Yesterday I got the blu-ray of "Senna" which is so far my favorite film of the year. When I put on the disc last night to watch it, I noticed that this disc also included the "Extended Cut"; since I had already seen the cinema cut I figured I might as well check it out.
The cinema cut of "Senna" is give or take 100 minutes, which is a fine length for a documentary. The extended cut runs to nearly 3 hours. The main difference between the two cuts is what is know as "talking heads." The original cut of the film featured only archive footage and voice over and it created a really strong emotional narrative, because of the talking heads the extended cut feels clumsy editing and suffers from poor pacing.
When I originally wrote about Senna, I said that:
"Where Kapadia's 'Senna' documentary works is in its ability to appeal to wide array of audience members. For the fans of the Formula 1 racing there is a copious amount of footage documenting select races and the events taking place around his career. Rather than use cutaway segments to show various celebrities and sports men and women discuss their memories and recollections of Senna, Kapadia instead utilizes a voice-over to accompany the archive images on-screen. By allowing the voice-over of the various people associated with Senna (most notable this consists of McLaren's team principal Ron Dennis, his mother, father and sister, F1 team Doctor Sid Watkins, and Brazilian commentator Reginaldo Leme) to supplement the footage, it both preserves he power of the on-screen image and provides the audience with additional information regarding the situation or event that is being presented.
To the regular viewer, you feel emotionally attached to a man who affected the lives of millions positively in his home country of Brazil. A perfect mix of a movie, in which you can watch as either an auto-racing fan, or someone who has never heard of Senna; It delivers on a highly emotional level, surrounding you in the warmth that he brought to many."
And this I still believe to be true. If the extended cut has shown me anything, it's just how perfect the original cut was.