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page updated: 9/4/01



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 8/20/01 - 7/25/01)


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8/20/01

No... we're not kidding. Warner Bros. is releasing The Matrix: Revisited on DVD on November 20th (SRP $19.98). As near as we can tell, the new disc doesn't include the film - it's just a separate, behind-the-scenes disc with additional material on the making of the film. Here's an excerpt from Warner's press information:

"Been in The Matrix? Now take the next leap of understanding with The Matrix: Revisited. Experience the nuts, the bolts, the creative thunder of the cyberthriller that thrust moviemaking into an astonishing new dimension with never-before-seen footage from the original movie and exclusive reflections by those who lived it. Then go deeper with a look forward into the reality that is unfolding in real time: the sequels simmering to life at hidden locations around the world; an eye-popping first glace into The Matrix Anime - new dimensions that explain more about The Matrix. The Matrix: Revisited is the who, what, where, when and wow of a phenomenon that has just begun. It will make you dream in bullet time."

Specifically, here's what you'll get: What is to Come? (which takes you behind-the-scenes on Matrix 2), What is Animatrix? (anime preview), What is the Matrix.com? (preview of new website), The True Followers (interviews with hardcore fans), The Dance of the Master (fight choreography of Wu Ping), The Bathroom Fight and Wet Wall (scene study with behind-the-scenes footage), But Wait, There's More (music montage with never-before-seen footage from The Matrix) and 4 Easter eggs (Chase in the Alley, The Woman in Red, Gun Training and Juke Box-audio only). Interesting, no?

In other news this morning, StarTrek.com has a good story up on the forthcoming Star Trek: The Motion Picture - The Director's Edition DVD (street date November 6th, SRP $29.99), which features interviews with the title's producer. The film has been re-edited and fine-tuned under the supervision of director Robert Wise. The Director's Edition has a running time of 136 minutes, compared to 131 minutes for the original release. The visual effects have also been given an extensive overhaul. In some cases, this was done to clean up optical mattes, and in other cases, the shots have been completely redone using today's CGI technology. There are some 90 altered shots in all, 20% of which are completely new. A new Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix has also been created which includes many newly added sound effects, nearly all of which were originally created for the movie but were unused due to lack of time.

Disc One includes the film in anamorphic widescreen, with newly-recorded audio commentary by director Wise, special photographic effects director Douglas Trumbull, special photographic effects supervisor John Dykstra, composer Jerry Goldsmith and actor Stephen Collins, along with a text commentary by Michael Okuda, co-author of The Star Trek Encyclopedia.

Disc Two includes 3 new retrospective documentaries, the original teaser and theatrical trailer, a new Director's Edition trailer, 8 TV spots, 5 additional scenes from the 1979 theatrical version, other trims and outtakes, 11 deleted scenes from the 1983 TV broadcast version, a storyboard archive and a promo for the new TV series Star Trek: Enterprise.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/17/01 - 2 PM PDT)

This is just a quick update to let you all know that we've just posted 4 more new and upcoming DVD reviews this afternoon. We start with my look at MGM's new Princess Bride: SE (street date 9/4), along with Todd's take on Manga's Blood the Last Vampire (8/28), Greg's 2-cents on Fox's Buffy the Vampire Slayer (9/4) and Dan's comments on Fox's Quills (already available).

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/17/01 - 10:30 AM PDT)

At long last, we've got a look at the DVD cover artwork for Columbia TriStar's upcoming 2-disc Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Special Edition DVD. On it you'll get a brand new high-definition, anamorphic widescreen film transfer "with pink frilly edges", the soundtrack in "glorious 5.1 Dolby Digital", subtitles in English, French and Spanish, subtitles "for people who don't like the film" (you get the text from Shakespeare's Henry IV instead), an "on-screen screenplay" feature which lets you read the screenplay as you watch the film, enlightening commentary by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones (plus general complaints and back-biting by John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin), "extraordinary animated menus with very loud 5.1 Dolby Digital sound", an exciting Follow the Killer Rabbit feature, an additional "mono soundtrack in glorious old fashioned mono" and an extra 24 seconds of film "absolutely free". And that's just on Disc One. Disc Two gives you "Three Mindless Sing-Alongs", The Quest for the Holy Grail Locations documentary, the How to Use Your Coconuts educational film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail in Japanese (with English subtitles), the On Location with the Pythons 1974 BBC Film Night report, an interactive cast directory, tons of Terry Gilliam's original sketches, behind-the-scenes photos, "a load of rubbish" mystery items, unused ideas and other material, trailers and weblinks. The film will be the 21st Anniversary Edition created in 1996 for a U.K. video release (and which was restored for U.S. theatrical release this year), which includes 24 seconds of previously unseen footage. Added bits feature more lines from Zoot (Carol Cleveland) in Castle Anthrax, reaction shots of a crowd yelling "Get on with it!" and God shouting the same phrase. Street date is October 23rd. SRP will be $29.95. Oh... and here's that artwork...

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Special Edition

In other news, Video Store magazine has announced the finalists for its Fourth Annual DVD Awards. Gladiator, Se7en, The Sopranos: The Complete First Season, This is Spinal Tap and Toy Story: The Ultimate Toy Box are all up for Best of Show. There are 22 categories in all. I was asked to serve as one of five judges for the event, and the winners will be announced on Aug. 22 by Entertainment Tonight film critic Leonard Maltin, as part of the DVD Entertainment 2001 conference here in Los Angeles. Click the link above for a full list of the finalists.

In other Video Store news, senior reporter Enrique Rivero has a good story on Warner's efforts to restore Citizen Kane for its upcoming DVD release. Just thought we should post that, because it's an excellent read and also shows that Warner is still doing a LOT of good DVD work with its non-family and non-TV titles. Balanced reporting and all that. I must say, I'm personally really looking forward to Citizen Kane.

Scott Hettrick of Variety has a good story (via Yahoo) on the reason for the delay between Disney releasing its multiple versions of Pearl Harbor on DVD - the time needed to create all the extras for the Vista Series version. For more on this, you might want to check out disc producer David Prior's comments about his work on this title from our recent DVD Producers 2001 panel.

Finally this morning, remember those Princeton scientists who cracked SDMI/RIAA's digital music encryption scheme in response to a challenge from SDMI (Secure Digital Music Initiative) earlier this year? You may recall that the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) first claimed they hadn't actually managed to crack the watermarking technology, then quietly sued the scientists to prevent them from publishing the results of their work. Well... now the scientists have gone public anyway. Read this story from CNN and this one from The Standard.com (also via Yahoo) for more.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/16/01 - 1:45 PM PDT)

We've gotten word from a number of readers that BMW Films will be making that cool collection of car commercial/mini-movies available on DVD later this year, and that you'll be able to get a copy for free. These include Ambush (directed by John Frankenheimer), Chosen (by Ang Lee), The Follow (by Wong Kar-Wai), Star (by Guy Ritchie) and Powder Keg (by Alejandro González Iñárritu). All are viewable online as well. Will you have to test drive a BMW to get a disc? Who knows. A commercial's still a commercial, but these WOULD be cool to have on DVD...

In other news, we've learned that Roger Waters will be releasing a live DVD later this year or early in 2002. Roger Waters: In the Flesh features hi-def-mastered concert video with 5.1 Dolby Digital and LPCM Stereo music mixes, a 30-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, band biographies, still photographs, projected images, lyrics, and more. The release date is still TBA. We're still looking into the status of Pink Floyd's Pulse.

In other music news, Journey fans can look for a live concert DVD from the band in November. Journey 2001 will feature a live performance recorded in Las Vegas at the start of their recent Arrival tour.

Any fans of Six Days in Roswell here? We know you're out there! We're pleased to announce that the film's star, Rich Kronfeld, now has his own TV series on Comedy Central. The hilarious Let's Bowl (excerpts from which can be found on the Roswell DVD) debuts Sunday, August 19th (visit the link provided above for local times). I feel like I'm back home in Minnesota already. Roll on, Rich!

We've got an important Criterion Collection update for you. Look for Peter O'Toole in The Ruling Class on DVD on October 16th. The disc will feature a new anamorphic widescreen transfer, restored to the original full-length version never before seen in the States. Also on board will be an audio commentary (with O'Toole, director Peter Medak and writer Peter Barnes), Medak's home movies from the set and the film's trailer. Also due on October 16th is Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages. Expect the disc to include both versions of the film (the restored 1922 Häxan, as well as the 1968, 74-minute version of the film called Witchcraft Through the Ages), along with commentary by Danish silent film scholar Casper Tybjerg, outtakes, a director's introduction to the 1941 re-release, newly re-recorded music from the original Danish premiere in 5.1 and more. Both discs will SRP for $39.95.

And that's not all Criterion's got coming on October 16th - this deserves a whole paragraph to itself. Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious will include a new digital transfer of the restored film, commentaries by Marian Keane and historian Rudy Behlmer, the complete 1948 Lux Radio Theater adaptation broadcast, rare production and publicity photos, promotional poster and lobby card artwork, production correspondence, trailers and teasers, script excerpts of deleted scenes and alternate endings, excerpts from the short story The Song of the Dragon (which inspired the film), rare newsreel footage of Hitchcock and Ingrid Bergman, liner notes by Hitchcock scholar William Rothman, an isolated music and effects track and more. Spellbound and a 2-disc release of Rebecca are also in production for DVD from Criterion. Rebecca will include a new transfer of the restored film, commentary by historian Leonard J. Left, hair, make-up and costume tests, hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos, poster and lobby card artwork, audio excerpts of conversations between Hitchcock and filmmaker François Truffaut, audio interviews with stars Joan Fontaine and Dame Judith Anderson, three complete radio adaptations and more. Spellbound will feature a new transfer of the restored film, commentary by Hitchcock scholar Marian Keane, a definitive illustrated essay on the Salvador Dali dream sequence, an interview with composer Miklos Rozsa, the complete 1948 Lux Radio Theater adaptation broadcast, hundreds of photos and production documents and more. Street date for Rebecca and Spellbound is still TBD.

We've also got more details from Image today on their Thumb Wars DVD (street date also October 16th, to coincide with the release of Fox's Star Wars: Episode I). Look for it to include full frame video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, a "Gabba the Butt" video interview, audio commentary with Steve Oedekerk and producer Paul Marshal, trailers for Thumb Wars, Thumbtanic and Blair Thumb, storyboards and cast & crew bios. Best of all, SRP is only $9.99.

Anyone want a first look at the artwork for Columbia TriStar's Jabberwocky? Here you go. The disc will include anamorphic widescreen and full frame video, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio, audio commentary by Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin, an international photo gallery, sketch-to-screen comparisons (sketches created by Gilliam) and the theatrical trailer. Street date is October 23rd.

Jabberwocky

Finally, this afternoon, we've confirmed that those Godfather menu screens are the real deal, so be sure to check 'em out.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/16/01 - 2 AM PDT)

Morning all. Universal e-mailed us the following official statement regarding the defective Jurassic Park DTS DVD:

Some listeners have noticed that the initial release of the Jurassic Park-DTS DVD differs in bass level from other home-video versions. While every effort is made to maintain accuracy and consistency across various releases, source and process issues sometimes lead to differences which are noticeable in direct comparisons.

Universal Studios Home Video strives to ensure customer satisfaction, and accordingly has implemented a running change for this title, using the original master soundtrack. The earlier production run can be identified by the code number D2R1 on the inside hub. The newer, current version can be identified by the code D2R2 and will contain a red technical grid on the back of the packaging as part of the running change.

Consumers who have purchased the "D2R1" discs will have the option of making an exchange. Please send in the disc only (without packaging), along with name, address and telephone number, to: Universal Studios Home Video, PO Box 224468, Dallas TX 75260 or Universal Studios Home Video, 8801 Autobahn Drive, Dallas, TX 75237.

Please note: This offer for exchange applies only to the DTS version of Jurassic Park.


Just FYI. Also, that Newsweek article we mentioned yesterday is now available online. Just visit this link and read away.

Back later this morning...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/15/01 - 2:30 PM PDT)

We've gotten some vague word from Warner regarding the release of more Best of Friends DVDs as opposed to complete seasons. Apparently, complicated legal, actors' rights and syndication rights issues are preventing the release of complete seasons of Friends on DVD here in the States. This would be similar to what happened with Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete First Season, which came out first in Europe and is only now soon to be announced for the U.S. from Fox. Still, that doesn't explain South Park "best of" discs or these other full frame-only disasters. The latest on that front is that the studio's upcoming Cats & Dogs DVD will also be full frame only, as was Willy Wonka (groan!). FYI, that Wonka widescreen petition is up to more than 10,000 signatures in a less than 2 weeks.

In other news, we just wanted to head off some potential confusion. On August 21st, 20th Century Fox is re-releasing the original Planet of the Apes on DVD, along with the original Planet of the Apes: The Evolution box set, which contained all the films in the series and a bonus documentary disc. Press releases issued by the studio for this re-promotion mistakenly indicated that these discs will now feature anamorphic widescreen video (the original discs did not). We've confirmed that this was a mistake in the press release. These discs are the exact same ones originally released by Fox, with non-anamorphic letterbox widescreen video.

Fans of the Japanese anime film Spriggan will be delighted to learn that ADV Films has just acquired the U.S. home video and DVD release rights to the title. The company expects to release the disc very late this year or early in 2002. Watch this website for news.

Finally, this week's issue of Newsweek magazine (the August 20 issue, on newsstands now - Senator John McCain on the cover) features a great article on DVD, calling it The Disc that Saved Hollywood. The article is fascinating and is ABSOLUTELY worth a read to anyone who wants to learn more about the "behind-closed-doors" deals that had to happen to make DVD a reality. Don't miss it. Warren Lieberfarb... you the man. ;-)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/15/01 - 12:30 PM PDT)

Okay... we're pretty blown away by this. Buena Vista has just officially announced the DVD release of Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor... in no less than 3 separate versions. The Pearl Harbor: 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition will be released as a 2-disc DVD set on December 4th, "three days before the 60th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing". The set will include an introduction by Director Michael Bay, a documentary on the real life Pearl Harbor veterans and their return to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial for the film's premiere, insightful interviews with the cast, a dynamic bonus documentary on the real attack on Pearl Harbor and the Faith Hill music video for There You'll Be. The film will be THX-certified and will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video (2.35:1 aspect ratio), with DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound options. SRP is $29.99.

Oh... but that's not all. The Pearl Harbor: 60th Anniversary Commemorative DVD Gift Set contains all the features of the 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, plus the fascinating companion movie, National Geographic Beyond the Movie: Pearl Harbor, "a unique and engrossing way to explore the story behind the epic film". Also included is National Geographic's 60th Anniversary Commemorative map: one side of the map provides a detailed overview of what happened at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The other side of the map is an authentic replica of a world map from this time period, displaying political boundaries. SRP for this is $49.99.

Oh... but we're still not done. On January 15th, Buena Vista will release the Pearl Harbor: Director's Cut - Vista Series as a 3-disc DVD set. All the special programs, documentaries and featurettes from the 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition will be included, but the set will feature a special R-rated, 5-minute longer cut of the film, which is more graphic than what was seen in theaters. Disc One will feature custom 3D-animated menus, an introduction an explanation of letterbox by the director, Part I of Pearl Harbor: The Director's Cut, an Intermission Sequence (with score), 3 selectable audio commentaries by the director, the cast and the producer, and various crew members. Disc Two will feature Part II of Pearl Harbor: The Director's Cut. And the rest of the extras will be split over Disc Two and Disc Three. They are expected to include 8 different Making of Pearl Harbor featurettes (including Battleship Row Attack, Sandbag Explosion, Dorrie Miller at the Guns, The Airfield Attack, Scramble to the Planes, The Dud Bomb, Oklahoma Gimble and The Doolittle Raid), a 30-minute multi-angle exploration of the Surprise Attack (featuring director introduction, and multiple video, audio and commentary tracks), a Pearl Harbor timeline, the Faith Hill music video, a Boot Camp featurette that follows the actors preparing for their roles, a montage of unseen super-8 footage (shot for potential use in the movie by Michael Bay's visual assistant, Mark Palansky) and animatic concept footage. Video will be anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) with audio in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. Look also for the set to include a custom THX logo, THX Optimode test signals and possibly even a Dolby Headphone feature (which allows simulated 5.1 sound using stereo headphones for portable DVD players). SRP for the Vista Series Director's Cut will be $39.99.

Whew! Here's the cover artwork for the Pearl Harbor: 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition and the Pearl Harbor: Director's Cut - Vista Series. Note that both are styled to look like World War II-era Captain's log books, complete with antique weathering.

Pearl Harbor: 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition (2-discs)Pearl Harbor: Director's Cut - Vista Series (3-discs)

Stay tuned...

(LATER UPDATE - 8/14/01 - 1:30 PM PDT)

As promised, we've just updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Artwork section with some 90 new cover scans - no kidding! We've got Benny Hill, we've got Valdez and we've got Comes a Horseman. There's Return of the King and Suspiria, Crocodile Dundee and The Luzhin Defence. How about Barbarians at the Gate, Clambake, Shiloh and Not Without My Daughter? Or Bridget Jones's Diary, The Crimson Rivers, Town & Country and Funny Girl? Anyone for Sword Fish, Final Fantasy, On the Waterfront or Shrek? Or how about Pearl Harbor, TRON, Newsies and Empire of the Sun? Okay... you get the idea. There's a lot to see and EVERY page has been updated with new covers. So there you go. ;-)

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/14/01 - 9:30 AM PDT)

Morning all! Any Samurai Jack fans out there? We've got good word that the time-travelling swordsman is headed to DVD - that's in today's update of The Rumor Mill.

We've also got what may be your first look at the DVD menu screens from Paramount's forthcoming Godfather 1 & 2 discs, so be sure to check that out.

Back soon...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/14/01 - 1 AM PDT)

Yep... it's official! Columbia TriStar has confirmed that their Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Special Edition will street on October 23rd, the same day as Jabberwocky. There are no details yet on the disc's contents, but you can at least expect the longer version of the film that was recently re-released to theaters... and (at long last!) an anamorphic widescreen transfer. We'll have more details as they become available. We've also learned that Columbia will release America's Sweethearts on DVD on November 13th, with The Breed following on November 20th.

In other upcoming title news, look for Beethoven's 4th from Universal on December 4th, along with The Land Before Time 8: The Big Freeze. Warner will release Cats & Dogs on October 23rd, along with Shiloh and Shiloh 2. And New Line's Pink Flamingos/Female Troubles double feature will street on October 2nd, with Town and Country following on October 16th.

Finally, Image Entertainment is going to be releasing Steve Oedekerk's hilarious Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle - Special Edition on October 16th. You may have seen it on Fox a couple of years ago. If you did see it... well, it's pretty hard to forget. And if you didn't, just take one look at this cover artwork and tell me you aren't at least a little curious...

Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle - Special Edition

You should also be aware that Thumb Wars is just the first release in a whole series of Steve Oedekerk Thumb projects on DVD. The Blair Thumb, BatThumb and Thumbtanic are all coming soon! Watch the Thumb.com website starting on September 1st for all the latest.

Speaking of cover art, check back later this morning for a massive Upcoming DVD Cover Artwork update. We've got no less than 90 new cover scans for you, including a number of major upcoming releases, so don't miss it.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/13/01 - 8 PM PDT)

Okay... we said earlier that Warner was dropping the ball with regard to releasing more South Park on DVD. That's not entirely true, we've discovered. They are releasing more South Park on DVD. They're just not doing it right. Yep... you guessed it - two more "best of" discs are on the way. On November 6th, look for South Park: Timmy and South Park: Winter Wonderland. Each will SRP for $19.98. Timmy will contain three episodes: Timmy 2000, 4th Grade and Helen Keller: The Musical. Winter Wonderland will contain four episodes: A Very Crappy Christmas, Are You There God? It's Me... Jesus, Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000 and Something You Can Do with Your Finger.

South Park: TimmySouth Park: Winter Wonderland

Is it just too much work for some exec over at Warner to plan a South Park: The Complete First Season set, or what? I am REALLY not happy with Warner these days. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/13/01 - 3:15 PM PDT)

We've just posted three new DVD reviews this afternoon. We've got Todd's take on MGM's forthcoming Killer Klowns from Outer Space (which streets on August 28th - a disc we've been working to get released FOREVER), along with Greg's thoughts on a cool new music title, Pioneer's The Kinks: One for the Road, and guest reviewer Adam Jahnke's look at the new Stepford Wives: Silver Anniversary Edition from Anchor Bay.

We've also just gotten word from Warner of (gasp!) another DVD disappointment - The Best of Friends, Volumes 3 & 4, which will be released on November 20th (SRP $34.98 for both volumes, individually for $19.98 each or in a 4-disc set with the previously released volumes as well for $69.98). The 2 new discs will again include 6 episodes each, which will feature never before seen footage. The episodes are as follows:

Volume 3 - The One with the Blackout, The One with the Candy Hearts, The One Where Ross and Rachel... You Know, The One with the Football and The One That Could Have Been, Parts 1 & 2

Volume 4 - The One with Chandler in a Box, The One Hundredth, The One with All the Resolutions, The One Where Ross Got High and The One with the Proposal, Parts 1 & 2

The Best of Friends, Volumes 3 & 4

It seems Warner will just never get the message that fans of Friends would rather have complete box sets of ALL the episodes rather than just a "best of" collection as picked by some studio marketing executive. And I suppose you guys at Warner have decided not to follow up on the existing South Park DVDs too? Despite the fact that Warner is doing SOME very good DVD work (Ben-Hur, Citizen Kane, Doctor Zhivago), recent bad decisions on the studio's part have them in a neck and neck race with Universal for WORST DVD STUDIO in next year's Bitsy Awards. Shape up, guys!

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/13/01 - 10:45 AM PDT)

Okay, we've got several posts coming today. First up, we wanted to report that Universal is definitely replacing defective copies of the Jurassic Park DTS disc. We're getting a lot of e-mails from people who are swapping discs. Video Business magazine even posted a story on Friday about this subject. So if you've got bad discs, be sure to get them upgrades to the new, fixed version.

Now two quick title announcements. Columbia TriStar has just revealed that Barbra Streisand's Funny Girl will be released on DVD on October 23rd. And Richard Pryor will follow on November 13th, with The Toy.

And finally, we've updated the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers to include the 169,573 players shipped to retail here in the States in the first week of August (ending 8/3). All charts have been updated accordingly.

Back soon with lots more...

8/10/01

Hey all. Sorry we've been gone a couple of days. I had a sudden family obligation that needed attending to, so that kept me from posting. But today, we're going to run down some recent DVD news that you may have missed. Here goes...

First of all, a number of people have been e-mailing us to say that they're definitely getting help in exchanging their problem Jurassic Park DTS discs when they call the Universal customer service number. Someone calls them back promptly and gives them an address to send the old disc to. Reportedly, they'll get the new disc sent to them. Once again, the number to call is: 972-293-5903. There's no word on replacement of non-Region 1 copies of the disc. If you have a non-U.S. copy of the disc, I would first check to see if the serial numbers on the disc match those we've discussed previously (for identifying defective discs).

Next up, we've gotten word from Willy Wonka producer J.M. Kenny, who reports that Warner is apparently "entertaining the idea of possibly releasing a widescreen version" of the film. Cool, but we say keep signing that online petition in the meantime in the hope that they'll get the message that we want it ASAP. When last I checked, it was up to 8,000 signatures. Not too shabby...

Now for some upcoming DVD announcements. First of all, DreamWorks has finally announced its 2-disc Shrek for release on November 2nd (SRP $19.95). The disc will feature all new, custom animated 3D menus and an extended ending, among other things. Here's an excerpt from the official press release:

"Developed exclusively for the home video release, the new footage picks up where the movie left off and continues the party with more than 150 Shrek characters showing us what goes on after the fairy tale ending. Created directly from its original digital format, the Shrek double disc DVD represents this groundbreaking movie in the most pristine presentation existing. The DVD offers more than 11 hours of entertainment and features 15 minutes of all-new animated material including interactive menus created by the movie's directors. Just as the movie broke new ground in technology, the DVD features Shrek's ReVoice Studio, a never-before-used DVD ROM program available for the first time ever that enables viewers to voice the lines of their favorite characters."

There's also director's commentary, "technical goofs", a behind-the-scenes documentary, music videos from the film and LOTS more. Also, each disc in the 2-disc set contains a different version of the film - one in full frame and the other in anamorphic widescreen. Audio will be provided in English Dolby Digital 5.1, French 2.0 and Spanish 2.0, with DTS 5.1 added for the widescreen version. VERY cool. We're predicting that this disc is gonna give Snow White a serious run for its money, and may even become the biggest selling animated DVD yet released.

Now then... here's a look at MGM's November slate: Of Mice and Men, Choose Me, Gregory's Girl, Dominick and Eugene, The Woody Allen Gift Set, Volume 3 (includes Broadway Danny Rose, Hanna and Her Sisters, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Radio Days and Zelig) (street date for all, November 6th), The Dogs of War, An Eye for an Eye, Gang Related, Lone Wolf McQuade, Lord of the Flies, Invasion U.S.A., The People That Time Forgot, Strange Invaders, The Angry Planet, Morons from Outer Space, I Bury the Living, War-Gods of the Deep, Empire of the Ants and At the Earth's Core (street date for all, November 20th). Whew!

We're not done yet. Fox's just announced the DVD release of Freddy Got Fingered for October 23rd. Better still, look for Someone Like You on September 18th. And Doctor Doolittle 2 will debut on October 23rd.

From A&E, look for Upstairs Downstairs: The Complete First Season and Monty Python Live! (street dates TBD).

Artisan's rolling out Doctor Who and the Daleks in November, and the complete first season of the Twin Peaks TV series on December 4th. Look for the set to include every episode but the pilot (which is embroiled in a rights battle), bonus DTS audio and a rare Lynch audio commentary. Also, look for a Reservoir Dogs: 10th Anniversary Special Edition in January.

Columbia TriStar's announced the release of Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky for October 23rd (SRP $24.95). Extras will include audio commentary by Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin, "sketch-to-screen" comparisons, a poster gallery, a photo gallery, the theatrical trailer, full frame and anamorphic widescreen video and audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. And I'd be surprised if the studio's new Monty Python and the Holy Grail: SE doesn't street the same day, although that has not yet been announced.

We've also got a list of the disc specs for Columbia's 2-disc Final Fantasy: SE (10/23). The set will include audio commentaries (by co-director Moto Sakakibara, sequence supervisor Hiroyuki Hayashida, sets and props lead artist Tatsuro Maruyama and phantom supervisor Takoo Noguchi and by animation director Andy Jones, editor Chris S. Capp and staging director Tani Kunitake), storyboard/Playblast selections of the film with optional commentary, an interactive documentary with alternate opening sequence and a mini-movie, workshops that include seven character files, three vehicle scale comparisons, two face wraps, character morphs, matte art exploration and a re-editing function to alter the film's final scene, an isolated score with commentary by composer Elliot Goldenthal and DVD-ROM elements. Again... whew!

Anchor Bay's got SpaceCamp and Heathers coming September 25th, followed by Bad Boys, Timerider and Halloween 4 on October 9th. Heathers and Timerider will both be available in dual editions - standard and limited. Can't wait for Timerider!

And finally, Warner's got a number of good new titles on the way, including Angel Eyes (10/16), The Mummy (1959 - 10/2), Little Women (1933? - TBD), Now Voyager (TBD), Swordfish (10/30) and Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun (11/6). Empire will SRP for $24.98, and will include an anamorphic widescreen transfer from refurbished elements, newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio, the behind-the-scenes documentary A China Odyssey: Empire of the Sun, cast/director career highlights and the theatrical trailer.

Here's a look at teh cover artwork for a few of the titles we've just mentioned. Look for a major art update on Monday. Enjoy...

Empire of the SunShrek

The Mummy (1959)Timerider

SwordfishSpaceCamp

Have a great weekend!

(LATE UPDATE - 8/7/01 - 10 AM PDT)

Hi everyone! Two things to kick off the morning. First of all, there's an online petition for those of you who are upset about Warner's decision to release the new Willy Wonka DVD in full frame only. At the very least, if the petition gets enough signatures, it'll send Warner's Family executives a message. Rest assured that we've spoken with several people at the studio, to stress what an error in judgement this decision was. I've been told they're aware of the concern, and are taking it seriously. So we'll see what comes of it. We've also created this animated gif that you can use to link from your own websites to the petition. It's based on an idea that someone sent Ron Epstein over at Home Theater Forum (not sure who, but it really cracked me up so we took it a step further). We don't plan to let this issue drop anytime soon.

Click Here to Sign the Wonka Petition

Also today, we've finally got a customer service phone number for you to call at Universal to get your defective Jurassic Park DTS DVDs exchanged. When you call, you'll get the opportunity to leave a message with your problem and call back number. Someone should get back to you within 24 hours. Two things - first, be polite! The guy who will call you back is a decent fellow, and he'll try his best to help you. Second, be patient. I suspect he's gonna get a LOT of calls over the next few days. Simply explain that the low frequency sound on the disc is defective, and that you'd like to exchange it for the corrected version. That said, here's the phone number to call: 972-293-5903. I'm trusting you guys to represent well, so y'all behave now! ;-)

Back soon...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/7/01 - 2 AM PDT)

Anyone awake out there? We'll have a larger post for you later this morning, but first... try this on for size Star Wars fans...

Episode II logo

Oddly enough, it's already growing on me. Interesting timing for announcing the title, given all the news stories on human cloning this week.

So that's all. Nothing DVD related at 2 AM. We'll save that for the morning. You know, it's funny - some yahoo e-mailed me all angry this afternoon for even mentioning the fact that Lucasfilm had announced the title of the next Star Wars film, complaining that the title was a spoiler and we'd ruined it for him. I can understand wanting to stay spoiler-free, but I'm guessing you'd have to cut your head off to keep from hearing this title from just about every news source imaginable over the next few days. Ah well... you can't please everyone. ;-)

We now resume your regular DVD website, already in progress.

(LATER UPDATE - 8/6/01 - 2:15 PM PDT)

Some housekeeping stuff - we've just posted the winners for our Trivia Contest. Congratulations to all and watch for the next contest to start very soon.

We've also updated the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers to include all 4 weeks of July. The grand total for the month is 693,013 players shipped to retail in Region 1. That takes the year-to-date total up to 5,103,806 players, and the format-to-date total to 19,026,137. All charts have been updated accordingly. 20 million, here we come...

Also, in a bit of additional (and better) Warner news, the first Babylon 5 DVD release is expected on December 4th (SRP $19.98). It will be a double feature disc, and will include the complete TV movies In the Beginning and The Gathering. The latter will reportedly be a special edition version that was shown on TNT (a different edit than the original, with new music). More B5 product will follow on DVD in 2002. Thanks to Bits reader Steven G. for the heads-up.

Also, we've officially confirmed that The Goonies will be anamorphic widescreen. That is for sure, absolutely, 100% confirmed - I've seen the disc myself. Which makes this full frame crap on Wonka all the more puzzling...

Finally, here's a bit of news for you Star Wars fans. Star Wars.com has officially revealed the name of the next film: Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. Which just completely lacks... well, I find the title lacking. It's definitely got that Flash Gordon, 1930s serial feel to it. At least we didn't get Star Wars: Episode II - Flaming Pit of Death! Oh well... watcha gonna do? I still believe the movie will be cool.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/6/01 - 1 PM PDT)

Well... this is not the good news I'd hoped to have for you about Warner's upcoming Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: 30th Anniversary Edition DVD. As recently as our Comic-Con DVD panel, our information was that this DVD would feature both anamorphic widescreen and full frame video options. Now... we're absolutely stunned to learn that, in fact, the DVD will ONLY include full frame! And fans of the film are rightly very upset. Frankly, we can't believe this. But it's been confirmed by the studio. It seems several studios have a little bit of a different attitude when it comes to their "family films". Just as Warner's A Christmas Story and MGM's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang have only been released in full frame, yet another edition of Wonka gets chopped. When are the studios going to realize that the MAIN audience for these films isn't just kids? It's adults who grew up loving the films... and who now want to see them in their original widescreen aspect ratios! At the very least, TWO viewing options should be included - anamorphic widescreen and full frame. All right... we're now officially PISSED OFF! Screw it. Somebody call Warren Lieberfarb...

Warner and MGM... if you're reading this, how about doing these films RIGHT? And PRONTO!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/6/01 - 11 AM PDT)

Morning all! Hope you all had a great weekend. I've got some quick but exciting news to start the day, and then we'll be back soon with more. Note that we'll also be announcing the Trivia Contest winners in a little bit.

We've learned that Winstar Home Video is going to be releasing the acclaimed Joseph Campbell/Bill Moyers PBS special, The Power of Myth, on DVD on September 11th. I can't tell you how excited we are about this here at the Bits. The special will be released on 2 discs, which will include all 6 hours of the series (The Hero's Adventure, The Message of the Myth, The First Storytellers, Sacrifice and Bliss, Love and the Goddess and Masks of Eternity), along with complete transcripts of each episode, a bonus interview with director George Lucas on mythology, biographies, bibliographies and a gallery of artwork. SRP for the set will be $59.98. If you've never seen it, it's really an amazing series. We can't recommend it more highly.

In other quick news this morning, we've gotten our hands on the DVD cover artwork for HBO's The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season, which streets on November 6th. Thanks to Bits reader Mike for sending it in. We've also got new cover artwork for The Power of Myth, Columbia TriStar's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (street date 10/23) and Buena Vista's Pearl Harbor (street date TBD), along with a look at the main menu art for Final Fantasy. Enjoy!

The Sopranos: The Complete Second SeasonThe Power of Myth

Final Fantasy: The Spirits WithinPearl Harbor

Final Fantasy (Main Menu)

Back soon...

(LATER UPDATE - 8/3/01 - 4:30 PM PDT)

Okay... last update today. We've just posted two reviews from our own Brain Ford Sullivan - 20th Century Fox's Tigerland and Warner's The Fugitive: Special Edition. Look for a more reviews on Monday.

Everyone have a great weekend!

(LATE UPDATE - 8/3/01 - 12:30 PM PDT)

Next update in today's series... we've also just posted a complete transcript of the live chat with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's Peter Staddon, which was held over at the Home Theater Forum a few nights ago. If you're a fan of ANY Fox film as yet unreleased on DVD, I think you'll want to read it carefully. Peter spills the beans on TONS of great titles coming in 2002 to our favorite format. So don't miss it.

Also, a note regarding the Hannibal: Special Edition DVD, as already released in Region 4. Apparently, there is some controversy. Note that if you haven't scene the film, SPOILERS FOLLOW. Many in Region 4 believe that the film on the disc has been edited to delete a graphic shot of Lector removing a portion of brain from Paul Krendler. I've just spoken with the DVD's producer, Charles de Lauzirika, who wants to reassure everyone that this isn't the case at all. The key point to make is that the film NEVER HAD this shot... EVER. The way the film was edited, you see Lector cutting the brain sac, cut to a reaction shot of Clarice grimacing, cut to a shot of Lector holding the tissue, then cut to the brain tissue "hitting the pan" so to speak. The proof of this is on the DVD itself. If you watch the Reaction segment of the Breaking the Silence documentary, you'll actually be taken INSIDE the theater during the L.A. premiere, to see the audience reacting to this very scene. It plays, uncut, on the theater screen as the audience watches... and you'll see that there NEVER was a shot of the brain being removed. Hope that explains it. Thanks to Charlie for settling that straight.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/3/01 - 11:30 AM PDT)

This is the first of a couple of posts we'll be making today. This morning, we'll start with some DVD news.

But first, don't forget that this is the last day for you to enter the Trivia Contest, for a chance to win one of 2 signed copies of the Dogma: SE and more.

Now then... some of you may have heard that Columbia TriStar plans to launch their own line of "premium" DVD titles, under the SuperBit moniker. The line, which debuts on October 9th, will feature a number of the studio's most popular titles, remastered at the highest video bit rates possible. By omitting added value material, all that extra data space can be used to include more picture and sound information. So while most DVDs are mastered with an average video bit rate of 3 or 4 mbps, SuperBit DVDs will feature an average bit rate of 7+ mpbs. Also, by leaving off extras, there's room for both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio options as well. Columbia claims that all SuperBit DVDs will be created from high definition masters - that's a little misleading. MOST DVDs today are mastered using high definition transfers. It's the added bit rate here that counts. So will that added video bit rate make a difference? I'm not sure. But it will be interesting to see. To us, this could be just another studio attempt to gain additional shelf space for their product (like New Line's Infinifilm brand, Buena Vista's Vista Series and Universal's Ultimate line of discs). Or it could truly improve quality. My big questions are these: Will there be a noticeable difference? And will non-SuperBit DVDs seem to suffer by comparison? We'll see. In any case, look for The Fifth Element, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Desperado and Air Force One to be among the first releases in this new line. Click here for more info.

In other Columbia news, look for the following titles on DVD in the coming months: The Greatest: Ali (10/2), The Crimson Rivers (10/16), Jackie Chan Adventures: The Search for the Talismans (10/23), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (10/30), Prince of Tides and The Blue and the Gray (11/6).

Back soon. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/2/01 - 3 PM PDT)

Now that I'm able to compare the existing DTS version of The Lost World against a known corrected DTS copy of Jurassic Park, it's my firm belief that the DTS version of The Lost World is NOT defective. I've come to that conclusion based upon careful consideration of the quality and quantity of the low frequency sound in the mix throughout the film, as compared to the corrected Jurassic Park. This has not been confirmed officially by the studio, but I suspect it's a moot point. Our reviews of these films have been corrected accordingly. We'll post an update here when we hear back from the studio about getting your defective discs replaced.

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/2/01 - 1 PM PDT)

Okay... remember about this time last year, when Universal released Jurassic Park and The Lost World on DVD in several different combinations of aspect ratio and sound format? When many reviewers got our hands on the DTS versions of these discs, we were surprised to find that there was something decidedly missing from the audio - any kind of serious low frequency sound. Whether it was missing from the mix, or the audio was encoded improperly so that DTS decoders were unable to render it, the DTS tracks completely lacked the outrageous bass we all heard in the theaters.

Some people immediately claimed that we must all have our audio systems improperly adjusted - there were tons of reasons why there was nothing wrong. But Universal remained oddly silent on the issue. Fast forward to one year later. There is now conclusive proof that the first pressings of the DTS DVD version of Jurassic Park featured defective 5.1 audio. That proof, is that Universal has quietly corrected the DTS sound and repressed the disc. We at The Digital Bits have been receiving e-mails about this for a few weeks now, but we've remained silent on the subject until we could verify the claim. Now, however, the new pressing of this disc is starting to appear in stores... and we've gotten our hands on a copy. The difference in the low frequency sound between the fixed and original defective discs is startling. Whereas before, I had to manually adjust both my receiver and subwoofer to obtain any kind of worthwhile bass, this new disc simply rumbles with it. My subwoofer is now far more active - THIS is the audio experience I recall from the theater. The new DTS audio easily rates an A+ for quality.

Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire way to identify the new disc from its packaging alone. The original release of the disc had two stickers on the front, one which promoted the Jurassic Park III weblinks the disc provided, and one which promoted the disc's PlayStation 2 compatibility. Some people are reporting that the new discs don't have the PS2 sticker. Mine didn't have either. One thing you should look for is the spine label at the top of the keepcase - on the new discs, it should read: Jurassic Park (WS) (DTS). That said, THE ONLY SURE WAY TO IDENTIFY THE FIXED VERSION IS BY THE NUMBERS ON THE INSIDE RING OF THE ACTUAL DISC. The FIXED disc will read: PEMC-D2R2. The earlier pressings - the defective ones - read either PEMC-D2R0 or PEMC-D2R1. Unfortunately, it still hasn't been ascertained whether the studio has repressed the defective Lost World DTS discs.

I haven't been given many official answers from Universal, despite repeated attempts. Still, I have several calls into the studio and I hope to hear back from then within the next 24 hours or so. Will the studio replace defective discs free of charge? Is The Lost World DTS sound also being fixed? At this point, your guess is a good as mine. I've been given a customer service number to call, which I have. When they get back to me, and I've confirmed that they will be able to help consumers with this problem, I'll post it here.

In other news, It looks like we've been able to confirm that Disney's Beauty and the Beast will be the studio's next Platinum title. The reason is that multiple industry sources, and many readers, have e-mailed us to say that the studio is working on an IMAX re-release of the film for March of next year, which will apparently include a newly animated musical number. One qualification on my comments from yesterday: A few people took offense to my "yech!" with regard to Beauty and the Beast. It isn't that I don't like the film, it's just that I'd much rather see Aladdin and The Lion King first - just a personal preference. Regardless, it looks like Beast is in the hopper for DVD in 2002, so you fans can rest easy.

Also, just FYI, we are working on a bunch of reviews, but I literally had to spend most of yesterday driving around to different DVD merchants to find the corrected Jurassic Park disc. And I really want to lay this issue to rest ASAP, so I'm working hard to get some answers. Look for reviews tomorrow.

Finally, a note that has really nothing to do with DVD. If you've followed this website for any length of time, you no doubt know that I'm a huge Minnesota Vikings fan. And yesterday was a little tough for all of us, with the heat-related death of Viking offensive tackle Korey Stringer. So to all Vikes fans out there - I feel your pain. Best wishes to his family, his teammates and Vikings fans everywhere.

Stay tuned...

8/1/01

We've gotten word from a number of distributor sources on Disney's next few animated Platinum titles. But we've rightly put it in The Rumor Mill, where it belongs. In fact, I don't want the 2002 title to be true. Sing along with me: "Tale as old as time..." Yech.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/31/01 - 4 PM PDT)

This is just a quick update to let you know that Columbia TriStar has revealed that they'll debut their 2-disc Final Fantasy: Special Edition on DVD on October 23rd. No other official details are yet available.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/31/01 - Noon PDT)

At long last... our complete coverage of DVD Producers 2001 at Comic-Con is done! It took us longer than expected (doesn't it always?), but as we said yesterday, I think you'll see why when you start going through it. Not only do we have a full, blow by blow transcript of the nearly 90-minute panel discussion, we've also got an exclusive sneak peek at the menus designs and special edition content for three very cool upcoming DVDs - stuff you won't see anywhere else until the discs are in your hands. So what are you waiting for? ;-)

In other news, we've got word in The Rumor Mill about the street dates for DreamWorks' Shrek and Universal's Jurassic Park III DVDs.

Also, one notice today - our friends over at the Home Theater Forum are holding an online chat with Peter Staddon of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment tonight (6 PM PST). Peter's a great guy and a big DVD fan, so if you've got some good DVD questions you want him to answer, be sure to check it out. We'll have a transcript available here after the event for those who are unable to participate.

We'll be back tomorrow with a whole bunch of new DVD reviews, so thanks for your patience and enjoy the panel coverage. Stay tuned...

7/30/01

We're working hard on the Comic-Con Panel transcript and hope to have it up tonight. It's taking a lot of work, but I think you'll see why soon enough... and agree that it was worth the wait.

In the meantime, we wanted to chime in here with word that HBO has officially announced the DVD release of The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season. The 4-disc package will street on November 6th, for an SRP of $99.98. All 13 episodes will be presented in the 16x9 widescreen format. DVD special features will include 4 exclusive audio commentaries delivered by the directors of selected episodes. The commentaries, given by Tim Van Patten, Henry J. Bronchtein, Allen Coulter and John Patterson, reveal insights into the production of the episodes and the interpretation of the directors. Other features include on-screen interviews with the cast and creator David Chase, a featurette entitled The Real Deal (with discussions about The Sopranos with critics, psychiatrists, former FBI agents and other experts), a first season recap, episodic synopses, previews and recaps, cast and crew bios, web links and an episode index. Audio will be in English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround Sound and Spanish and French stereo.

Stay tuned...7/28/01

Damn! Just when I thought it was safe to step away from the computer for the weekend, more hot upcoming DVD artwork rolls in. This time, it's DreamWorks' upcoming 2-disc Shrek (street date TBA in November), Disney's 2-disc TRON: 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition (street date 1/15/02) and Warner Bros. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (street date 12/18)!

ShrekTRON: 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

We have it on good authority that DreamWorks and Pacific Data Images (PDI) have created entirely new 3D animation (not seen in the film) for Shrek's animated menu screens. And TRON is expected to include anamorphic widescreen video (from the newly-restored 70mm print), Dolby Digital 5.1 EX sound, multiple audio commentary tracks, early video tests, conceptual artwork galleries, never-before-seen "behind-the-scenes" footage, 2 documentaries about the history of computer animation for film, new interviews, deleted scenes, a "making-of" featurette, a storyboard-to-film comparison of the light cycle chase and MUCH more (including many of the extras created for the previous laserdisc release). SRP will be $29.99.

SWEET! Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/27/01 - 11:45 PM PDT)

Okay... we couldn't resist one last post today. Anyone want a first look at the DVD cover art for Paramount's Star Trek: The Motion Picture - The Director's Edition (11/6) and Crocodile Dundee (9/18)? Well, here ya go...

Star Trek: The Motion Picture - The Director's EditionCrocodile Dundee

And what the heck... here's another upcoming cover for you just for the fun of it: Bridget Jones's Diary (due 10/9).

Bridget Jones's Diary

Enjoy. ;-)

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/27/01 - 1:30 PM PDT)

Oh happy day! Columbia TriStar has just announced that they're releasing a pair of much-desired classics on DVD on October 23rd - On the Waterfront and From Here to Eternity! Both discs will be special editions, although the details are still TBA. Also coming in October from the studio are White River, The Greatest (10/2), When a Stranger Calls (10/9), Peep Show, The Three Stooges: Healthy, Wealthy and Dumb (10/16), The Animal: Special Edition, Divided We Fall and The Road Home (10/30). Here's a look at the menus from Waterfront and Eternity. Now if Columbia would just announce Wind, I'd be a really happy camper... ;-)

On the Waterfront DVD Main Menu

From Here to Eternity DVD Main Menu

In other news today, we've got word on a "whip-cracking" good flick coming to DVD next year in The Rumor Mill, as well as clarification on Shrek. And we've updated the AFI Top 100 Films on DVD list as well.

Finally, we're still waiting on a studio to send us one last batch of DVD screen shots, and then our DVD Producers Panel transcript will be complete. So we're officially going to post it on Monday morning. Trust us - it will be well worth the wait. We'll also have a trio of new DVD reviews on Monday as well.

So go forth, all ye film fans, to The Planet of the Apes. And we'll see you back here in a couple of days with a tall, refreshing drink of DVD goodness. Have a great weekend!

7/26/01

We've gotten the full details on the multitude of extras to be included on Fox's The X-Files: The Complete Fourth Season, which streets on November 13th. Here's what you're gonna get, disc by disc:

Disc One

Episodes: Herrenvolk, Home, Teliko and Unruhe (note that audio had been edited out of the original 1996 broadcast of the Home "teaser" because it was deemed "too harsh for TV." That full audio is now restored, and is accessible with a special button to turn it on in the episode), Extended Scene: Unruhe (Scully asks about Mulder's mother), Deleted Scene: Home (Humorous Banter), International Clips: Home (one-minute clips in German, Japanese, Castillian)

Disc Two

Episodes: The Field Where I Died, Sanguinarium, Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man and Tunguska, Deleted Scene: The Field Where I Died (Giving Melissa a ride), Deleted Scene: Tunguska (Scully elaborates to Skinner), Deleted Scene: Tunguska (CSM talks to Well Manicured Man), International Clips: Tunguska (one-minute clips in German, Japanese, Castillian)

Disc Three

Episodes: Terma, Paper Hearts, El Mundo Gira and Leonard Betts, Deleted Scene: Paper Hearts (John Lee Roche kidnaps Caitlin), International Clips: Paper Hearts (one-minute clips in German, Japanese, Castillian)

Disc Four

Episodes: Never Again, Momento Mori, Kaddish and Unrequited, Deleted Scene: Momento Mori (Scully is visited by her mother and brother), Deleted Scene: Momento Mori (Scully and Mulder's first on-screen kiss), International Clips: Momento Mori (one-minute clips in German, Japanese, Castillian), Audio Commentary by Frank Spotnitz for Momento Mori

Disc Five

Episodes: Tempus Fugit, Max, Synchrony and Small Potatoes, Deleted Scene: Max (Scully is held up by bureaucracy), Audio Commentary by Vince Gilligan for Small Potatoes

Disc Six

Episodes: Zero-Sum, Elegy, Demons and Gethsemane, International Clips: Gethsemane (one-minute clips in German, Japanese, Castillian)

Disc Seven

Documentary: The Truth About Season Four (30 min), Interview Clips (approx. 3 min. each): Herrenvolk with Frank Spotniz, Unruhe with Vince Gilligan, Home with James Wong, Paper Hearts with Vince Gilligan, Tunguska with Chris Carter, Special Effects Clips with Audio Commentary by Paul Rabwin: Herrenvolk (Twin Boys motion control), Leonard Betts (Rebirths), Momento Mori (Cloning the actors), Momento Mori (Candlelight), Unrequited (Tiling), Max (Hanging Triangle), Max (Sucked out of the Plane), Synchrony (Ice Hand Effect), All Additional Deleted/Extended Scenes Re-presented with Optional Audio Commentary by Chris Carter, 13 Behind the Truth Spots, 48 :10 and :20 TV spots (1 each per episode), DVD-ROM game Urbs Tertia

Whew... looks like another great box set. Can't wait!

In other news, strong sales of DVD players in the first half of the year have pushed the 4-year-old format into nearly 20% of all TV households. That's the latest according to research by the DVD Entertainment Group. So far this year, 5.2 million new DVD players have been shipped to stores (almost a 70% increase over the same period last year), with another 10 million DVD players are expected to ship in the second half of the year. Read all the details here at Yahoo.

We'll be back with the complete transcript of the DVD Producers Panel tomorrow - don't miss it!

7/25/01

Okay... last night, I made the ultimate sacrifice. I fell on my sword, as it were, for my better half. I took my wife to an *NSync concert. Now... before you laugh, understand that I've been married almost 12 years. Wanna know how you do it? Sometimes, if your wife wants to go see an *NSync concert, you say, "Okay, honey... when do we go?" That's how you stay married. I even took digital pictures for her. Here's proof...

"The Band"

Don't ask me which one is which. I wouldn't admit to knowing that even if I did. And what the heck... it was actually kinda fun. Unfortunately though, given that I was up until 2 AM fighting concert traffic, the head cold I've been barely holding off since I returned from Comic-Con has now gotten the better of me. So I'm taking today off to recuperate. Blame it on *NSync. You know, I wonder if any of those guys have ever read The Bits. I've heard they're big DVD fans. Hhhmmmmm....

In the meantime, our own Greg Suarez has written a little editorial of his own. He's also got an announcement about an upcoming music-related DVD release, so we'll start with that first. Here it is:

"The good folks at Pioneer have informed The Bits that they are working on a DVD release of a Queen live concert film from 1981. The original audio elements have been restored, and the concert will be released in separate Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 versions, each THX-certified. The original video elements have also been painstakingly restored to ensure the best viewing quality. Pioneer is hoping to include a commentary track by one or more members of Queen, along with a potential commentary by the film's director, but these features have yet to be confirmed. Other very cool features are being planned, but are still in development, and also have yet to be confirmed. Pioneer is shooting for a release date of September 18th for both discs."

Okay... now here's Greg's editorial. I think he's getting a little antsy about Universal's recent DVD offerings and he wants to vent. Can't say I disagree with him.

"Thanks, Bill!

Well, now that studios like Buena Vista and Paramount are consistently (finally) adding extra features and anamorphic widescreen transfers to their DVDs, we at The Bits felt confidant that the days of title re-releases were finally drawing to a close. Sure, the studios still have about three years worth of DVDs in their catalog that are less than stellar, and will undoubtedly (and with open arms) be reissued with newer transfers, better sound, and loads more extra features (examples include Warner's Batman: SE and Paramount's Mission: Impossible: SE, both slated for 2002). But titles like Unbreakable and Forrest Gump have been done (more or less) right the first time, and what we've got are most likely the first and (thankfully) last editions of these titles. But then that's what we thought about feature-packed discs like The Mummy, American Pie, Notting Hill and Patch Adams.

That's right, I'm speaking of Universal's new Ultimate Editions. The previously mentioned four titles, along with Meet Joe Black have been re-issued as 2-disc Ultimate Edition sets. With the exception of Meet Joe Black (which now includes the full-length original film the 1998 version was based on), does the DVD community really need new 2-disc editions of titles that were done right the first time? I understand that Universal is trying to cash in on the theatrical premieres of The Mummy Returns, American Pie 2 and the public's insatiable appetite for Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt, but c'mon! The public, and especially all of you dear, loyal readers of The Bits, aren't gullible. We've already plunked down the cash for these titles, so why should we bother paying again only a few minor added features, and a DTS track that's nearly indistinguishable from the Dolby Digital track included on the first release?

Don't get us wrong, Universal, we're ecstatic that you're willing to punch the throttle and release balls-out 2-disc sets. But how about giving the Ultimate Edition treatment to some of your earlier, less pleasing efforts instead? We don't know about anyone else, but we at The Bits would love to sink our eyes and ears into a brand spanking new 2-disc edition of Field of Dreams, featuring a fresh anamorphic transfer and 5.1 soundtrack. You could even include the wonderful 90-minute documentary on a second disc. Start prepping it now so it can be ready for the start of spring training 2002! Raise your hand if you would like to ditch the eyesore that was the original Scarface disc with one that features a brand new 16x9 transfer and 5.1 audio. And let's not ignore the fact that Casino and Carlito's Way were bare bones DVDs, and the latter title could really benefit from a visual upgrade. How about sci-fi classics like David Lynch's Dune and Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century? What about TV episodes of that latter title, along with Battlestar Galactica? And while we're on the subject, don't forget about Dazed and Confused, Sneakers and (if American Pie can rank anamorphic widescreen, Ultimate Edition status) why not Happy Gilmore?

Please, Universal: before you release a Meet the Parents: Ultimate Edition or The Mummy: Super Duper Mega Ultimate Edition, I implore you to consider Ultimate Edition treatment for a few of your earlier, misguided DVD efforts. If any of you readers of The Digital Bits feel the same way, take action. E-mail Universal and let them know what you think. To do so, follow this link, click "Accept" and then select "Home Video & DVD" under the "Entertainment" section. And remember that you'll attract more bees with honey than with vinegar. Thanks for your time!

Back to you, Billster!"

Okay... it's back to bed for the Billster. See? You just never know what to expect around here at the old Bits, do you? Anyway, have a great day and we'll see you back here tomorrow. Stay tuned...


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