Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Out on DVD today

Get Smart

This is worth a rental, but I'm not sure I'd buy it. I enjoyed the movie but I forgot it right away. I have no real urge to watch it again. You can get this in a Single Disc Edition or a Two Disc Collector's Edition. There is no commentary track, and disc 2 only has about a half hour of extras on it. If they are going to charge extra for a 2nd disc, it should have a couple of hours of extras. 30 minutes could easily fit on disc 1.


Great movie. The less you know going in, the better. But to set up the movie a tiny bit, an American couple (Emily Mortimer and Woody Harrelson) are traveling from Beijing to Moscow on the legendary Trans-Siberian Express. Its a very effective thriller. I don't know if I would buy it, because part of what works so well is that you have no idea where the movie is going. I'm not sure how much I would like it after repeated viewings. But definitely rent it if you haven't seen it. Also, as far as I can tell, the only extra is a 34 minute "making of".

Waterworld - 2 disk extended edition

This is a strange release. Its 2 discs - the first disc has the 136 minute theatrical cut, and the second disc has the 177 minute extended cut. Normally I would love this. Let me see the longer cut so I can decide if it helps or hurts the movie. Sometimes the longer version of the movie is better (Lord of the Rings), or is almost as good as the shorter version (Dances with Wolves). Especially if the director was forced to cut the movie by the studio. I want to see the director's original vision.

But the extended edition here is not from the original negative. Its the version that played on ABC 10 years ago. That means that profanity is dubbed over and some special effects shots are not finished. Maybe if that is the only way possible for this version to be released, then I would consider buying it (like the Donner Cut of Superman II). But I suspect that they used the ABC version because it was cheaper than remastering the movie from the original negative.

Also, there are no extras, which suggests that neither Kevin Costner nor Kevin Reynolds (director) had anything to do with this DVD. If Costner had been in charge of it, there would have been documentaries and commentaries explaining the making of the movie, and the decision to cut the movie down by 45 minutes. Don't buy this.

Star Wars trilogy

This actually isn't a double dip. These are the same DVDs that have been available since 2006. They are the Limited Editions - 2 discs per movie. Disc 1 is the Special Edition (digital effects, Greedo shoots first) and Disc 2 is the original theatrical version (no digital effects, Han shoots first). If you already own these versions, don't buy this. They are just releasing them in a nice looking box set.

Star Wars prequel trilogy

Same thing here. No new extras. These are the same DVDs that have been available for years, just a nice box to keep them all in.

A Christmas Story: Ultimate Collector's Edition

My favorite Christmas movie of all time. This is the exact same Special Edition that was released 5 years ago, but now you can get it with Christmas cookie cutters, an apron, a cookbook, and a cookie tin canister. So if you already own the special edition, you aren't getting any bonus features. But since I don't own this, I will probably spring for this edition.

Newsradio - the complete series

This is one of my all-time favorite sitcoms. All 5 seasons have already been released, so if you already own the previous seasons (like I do), then there is no reason to buy this collection. There is nothing new in this set, it just takes up less shelf space. But if you haven't already got them, this set is the way to go.

I think I'm glad there are no new extras. When the 9th season of Seinfeld was released, they released the entire series in a fridge box with a book and an all new DVD containing a round table discussion with the cast and Larry David. I was glad I never bought any of the Seinfeld seasons, because I saved $240 (9 seasons at $40 each = $360, I got the complete series on sale for $120).
So the lesson is never buy a TV show one season at a time. If you like the show enough to buy 1 season, you will probably want them all. Wait until the series ends, then buy the complete collection. You're welcome.

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