Apocalypse films tend to have the ability to include something special when they are released to the public in DVD form, alternate endings. Now I know what you’re thinking, alternate endings are not something that everyone enjoys. More often than not, fans of a movie tend to stick to the theater release ending rather than an ending that is included when they bring the movie home. There aren’t many movies with alternate endings that we have explored in class where people enjoyed the alternative ending more than the original. But why is that? Is it because we enjoyed the original so much that we cannot wrap our heads around an alternative? Is it because the alternative ending is too far out of the box? Or is it simply because the alternative ending sucks. There is no definitive answer as to why someone would enjoy one ending of a movie over an alternative.
More often than not, the alternative ending changes the story of the hero. One example of this is the alternative ending for End of Days. End of Days is an apocalyptic movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the hero. Never heard of it? You’re not alone. This movie is not very critical acclaimed and most Arnie fans claim that it was one of the movies that could have ended his career. In End of Days an ex-cop (played by Arnie) has to save the world from Satan, who has come to earth in order to search for a bride to sire the Antichrist. The movie provides the viewer with 2 endings on the collector’s edition DVD. The original ending allows for our hero to save the day, have Satan sent back to hell thus preventing the apocalypse, and die a peaceful death where we see him meeting with his family in the afterlife. This ending is one that we have seen before during presentations. The same type of ending where the hero sacrifices themselves was presented in I Am Legend. But just like the alternative ending for I Am Legend, End of Days also included an ending in which the hero does not die, but instead they are given a chance to continue living with the new knowledge and experiences that they have gained. The alternative ending for End of Days was tested before the theater release of the movie and audiences preferred the original.
But now we have to ask. Why did they like the original ending more? Are viewers drawn toward the idea of the hero sacrificing themselves for the greater good rather than being able live on? When we look at the reaction toward alternative endings in which the hero lives on, there tends to be this recurring preference toward the hero dying. Perhaps we just expect for the hero to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save us all. It seems almost romantic is some sort of way. But you do have to feel bad for the hero, they have a chance to live but viewers would rather see them die.
Poor poor hero.
End of Days. Dir. Peter Hyams. Perf. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney. Beacon, 1999. Film. “End of Days” IMDb. n.d. Web. 9 March 2016. End of Days. Photograph. Sci-Fi Bloggers. Web. 9 March 2016.