Max-ED: #ReleasetheMaxCut

The hashtag ‘Releasethe[blank]Cut’ has been in rising use since the release of 2017’s Justice League. The film was helmed originally by Zack Snyder in the director’s chair, who, during production, tragically lost his daughter to suicide and decided to step off the project. Joss Whedon, who had previously directed 2012’s The Avengers stepped in to oversee the film to its release. However, fans were quick to realise the film’s tonal shift between its original teaser trailers (dropped under Snyder) and the theatrical trailers dropped closer to the film’s release: Whedon had wiped anything that could be considered ‘Snyder’ from the film. Most notably, the film’s colour grade was altered from a dark blue – almost monochrome – with high contrast, to a grade much more focused on bringing colours to the forefront, as well as the addition of more quips between the superhero characters. Whedon gave the film an entirely lighter tone. It also left half of the film on the cutting room floor (which we’d later learn was at least 3 and half hours of film) in favour of a shorter runtime. All of this proved to be to the film’s detriment. Justice League (2017) went on to become a critical bonfire; a flaming turd. Through the film-focused social media app, Letterboxd, user Christiaan Hugo claimed that his girlfriend left him after they saw the movie together. Another Letterboxd user, johncorum, says that he’d rather dip his ‘boys’ in acid, than watch another millisecond of the movie.  

The film left a clear mark and, soon after, the hashtag #ReleasetheSnyderCut was born, bringing a cult along with it. This wasn’t a small social media trend however, but a movement, powered by 100% NERD. Fans paid to have a banner bearing #ReleasetheSnyderCut toed by a plane over Warner Bros. Studios, and a billboard space was bought out in Times Square, showing the hashtag every two minutes for 24 hours. The movement would culminate in the announcement of Zack Snyder’s Justice League during a live stream the director hosted in 2019, and the resulting film was later released in 2020 on HBO Max.  

Via @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter
Via Zack Snyder / Vero

This is clearly an inspirational story that saw the dreams of countless Redditors come true: to finally see their most anticipated movie of all time the way the director envisioned it. Off the success of this specific movement, #ReleasetheSnyderCut sparked clones in other fandoms. David Ayer, director of Suicide Squad (2016) stirred up his own fleeting #ReleasetheAyerCut, saying his movie isn’t the one that was released. This led to a familiar plane stunt, this time towing a banner, reading: “Snyderverse & AyerCut”.  

Oh, what an honour it must feel to have this much power.  

The power of a cult-like fanbase is proven to work. Fans worship these filmmakers like Gods and seek out lost films like lost relics. As their God, Zack Snyder must feel a certain type of control over his fandom: a control that allows him to command them to do anything for him – and that intrigues me. Maybe I could start my own cult-like fanbase. It seems like all I need to do is produce a piece of work for a beloved comic book superhero, right? But what property out there isn’t owned by Disney or Warner Bros?  

So, I scoured the web for an unowned superhero in the public domain. I needed a character that would have nerds at my doorstep waiting to make my morning coffee. A hero of a Batman type – someone that was dark and could appeal to an edgy crowd. They would also have to be associated with an animal because that’s what sells for some reason. Something about heroes that resemble man’s primal roots seems appealing to the fans.  

I then came across the best superhero in the public domain. His name was Six-Gun Gorilla, a gorilla shipped from Africa to America and fathered by Bart Masters, who would teach the gorilla how to cook, dig and use a gun. Masters would later be killed by the Strawhan Gang, infesting Six-Gun Gorilla with a need for revenge. This character perfectly resembled the fragility of the male ego and made the perfect target for my plan.  

Six-Gun Gorilla

All I needed to do now was to have a screenplay written where it ignores the character’s entire backstory and the gritty tone that accompanies the character, and then have the movie made under my name.  

In finding an efficient way to produce a crappy screenplay under my name but with none of my vision, I decided to paste the backstory of Six-Gun Gorilla into an AI writer from the internet and use whatever it wrote as the basis for the movie. This is what it pitched:  

Johnny is a scientist by day and hunter by night who has perfected a serum of cybernetic gorilla glands. When he crosses paths with Tutt, who is being pursued by the local sheriff and his deputies, he hands over his retro-serum to Tutt’s friend, promising revenge. Traumatized from leading a lynch mob against six-gun gorilla, the humanoid swears revenge on his tormentors. The gangster takes the serum and frames Johnny for Tutt’s murder so that he can steal the android’s serum for himself and wreak havoc in the far west.  

This pitch was so stupid, only a computer could write it. The AI ditched the original ideas of the beloved character completely and took it into a nonsensical joke of a direction. The AI added a new character as well as ‘gorilla gland serum’, which was ridiculously silly and definitely not marketed towards an edgy audience. Overall, it took the story of Six-Gun Gorilla in a direction that would make any fan of the character – just like the fans of the Justice League – prefer to “dip their ‘boys’ in acid” than to watch such a movie. In other words, it was perfect!  

Now, producing movies takes a long time and the Six-Gun Gorilla movie is far from being made. But as I find funding for this god-awful-awful idea of a movie and make Six-Gun Gorilla into an international joke, get those #ReleasetheMaxCut hashtags ready at your fingertips for when this stinking pile of gorilla doo-doo drops. Fans of the source material will be knocking at my door wanting my original vision, and I’ll have one thing to say to them: “Make me my damn vanilla soy latte on decaf, and maybe I’ll consider releasing it later, peasant!”  

This has been a lesson in Max-ED. Join me in the next article where I’ll be teaching you about how to discipline your cult. 

Bon voyage!  

Article written by Max Vrancic

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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