Top 11 WTF Alternate Endings
March 14, 2017
(The new version of shortened opening: the updated appearance of the title in the 2017 intro is shown after a bright flash)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Movies go through a lot of changes to get made.
(A montage of pictures related to movie industry is shown)
NC (vo): A lot of rewrites, a lot of reshoots, a lot of reediting. And often, that affects what many people consider the most important part of the movie: the ending. It's the last thing people see, so most storytellers agree it's best to go out on top.
NC: But doing so isn't always so easy.
NC (vo): Many movies either rewrite, reedit, or even reshoot their ending to make sure it has a satisfying conclusion, meaning there's other endings that changed a large outcome of the film.
NC: Sometimes, the outcomes are so different, you just gotta say, "What the fuck?!"
(Then, the footage of unused endings for movies about to be mentioned is shown)
NC (vo): Whether for the best or for the worse, these are the alternate movie endings that have us scratching our heads in total confusion. And we're gonna look at the Top 11 of them here today.
NC: Why Top 11? Because the alternate version didn't test well with focus groups. This is the Top 11 What-the-Fuck Alternate Endings!
(We are shown a big flash in moving space, and the title "The Top 11 WTF Alternate Endings" is shown, followed by the number. This will serve as an interlude for the remainder of the video)
NC (vo): Number 11: Dr. Strangelove. The Stanley Kubrick classic had people rolling in the aisles and questioning their safety. (trying not to laugh) Not at...all like today's politics. (normal) But not many know that this movie had a very strange alternate ending. Believe it or not, this classic dark comedy ended with...
(The montage of pictures showing the filming of the original ending of the movie is shown)
NC (vo): ...a pie fight. Yeah. No joke. Or, actually, too much of a joke, as Kubrick put it. The scene was shot and edited, but the director pulled it out saying it didn't match the tone of the rest of the film. Apparently, the world still blows up, but before it does, the war room has a battle of their own at the buffet table where things get out of control, and they start throwing pies at one another. The footage is not available to the public, but there are plenty of pictures on set. While certainly an entertaining visual, it just seemed...odd. And this is coming from a movie where a guy rides a bomb down to the ground. In a film where a guy as strange as this could exist, this still just seemed one step too goofy. Super weird, to say the least. Such madness is so bizarre, you wouldn't think it'd be possible to even be considered.
(A clip from the movie is shown briefly)
Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers): It is not only possible…it is essential!
NC (vo): As the song goes, we'll meet again, but not with this scene put in.
NC (vo): Number 10: Looney Tunes: Back in Action.
NC: Yeah! I'm really going for the hits on this one.
NC (vo): The climax to this film most people agree is one of the highlights of the flick, involving space travel, Duck Dodgers, lasers, lightsabers, Marvin the Martian, spy battles... But the original ending had almost none of that.
NC: And yet, was somehow even stranger.
(The footage of the alternate ending is shown, with storyboards of the animated characters)
NC (vo): It's a battle in the jungle where a magical device de-evolves our characters, resulting in Timothy Dalton becoming a monkey, Bugs Bunny becoming a cave bunny, and Tweety Bird becoming a dinosaur, who ends up murdering our villain.
Mr. Chairman (Steve Martin): (imitating Porky Pig) Th-th-th-th... That's all, folks! (And he gets eaten by pterodactyl Tweety)
NC: (looks around nervously) That's kinda grim.
NC (vo): As weird as this got, though, it did have one essential line that would have made up for one of the film's biggest problems: the romance.
(Cut to the unused footage of DJ Drake introducing Kate to Damian Drake)
DJ Drake (Brendan Fraser): Dad, uh, this is Kate. Uh, we haven't kissed yet or anything. Um, we don't really get along, and...we have virtually nothing in common.
Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman): But this could be The One.
NC: (smiling) That line fixes everything!
NC (vo): The love story in this was done so awkwardly that nobody could tell if it was intentionally bad or not. This ending not only says that it was intentional, but it's making fun of how little chemistry romantic leads often have in adventure movies. It suddenly made what was mostly painful to sit through a nice bit of trolling on the audience. So, how strange. We have one really great idea that would have saved one of the biggest problems of the film in a clumsily handled climax that's inferior in every other way. I guess that's just part of the give-or-take process of filmmaking, proving that sometimes, you just gotta say, "That's all, folks."
(A clip of Bugs and Daffy finishing watching the unused ending with a card that says "The End. Really!" is shown, before going to the interlude)
NC (vo): Number 9: Die Hard with a Vengeance. This Die Hard film ends like most Die Hard films do: shooting some bad guys, blowing shit up, and saying a badass line in the process.
John McClaine (Bruce Willis): Yippiee-ki-yay, motherfucker!
NC: But the original ending had practically none of that.
NC (vo): It was bizarrely quiet, talk-heavy, and even sophisticated. After Simon gets away with his millions, he tries hiding out, only to be discovered by McClaine. You see, he was apparently fired from the NYPD because they thought he was involved with the robberies. So he has no trouble putting a Christmas present on the table...
NC: And yes, that would make this a Christmas movie like the last two.
NC (vo): ...and it turns out to be a rocket launcher. He turns the tables as he plays a game of "McClaine Says". When Simon gets an answer wrong, he has to fire the launcher, hoping it's pointing in the right direction, seeing how the aim was taken off.
(Simon blows a hole through his own chest)
McClaine: It's blackjack. Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.
NC: It's so different that a Die Hard movie would end his way.
NC (vo): It's almost completely off from the rest of the tone. Some people say that's what makes it cool, that it's a battle of wits in a totally different setting.
NC: But, others say it's Die Hard, give us the goddamn explosions!
NC (vo): I just wanted it in because there was a greater chance they would sing "Let it Snow" at the end like the last two. But I think the ship has sailed for that with (posters of...) the other sequels anyway. (crying) Breaking a Christmas tradition! (normal) Good, bad? Hard to say. Unique from any other Die Hard movie? Definitely.
McClaine: (laughing) Oh, sorry. That is the wrong fucking answer.
NC (vo): Number 8: Titanic. Okay, there's already some major issues with this movie, particularly with the ending where Rose dumps a priceless jewel into the water.
NC: Yeah, fuck all the starving people that money could've saved! It belongs at the bottom of the ocean!
(The footage of a completely different ending to the movie is shown)
NC (vo): But unlike the original where she performed the act alone, in the alternate ending, she has people around her freakin' congratulating her for it. After a reasonably funny line delivered by the late Bill Paxton...
Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton): I don't know what to say to a woman who tries to jump off the Titanic when it's not sinking and then jumps back on when it is. (Rose laughs)
NC: Okay. That is legitimately well-written.
NC (vo): ...Rose spells out the goddamn message for us, and it still makes as little sense as if she didn't say it out loud.
Rose (Gloria Stuart): Only life is priceless and making each day count.
NC (vo): But what makes it stranger is she lets Bill Paxton touch the jewel, throws it over, and then he laughs joyfully!
(Brock laughs to the sky)
NC: (arms folded and smiling) Yeah. I'd be laughing like a madman, too, if I lost millions of dollars to a crazy windbag.
NC (vo): This makes everyone look like a self-indulgent prick. At least in the original, it was her doing it in secret. Here, (in a high-pitched voice) "Oh, he figured out the meaning of life, and you didn't! Tee-hee, ha-ha! God knows how much money wasted on this exposition there was! Your loss, financers!" (normal) They even throw in a goddamn shooting star. Oh, blow me!
NC (vo): Some say Titanic is a masterpiece, others say it's corny and cliched, but there's no arguing that this would have pushed everybody over the rails.
Lewis Bodine (Lewis Abernathy): That really sucks, lady!
NC (vo): Number 7: Alien Resurrection. So, for the most part, this movie ends like in the original theatrical cut. The alien is destroyed, the baby-eyed splooge we're apparently supposed to feel sorry for is destroyed, and they return to Earth. In the alternate version, though, they land on Earth...in France, for no particular reason. They pretty much say the same lines about being a stranger to this world when the big twist is revealed: Earth is blown up!
NC: YOU MANIACS! (bangs his fist on the ground) I...totally don't get the point of this.
NC (vo): Seriously, what did this add? What does it amount to? If we're able to send tons of people into space, hell, there's so many people, they even got pirates up there, why the hell is Earth just left to rot? Why was she even concerned about saving mankind from the alien?! It looks like we did a pretty good job destroying ourselves anyway! Was this the prequel to WALL-E?! There's something always kind of nerve-wracking when you find out the action of the previous films adds up to nothing. I guess this technically started in Alien 3, but that was just a few characters. This is the freaking Earth. The freaking Earth, what the hell?! It's not like a ton else made sense in this movie, but this would have been the icing on the cake of pointlessness. You think you're a stranger, Ripley? Well, things don't get much stranger than this.
NC (vo): Number 6: Amazing Spider-Man 2. Again, most of the overly complicated plot of this film is kept the same, except for one tiny detail...
(Footage of the alternate ending is shown)
NC (vo): Peter's father is still alive.
NC: (slaps his head rapidly in disbelief) WHAT?!!
NC (vo): Okay, this movie tries to throw every plot thread it can at you, and then suddenly, after the death of a main character, you throw this immediately after?
NC: Dude, even comic books need a panel to breathe!
(Richard holds Peter as he is beginning to cry at the sight of seeing his father)
Richard Parker (Campbell Scott): I had to die to keep you alive. I had to disappear to keep you safe.
NC (vo): Yeah, he had to stay hidden to keep Peter safe, apparently. And only now...NOW is a good time to come out of hiding. Yeah, sure. Not when his uncle died, he turned into a half-spider, his girlfriend's father got axed, and the city was in peril twice! No, no, no. Only now was the time to reveal that. Uh, a little late to your own funeral, don't you think? Literally?
NC: The sad thing is, we actually get some really good acting from Andrew Garfield.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield): (tearfully) What?! WHAT?! Say it! Say what you want to say! WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SAY?! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?! You're dead!
NC (vo): Had the scene been in a better movie or, hell, even just a better time, maybe it could have worked. But as is, not only does it feel tagged on, but it makes little to no Spidey sense.
NC (vo): Number 5: Independence Day. Again, this one is very similar to the original. It's still a bunch of pilots, led by the President of the United States, to take down the aliens. But this time, there's a major change: when Randy Quaid comes in to save the day, it's not in a fighter jet. It's in his fucking crop plane!
Russell Casse: IT'S OKAY, SIR! I'M PACKING!
President: All right, boys! This is it!
(NC is face palming at the scene)
NC (vo): First of all, that's the stupidest fucking thing I've ever seen. Secondly, who the hell in the military just let him STRAP a missile onto his plane?! (as a military personnel) Why, sure, you can attach that to your crappy crop duster! It's not like we need every single missile available for this mission, and you totally look ready for combat! Take her, she's yours!
NC: In a movie that's already pretty damn corny, this is probably the corniest thing you could muster.
NC (vo): Could this have been the moment that was maybe too corny, and might have pushed people over the edge? Hard to say. It still has Will Smith, and landmarks blowing up that seem to overshadow all the other corny things in it. But one thing's for sure, this ending deserves a hard...
Russell Casse: UP YOOOOOOURS!
NC (vo): Number 4: Clerks. This ending is so bad that even the director admits it would have ruined the majority of goodwill the film built up. Everything goes pretty much the same as the original with Dante closing up the store after a big fight with Randall. But, the story continues as a guy walks in after he's closed, takes out a gun, and fucking shoots him! He robs the cash register and Dante dies.
NC: (looks confused and shrugs) Fitting?
NC (vo): Director Kevin Smith admitted he just didn't know how to end the flick, and after being recommended that he just cut the scene off a little earlier, he agreed it was a much better choice. Yeah, no kidding. This has nothing to do with anything in the rest of the film. It's not funny, it's not poignant, it's not even really that dramatic; it's...just...shocking for the sake of being shocking.
NC: Thankfully, he caught onto it pretty quick and it's edited out.
NC (vo): Because of this, Clerks remains of most unique and funniest in generation movies. And granted, this probably wouldn't have ruined the film, but it would have been a pointless downer that would have defused an otherwise hilarious comedy. What were they thinking? Who knows. But, thank God they knew to cut the final shot...before the final shot.
NC (vo): Number 3: Army of Darkness. The third film in the Evil Dead trilogy knew how to keep the splat-stick coming. But there was a big difference of opinion between the director and the producer about how the film should end. Because the movie was marketed more as its own film and not third in a cult trilogy, the producer said the ending had to reflect that. So, in the theatrical version, Ash is the hero, saving the day, and getting the woman.
NC: But if you know the Evil Dead movies, you know it has to end with Ash getting screwed!
NC (vo): So, in the alternate ending, he's given a sleeping potion, which will knock him out for years and years until he returns to his own time. But, like a doofus, he screws up and takes too much, resulting in him waking up in a future that's...well, similar to France in Alien Resurrection.
Ash: I slept too long!
NC: On the one hand, the producers are kind of right about this ending.
NC (vo): If this was a stand-alone movie, the theatrical cut would make more sense. But as a third film in a trilogy, the other ending makes a lot more sense. I guess it all depends on what you want to see: Army of Darkness, or Evil Dead 3. Whatever version you prefer, there's an ending for each one and they're very different. So, pick whichever groovy version you like best.
NC (vo): Number 2: Little Shop of Horrors. The original ending to this movie has practically entered legend. It's AMAZING how different it is from the theatrical cut. Seymour saves his girlfriend (Audrey) from the killer plant (Audrey II), confronts him, and ends up destroying both the plant and the evil offsprings, saving the world. That seems about right for a musical comedy with a dark quirky edge.
NC: But the original goes as dark as it can fucking go!
NC (vo): Seymour doesn't save his girlfriend from the plant. She dies, and when he goes in to confront him, the plant wins, taking Seymour into his vines and eating him alive. Yeah, so...both our main characters are dead, killed in bizarrely horrific ways.
NC: But it doesn't stop there!
NC (vo): The plant allows himself to be sold all over the world, and when the time is right, they attack! People are defenseless to stop them, the plant grows bigger and bigger, until they completely take over and gobble up mankind. The end!
NC: What the manure-flying hell?!
NC (vo): This ending is incredibly dark and remarkably depressing! On the one hand, yeah, this ending does kind of make sense for a campy horror film. But on the other hand, the music was so bouncy and romantic and even inspiring, which I guess you could argue just makes the original ending more funny...but, really, it's just kind of a big downer. The theatrical version seemed to fit the film's identity a lot more. But, yeah, this is one hell of a ballsy ending, and you kind of got to give it props for that. It pulled no punches, it went all the way. Would people have related to it if it was kept in? Who knows. But it's out there for people to see, and you can decide yourself which one is better. Whether it's the happy ending, or the "good-God-what the hell" ending, it's an out there experience all the way.
(The clips montage ends with the plant monster literally ripping the fourth wall after "The End?!?" card, before going to the interlude)
NC (vo): And the number 1 what-the-fuck alternate ending is... I Am Legend.
NC: This is declared as one of the biggest fuck-you endings, if you're aware of the original story.
NC (vo): I'll admit, going into the movie, I didn't know it, or why it was hailed as a classic. But once I discovered the original ending, it all made sense. In the film, about an apocalyptic future, taking over by mutant people, Will Smith (Robert Neville) tries to kill/study these mutants to find a cure. In the theatrical cut, he sacrifices himself to kill off them damn mutants, leaving the side characters to get the cure he discovered to the military to start getting Earth back to normal. When I saw this, I remember it leaving no impact.
NC: What was the point in watching this? Why is it considered one of the great stories?
NC (vo): Then, I saw the alternate ending. It turns out the mutant trying to get in was looking to save his girlfriend. Shocked that there's still humanity in them, Smith lets them go, and realizes he's the bad guy. The new civilization that inherits the Earth isn't made up of his kind anymore. It's a brand new species and he's the boogeyman, the rare breed that feeds off the majority of everyday life. He realizes, whether he likes it or not, he is the monster in the eyes of the world.
NC: Holy shit, is that powerful, thought-provoking and challenging!
NC (vo): Talk about an "eye of the beholder" message in a brilliantly done way! Even though he lives in this version, it's by far the downer ending that a film about the end of the world deserves. But nope, the theatrical version takes the entire reason the story was made, and completely changes it.
NC: I guess stuff like that has been done before. I mean, look at the Disney films.
NC (vo): They totally changed the meaning of classic stories around. But with this one, the tone of the film matches the original ending. It's dark, it's gritty, it's heavy, it's dramatic. It really wants you to feel like you're in a world that has been taken over by a new life form, and your species is going extinct. The tone of The Little Mermaid is completely different from the tone of the original, so we can buy the changes more. But with this one: of course the original ending is better! Suddenly, everything falls into place! This isn't just shot like a summer action flick, it's shot like it has something important and timeless to say. But the studio disagreed and said "mankind rocks, and we're going to get our happy ending". What a letdown, what a betrayal, what a total castration of what made this story last for so many years! This is the not so great ending given to a great story that should have us all saying "What the fuck?".
NC: Are they any that we missed? Are there any you think are worse? Well, leave them in the comments below and share the what-the-fuckery. I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.
(Gets up and leaves as the credits roll)