UPDATE - 6/10/02 - 2:30 PM PDT)
In other TV news today, you Doctor Who
fans will be happy to know that Warner is releasing a lot more episodes
of the classic British TV series this fall. On 8/6, look for The
Ark in Space and The Tomb of the
Cybermen. Then on 10/3, look for The
Pirate Planet, The Power of Kroll,
The Ribos Operation, The
Stones of Blood, The Android of
Tara and The Armageddon Factor
(SRP $24.98 each). The 10/3 set will be available in a Doctor
Who: The Key to Time giftset as well (SRP $124.98).
Also this afternoon, we've got word in
Rumor Mill about New Line's Blade
II from our retailer sources, as well as Warner's Queen
of the Damned.
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/10/02 -
9:45 AM PDT)
Good news today for you Babylon 5
fans. News that the series was in production for DVD leaked via the
newsgroup group, so creator/executive producer J. Michael Straczynski
this weekend confirmed that Warner and company are working on the first
season of the TV series for DVD release this fall. Here's a quote:
"Season One will be out in a boxed
set this Fall, and they're going to be including at minimum two
commentaries from me, probably on Signs and Portents and Chrysalis
(it's a matter of how much time and energy I can give to it given that
there's no fees involved and I'm in the midst of Jeremiah), and
if possible, Babylon Squared, maybe Sky Full of Stars.
They'd also like to film an on-camera intro by me (but I guess folks
will buy it anyway, even with that particular horror included). They're
pulling together a lot of stuff on this release so that there are plenty
of extras this time around, now that the value of the DVDs has been
shown by the first release."
Should be very cool indeed. We'll have to wait for Warner's official
announcement for the complete details. I might not have cared for Harry
Potter, but I have to give Warner a LOT of credit - they've
got some great stuff in the works these days. Thanks to Bits
reader Geruk G. for the heads up.
And in other news this morning,
Lord of the Rings website has
a partial list of the specs for their upcoming 4-disc extended
edition (due 11/12). Here's what we know so far:
Discs One & Two - The Film
A unique, 208-minute version of the epic adventure (with over 30
minutes of never-before-seen footage incorporated into the film and new
music scored by Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore) in
anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) with Dolby Digital EX 5.1, DTS ES 6.1 and
Stereo Surround audio, four audio commentaries by the director and
writers, the design team, the production team and the cast featuring
more than 30 participants (including Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Elijah
Wood, Ian McKellen and Academy Award winners Richard Taylor, Andrew
Lesnie, Howard Shore, Jim Rygiel, Randy Cook
and many more).
Disc Three - From Book to Vision
Includes features on adapting the book into a screenplay an planning
the film, designing and building Middle-earth, storyboards to
pre-visualization, a visit to the Weta Workshop (an up-close look at the
weapons, armor, creatures and miniatures from the film), an Atlas of
Middle-earth (tracing the journey of the Fellowship), an interactive map
of New Zealand highlighting the location scouting process, galleries of
art and slideshows with commentaries by the artists, a guided tour of
the wardrobe department, footage from early meetings, moving storyboards
and pre-visualization reels and much more.
Disc Four - From Vision to Reality
Includes features on bringing the characters to life, a look at a day
in the life of a hobbit, principal photography: stories from the set,
Scale: creating the illusion of size, galleries of behind-the-scenes
photographs and personal cast photos, editorial and visual effects
multi-angle progressions, a sound design demonstration and much more.
Once again, these are only some of the confirmed features that will be
found on the 4-discs of this set. And already, the set's looking like a
potential best release of 2002. Stay tuned for more official details
from New Line as they're announced.
Back later with more... same Bat channel...
(LATE UPDATE -
6/7/02 - 3 PM PDT)
We've got a couple more CONFIRMED details for you on the E.T.
Ultimate Collector's Gift Set. The set WILL INCLUDE ALL of
the extras that are on the Limited
Collector's Edition DVD (basically, you get the same disc),
along with the original theatrical version of the film on a separate
disc, the script, the soundtrack CD and the senitype. Both versions of
the film in the Gift Set will be
anamorphic widescreen, in case you were wondering. And again, this is
direct from Universal.
Also this afternoon, we've gotten additional word that New Line's The
Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring - Special Extended Edition
4-disc set (due 11/12) WILL feature a DTS ES 6.1 soundtrack in addition
to the Dolby Digital EX 5.1 option. The studio has yet to officially
confirm this, however, so we'll have to wait and see if this holds up.
Now then, we've got a trio of new DVD reviews for you today. From
Universal, we've got Dan Kelly's take on the
Park: Collector's Edition (street date: 6/25) and a
long-overdue look at
Mummy: Ultimate Edition from Adam. We've also got Dan's take
on New Line's
Campers (street date: 6/18).
More upcoming DVD announcements: Artisan has set National
Lampoon's Van Wilder for release on 8/20 (in both R and
Unrated versions). Columbia TriStar has announced Maggie
and the Ferocious Beast for 8/6, Brotherhood
of Satan, Curse of the Demon,
Orders, The New Guy and
Pauline and Paulette for 8/13 and
The Sweetest Thing for 8/20. HBO
has added Dandelion Dead and Rumpole
of the Bailey: The Complete First and Second Seasons for
8/27. 20th Century Fox will release Kissing
Jessica Stein on 8/13. Warner will debut Showtime
on 8/13, with Queen of the Damned
and Are You Being Served, Volumes 1-6
following on 8/27, and Alaska,
Amazing Panda Adventure, Barfly,
Cats Don't Dance, Deja
Vu, Enemies: A Love Story,
Gypsy Moths, Little
Big League, Oliver Twist
(1974 - animated), Ninth Configuration,
Sheltering Sky, Treasure
Island (1973 - animated), Wanderers,
South Park: Ghouls, Ghosts and Underpants
Gnomes and The Yearling
all following on 9/3.
Also, Image Entertainment's August releases will include Alanis
Morrisette: Live in the Navajo Nation, Hercules
in the Haunted World, Man of the
Century: Special Edition, Mighty
Gorga/One Million AC/DC, Speed
Gone Wild: Deadly Decisions, Speed
Gone Wild: Killer Krashes, Speed
Gone Wild: Maximum Impact, Thumb
Wars/Thumbtantic: Double Feature and Unearthly
(on 8/6), The Day it Came to Earth,
Deep Purple: Perihelion, The
Giant Gila Monster, Kronos
Quartet: Kronos on Stage and Love
Reinvented (on 8/13), Copacabana,
Hyper Police #1, Revenge
of the Stolen Stars and Todd
Rundgren: Live in Japan (on 8/20) and Dave
Mason: Live at Sunrise, Deftones:
Live in Hawaii, Diary of a
Nudist/Naked Venus, Keith
Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jac DeJohnette: Standards, Notorious
Concubines, Secret Sex Life of
Romeo and Juliet/Notorious Cleopatra, Sideswalks
of Bangkok and Verdi: Il Trovatore
And finally this afternoon, we've launched our next
Contest, which will give you all a chance to take home a copy
of HBO's Sex and the City: The Complete Third
Season on DVD.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and we'll see you back here on Monday
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/7/02 - 10:30 AM)
We thought you guys would enjoy a look at the cover artwork for a
couple major upcoming DVDs from Warner - the Friends:
The Complete Second Season box (9/3) and Ken Burns' The
Civil War box from PBS via Warner (9/17).
We've talked about Friends
before, but The Civil War will
include the original full frame video, audio commentary with director
Ken Burns, a newly remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix, the Behind
the Scenes: The Civil War Reconstruction documentary,
interviews with Civil War scholars George Will, Shelby Foote and Stanley
Crouch, biography cards and interactive maps (SRP $129.98).
Just FYI, we'll have a lot more new artwork for you next week.
We've also got word today that Buena Vista's upcoming Ed
Wood DVD (8/13 - SRP $19.99) will include anamorphic
widescreen video, a music video, the Pie
Plates Over Hollywood featurette and (best of all) audio
commentary with director Tim Burton and actor Martin Landau.
Finally, we've got something for you Beatles fans this morning too. The
2-disc A Hard Day's Night: Collector's Series
arrives on DVD from Miramax on 9/2 (SRP $29.99). Expect "enhanced
picture", "new footage" and the "digitally restored
soundtrack". We'll post official details when they become
Back with more this afternoon...
(LATE UPDATE - 6/6/02 - 2
We're very pleased this afternoon to bring you the second part of
Robert Harris's continuing series of special features here at The
Digital Bits. This time around, Robert discusses about the
death of DIVX, the growth of DVD and the early history of color
processes used in filmmaking. We think you'll find it fascinating as
always... and you'll even learn a thing or two along the way. So, with
that, we give you
Theater: An Archaeology - Part Two. Enjoy!
One other quick note - we've revised our E.T.
DVD information for greater accuracy. Please check the Noon post again.
Sorry for the confusion, but at the time we first posted the story, we
hadn't yet received Universal's official press release. Here's a look at
the cover artwork for the 2-disc E.T. the
Extra-Terrestrial: Limited Collector's Edition:
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/6/02 - Noon PDT)
We've got word today that Universal's forthcoming E.T.
the Extra-Terrestrial: Limited Collector's Edition DVD (which
is expected on 10/22 - SRP $29.95 - available in dual widescreen and
full frame formats) will be a 10-week only limited release. The 2-disc
set will include the new anniversary version of the film, along with
some 10 hours of extras. You'll get video of director Steven Spielberg
talking about the film (20 Years Later with
Steven Spielberg), deleted scenes, composer John Williams'
score on an isolated audio track and video of him conducting a 100-piece
orchestra at this year's premiere, a 50-minute The
Evolution of E.T. documentary, the cast & crew Reunion
Featurette, galleries of production photos and artwork and
more. There will also be an E.T. Ultimate
Collector's Gift Set that same day ($69.98 SRP), which will
include BOTH the original theatrical version and the 2002 theatrical
version, along with the CD soundtrack, the original script and a
collectible senitype. This more expensive set is the ONLY way to get
both versions of the film. Just more must-have discs in an already
crowded 4th quarter. It's gonna get VERY expensive this holiday season
for you DVD fans.
Also, we're getting reports from readers who have contacted Pacific
Family Entertainment in the last 24 hours, who are being told that, in
fact, The Final Countdown DVDs
have NOT been shipped yet. So frankly, we have no idea what's up with
this title. And we're pretty sure PFE doesn't either, because it appears
their customer service people are the source of the conflicting
information. One thing we do know for sure - this disc has been a major
cluster-%#@! right from the start. Too bad Image or Synapse couldn't
have gotten the rights. This could be a really hot-selling little DVD if
PFE could just get their ducks in a row...
Back with more soon - stay tuned!
You fans of The Dave Matthews Band will be pleased to learn that when
they release their next album, Busted Stuff,
on July 11th, the CD will come with a bonus DVD disc as well that will
include live footage of DMB performing the track When
the World Ends, an audio clip of Bartender
live, and a 5.1 audio mix of the studio version of Bartender.
The CD disc will also feature the ROM ability to unlock a special online
website with more exclusive content from the band. A similar DVD disc
was also included with Eminem's new album. All this is being done by RCA
in an effort to give fans (and music consumers) more value for their
money when buying CDs, and therefore to fight digital piracy. We think
it's a pretty swell idea... as long as they don't start charging more
for the discs. You can read more
In other news, Buena Vista has been allowed by Major League Baseball to
include footage of the real Jim Morris's big-league debut with the Tampa
Bay Devil Rays in 1999, in the extras of the upcoming DVD of The
Rookie (due 8/27). The film stars Dennis Quaid as Morris, who
was a high-school baseball coach before he got a late shot at the
majors. Other extras will include deleted scenes, audio commentary by
Quaid and director John Lee Hancock, real coaches providing tips on
pitching and hitting and a featurette on the real Morris. I saw this
film in theaters and darned if it wasn't pretty good. Should be a fun
disc. Read more on this
Also this morning, there's word that the official debut of D-VHS is
near. The first four titles are expected to launch on June 10th,
including DreamWorks' The Peacemaker,
Fox's X-Men, Universal's U-571
and Artisan's Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Each is expected to SRP for $35 to $45 each. Other titles on the way
include The Haunting, Galaxy
Quest, Independence Day,
Fight Club, Backdraft,
End of Days, The
Terminator and Dirty Dancing.
here to read more. We at The Digital
Bits expect to begin reviewing D-VHS titles soon, so watch
for that in the coming weeks.
(LATE UPDATE - 6/4/02 - 1:30 PM PDT)
We're back with those reviews for you. First up is Adam Jahnke's take
on both versions of Columbia TriStar's
on DVD. Next, we have Dan Kelly's take on New Line's
Affair of Love. And finally, we round things out with Adam's
look at MGM's
Magnificent Seven: Special Edition.
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/4/02 - 11:15 AM PDT)
Morning everyone! Okay, we've got a quick correction from yesterday. We
had posted that MGM would be releasing Original
Sin on 9/3. Many of you correctly pointed out that the disc
has already been out since March of this year. What we meant to say is
that on 9/3, both versions of the disc will be repriced to an SRP of
$14.95 (from the current $26.98).
Also this morning, we've got word that Artisan's Reservoir
Dogs: Ten Years Special Edition (due on 8/27 - SRP $26.98)
will actually boast FIVE different outer covers. In addition to Mr.
White, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Pink and Mr. Orange, you'll be able to get Mr.
Brown (Quentin Tarantino) too. Thanks for the e-mails on that.
We also want to mention today that, according to a number of readers,
Pacific Family Entertainment began sending out final copies of The
Final Countdown on DVD (to those who ordered it) this
weekend. Now... let me be clear that this is second-hand information,
received from people who called PFE to find out what was up with the
disc, and that's what they were told. PFE's customer service on this
disc has been pretty much a disaster from the start, so I'd take this
with a grain of salt. That said, if any of you do start receiving your
discs (for real this time), let us know so we can post it here.
In other news, Warner's announced details on their Collateral
Damage DVD, which arrives on 7/30 (SRP $26.98). In addition
to anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, look for
audio commentary by director Andrew Davis, 2 documentaries (HBO:
First Look and The Hero in a New
Era, featuring interviews with Schwarzenegger, Davis and the
producers), additional scenes, the theatrical trailer and more.
And finally, we've announced the winners of our
Mr. Show Trivia
Contest. The next contest will start soon, so be sure to check
We'll return with a trio of DVD reviews this afternoon, so stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/3/02 - 12:15 PM PDT)
More new DVD announcements today. MGM will release Deuces
Wild on 8/6 (SRP $26.98) with director's commentary and both
full frame and anamorphic widescreen video. And that same day, the
studio will debut The Business of Strangers
(SRP $22.50) with both full frame and anamorphic widescreen video.
A&E has also announced UFO, Set 1
(7/30 - SRP $79.95), complete with the first 13 episodes of the series
on 4 discs. For you die-hard Thunderbirds
fans, there's The Complete Thunderbirds DVD
Megaset (also 7/30 - SRP $179.95), which features all 32
episodes in full frame with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio on 12 discs, along
with interviews, a documentary short, photo galleries and more. Finally,
A&E will deliver The History Channel's Founding
Brothers on 7/30 (SRP $39.95).
And for you anime fans, Bandai will release Escaflowne
on 7/23 (SRP $29.98). That same day, you'll also be able to get the Escaflowne:
Limited Edition (3-discs, SRP $54.98).
(LATE UPDATE - 6/3/02
- 11:30 AM PDT)
Okay... we've got a MASSIVE upcoming DVD announcement update for you
this morning, so pay close attention. ;-)
To start with, there's a lot of new TV product on the way. Columbia
TriStar is debuting Sanford & Son: The
First Season on 8/6 (SRP $29.95). The 2-disc set will contain
all 13 episodes from the show's first year. The studio will also be
releasing The Jeffersons: The Complete First
Season on 8/6 ($29.95), again on 2-discs with 13 episodes
total. There are no extras to speak of, but fans of either show probably
won't mind given how surprising it is for them to be released on disc at
Anyone want to turn the world on with their smile? Well, Fox is giving
it their best by releasing The Mary Tyler
Moore Show: Season One on DVD on 9/24. Produced by series
star Ed Asner, his son Matthew and Danny Gold, the 4-disc set features
all 24 episodes from the first season of the series, along with a
feature length documentary on the making of the show, a trivia
challenge, audio commentary (for 3 episodes), original CBS promos and
more. SRP is $49.98.
A&E has revealed details on more of their British TV offerings.
Space: 1999, Sets 7 & 8 will
be released on 6/25 (SRP $39.95) completing the release of the series on
DVD. In addition, A&E will also debut Captain
Scarlet: The Complete Set on 6/25, which will feature all 32
episodes of the show (SRP $79.95). The set will include audio commentary
by creator Gerry Anderson on 2 episodes, photos and artwork, vehicle
guides and character bios and more.
Not to be outdone, Warner's released details on their 4-disc Friends:
The Complete Second Season DVD (street date 9/3), which
includes all 24 episodes, each containing additional, never-before-seen
footage (SRP $69.98). Special features include commentary from the
show's producers (Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane) on 2
episodes, Open House at Monica and Rachel's
(an interactive tour of their apartment), Friends
of Friends (a video guide to season two's special guest
appearances), a How Well Do You Know Your
Friends? video trivia challenge, video character bios and a
DVD-ROM link to the Friends
On the non-TV front, Universal has checked in with word of their Elvis:
His Best Friend Remembers DVD, which will street on 7/30.
Look for it to include hundreds of rarely-seen photos, home movies,
press conferences, film clips, newsreels, classic performances and
interviews with Elvis' best friend, "Diamond Joe" Esposito,
New Line is releasing the John Q: Infinifilm
Edition on 7/16 (SRP $26.98). The disc will include audio
commentary by the director, screenwriter, DP and producer, along with
actress Kimberly Elise, deleted and alternate scenes, the theatrical
trailer and press kit, the script-to-screen feature (and other ROM
content) and 2 documentaries (Behind the
Scenes of John Q and Fighting for
Care). Video is anamorphic widescreen and audio will be DTS
and Dolby Digital 5.1.
Artisan will debut their Reservoir Dogs: Ten
Years Special Edition on 8/27 (SRP $26.98). The set will be
available with four different versions of the outer packaging, one each
for Mr. White, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Pink and Mr. Orange. Inside, they'll all
feature the same keep case art. The 2-disc set will include anamorphic
widescreen and full frame video, DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, a new
interview with director Quentin Tarantino and actors Harvey Keitel, Tim
Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen and others, deleted
scenes, new documentaries and featurettes and more.
And in other news, Anchor Bay will release Delirium,
Demons of the Mind, Hitch-Hike,
Mad Monster Party, Straight
on Till Morning, Thomas and
Friends: Best of Percy, Thomas and
Friends: Cranky Bugs and Thomas
and Friends: Races, Rescues and Runaways on 7/23. Buena Vista
has added Heavenly Creatures and
the Swingers: Special Edition to
its 9/24 slate. Columbia TriStar will debut Dogtown
and Z-Boys on 8/6 and The New Guy
on 8/13. MGM's upcoming releases will include The
Fog: Special Edition, Deranged/Motel
Hell, The Oblong Box/Scream and
Scream Again, Teen Wolf/Teen Wolf
Too, The Masque of the Red
Death/The Premature Burial, What's
the Matter with Helen/Who Slew Auntie Roo, The
Attic/Crawlspace, Needful Things,
Vampire's Kiss, The
Last House on the Left, The Return
of the Living Dead, Edge of Sanity
and The Believers (all on 8/27),
Outer Limits: New Series - Sex & Science
Fiction, Outer Limits: New Series
- Time Travel and Infinity, Outer
Limits: Original Series - Season One, Stargate
SG-1: Season Two (5-discs), Stargate
SG-1 #3, Stargate SG- 1 #4
and Stargate SG-1 #5 (all on 9/3)
and Flirting, High
Season, Knack... and How to Get It,
Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance,
The Long Goodbye, The
Moderns, Onion Field: Special
Edition, Powaqqatsi: Life in
Transformation, Pride of the
Yankees, Stormy Monday,
Lightness of Being and Valmont
(all on 9/17). Paramount will debut We Were
Soldiers on 8/20, with Daria, The
Movie: Is it College Yet? and Spongebob
Squarepants: Halloween following on 8/27. Sony Music has Ozzy
Ozbourne: Live at Budokan due on 6/25. 20th Century Fox is
releasing Super Troopers on 8/6,
Wild in the Country and Flaming
Star on 8/13, Joe Somebody
on 8/20 and High Crimes on 8/27.
Warner's Collateral Damage will
arrive on 7/30. And PBS will release (via Warner) the long awaited Ken
Burns' The Civil War on 9/17. That's a LOT of upcoming DVDs!
Back with more this afternoon. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/3/02 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Morning everyone! Just wanted to drop in early to let you all know that
the staff of The Digital Bits has
officially returned from our much needed break, and we're rarin' to go.
We'll be back later this morning with a news update of DVD announcements
made while we were away, and we've even got a couple of new disc reviews
to kick the week off right. And don't forget that our current
Trivia Contest runs until tonight at
7PM, so get yer entries in quick!
As we've been known to say... stay tuned!
We've got a couple more new DVD reviews for you today - Dan Kelly looks
at Paramount's new releases of Stephen King's
Shift. Both discs street on 5/28.
We've also updated the
DVD Player Sales charts this morning to include the 237,689
players that shipped to retailers in Region 1 during the week ending
We've got word from a Bits reader
about a special screening of Back to the
Future at USC yesterday, with director Robert Zemeckis. After
the film was shown, there was a Q&A session with the director which
was apparently recorded for the Region 1 DVD audio commentary track.
You'll find more about that in
Rumor Mill today. Screenings and Q&A's for Back
to the Future 2 & 3 will be held next week (you can read
more about that at BTTF.com).
And we've launched a new Trivia Contest,
which will run until June 3rd, in which you all have the chance to win
one of FIVE copies of HBO's Mr. Show with Bob
and David The Complete First and Second Seasons on DVD (read
here)! It's nice and easy, so get them entries in kids!
There's also some new upcoming DVD announcements to be mentioned today.
A&E will release Founding Brothers
on 7/30. Artisan is releasing Con Express,
Hell's Gate, Jacked
Up and Moby Dick: The True Story
on 7/23, with Dinotopia following
on 7/30. Buena Vista's The Count of Monte
Cristo will arrive on 9/10, with The
Santa Clause following on 10/29. Columbia TriStar's Contract
Killer debuts on 7/30. First Run's The
Fluffer will street on 8/20. HBO will release The
Stranger Inside on 7/16. MGM's The
Business of Strangers is due on 8/8, with The
Fog: Special Edition, The
Believers, Needful Things,
Deuces Wild, The
Last House on the Left, Return of
the Living Dead, Edge of Sanity,
Vampire's Kiss, Masque
of the Red Death/Premature Burial, Attic/Crawlspace,
Deranged/Motel Hell, Teen
Wolf/Teen Wolf Too, Oblong
Box/Scream and Scream Again and What's
the Matter with Helen?/Who Slew Auntie Roo? all following on
8/27. New Line will street Monkey Trouble,
Mr. Nanny, Suburban
Commando, Surf Ninjas,
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 and
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 on
9/3. 20th Century Fox will release Hot Shots
and Hot Shots, Part Deux on 8/6.
And Universal's K-9: P.I. will
arrive on 7/30.
Now then... I wanted to let all of you know that the staff of The
Digital Bits is going to be taking next week off (we'll be
back on June 3rd). The last few months have been a hectic and stressful
flurry of server issues, reorganizing and other general chaos and
scrambling. So now that we're finally settled in and running smoothly,
we're all badly in need of a breather. But when we get back, we've got a
LOT of things lined-up, including many more DVD reviews, more special
feature stories, new staffers, an in-depth interview or two and our
long-overdue Bitsy Awards (which
would normally have happened around Oscar time, but got pushed back
during our move). So thanks for understanding while we recharge our
batteries for the exciting months ahead. The rest of 2002 is gonna be
huge for DVD, so be sure to stay tuned!
Peace out. ;-)
We're very pleased today to bring you the first installment of a
continuing series of special feature articles from film producer,
historian and preservation expert Robert Harris. In the weeks and months
ahead, Robert will be addressing a number of topics related to the past,
present and future of home theater. He'll talk about film preservation
as it relates to home viewing, various technical and quality issues,
aspect ratios and a host of other issues. Robert begins this afternoon
with a look at the history of home theater, from its humble beginnings
to the dawn of our favorite format, DVD. So we hope you enjoy
Theater: Part One - An Archaeology. And we'd officially like
to welcome Robert to The Digital Bits!
Don't forget - once you've had a chance to read the article, you can
click on over to
OFFICIAL THREAD hosted by our friends at The
Home Theater Forum, to discuss the article online with Robert
and other home theater enthusiasts.
I also wanted to alert you to a couple of good sources of information
on digital projection. There's
good article over at Box Office Prophets, and there's
good information over at How Stuff Works too.
We've got another new review for you today, and this time it's my
in-depth look at Artisan's new 3-disc
Herbert's Dune: Special Edition - Director's Cut (street date
6/11). I've made no bones about the fact that I'm a fan of this
miniseries. But as many of you know, I really disliked Artisan's
original DVD release. So does the new one meet my expectations? Well, I
think it's safe to say that fans are going to be mostly very happy with
this new DVD. Click on over to the review and see what I have to say.
Also, we've got a couple of Star Wars
DVD notes for you today. First of all, Lucasfilm and InterActual have
created new online DVD-ROM content for those of you with the Star
Wars: Episode I DVD. You can now access a special text
commentary of facts and trivia about the film. I must confess, I'm not a
big online/ROM content fan - I'd rather have it all on the disc and all
accessible in my home theater, not my computer. But if you are a fan of
on this link at Star Wars.com to learn how to access the new text
And in our other Star Wars note
has posted a note about a recent interview with George Lucas in
Star Wars Insider magazine, in
which he seems to indicate that the original theatrical versions of the
Star Wars Trilogy will not be
released on DVD eventually, basically because he doesn't feel that they
exist anymore. In other words, his revised special editions, however
they ultimately turn out, will be the final versions of these films.
Strangely, we've heard many reports of comments to the contrary by
producer Rick McCallum from his presentation at the recent Star
Wars Celebration convention in Indianapolis. With all this
confusion, we're naturally getting all kinds of e-mail from people
wanting to start petitions about this.
Look... these eventual DVDs are more then 3 years away. Let's just wait
and see what we hear as time goes on. I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE that it would
be a crime not to at least preserve the original theatrical versions of
these films on DVD. The bottom line, whether Lucas likes it or not, is
that those original versions are the ones we all grew up with and loved.
And whether he likes it or not, he owes it to fans, and to cinema
history, to preserve that original experience in digital quality on DVD
(and not just VHS and laserdisc). I may the only one who can't wait to
see these revised, CGI-enhanced "ultimate" editions of the
Star Wars movies, but no one
except George will be happy with those alone on DVD. NO ONE. If that
were to happen, fans would probably storm the Skywalker Ranch in
protest. That said, there's plenty of time to worry about this as we get
closer to a time when those eventual DVDs are seriously in production.
Frankly, I'm not convinced that anything is set in stone yet. So let's
just wait and see, and look forward to Episode
II on DVD in the meantime (come to a DVD player near you on
Three more new DVD reviews for you today. First up, we've got a look at
Criterion's new 2-disc
DVD from Todd (which streets 5/28). Strangely enough, Todd checks in
with this review a year to the day after he reviewed the original USA
version of the film on DVD - go figure! We've also got Greg's take on
Another Teen Movie: Special Edition and Jeff's review of the
recent anime version of
also by Columbia TriStar.
We've also updated
Official DVD FAQ to the most recent version, dated 5/14.
(LATE UPDATE - 5/20/02 - 12:30 PM PDT)
As promised, we've got a trio of new DVD reviews for you today. First
up is Greg Suarez's take on Paramount's new
Sky DVD, which streets tomorrow. We've also got Dan Kelly's
look at one of Fox's recent additions to their Marilyn
Monroe: The Diamond Collection - the classic
And we're pleased to introduce another new reviewer this afternoon -
Jeff Kleist - who kicks off his work here at The
Bits with a look at ADV Films' anime
Be sure to drop him a line
and say hello. Welcome aboard, Jeff!
Also this afternoon, several of our retailer sources have checked in
with MAJOR upcoming DVD street dates for HUGE titles in the 4th quarter
of this year. Think Episode II,
Spider-Man and Men
in Black II and you're in the right league. Definitely don't
miss it - you'll find that in
More reviews are coming tomorrow, so stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/20/02 - 9:45 AM PDT)
So did any of you happen to see this weekend's series finale of The
X-Files? I'm still trying to decide what I thought of it. The
whole military trial thing worked as a way to provide fans with all the
answers about aliens and the conspiracy, but it was cheesy. I very much
liked the end though - Mulder's finally found his truth and realizes he
can't do anything about it. So he "wants to believe" in what
Scully had all along - faith. Nicely poetic, bringing these characters
full circle, but leaving them almost right back where they started in
terms of anything accomplished. I will say one thing though - if Chris
Carter doesn't deal with the whole alien invasion thing in the upcoming
movies, fans are gonna go crazy. If I see another monster-of-the-week
(or now monster-of-the-year) story, it's gonna get ugly.
Also this weekend, I had the opportunity to see Space
Station in IMAX 3D. Let me just say, it's one of the most
amazing films I've ever seen... of any kind. First of all, virtually all
40 minutes was shot in space by the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the
International Space Station and the Space Shuttle. So already you're
seeing things that have never been shown on film before. Add to that the
fact that this is simply the best 3D footage I've seen created to date
(you wear glasses to achieve the effect), and you've got a really unique
and rewarding film-going experience. If you've ever wanted to travel in
space, this film is as close as you can get without being an astronaut
or paying $20 million to the Russians. And I suspect it's pretty damn
close. It's extraordinary and definitely worth a trip to see it. So if
you have an IMAX theater in your area, take whatever time and effort is
necessary to see Space Station.
You'll be glad you did.
Now then... we'll be back soon with a number of new DVD reviews. Stay
Just FYI, the Region 4 (Australian) release of The
Back to the Future Trilogy 3-disc DVD set has been officially
announced for August 21st. That means the Region 1 (U.S.) release is not
far behind. It's tentatively expected to be released by Universal in the
States in December, so I would watch for announcements over the next
couple of months.
Also today, Warner Bros. has just announced the DVD release of Friends:
The Complete Second Season for 9/3 (SRP $69.98), with all 24
episodes included in full frame video. We should have more details for
you on extras next week.
Meanwhile, we have word on some other upcoming DVDs that have been
announced here in R1. Buena Vista has added The
Rookie to its 8/27 slate. Columbia TriStar has just announced
Punchline for 7/9, No
Contest and Robin and Marian
for 7/16, The Eddie Duchin Story
for 7/23 and The Principal and
Resident Evil: Special Edition for
7/30. Newly announced Criterion/Home Vision titles include Comic
Book Confidential, Twist
and Poetry in Motion for 7/23. And
Paramount's Clockstoppers is due
on 8/13, with Pretty in Pink, Some
Kind of Wonderful and True Colors
following on 8/20.
Around the net, there's
news story at Yahoo confirming the Episode
II DVD. And there's word that
Potter is the hottest selling DVD in the UK.
Now then... we've got a lot of stuff in the works for Monday, including
a whole mess of new DVD reviews. So have a great weekend and we'll see
you back here bright and early Monday. Stay tuned!
Given that today marks the debut of the all-digital Star
Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones in theaters, we
thought it only appropriate to give you all a rundown of the Star
Wars DVD situation. There are many "new" reports
appearing in the press about this (stirred up for obvious reasons), but
there's no real news to be found. At least nothing those of you who have
been following the subject forever don't already know.
But for the rest of you, the basic story is this. Elements of the Episode
II DVD have already been in production for many months. The
DVD will be a 2-disc release, patterned very closely after the recent
Episode I DVD. That means you can
expect the film in anamorphic widescreen video on Disc One, along with
Dolby Digital 5.1 EX surround sound and THX-certification. Word is Lucas
and company are also planning another trip to the audio commentary booth
for the DVD. Disc Two is likely to feature another "behind-the-scenes"
documentary (we confirmed
our trip to Skywalker Ranch last year that one was being created),
along with a number of deleted scenes completed for the release,
trailers and TV spots, the Episode II
web documentaries and more. The title IS expected to be released later
this year, probably in October or November (latest word is you'll have
it before Thanksgiving). Lucasfilm has also basically suggested that
it's likely Episode III will be
released on DVD without delay after that film appears in theaters in
As for the original Star Wars
films, Lucas has himself confirmed that he's filmed additional scenes
(during the production of these prequels) that he intends to add into
Star Wars, The
Empire Strikes Back and Return of
the Jedi to "complete the Saga the way he always
envisioned it". He's also expected to enhance and/or replace more
special effects sequences with CGI and make other refinements to the
original films. These "ultimate" versions are what will
eventually find their way to DVD (there's no word as to whether or not
he'll also include the unaltered theatrical versions - those of us who
grew up with them certainly hope so). Lucas has also stated recently
that he and his crew didn't create as much "making of"
material during the production of the original trilogy, so it will take
time to compile new material for the eventual DVD release. And while
he's working on the prequels, time is something he doesn't have a lot
of. What that means, is that you shouldn't expect the original films to
appear on DVD until sometime after the release of Episode
III in 2005.
And that is, more or less, the best and most up-to-date information
available on the subject of the Star Wars
films on DVD. We'll be sure to keep you appraised as the production of
the Episode II disc continues. You
can reasonably expect official details to begin appearing from Lucasfilm
later this summer.
Cheer up - with a little luck we might get the Indiana
Jones films on DVD in the meantime. Maybe Raiders
next year? Paramount? You hearing us?
Afternoon everyone! Today's post is a little later than usual, but it's
a good one. We've just updated the
DVD Cover Art section with more than 100 new cover scans.
Among the new titles you'll find are Slackers,
The Joy Luck Club, The
Scarlet Letter, Will Penny,
Real Genius, The
Vagina Monologues, Rollerball,
The Majestic, The
Affair of the Necklace, A
Beautiful Mind, Gosford Park,
Gardens of Stone, Hearts
& Minds, The Importance of
Being Ernest, Tokyo Olympiad,
Neutron, The Royal Tenenbaums,
Charlotte Gray, Innerspace,
Hart's War, My
Favorite Year, Amelie,
A Nous la Liberte, Black
Sheep, Gung Ho, Kids
in the Hall: Brain Candy, Red
Beard, Top Secret, It
Came from Hollywood, Under the
Roofs of Paris, The Great Mouse
Detective, Speed: Five-Star
Collection, M*A*S*H: Season Two,
The Time Machine, Resident
Evil, Clash of the Titans,
Exorcist II, Star
Trek II: Director's Edition, Them!,
The Swarm, Time
After Time, Wolfen,
V: The Final Battle, In
the Bedroom, Gremlins 2,
Pretty in Pink, Jackie
Brown: CE, Pulp Fiction: CE,
Peter Pan: Return to Neverland,
The Fog, Sopranos:
Season Three, The Count of Monte
Cristo, all the final Lord of the
Rings packaging and more. Virtually every page has been
updated, so be sure to check them all out. And don't forget - if you
preorder any of them from our software partner,
you'll get 30% off and you'll be doing us a big favor as well.
Now then... raise your hands if you're calling in sick to work tomorrow
to go see the new Star Wars movie.
Well, some 2.5 million of you are expect to do so. Maybe we'll see you
at a Midnight show... ;-)
As promised, we've got our review of Warner's new 2-disc
Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone DVD for you today (widescreen
version of course). And well... you'd better read this before you pick
up a copy. I don't think Todd and I are exactly alone is saying we're a
little bit tired of bells and whistles on DVD, but you'll definitely be
tired of them after you peruse Disc Two of this set. Nuff said.
Yes indeed, HBO has officially announced the DVD release of The
Sopranos: The Complete Third Season for August 27th ($SRP
99.98). All 13 episode will be included in the 4-disc box set, in
anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will
include three exclusive audio commentaries delivered individually by
writer/actor Michael Imperioli (Episode 9 - The
Telltale Moozadell), episode director Steve Buscemi (Episode
11 - Pine Barrens) and series
creator David Chase (Episode 12 - Amour Fou),
a behind the scenes featurette (a day on the set of The
Sopranos), recaps of seasons 1 & 2, episodic synopses,
video previews and recaps, cast and crew bios and a web link.
Also this morning, we've got word from Leonard Maltin on the next wave
of Walt Disney Treasures DVDs. You'll find that in today's update of
In addition, we've updated the latest
DVD Player Sales numbers to include the complete month of
April. And with that, we're pleased to announce that the DVD format has
officially crossed 30 million players in the States! Very cool indeed.
And finally this morning, we've announced the winners of our ShowOff
Displays Quick Contest. Congrats to all
the winners and thanks to all of you who entered!
Just so you know, we're going to wait and post the Potter
review tomorrow, so we can add some last minute details. Stay tuned...
Hey... a weekend update! Must be good news, right? Well it is...
especially for you Star Trek fans.
Star Trek website just announced Paramount's DVD release
of the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - The
Director's Edition for 8/6 (SRP $29.99). The 2-disc set will
include a new 116-minute cut of the film (expanded to add the footage
shown previously only on ABC TV broadcasts) in anamorphic widescreen
with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Extras will include audio commentary by
director Nicholas Meyer, text commentary by Trek
Encyclopedia co-author Michael Okuda, theatrical trailers,
storyboards, The Captain's Log
featurette (includes new interviews with Meyer, stars William Shatner,
Leonard Nimoy, Ricardo Montalban and writer/executive producer Harve
Bennett), the Designing Khan
featurette (includes interviews with Meyer, Bennett, graphic designer
Lee Cole, costume designer Robert Fletcher, production designer Joe
Jennings and more), The Visual Effects of
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan featurette, original
interviews from 1982 with the cast and crew (including the late DeForest
Kelley) and The Star Trek Universe - A Novel
Approach by Authors Julia Ecklar and Greg Cox featurette
(interviews with Trek novelists). Here's the final cover art for you to
And watch for Star Trek III
before the year is out! Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/10/02 - 2 PM PDT)
We've got just one last post for you this afternoon and it's directed
at you X-Files fans. You'll be
happy to learn that the packaging for The
Complete Fifth Season includes a small flyer that indicates
November as the release window for The
X-Files: The Complete Sixth Season on DVD. So the truth is
out there. It's coming slowly, but it's out there... ;-)
Okay... we'll throw in one more thing. Warner's just announced the DVD
release of Charlotte Gray for 7/9
(SRP $26.98). The disc will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary with director Gillian Armstrong, two
behind the scenes featurettes and the trailer. Now we're done.
Have a great weekend!
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/10/02 -
10 AM PDT)
We've got more new upcoming DVD announcements for you this morning.
Columbia TriStar has added Beijing Bicycle,
Harry and Walter Go to New York,
Sunset Park and ZigZag
to its 7/9 slate, with New Best Friend
following on 7/16 and Resident Evil: Special
Edition on 7/30. Goodtimes is releasing Tales
from the Neverending Story: The Beginning on 6/4. Koch
International has Ani DiFranco: Render
due on 6/11. New Line is releasing John Q:
Infinifilm and Storytelling
on 7/16. Paramount's Crossroads
has been set for 7/23. 20th Century Fox has slated Fathom,
In Like Flint, Our
Man Flint and Modesty Blaise
for 7/16. And Universal's Dragonfly
is due on 7/30.
Also today, we have word on the official DVD specs for the
international version of Universal's Back to
the Future Trilogy (the R1 specs should be similar). You'll
find that in The
And we've just kicked off a Quick Contest
that's easy to enter, but you've only got until Sunday night.
Click here for the details.
Back Monday with our review of Harry Potter
and more. Have a great weekend and stay tuned...!
Big news today! Remember those Pulp Fiction
and Jackie Brown special editions
been telling you for MONTHS were in the works at Miramax? Well
Buena Vista has finally, officially announced them!
The Pulp Fiction: Collector's Edition
will street on 8/20 (SRP $29.99). The 2-disc set will include anamorphic
widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, 5 deleted scenes with
introduction by director Quentin Tarantino, trailers and TV spots, a "behind
the scenes" featurette, a still gallery (of hundreds of photos,
poster art, memorabilia, blueprints of Jack Rabbit Slim's and more),
Siskel and Ebert's The Tarantino Generation,
Michael Moore interviewing Tarantino, producer Lawrence Bender and
Samuel L. Jackson for the Independent Spirit Awards, the Cannes Film
Festival Palme d'Or Award ceremony and acceptance speech, The
Charlie Rose Show interview with Tarantino, the Tarantino
Fiction original documentary, a featurette on production
design, DVD-ROM screenplay access and more.
The Jackie Brown: Collector's Edition
will also be a 2-disc set, arriving on 8/20 (SRP $29.99). Look for
anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, an introduction by
director Quentin Tarantino, the How it Went
Down documentary, an interview with the director, the Chicks
with Guns full-length video, 6 deleted/alternate scenes with
director introduction, Siskel and Ebert's
review, trailers and TV spots, Jackie Brown
on MTV, still galleries with hundreds of photos, DVD-ROM
screenplay access and more.
And we have details on Buena Vista and Criterion's The
Royal Tenenbaums (street date 7/9). You'll get anamorphic
widescreen video, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio, the With
the Filmmaker: Portraits by Albert Maysles feature on
director Wes Anderson, video interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
with Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow and
more, audio commentary with Anderson, The
Peter Bradley Show featurette, The
Art of the Movie featurette on art direction and production
design, outtakes and deleted scenes, theatrical trailers and a booklet
with liner notes by the director (SRP $29.99).
Other BVHE titles announced today include The
Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina (8/6), the Beauty
and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas: Special Edition
(11/12), The Santa Clause: Special Edition
(10/29), 40 Days and 40 Nights
(9/17), Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender
of Fun (8/13), In the Bedroom
(8/13), Winnie the Pooh: a Very Merry Pooh
Year (11/12) and The Count of
Monte Cristo (9/10).
Around the Net today, there's an almost funny error over at
IMDB.com. The site
claims that Sales
of Star Wars DVDs Soar in light of the approaching release of
Episode II. If only it were so.
Here's a hint - they mean VHS videotapes. Thanks to Aaron B for the tip!
Also today, as promised we've got a couple of new DVD reviews for you.
First up, our own Adam Jahnke's checked in with a look at Warner's
Day - the film that won Denzel Washington a Best Actor Oscar.
And we're very pleased to introduce a new reviewer today who will be
focusing on music-related titles: Matt Rowe. Matt's the editor of the
music news and review website MusicTAP.net
and he's a good friend of The Digital Bits.
We're very excited to have him aboard. You can read his first DVD review
for us right now - Warner's
After Hours: Live at Carnegie Hall, which is currently
available in stores. Be sure to drop him a line and give him a big Bits
We've got a look at some new upcoming DVD cover artwork for a few great
Criterion titles that are in the works. Here are Red
Beard (due in July), The
Importance of Being Ernest (6/25), The
Royal Tenenbaums (July) and Tokyo
Other Criterion titles on the way include General
Idi Amin Dada (5/14), Traffic
(5/28), The Horse's Mouth (6/4),
Hearts and Minds (6/25), À
Nous la Liberté (July) and Under
the Roofs of Paris (July).
Watch for new DVD reviews coming tomorrow...
(LATE UPDATE - 5/7/02 - 6:15 PM PDT)
I'm back, my young Padawans. Yes... I have seen THE FILM, in digital
projection to boot. Yes... it IS better than Episode
I. And no, I'm not gonna make you wait to read my two cents
on it. Just so you know, I've tried VERY hard in my review to discuss
the film in a vague enough way that you shouldn't be spoiled to anything
that you don't already know from the trailers. That said, if you don't
want to know ANYTHING, you might want to hold off on reading the review
until after you've seen Attack of the Clones
yourself. There's just no way to discuss it without at least describing
the basic plot. But again, there's nothing in the review that you don't
already know if you're A) a fan, or you've B) seen the trailers and TV
spots. So there you go. Now that we've got that out of the way... here's
my review of
Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. And just FYI... I do
believe that digital projection of this film is worth checking out if
you can. I'll post more comments on that after I've had the chance to
see it digital a second time. I was really focusing solely on the film
itself this time out. Anyway, enjoy the review!
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/7/02 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Okay... two things this morning. First of all, the folks over at
have written up a great story on the DVD-Audio and SACD formats,
which seem to be pretty dead on arrival. Part of the problem is that
consumers are reluctant to buy into formats with uncertain futures and
few decent software titles. The fact that there are two competing
high-rez audio formats, and few players that support both, doesn't help.
And the record companies seem to have a very definite lack of interest
in promoting the formats much beyond the connoisseur market, probably
owing to nervousness about digital piracy. But there's another problem
too, which the article discusses. Simply put, there's a lot of
disagreement about how best to create multi-channel, 5.1 audio mixes of
older 2.0 stereo studio recordings. The article is well worth a read, so
be sure to check it out.
The other thing we want to mention this morning, is that we've added
the ability to search our sponsor DVD
Planet's online catalog of titles to this site. Our friends at
DVD Planet have really gone out of
their way to support our work here at The
Digital Bits both through advertising and in other ways. So
we hope you'll all encourage them to continue doing so by placing your
online DVD orders with them. Our work here at The
Bits doesn't come cheap, but we want to make sure that it
stays free for all of you. The best way you can help us do that is to
support our sponsors whenever possible. I can't stress this enough - it
REALLY means a lot to us. And we wouldn't be working with DVD
Planet if we weren't certain they'll do right by all of you
with good customer service, shipping and prices. So thank you all very
much in advance for your support!
Back tonight to talk Episode II -
(LATE UPDATE - 5/6/02 - 4 PM PDT)
Just a quick update to let you all know that DreamWorks has just
announced the DVD release of The Time Machine
for July 23rd (MAP $19.95). Features will include anamorphic widescreen
video, audio in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 flavors, a behind-the-scenes
featurette on the movies creatures (featuring an interview with
Stan Winston), audio commentary with director Simon Wells and editor
Wayne Wahram, a second commentary by producer David Valdes, production
designer Oliver Scholl and visual effects supervisor James E. Price, a
newly-created animated sequence featuring a selection of Simon Wells
original storyboards set to music, a behind-the-scenes look at the
creation of the "time machine" prop, a deleted scene featuring
Guy Pearce and Phillip Bosco, an in-depth look at the films visual
effects and more.
One last note on Harry Potter. We
received a copy of the disc at a studio demonstration on Friday and
we've completed our review. But Warner contacted us this evening and
asked that we hold off on posting it until next Monday, which is the
press embargo date. Of course, they neglected to tell those of us who
attended the event about the embargo (including Pete Bracke and me), so
I almost posted my review anyway and DVD File
did have theirs up for a while. Sorry to tease you guys with it in the
meantime. Watch for it in a week.
And never fear, gang... we've still got our Star
Wars: Episode II review coming tomorrow night. ;-)
(EARLY UPDATE - 5/6/02 - 1:45 PM PDT)
We've got another new DVD review for you today - Michael Wiese
Wars: Special Edition, which is now available exclusively from
We've also posted the winners to our
and updated the
DVD Player sales chart to reflect the U.S. player sales
numbers for the 3rd week of April.
Around the Net today,
word that Columbia TriStar's Spider-Man
broke all previous first-day and weekend box office records, taking in
more than $114 million in three days (Harry
Potter held the record previously at $90.3 million). Wait
'til you guys see the DVD!
Speaking of Harry, be sure to
watch the site tomorrow morning for our review of Warner's new
Harry Potter 2-disc set. And if
you tune in tomorrow night, we'll tell you what we thought of Star
Wars: Episode II! So get yer lightsabers humming, kids. ;-)