City, Jack."

The Extended Version is 14.2 sec longer.

45:48 / 53:23-53:52

Instead of showing the phone call inside the empty apartment, the Extended Version shows Ian's birthday party in the bowling alley; of course, Tony isn't there.

Christine's friend: "It's getting kind of late. Is he gonna show?"
Christine: "Some people have it worse."
Christine's friend: "Some people have it better."

28.5 sec

48:33 / 56:36-57:06

Again, the phone rings. This time, Jack is on the phone to inform Christine about Tony's being here.

Christine: "Hello?"
Jack: "Christine! Hi, Jack O'Donnell. Tony wanted me to let you know that he's gonna... Gonna be away and won't be able to call you for a while."
Christine: "Where's he going? Jack, is he safe?"
Jack: "Yes. Of course, he's safe."
Christine: "You should've stopped after 'yes'."
She hangs up.

30 sec

81:10 / 89:43-90:14

After the shot of Tony (at this point very desperate) the Extended Version shows another scene of Christine and Ian.

Ian (while they slowly drive forward in the car): "A little closer. Keep going. Now. Stop."
He gets the mail out of the mailbox.
Ian: "It's from Dad. Here, look."
Christine looks at the card which Tony sent for Ian's birthday. She reads it and then gives it back to Ian.
Christine: "Here you go."
Ian contentedly puts the card into the jacket pocket.

30.4 sec

106:03 / 115:07-115:18

In the Extended Version we shortly see Christine and Ian sitting in front of the TV.
Christine: "Ian. Look at this."

11.5 sec

Cut in the Extended Version / Re-Cut
106:03-106:19 / 115:18-115:29

The shot of the saved people from the previous cut is now shown longer in the Theatrical Version: the camera pans to the right.
The following shots are also included in the Extended Version, however, they were switched around. In the Extended Version you at first see the audience in the stands and the saved people, followed by the two TV broadcastings of the political speeches back to back. In the Theatrical Version we instead see the first TV broadcast, then the two sequences that were shot for the movie, and at the end the second TV broadcast (then the two versions are in synch again).

The pictures originate solely from the Theatrical Version.

The Theatrical Version is 5.4 sec longer.

106:36 / 115:46-115:49

Ian and Christine are shown again.

3.2 sec