We live in a world in which deceased actors can be digitally revived for one last starring role. What challenge is it, then, to remove a single scene-ruining rat from an otherwise brilliant movie? That’s the question that caused movie fan (and apparent rodent-as-symbolism hater) Adam Sacks to launch an unlikely new Kickstarter project. His goal: to banish the rat from the end of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 Oscar winner The Departed.
“For those who don’t know, the movie follows two undercover informants, or ‘rats.’” Sacks told Digital Trends. “One is a member of the Massachusetts State Police that’s undercover in a south Boston gang, and the other is a member of that gang and is embedded in the Massachusetts State Police. The movie ends with a shot of an actual rat crawling across a bannister with the Massachusetts State House in the background. It’s a visual metaphor that for, my taste, is a little too on the nose.”
Sacks’ Kickstarter campaign breaks down exactly what its creator hopes to achieve with his tinkering — complete with an hilariously detailed cost breakdown. These include $18.91 to buy a copy of the movie on Blu-ray, $141.54 to buy a Blu-ray player to watch it on, $59 for software to rip the Blu-ray onto a computer, $599 to pay for a visual effects artist to perform the rat removal, $38.31 to buy a pack of 50 blank Blu-ray discs, and $2.71 to buy a black sharpie to label the discs.
One slight hiccup is the fact that, as Sacks acknowledges, he doesn’t actually have the rights to sell Blu-ray copies of his (and Martin Scorsese’s) completed magnum opus. As a result, people wanting the rat-less cut of the movie must contribute $70. “This will allow me to buy you a legal Blu-ray of The Departed, throw that disc away, replace it with my superior version, and mail it to you,” he writes.
Is there a risk that this will prove to be the start of a slippery slope when it comes to Sacks’ movie modification? After all, who’s to say that travesties like the Star Wars “Special Editions” and attempts to colorize classic black and white movies didn’t also start with someone wanting to delete an unwanted rat?
“The thing that would stop me from making further changes is a complete lack of interest in doing so,” Sacks said. “My one and only goal with this project is to digitally erase the rat from the end of The Departed.”