In a post about how to decide whether or not a movie is too long, David Poland brings up — surprise, surprise — The New World:
There are very few directors who still get “final cut” from studios. And even fewer who deserve it. I love Terrence Malick’s work and I quite liked both versions of The New World that I saw and even look forward to someday seeing the 3 hour version that Malick told some people he would be delivering. But he killed New Line’s ability to market the film by changing it so dramatically after delivering it so late after such a long editing period with absolute final cut. New Line took it on the chin for a true artist’s freedom. And in the two versions that did get released, it was a dramatic example of how length is never the primary issue and how content is everything. Both versions had too much nature for some people, but the first version was mostly image with a dusting of story that spoke to big issues while the second version was much more about Pocahontas’ journey and the connection she chased in her romantic choices. They weren’t two different films, since at least 70% of the footage was the same, but man, were these two different movies!