Thursday, March 1, 2012

Two Alternates, Or Is it two or is it one?

I was watching television last night when an ad came on for a movie, just released on DVD. One of the DVD's features was that it included two "alternate endings."

Which made me think: How many endings are on the disc? There are, obviously, at least two. There is the ending that came with the theatrical release and that (I assume) comes automatically at the end of the movie on the DVD. Then there is, at least, one other ending that wasn't in the theatrical release and, I assume, where you have to do something special in order to see it.

But that's only one "alternate" ending: you have the original ending and the alternate ending. But the ad said that there were two alternate endings. I don't think we can classify the ending that was in the theatrical release as an "alternate" ending--or, rather, we can only have an alternate ending at all if there's one ending that's the "main" or "original" ending. The "alternate" has to be the "alternate" to something that is the "main."

So are there, in fact, two other endings included on the DVD along with the main ending, making three altogether? If so, are the two additional endings "alternates"? If you have more than one replacement are they both "alternates" or can you only have one "alternate"? I know that in juries they refer to the jurors who won't participate in the voting unless another juror drops out as "the alternates." But, in that case, those people will be alternates to different jurors--it isn't the case that any juror has two alternates assigned to him or her (or it, if we don't want to be species-specific).

Coming back to the DVD and assuming three endings (the main and two others), would it have been more accurate to say that there were two "alternative" (rather than "alternative") endings?

But I can see how we got here. Movies that had another, not released, ending had an "alternate ending." If there are two endings that haven't been shown, I can see them being referred to as the two "alternate endings."

But I still don't know how many are on the disk.

Reading or read

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