Large’s Ark is an outstanding example of the fanediting art. The editor has refashioned the original to a version that’s more serious and somber, that rings truer emotionally, and that still has a lot of the charm and eccentricity of the original.
Although the original isn’t all that eccentric, as it follows closely in the footsteps of other indie favorites like Rushmore, Napoleon Dynamite, and other sagas about quirky, alienated and maybe neurotic, Gen Xers/Gen Yers. It’s a real puzzle why the scenes of Large in the bathroom were deleted from the original because those scenes seem like they always were the emotional heart of the movie. Maybe the original production team felt they were too heavy and serious, verging on Ordinary People territory. Well, thank goodness L8wrtr has reincorporated those crucial scenes. Yes, the video quality is a little worse, but I can live with it.
Technically the edits are mostly flawless. I thought I noticed the editor’s touch in a handful of transitions, but 98% are high quality in the way they’re integrated with the style of the original. The audio is even more impressive. Kudos to L8wrtr for impeccable music choices that merge totally with the story and recast the feel of the movie as less pop, more alt.
I also prefer L8wrtr’s ending, which better solidifies the idea that Large is setting his own destiny instead of always acceding to other people’s wishes.
Had the original production team decided to go with this interpretation of the material, they hardly could have done a better job. It’s funny, involving and a little surreal with a life-affirming message. 10/10.
When I saw this movie for the first time I was only 18 years old and I absolutely fell in love. However, the older I got, the more I started to realize the flaws. As Brumors pointed out, it seemed to focus too much on being quirky and indie, and what should have been the main focus of the movie (Large’s arc) was buried somewhere inside. The movie was supposed to be about him “waking up” from the fog of prescription drugs and coming to terms with his background, but in the end, I never really got that from it. So I hadn’t watched it in years, until coming across this edit.
By changing only a few small things L8WRTR has made a huge difference in this movie. Instead of focusing on this quirky, melancholy small town and its inhabitants, this is definitely Large’s movie – and it’s better for it. As others have pointed out, including L8 himself, the deleted scenes that are inserted are clearly of lower quality, and at first this took me out of the movie – but only for a second before I was drawn back by the quality of the scenes themselves. Why in the world were these left on the cutting room floor!? The scene with his father was so much better than the theatrical version, and gave their disdain for each other actually make sense.
And then there’s the extended bathtub scene between Large and Sam. Watching the original I always thought, “one tear, that’s it?” This version was a million times better, and in the end the lower quality didn’t matter in the least. One thing I was dissapointed with was changing the music cue during Sam tap dancing – this was my absolute favorite musical cue in the original film. I always thought it lightened the mood after such a deep conversation, which is what Sam was trying to do by dancing anyway. But that’s just personal opinion, nothing against L8 for it.
In fact, I thought the changes in the music overall were great. It really helped the new mood of the movie, which is far more serious. And that’s saying a lot considering how great the original soundtrack was. But I love Aimee Mann (Magnolia, anyone?), so ‘Save Me’ and ‘One Is The Loneliest Number’ were welcome additions.
Overall, I recommend this for those who loved the original, those who hated it, and especially those who’ve never seen it. This is Large’s journey as it should’ve been. I’ve already shown it to some of my friends who all had the same opinion. I still love the original, but this is a welcome alternative for a more mature audience. Awesome job, L8WRTR, I can’t wait for more.
Almost forgot! Without spoiling too much, the ending – much, much better :D