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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What could Fox have possibly done to the remastered Chariots of Fire that would warrant a review embargo?

Chariots of Fire Ben Cross

Last night I attended a screening of a remastered edition of the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1982 and which will be rereleased in the U.K. on July 13 as part of the Olympic celebrations. Attendance at the screening came with this caveat:

With your attendance you recognise that you must not publish any reports or reviews in print, TV, radio or online (including Blogging, Social Sites, Forums or Online Chats) [until the week of release]

This is a fairly standard embargo… for a brand new film that is highly anticipated and is in a position to be spoiled (or that just might suck to high heavens). It makes sense, too, for Fox to embargo reviews even on a classic film until the week of rerelease: this maximizes publicity for the film at the point when readers will actually have access to it. But no tweeting? No posting brief reactions to last night’s screenings on Facebook? Wow. This can only mean that Fox has done something to the film that could come as a shock to viewers.

Of course, I’ve seen the film, and I know whether or not it’s merely been spruced up for rerelease, or whether something else is going on. But, you know, I can’t say anything. (I can’t stop you, however, from reading my 1999 review of the film.)

And I also can’t stop you from speculating on the matter. I’ll even get you started on the matter, with some possibilities:

• Fox wanted to avoid word getting out that George Lucas had gotten his hands on the film, and how now, Greedo shoots Ben Cross first.

• Ridley Scott was in charge of of the remaster, and in an effort to bring it in line with his Prometheus, he threw in some ancient deity-aliens and has retitled it Chariots of the Gods.

• Nick Fury shows up in a new postcredits tag scene attempting to recruit Olympic runners Harry Abrahams and Eric Liddell for his Avengers Initiative: Time Tunnel.

Again, I can neither confirm nor deny that any of these are actually the truth — the embargo I am under has my hands tied.

What do you think? What could Fox have possibly done to the remastered Chariots of Fire that would warrant a review embargo?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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