UPDATE - 12/9/04 - 6:30 PM PST)
Okay, as promised, we've just posted Barrie Maxwell's latest edition of
Classic Coming Attractions.
this installment, Barrie profiles the films of producer David O.
Selznick. As always, he also runs down the latest classic DVD release
Over at our MusicTAP
site, George Bennett has turned in a review of Elton John's self-titled
John, on SACD.
We've also updated our Digital
Bits Power Buys, so be sure to check that out.
So there you go. This is going to serve as our Friday post as well, as
our own Todd Doogan has flown out here to the Left Coast (from Atlanta,
GA) for a visit. So you know... we're off to take in some screenings and
Have a great weekend and we'll be back on Monday!
(LATE UPDATE - 12/9/04 - 3 PM PST)
My review of New Line's 4-disc
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD
Edition is now complete! I've just updated the second part of
the review to include some in-depth comments on Disc Four and my closing
thoughts. The set streets this coming Tuesday (12/14). So enjoy the
review... I KNOW you're going to enjoy the DVD.
Anyone else out there hoping Peter Jackson will get to do The
Hobbit after he finishes King Kong?
It's gonna be hard going cold turkey after all this great Rings
Also, just FYI, DreamWorks has FINALLY announced the DVD release of
Shark Tale (as
we predicted back on 12/1) for 2/8 (SRP $29.99). Look for the film
to be included in anamorphic widescreen video, with Dolby Digital 5.1
and 2.0 audio. Extras will include audio commentary by directors Vicky
Jenson, Bibo Bergeron and Rob Letterman, a number of behind-the-scenes
featurettes (including The Music of Shark
Tale, Fishified World,
Star Fish, A
Tour You Can't Reef-Use and The
Making of Club Oscar), the DVD exclusive animated Club
Oscar dance sequence, a featurette that teaches you how to do
the moves from the Club Oscar
dance sequence, Gigi the Whale's "audition footage", the Car
Wash music video with Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott, a
Rough Waters video of animation
goofs, numerous set top games, DVD-ROM activities and more. You'll find
cover art at the link above (just click the link and slide down).
Back later with Barrie's column. Stay tuned!
(EARLY UPDATE - 12/9/04 - 11:30 AM PST)
Okay, boys and girls... today is going to be a three update day. I'm
kicking things off early with a little DVD news update. Then I'll be
back in an hour or two with the rest of my Return
of the King DVD review. Finally, I'll check back in this
afternoon with Barrie Maxwell's Classic
Coming Attractions. I'm not resting today until it's all up,
so do check back will you?
But first, the news. The big story today is that Disney has OFFICIALLY
announced that it has decided to support the Blu-ray Disc
high-definition videodisc format. From today's press release:
"As part of its cooperation with Blu-ray,
BVHE will begin releasing content non-exclusively in that format when
Blu-ray hardware launches in the North America and Japan. The Company
also announced that it will become a member of the Board of Directors of
the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA).
With this move, consumers will be able to enjoy a wide range of popular
new releases and classic pictures in this advanced, high-definition
format from Buena Vista Home Entertainment, which includes Walt Disney
Home Entertainment, Hollywood Pictures Home Video, Touchstone Home
Entertainment, Miramax Home Entertainment, Dimension Home Video and
Buena Vista Home Entertainment is very pleased to support the
Blu-ray format, which will help set the stage for the next generation of
digital video disc, said Robert Chapek, president of BVHE. Blu-ray's
excellent combination of advanced functionality, picture quality, data
capacity, room for future growth, and advanced rights management for new
consumer usage options will provide consumers with an outstanding
interactive filmed entertainment experience."
You can read more
from CNN. This move leaves only 20th Century Fox undecided among
the major studios, although Fox has also recently joined the Board of
Directors of the Blu-ray Disc Association (and our sources tell us that
they're leaning in that direction). The key word here in this press
release is "non-exclusively". But at this point, with the
battle lines in the Blu-ray Disc/HD-DVD format war firmly being drawn,
it's looking like this is going to be one giant cluster f__k from the
So here's where we stand as of today:
HD-DVD Supporting Studios - Warner Bros.,
New Line, Paramount, Universal, HBO
Likely HD-DVD Supporters - DreamWorks
(because of its ties to Universal)
Blu-ray Disc Supporting Studios - Columbia
TriStar/Sony Pictures, Buena Vista (Walt Disney, Hollywood, Touchstone,
Miramax and Dimension)
Likely Blu-ray Disc Supporters - MGM (soon
to be owned by Sony)
Officially Undecided - 20th Century Fox,
Lions Gate, Image, Anchor Bay, Criterion and many smaller distributors
Discouraged yet? Yeah, so are we. We're going to have to seriously
think about how we want to respond to all this.
Now how about some good old standard DVD release news to help you perk
up your mojo after all this format war business? Universal has announced
a pair of cool new titles. On 2/15, the studio will release The
Motorcycle Diaries (which I must say I'm really looking
forward to seeing). The film will be available in separate anamorphic
widescreen and full frame versions (SRP $29.98 each). Audio will be
available in French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, with burned-in
English subtitles and optional French subtitles. No word yet on extras
if any. Also coming from Uni is a 2-disc Apollo
13: Anniversary Edition on 3/29 (SRP $22.98). This will also
be available in two separate versions. Both editions will contain the
original version of the DVD, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and all the
extras that were on the original collector's edition release. One
edition will contain the anamorphic widescreen version (2.35:1), while
the other will contain the full frame release. Disc Two will then
contain the more recent IMAX version of the film in anamorphic
widescreen (1.66:1), with audio in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. When I
noted it's an anniversary edition, that's because the 35th anniversary
of the actual Apollo 13 mission is 4/11/05.
Speaking of Apollo 13, if you're a fan of spaceflight or this film,
you'd really be doing yourself a disservice if you buy only the
Universal DVD. Why? Because also
available from Spacecraft Films is Apollo
13: The Real Story, a 3-disc set featuring all of the
original footage taken during the mission, including multi-angle launch
footage, Mission Control footage, a new retrospective documentary on
what actually happened, a retrospective panel discussion with Gene Kranz
and some of the original flight controllers and much more - over 12
hours of footage in all (click the link for a complete list). There's
even audio commentary during the Mission Control footage by Sy
Liebergot, who was the lead EECOM during the flight. I've got a copy of
this release and I can tell you first hand that, like all of the
Spacecraft Films titles, this is a really fabulous piece of work. It's
available right now.
Here's the cover art for Apollo 13: The Real
Story, along with 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm's recently
announced Star Wars: Clone Wars - Volume 1
(3/22) and Warner's Bringing Up Baby: Special
Still not done with the news. Universal has also announced that it's
going to be re-releasing Back to the Future:
The Complete Trilogy on 1/25 at the new low price of just
$27.98. The good news about this is not just the price - the set will
contain the V2.0 discs, featuring corrected aspect ratio versions of the
films. So if you haven't picked it up yet, there's never been a better
here to read more on this from our friends over at BTTF.com.
And Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of Control,
Into the Sun, Tae
Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War - Special Edition, Good
Times: The Complete Fourth Season, a Tae
Guk Gi: SE/Shiri 2-Pack and a Half
Past Dead/The Foreigner 2-Pack, all for 2/15.
That's all for now. Be back in a bit with the rest of that DVD review.
Okay... I've just added to my review of New Line's
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD
Edition. I've posted an in-depth look at Disc Three of the
set, which is the fifth part of The
Appendices. I'm going to be watching Disc Four tonight, so I
expect to finish the review tomorrow. I certainly don't think you're
going to be disappointed in this DVD release, based on what I've seen so
I also hope to post Barrie Maxwell's latest Classic
Coming Attractions column tomorrow as well, so stay tuned for
In a bit of news, MGM has announced that it's moving the street date
for its Hoosiers: Collector's Edition
up from 3/8/05 to 3/1.
And there may be other DVD news today, but my head is firmly buried in
review mode this afternoon, so I'll have to catch up on it tomorrow.
Just FYI, we've finally gotten final product of Columbia TriStar's Spider-Man
2, so I expect to post a review of that late this week or
early next week.
One last note today: I wanted to mention our latest
of the Month... Caesar Augusto
Carbajal. Caesar's work is really pretty extraordinary...
drawings, painting, sketches, photography. Some are colorful and
whimsical, others are much more moody and evocative. It's well worth a
look, so please take a moment to check out his stuff and visit his
website (just click on the link above). It's all part of our continuing
effort to call attention not just to great film, but to other types of
art that are equally worthy your attention.
Today's post is going to be quick, so I can get back to working on Part
Two of my in-depth review of New Line's 4-disc
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD
Edition. The good news, is that Part One of the review is now
posted (just click the link). SO much stuff on these discs! The title
streets 12/14. Just one more week to wait, folks.
Also up today is George Bennett's latest SACD review over at TAP
- Nine Inch Nail's
Downward Spiral - Deluxe Edition.
In news today, the
Star Wars website has revealed that Star
Wars: Clone Wars - Volume 1 will arrive on DVD on 3/22/05.
Per the site: "All 19 three-minute chapters
and the five-minute long Chapter 20 of the first round of Star Wars:
Clone Wars are gathered together in this release." This
is all part of the buildup to Episode III,
part of which includes the Cartoon Network debut of the new Star
Wars: Clone Wars - Volume 2 on on 3/21.
Finally this morning, we've just kicked off SEVEN new
today, giving each of you the chance to win copies of Warner's
Girls: The Complete Second Season,
Flintstones: The Complete Second Season and
Top Cat: The
Live Here Anymore and
Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey, as well as Ventura
Krumpet. The contests will run until Noon PDT on Sunday,
December 19th. Good luck!
Okay... that's it. I'm off to work on the Rings
review again. Back with more tomorrow.
Morning everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend. I took time out on
Sunday to play Santa at a local PETsMART, taking holiday photos with
people's cats and dogs. I've been doing it for a few years now, and it's
always a real gas.
Matt's been going on since yesterday about how his Chicago Bears beat
my Minnesota Vikings. Bastard. Oh well, I figure his Bears seldom muster
a win... so we might as well throw him a bone once in a while. Needless
to say, the "Superbowl here we come!" talk has faded somewhat
around The Bits' west coast
Speaking of Matt, he's just posted a pair of new SACD reviews over at
our MusicTAP site: Elton
Across the Water &
Now then, we've got a brand new Classic
Coming Attractions column on the way from Barrie for
tomorrow, and I hope to post my in-depth DVD review of The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition
tomorrow as well. Depends on how much I can get through it today - SO
much stuff on these 4 discs! Anyway, watch for all that tomorrow with a
In the meantime, I wanted to leave you Star
Trek fans with a little something to get your blood pumping.
Here's high-quality cover art for all four season of Star
Trek: Enterprise, as well as art for the 2-disc Star
Trek: First Contact - Special Collector's Edition...
As we've revealed previously (and as our good friends over at
have confirmed), Season One of
Enterprise is tentatively expected
to street on 5/3/05, with Season Two
following on 7/12/05, Season Three
on 9/6/05 and finally Season Four
on 11/1/05. And
noted on Friday, Paramount expects to deliver the Star
Trek: First Contact - Special Collector's Edition on 3/15/05.
The studio has not yet announced details on the extras for any of these
releases, but we'll let you know as soon as they do.
We're gonna close this week out with a bunch of great new DVD
announcements, and some new upcoming DVD cover artwork as well.
Interested? Here goes...
Manga has announced a 2-disc Ghost in the
Shell: Special Edition for 1/11 (SRP $34.98). The digitally
re-mastered film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video, with
audio in DTS 6.1 ES and Dolby Digital 5.1 EX in BOTH English and
Japanese. Spanish, French, Italian and German audio will also be
available in Dolby Digital 2.0 (with optional English subtitles). Extras
will include character dossiers, creator and director biographies, a
Digital Works Production Report,
Ghost in the Shell trailers,
previews and web links.
Paramount has announced their 2-disc Star
Trek: First Contact - Special Collector's Edition for 3/15,
with Hogan's Heroes: The Complete First
Season (5 discs) set to street the same day. On 3/1, look for
South Park: The Complete Fifth Season
on 3 discs.
20th Century Fox has announced Chisholm 72,
Incident at Loch Ness and Lost
in Space: Season 3, Volume 1 (for 3/1), Woman
Thou Art Loosed (for 3/8), What
the Bleep Do We Know, The
Pretender: Season 1, Call
Northside 777, House of Bamboo
and Panic in the Streets (for
3/15), Volcano High (3/22) and
The Lone Gunmen (for 3/29). The
Lone Gunmen will include all 13 episodes of the Chris Carter
X-Files spin-off series on 3 discs
(SRP $39.98), in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 2.0
surround audio. This WILL include the pilot episode. The set is also
expected to include the X-Files
episode Jump the Shark, which
served as a sort of defacto 14th and final episode of The
Lone Gunmen. Extras will include audio commentary with cast
and crew members, and possibly additional materials TBA.
Warner Bros has also revealed a nice slate of DVDs for release on 3/1.
These include a Bringing Up Baby: Special
Edition (2-discs, SRP $26.99), Dinner
at Eight (1933, $19.97), Libeled
Lady ($19.97), The Philadelphia
Story: Special Edition (2-discs, $26.99), Stage
Door ($19.97), To Be or Not to Be
($19.97) and Wonder Woman: The Complete
Second Season (4 discs, $39.98).
Here's that cover art we promised you. Paramount's Star
Trek: First Contact - Special Collector's Edition, South
Park: The Complete Fifth Season and Hogan's
Heroes: The Complete First Season, Manga's Ghost
in the Shell: Special Edition, Warner's The
Philadelphia Story: Special Edition and Criterion's Night
and the City (TBA February)...
Before we leave you for the weekend, we've got an interesting bit of
Rumor Mill on what you might expect from the eventual DVD
release of Blade: Trinity. Don't
One last note - I've also updated my
Ultimate Matrix Collection review with a couple of additional
details on Disc Eight of the set, as well as a comment on the
possibility of the new transfer of The Matrix
being released separately (at the end of the review).
Have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday!
Okay... you've been patient. You've waited for it. Here it is. I've
just posted my in-depth review of Warner's Mega
Matrix Mondo Mama Jamma 10-disc box set, otherwise known as
Ultimate Matrix Collection. The set streets on this coming
Tuesday (12/7), so be sure to plan on taking like a day and a half off
of work to go through it all (not including meals and sleep time). I
wouldn't say it's the best DVD box set I've even seen, but it's probably
in the top ten. A very solid effort by the folks at Warner and about
damn time. Or should I say... just in time to get us to buy The
Matrix films once more on regular DVD before we get hit with
the HD-DVD version? Hhhmmmm.... Anyway, enjoy that.
Also, I just wanted to let you know that we're still working on reviews
of Harry Potter, Spider-Man
2 and Hellboy among
others. We should also have The Return of the
King: Extended Edition in our hands any day now. I know a lot
of you have been asking for reviews of these bigger 4th Quarter titles,
and a few of them have already arrived in stores. The problem is that
the studios, fearing digital piracy, have been sending out these major
titles only a week or two ahead of street at best lately. For example,
we received check discs of Spider-Man 2
a couple of weeks ago, but the damn things had continuous anti-piracy
warning text across the entire screen on every single piece of video on
both discs. We make it a policy here at The
Bits to only review DVD product that's representative of what
you guys will find in stores. Tough to review the video quality of a
disc when you can barely see the video, you know? Plus we received a
couple of these titles right before the Thanksgiving holiday, and what
with family obligations and all, it was a little tough to get anything
done. Anyway, just know that we're working hard to get stuff covered as
quickly as we can.
One other quick note today - The Digital
Bits and DocDVD have
kicked off some great new Power
Buys for the holiday season. Click on the link for more
Morning, folks. Anyone in the mood for a little animated DVD news?
Good, 'cause sources are telling us that DreamWorks will release its
Shark Tale on 2/8 (SRP $29.99).
Look for separate anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions, with
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio commentary, a number
of behind-the-scenes featurettes (including The
Music of Shark Tale, Club Oscar
and Fishified World), a music
video, Rough Waters (tech goofs)
and Star Fish (meet the cast)
segments, numerous set top games, DVD-ROM activities and more. We've got
cover art for the title below. Consider this news Rumor
Mill worthy until the studio gives the final word.
We're also pleased to tell you that MGM has announced its long-awaited,
2-disc Hoosiers: Collector's Edition
for release on 3/8 (SRP $29.98). The disc will offer the film in
anamorphic widescreen video (1.85:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extra
features will include audio commentary by director David Anspaugh and
writer Angelo Pizzo, the Hoosier History: The
Truth Behind the Legend documentary, deleted scenes (with
introduction by Anspaugh and Pizzo), footage of the real Milan vs.
Muncie 1954 Indiana High School Championship Game, a photo gallery and
the film's original theatrical trailer. Man, I've been looking forward
to this one for a long damn time. Great flick.
Around the Net today, there's more stories on the Monday's announcement
of HD-DVD support by four studios. You can read more on this
from USA Today (via Yahoo) and
at The New York Times.
I wanted to make two quick comments about this announcement (in
I made the other day). First, there seems to be uncertainty among
some of our readers (and it's also found in some press accounts) as to
whether or not Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD players will be able to play
existing DVD software. As I've noted before, EVERY single hardware
manufacturer rep I've spoken with has acknowledged that they would be
foolish to offer players that can't make use of 99.9% of the movie
software currently on the market (and in consumer's video libraries).
Rest assured, the new players will cost more, but they should all be
able to play your existing DVDs as well as the new high-definition
discs. The second thing I wanted to note, is that claims are being made
by some in the Blu-ray Disc camp that movies on their format will look
better than HD-DVD movies (no doubt to try and counter some of the
damage done to their efforts by Monday's announcements). The simple fact
is that claim remains to be proven... and until it IS proven in direct
comparisons of actual final consumer product in both formats, it's
nothing but puffery. Period.
Look... I think I speak for us all when I say that these manufacturers
should pull their heads out of their asses and launch a single, unified
format. But because they're acting like a bunch of greedy bastards, that
just isn't going to happen. So until then, we're going into "wait
and see" mode with regard to making quality judgements about these
formats. And when we do see them... you can be sure that we'll call
things like they are.
Okay... here the cover art for Shark Tale,
along with the Hoosier's Collector's Edition
and Walt Disney's Classic Cartoon Favorites,
Volumes 1-4 (street date 1/11)...
We've got some cool new DVD announcements for you today. First up
Rumor Mill this morning for word on the expected street date
for a pair of hot titles currently in theaters.
Now then... Criterion will release Jules Dassin's quintessential film
noir Night and the City (Cat #
274), Dassin's Thieves Highway (#
273), Bernardo Bertolucci's La Commare secca
(# 272), Jean-Luc Godard and collaborator Jean-Pierre Gorin's Tout
va bien (# 275) and Gus Van Sant's My
Own Private Idaho (# 277), all in February.
Columbia TriStar (aka Sony Pictures Digital) has announced the DVD
release of The Grudge for 2/1 (SLP
$28.95). The film will appear in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include the 5-part A
Powerful Rage: Behind the Grudge documentary, a cast and crew
audio commentary (featuring Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Sarah Michelle Gellar
and more), the Under the Skin
featurette and previews.
Columbia/Sony has also announced P.S.,
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II
(1993), Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster
(1966), Zelary, The
Mad About You Collection (4 discs) and a Barbra
Streisand Box Set (including The
Mirror Has Two Faces, The Way We
Were and The Prince of Tides)
all for release on 2/8.
20th Century Fox has announced I Heart
Huckabees for release on 2/22. You'll be able to get the film
in a single disc version (SRP $27.98) containing both full frame and
anamorphic widescreen video, as well as a 2-disc set (SRP $39.98). The
2-disc set will also include the film in both anamorphic widescreen and
full frame video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras (on the 2-disc
edition) will include audio commentary by director David O. Russell, a
cast commentary by Jason Schwartzman, Mark Wahlberg and Naomi Watts, the
Inside Look: In Her Shoes
featurette, an I Heart Huckabees
production featurette, a Charlie Rose Show
segment, 22 extended and deleted scenes, 5 outtakes, 6 Open-Spaces
Coalition PSAs, a photo montage, 3 infomercials, a Jon Brion music
video, TV spots and the film's teaser and trailer trailers.
Paramount will release MacGyver: The
Complete First Season as a 6-disc set on 1/25. As previously
announced, the studio's Sky Captain and the
World of Tomorrow will arrive on DVD that same day.
Finally, Warner Bros. has revealed that it will release Exorcist:
The Beginning on 3/1 (SRP $27.95). We can't be sure at this
time (we're looking into it), but it unfortunately looks like this will
only include the theatrically released version of the film directed by
Renny Harlin, and not Paul Schrader's full unreleased version.
Our MusicTAP crew has
turned in some new music reviews for you today. George Bennett's posted
his thoughts on
Burnside's First Recordings,
Adams' Heartbreaker and
Block's Last Fair Deal on SACD format (from Mobile
Fidelity and Telarc). Also, Dw Dunphy's checked in with a look at
Morse: Testimony Live on DVD from Radiant Records. Matt's also
got word of A Clay Aiken Christmas
coming to DVD on 12/14 in his daily column. Grab a copy when you go out
to buy Return of the King to make
the wife and daughters happy.
We'll leave you with some new cover art this morning. Here's
Paramount's Sky Captain and the World of
Tomorrow and MacGyver: The
Complete First Season, Sony's The
Grudge, Warner's Exorcist: The
Beginning, Criterion's Kagemusha
(1/18) and Buena Vista's Ladder 49
(LATE UPDATE - 11/29/04
- 2 PM PST)
A lot of people have been e-mailing me today asking what my opinion is
on today's announcement of HD-DVD format support by Universal, Warner,
New Line and Paramount (click here for that).
Here's my take in a nutshell - it's a good thing for everyone.
There are going to be plenty of people in the coming days and weeks who
will bemoan the fact that these studios are choosing HD-DVD over Blu-ray
Disc, because they assume Blu-ray Disc is the better format. Look... on
paper, the Blu-ray Disc specs look more impressive. But I've seen
technical demonstrations of film footage in both Blu-ray Disc and
HD-DVD, and it all looks fantastic. The fact is, we can't really judge
which format is better until we start seeing FINAL product in both
formats. I'm not talking about test discs that have 30 minutes of barely
compressed video - I mean the actual product consumers are going to get
when they go their favorite video stores next Christmas, complete with
extras, audio options etc. The fact is, we just don't know which format
is going to look and sound better, and I fully expect BOTH to look and
sound amazing. It's just too early to start forming a sound, informed
opinion on the quality issue.
Let me tell you why today's announcement IS a good thing. It helps
clear up consumer confusion. Here we are, nearly a full year away from
HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc product rollout here in the States, and already
we know where roughly 70% of the Hollywood studios are going to line up.
In terms of the majors, we're only waiting on 20th Century Fox, Buena
Vista and DreamWorks. The minors (Lions Gate, Image, Anchor Bay, etc)
will likely go where the majority goes, and some (like Image) might even
dabble in both formats. That means if you're a consumer who's interested
in getting into high-definition movies on disc, all you'll have to ask
yourself is which studios own most of your favorite films (you can go to
sites like IMDB.com
to figure that out). Based on that knowledge, you can make a reasonably
informed decision as to which format to buy. Frankly, I expect that the
studios that have yet to commit either way will make their format
choices known by the spring of next year (certainly by summer).
I also believe that firm, early commitments by all of the major studios
one way or another will put a great deal of incentive (and pressure) on
the various hardware manufacturers to start planning and marketing
combination decks that will play BOTH Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD (much like
several of them now produce combo decks that play both the SACD and
DVD-Audio high-resolution audio formats). Once that happens, the
question of which format will dominate will effectively be moot, at
least in terms of prepackaged, high-definition movie software on disc.
All of this is a far cry from the first couple of years of the current
DVD format, when only a handful of the major studios had committed to
DVD, and consumers had long waits to find out what the rest Hollywood
was going to do. That uncertainty meant that many consumers waited until
DVD was 3 or 4 years old before ditching their VCRs and finally making
the digital transition (and most consumers waited even longer than
If all of the major Hollywood studios commit fully to one format or the
other by mid-2005, that means the decision for consumers (as to whether
or not to upgrade to high-def) is going to be pretty simple. It also
means that there's going to be lots of great movie titles available for
launch. And it means prepackaged, high-def movies on disc actually have
a fighting chance of finding at least some consumer interest right away.
That can only be a good thing for this industry... and for all of you as
(LATE UPDATE - 11/29/04 - 12:15 PM PST)
Just a quick note to say that we've just posted Barrie Maxwell's latest
Coming Attractions column, featuring new reviews of
Andy Griffith Show: The Complete First Season and
Love Lucy: The Complete Second Season, along with Questar's
Room for Daddy: The Complete Fifth Season,
Joey Bishop Show: The Complete Second Season and
Darin: Mack is Back. Enjoy!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/29/04 - 11:15 AM PST)
BIG news today in the impending high-def format war. The first official
shots have been fired, and the Hollywood studios have finally started
choosing sides. According to
Business this morning, no less than FOUR studios have
officially announced that they'll support the HD-DVD standard starting
next year. Universal says it will begin releasing titles on HD-DVD by
the holiday season of 2005. Paramount has also committed to HD-DVD, but
says it plans to release titles on the format no earlier than the
holiday season of 2005, or possibly the first quarter of 2006. Warner
Bros. and New Line have also announced support for HD-DVD, but have not
yet revealed a specific release timeframe (unofficially, they're
expected to start releasing titles by the end of 2005).
Columbia TriStar, and by default MGM (since Sony is in the process of
purchasing the studio), will support Sony's Blu-ray Disc format with
titles by the end of 2005. 20th Century Fox has joined the Blu-ray Disc
Association, but has not officially said it will support the Blu-ray
Buena Vista (Disney) has yet to announce support for either camp. Buena
Vista Home Entertainment president Bob Chapek has been among the
clearest voices calling for the Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD camps to work
together to create a single format. Unfortunately, that now seems beyond
FYI, DreamWorks has also yet to officially announce support for either
format, but they tend to go the way Universal goes. For this reason, we
believe they're likely to adopt HD-DVD.
None of today's studio commitments is known to be exclusive to HD-DVD,
but now that they've chosen sides, these four studios are unlikely to
support Blu-ray Disc anytime soon.
You can read more on this news at the link above (requires
registration) and also at these links on
World (via Yahoo).
So... it looks like The Matrix,
The Lord of the Rings, Star
Trek and Titanic are
all (ultimately) headed for HD-DVD.
Back with Barrie's column soon. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/29/04 - 10:30 AM PST)
Morning, everyone! We hope you all had a great (and long) holiday
We've got a little something interesting this morning for you Star
Trek: Enterprise fans. Our friends at
The R2 Project
have gotten their hands on images of the DVD packaging for Star
Trek: Enterprise - Season One over in Europe. It's a stylish
sliver plastic outer shell, containing translucent plastic disc holders.
Our sources are telling us it's likely to be the Region 1 packaging as
well. Here you go...
We'll be back in a little bit with a brand new Classic
Coming Attractions column from our own Barrie Maxwell. And
I'm still working on that Ultimate Matrix
review, rest assured. Ten discs is a lot to get through! I'll post my
review of the set as soon as I can.
Also today, the
official Lord of the Rings website has just posted a brand
new, 6-minute long teaser trailer for The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition.
We expect to have the 4-disc set in our hands for review possibly this
week, so we'll tell you all about it as soon as we can. In the meantime,
enjoy the trailer - tons of new footage to see there.
This is just a quick note to say Happy Thanksgiving to you! All of us
here at The Digital Bits wish you
and your family a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.
We'll be back on Monday with great new DVD reviews. See you then!
Not a lot to report today in terms of news today, so we've kicked off
SIX new Contests
here at The Bits. Each of you has
the chance to win copies of Warner's
and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Artisan's
Ultimate Edition (and a poster signed by Sylvester Stallone),
at Heart: Special Edition (including a copy signed by David
Lynch), Rhino's Mystery
Science Theater 3000, Volume 6, 20th Century Fox's
Complete Third Season,
Season Seven and
Space: Season 2, Volume 2 and Universal's
in the 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series. All of these
contests will run for TWO WEEKS, until Noon PDT on Sunday, December 4th.
Click on the links to get started and good luck!
Okay, there IS a little bit of DVD news. Anyone out there a fan of The
Rutles? Warner is releasing The
Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch on 3/1 (SRP $24.98). The disc
will include the film in its original full frame aspect ratio (it was
made for TV) with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Extras will include an
alternate ending, deleted scenes, Easter eggs and additional interviews
Still working on that Matrix
review, so stay tuned...
Today's post is going to be quick one, so I can get back to working on
my review of The Ultimate Matrix Collection
with some hope of getting it posted before Thanksgiving! One thing you
can say for this box set - these DVDs pack some very nice and
substantial content. Plus, the new transfer of the first film is
outstanding. Okay, so that's two things.
First up today, George Bennett of our
MusicTAP site has just
posted a review of
self-titled new DVD-Audio release.
Okay... time for some new announcements. Buena Vista will release
Touchstone's Ladder 49 on DVD on
3/8 (SRP $29.99). Video will be anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital
5.1 audio (in an "enhanced home theater" mix). Extras will
include audio commentary with director Jay Russell and Editor Bud Smith,
deleted scenes, the Everyday Heroes
and The Making of Ladder 49
featurettes and Robbie Robertson's Shine Your
Light music video.
Universal has announced the DVD release of Ray
for 2/1 (SRP $29.98). Video will be anamorphic with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio. No word yet on extras. There will also be a 2-disc Ray:
Limited Edition (SRP $44.98) that same day.
Columbia TriStar has revealed that it will release Spike Lee's She
Hate Me on 2/1/05. Also streeting on that date from the
studio are the animated Wind in the Willows
and a School Daze: Special Edition,
as well as an assortment of new multi-packs including 13
Going on 30: Special Edition and Significant
Others: The Series, Blue Lagoon
and Return to the Blue Lagoon, a
Karate Kid Collection Box Set
(featuring Karate Kid: Special Edition,
Karate Kid II, Karate
Kid III and Next Karate Kid),
and a Look Who's Talking Box Set
(featuring Look Who's Talking,
Look Who's Talking Too and Look
Who's Talking Now).
Warner Bros. has announced that the release of The
Man Called Flintstone has been delayed until 3/22 (it had
originally been announced for 12/7). Warner has also announced the
release of She's Too Young and
Baby for Sale for 3/15 (both
Lifetime movies). Other new announcements include the BBC's Pompeii:
The Last Day (which includes the bonus program Colosseum:
A Gladiator's Story) on 2/1 (the title premieres on The
Discovery Channel on 1/30) and Yogi The
Easter Bear on 2/8. There's also a bunch of new TV titles
coming on December, including Gilligan's
Island: The Complete Second Season (1/11), Kung
Fu: The Complete Second Season (1/18), One
Tree Hill: The Complete First Season (1/25) and The
Dukes of Hazzard: The Complete Second Season (1/25). Finally,
the studio will release Lewis Black: Black on
Broadway (for HBO) on 1/25.
New Line will release Amongst Friends
Let's have some cover art, shall we? Here's Universal's Ray,
20th Century Fox's Donnie Darko: The
Director's Cut (2/15), Columbia TriStar's She
Hate Me and The Wind in the
Willows, final art for Warner's Public
Enemy (1/25) and final art for Miramax's The
(LATE UPDATE - 11/19/04 - 3 PM PST)
As promised, Matt's just posted my review of U2's new
to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb over at
TAP. The album streets
And now, of course, it's time for my weekly plug of Star
Trek: Enterprise. Remember how I've been telling you this
show finally got good last season, and now it's getting really, really
good this season? Well don't just take my word for it -
over at AICN gives tonight's episode 4 stars (out of 5).
Tonight's episode, The Forge, was
written by long time Trek
novelists Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Stevens. It's the first of
a 3-episode arc describing a Vulcan civil war over the true path to
logic that will decide the future of the planet. Wanna know why the
Vulcans of Archer's time aren't like the ones we'll see later? Be sure
to tune in and find out.
Have a great weekend!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/19/04 -
11:30 AM PST)
Well... I'll tell you, House of Flying
Daggers is absolutely outstanding. Again, it's another one of
those movies that I don't really want to tell you too much about. It
really deserves to be seen without preconceptions. It is very much a
love story, every bit as stylized as HERO
but in a somewhat different way. The film is lush and visually gorgeous.
And I would say that while HERO is
a little more intellectually rewarding, House
of Flying Daggers is much more emotionally satisfying. It's a
much smaller, more personal story in its way, and yet remains epic in
quality. And here's the best news... it's a Sony Pictures Classics
release, so when it hits DVD you know it'll look amazing (unlike HERO).
Matt and I both liked the film a great deal. It'll be released in
theaters in the U.S. on December 3rd. Don't miss it (click
here to see the film's trailer in Quicktime).
Around the site today, we've posted Todd's latest
Views column as promised. In this edition, Todd reviews 4
titles newly released in stores, including New Line's Elf:
Infinifilm Edition, Criterion's Fanny
& Alexander Box Set and ArtsMagic's The
Bird People in China and Blue
Remains. Don't miss it.
We also have some information in
Rumor Mill today that's going to make some of you very happy.
We've got a line on some of the titles MGM is prepping for special
edition release in the first half of 2005. Good stuff, I'll tell you.
Sometime later today Matt's also going to post a review I've done for
his MusicTAP site. I
don't do a lot of music reviews, but every now and then I'll chime in
with my thoughts. As I'm very familiar with the band and its body of
work, Matt asked me to provide some comments on U2's latest studio
album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,
which arrives in stores on Tuesday. So watch for that later this
afternoon. If you're a fan of Bono and company, I think you'll really
We've got more new DVD review goodness coming early next week, so be
sure to check back then. In the meantime, ask yourself this question: Do
you want to take the red pill... or the blue pill?
Have a great weekend!
Today's post is going to be quick, as Matt and I are off to see a
screening of Zhang Yimou's House of Flying
Daggers tonight. Yeah, I know. It's a tough job, but
somebody's got to do it.
Speaking of Zhang, for today's post I've just uploaded my review of his
now available on disc from Miramax. It's a great film, but the DVD
leaves much to be desired unfortunately.
Just to let you know, sometime in the next week or two, we expect to
post our in-depth reviews of Warner's The
Ultimate Matrix Collection and Columbia TriStar's Spider-Man
2 (both of which we're now starting to look at), as well as
New Line's The Lord of the Rings: The Return
of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition (which we expect
to receive sometime after the Thanksgiving holiday next week).
In the meantime, we'll be back in the morning with a new Doogan's
Views column from Todd, featuring still more new DVD reviews.
See you then!
Today's post is a little later than we expected, but we think you'll
First up, Matt has just turned in
edition of his TAPNotes, in which he reviews 9 great new
music DVD releases, including
Grateful Dead Movie,
Ritual: Live at CBGB,
Stewart: VH1 Storytellers,
At the Palace,
Clapton: Crossroads Guitar Festival,
with Hunter and
Knack: Getting the Knack.
Also today, we've updated
Rumor Mill with a great bit of news regarding a pair of
upcoming 20th Century Fox TV releases. Don't miss it.
Finally, I wanted to clarify a rumor that's been buzzing around the Net
in the last couple of days with regard to those Warner TV titles
expected in 2005. A lot of people have been e-mailing us saying they've
heard that The Flash, Max
Headroom and other shows are on the way. Let me be very clear
on this - Warner has NOT announced or even hinted at either of these
shows being released on DVD in 2005. That doesn't mean they aren't
coming, but NOTHING official has been indicated by the studio. The ONLY
titles confirmed so far for 2005 by Warner are The
Fresh Prince of Bel Air: The Complete First Season, Full
House: The Complete First Season, The
Jamie Foxx Show: The Complete First Season, Murphy
Brown: The Complete First Season, Night
Court: The Complete First Season and The
Wayans Bros: The Complete First Season (all on 2/8). Just
We're back this afternoon with a new Classic
Coming Attractions column from Barrie Maxwell. This edition
Reviews Roundup, featuring in-depth reviews of Warner's new
with the Wind: Four-Disc Collector's Edition, the
Tunes Golden Collection: Volume Two and the
and Jerry Spotlight Collection. That's a helluva review lineup
for one day!
Speaking of reviews, I've updated my review of Universal's
Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series with a
little new information. The box set does not include the 2-part TV
version of the pilot film, and there are apparently differences between
the TV and theatrical versions (so the set is not quite "complete"
On the news front, Columbia TriStar has announced that they'll release
Head in the Clouds, Bunny
Lake is Missing, a 2-disc Monster:
Special Edition, Spider-Man: The
New Animated Series - Extreme Threat, Married
with Children: The Complete Third Season and Soap:
The Complete Third Season, all on 1/25/05.
How about some artwork before we go? Here's a look at the final cover
art for all three new Miyazaki titles announced last week for 2/22 -
Porco Rosso, Nausicaä
of the Valley of the Wind and The
We'll be back tomorrow with more new DVD reviews, so stay tuned...
Morning, folks! Let's get right into the DVD goodness for this week,
Todd kicks things off with
Doogan's Views column. He's got reviews of Miramax's
Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi/Sonatine, Ventura Distribution's
Krumpet, and Universal's
Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection and
Fields: The Comedy Collection. Don't miss it!
We've got some cool new announcements for you today, especially if
you're a fan of TV series releases on DVD. Warner Bros. has unveiled the
first of FOUR waves of new TV titles expected in 2005 from the studio,
as part of its celebration of "50 Years of the Best Shows on
Television". Expected on 2/8 are The
Fresh Prince of Bel Air: The Complete First Season, Full
House: The Complete First Season, The
Jamie Foxx Show: The Complete First Season, Murphy
Brown: The Complete First Season, Night
Court: The Complete First Season and The
Wayans Bros: The Complete First Season. Each will be a 2-disc
set and will carry a budget-friendly SRP of just $29.98 each. Additional
waves of TV titles will be announced later in 2005 for release in June,
September and November.
Also just announced from Warner is one for the ladies... The
Bodyguard: Special Edition. Look for that on 2/1 (SRP
$19.96). The disc will include anamorphic widescreen video (1.85:1),
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio, audio commentary (with director Mick
Jackson, writer Lawrence Kasdan, producer Jim Wilson, and actors Kevin
Costner and Whitney Houston), never-before-seen interviews and on-set
footage with Costner and Houston, Whitney Houston's I
Will Always Love You music video and the theatrical trailer.
Universal has announced that the street date for its Orgazmo:
Extended/Unrated Special Edition is moving to 3/29 (from the
previously announced 2/15). Just FYI.
Paramount will release On a Clear Day, You
Can See Forever on 2/22.
New Line has set Raise Your Voice,
Kansas City, Legalese,
Normal Life and Amongst
Friends for release on 2/15.
Finally, Buena Vista will release Touchstone's Mr.
3000 on 2/1. The studio will also release a new series of
Walt Disney's Classic Cartoon Favorites
DVDs on 1/11 (SRP $14.99 each). Volume 1:
Starring Mickey Mouse will include the shorts Mickey's
Circus, Mickey's Garden,
The Little Whirlwind, On
Ice, Hawaiian Holiday,
Moving Day and Orphan's
Picnic. Volume 2: Starring Donald
Duck will include Inferior
Decorator, Don Donald,
Golden Eggs, Bee
at the Beach, Donald's Dog Laundry,
Donald's Vacation, Old
MacDonald Duck and 8 Chef Donald.
Volume 3: Starring Goofy will
include The Art of Skiing, How
to Fish, How to Swim,
Baggage Buster, How
to Dance, Lion Down,
The Big Wash, Hold
That Pose and Father's Day Off.
The last set, Volume 4: Starring Chip 'n Dale,
will include Chicken in the Rough,
Chip 'n Dale, Out
of Scale, Two Chips and a Miss,
Food for Feudin', Working
for Peanuts, Out on a Limb,
Three for Breakfast and Dragon
Around the site today, we've kicked off FIVE new
this morning, giving each of you the chance to win copies of Warner's
The Complete Third Season and
Giant: Special Edition, the BBC's
Complete Series 1 & 2 and the Special, 20th Century Fox's
Vampire Slayer: The Complete Seventh Season and Shout!
Movies: Season One. All of these contests will run until Noon
PDT on Sunday, November 21st. Click on the links to get started and good
We've also updated a number of the
DVD format stats we
track here at The Bits, including
DVD Player Sales numbers (for the final week of October). All
charts have been updated accordingly.
Finally today, here's some more new upcoming DVD cover art - 20th
Century Fox's The Grid (2/8),
final art for Universal's Ghost in the Shell
2: Innocence (12/28), and Warner's The
Bodyguard: Special Edition, The
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete First Season, Full
House: The Complete First Season and Murphy
Brown: The Complete First Season...
We've got a new Classic Coming Attractions
column from our own Barrie Maxwell on the way for tomorrow, featuring
more great new DVD reviews. Be sure to tune in then... same Bat time,
same Bat channel...
You animation fans are going to be happy today... Buena Vista has
finally re-announced two of those Miyazaki, Wave 2 titles (which had
originally been slated for release in February of this year). Porco
Rosso and Nausicaä of the
Valley of the Wind will street as new 2-disc special editions
on 2/22/05 (SRP $29.99 each), along with the previously unannounced The
Cat Returns. It appears that My
Neighbor Totoro has been delayed for release in a future
Miyazaki, Wave 3. All three of these titles will be presented in
anamorphic widescreen video (1.85:1) and will be THX-certified. Nausicaä
of the Valley of the Wind will feature the original Japanese
and English audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, with English subtitles.
Extras will include the Behind the Microphone
with Voice Talent from the Film and The
Birth Story of Studio Ghibli featurettes, complete
storyboards and the original Japanese theatrical trailer. Porco
Rosso will feature the original Japanese, English and French
audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround, with English subtitles. Extras will
include the the Behind the Microphone with
Voice Talent from the Film featurette, complete storyboards,
an interview with Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki and the original
Japanese theatrical trailer. Finally, The Cat
Returns will feature the original Japanese, English and
French audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, with English subtitles.
Extras will include The Making of The Cat
Returns documentary, the Behind
the Microphone with Voice Talent from the Film featurette,
complete storyboards and the original Japanese theatrical trailer. We'll
post cover artwork as soon as it's available (although if you visit
last page of our Upcoming DVD Cover Art section, you can
see B&W temp art for the two previously announced titles).
As promised, we've got some new DVD reviews for you thanks to our
MusicTAP crew. Lindsay
Planner has taken a look at Music Video Distribution's
One in a Million, Epic's
Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble: Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985,
Williams: Honky Tonk Blues, Hip-O's
American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1969: Volume Three and
Slim/Sonny Boy Williamson: Live in Europe, and Shout!
Volumes 1 & 2. Also, George Bennett has posted a quick
review of New Line's
Express: Special Edition. Enjoy!
How about some news from around the Net today? You know, sometimes I
think a lot of the folks who run the electronics and entertainment
industries are just a bunch of loonies. Case in point... the looming
format war between Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD. It's now gotten so serious
that it's finally
the attention of CNN. I just don't see any way of avoiding this,
and the shame is it's going to absolutely ruin the market for
high-definition movies on disc, at least for a few years. Anyone who
wanted evidence that greed rules the day in the corporate world, there
you go. They certainly don't have the best interests of consumers at
heart, do they?
Here's another example of the silliness in the industry. Remember
Disney's EZ-D 48-hour self-destructing DVD format? Well, it's not dead
yet. It seems actor Chazz Palminteri has turned director recently - his
holiday-themed Noel (starring
Susan Sarandon, Penelope Cruz and Robin Williams) couldn't find a
mainstream theatrical distributor, so a company called Convex Group
bought the distribution rights to the film. They'll release it in a few
dozen theaters, but then on November 17th, they're making it available
only in EZ-D format (for
$4.99 on Amazon.com). Keep in mind that the disc will cloud over
and stop working 48 hours after you open the package. Lovely.
One last note today - don't forget that tonight is another great new
episode of Star Trek: Enterprise
on UPN! This episode, The Augments,
is the last of a 3-part arc (guest-starring Brent Spiner), dealing with
the genetic supermen left over from Khan's time on Earth (you remember
Khan from The Original Series and
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,
don't you?). If you think this show got better last season, man... it's
been fantastic this year! Each episode has been better than the last,
and next week's episode begins another 3-episode arc about a civil war
on Vulcan. It's absolutely worth your time if you're home tonight, and
if not, make sure you TiVo it. Enterprise
quietly becoming the best sci-fi show on TV right now, so do check it
We've got new reviews coming from both Todd and myself on Monday, so
we'll see you then. Have a great weekend!
Morning everyone. We have a few new announcements for you today. First
up, Universal will release Surviving
Christmas on 12/21. Universal has also announced Vampires
Out for Blood for release on 2/15/05.
Also on the Universal front, we finally have a few details on what you
can expect on Universal's Orgazmo:
Extended/Unrated Special Edition (also due on 2/15/05 - SRP
$19.98). The film will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video with
Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio. Extras will include over an hour of
outtakes and deleted scenes, The Book of
Orgazmo documentary, no less than three audio commentary
tracks with the cast and crew (including a drunken commentary and a
special appearance by Kevin Smith), and more. We've got an early look at
the cover art below.
Paramount has announced that MacGyver: The
Complete First Season will street on 1/25/05 on 6 discs. Also
coming on 1/25 is The Jamie Kennedy
Experiment: The Complete Third Season (featuring all 21
episodes with with never before seen "second marks"). Charmed:
The Complete First Season will street on 2/1/05 (all 22
episodes on 6 discs). Cheers: The Complete
Fourth Season and I Love Lucy: The
Complete Third Season will also street on 2/1. I
Love Lucy will feature 31 episodes on 5 discs, and will
include flubs, lost scenes, restored music, behind-the-scenes audio
featurette, original series openings, original animated sequences,
script excerpts, production notes and promotional spots.
Speaking of Paramount, we've got a tentative early list of titles in
the works for the first half of 2005 in
Rumor Mill today. Some good stuff mentioned, so be sure not to
MGM has announced a 2-disc Get Shorty:
Special Edition for release on 2/22/05 (SRP $29.98). The film
will be presented in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio. Extras will include audio commentary by director Barry
Sonnenfeld, 3 featurettes (including Get
Shorty: Look at Me, Get Shorty:
Wiseguys and Dolls and Deleted
Graveyard Scene), the Danny's
No-Cut Day outtakes reel, a Get
Shorty party reel, a sneak peel of Be
Cool, a photo gallery and Bravo's
Page to Screen: Get Shorty special.
MGM has also announced the rest of their February slate, which will
include Body and Soul (1981), Body
and Soul (1999), Dempsy,
Monkey on My Back, new single-disc
editions of Rocky, Rocky
II, Rocky III and Rocky
IV (all featuring new HD transfers), Rocky
V, Rocky Marciano, The
Adventures of the American Rabbit, That
Championship Season, Our Winning
Season and Winner Take All
(all on 2/8/05). Previously announced for 2/8 are The
Martin Scorsese Collection, Raging
Bull (movie only), Raging Bull:
Special Edition and New York, New
York: Special Edition. A pair of additional catalog titles
will street a week earlier (on 2/1), including True
Heart and Courage Mountain.
Here's cover art for Universal's Orgazmo
and MGM's New York, New York and
Back tomorrow with a few more new DVD reviews. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 11/10/04 -
1:30 PM PST)
Back as promised this afternoon, and I'm very pleased to bring you an
in-depth review of Universal's
Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series on DVD.
The presentation quality on disc is very good. There's nothing in the
way of extras, which is disappointing, but if you can accept that I
think you'll enjoy the series quite a bit.
Also, as I mentioned earlier this morning, I attended Universal's 25th
anniversary screening of the Buck Rogers in
the 25th Century theatrical film last night (at the American
Cinematheque/Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood). The theater was packed for
the showing and the audience certainly enjoyed it. Starting right from
the cheesy/sexy, Bond-esque opening credits (which I can't believe I had
forgotten about), there were plenty of laughs. After the screening, Mark
Altman of Cinefantastique magazine
moderated a panel discussion and Q&A with some of the cast and crew.
On hand were series creator Glen Larson, actors Erin Gray (Wilma) and
Tim O'Connor (Dr. Huer), director Dan Haller, costume designer
Jean-Pierre Dorleac, visual effects coordinator Peter Anderson,
production designer Paul Peters and Eric Server (the voice of Dr.
Theopolis). Also on hand was composer Stu Phillips and many of the
production crew. A display of costumes and models was arranged, and
someone had actually constructed a working replica of Dr. Theopolis
(right down to the flashing lights) to participate in the panel. The
event was a lot of fun, and I figured some of you might enjoy seeing a
few photos. So here you go...
L to R: composer Stu Phillips, actors Tim
O'Connor and Erin Gray, creator/producer
Glen Larson and director Dan Haller
Thanks to everyone at Universal Studios Home Entertainment and the
American Cinematheque for a fun evening!
(EARLY UPDATE - 11/10/04 - 12:01 AM PST)
We've got some great news for you today about more classic Universal TV
series coming to DVD in the months ahead. In a sales booklet (promoting
Universal TV product) that's included in the packaging of the studio's
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete
Epic Series (due in stores next Tuesday, 11/16), Leave
it to Beaver, Amazing Stories,
Woody Woodpecker and Kojak
are all listed as "Coming Soon to a DVD Near You". What's
more, at a special 25th anniversary screening last night at the American
Cinematheque in Hollywood of the Buck Rogers
in the 25th Century theatrical film, Universal Studios Home
Entertainment VP of Marketing Robert Reed confirmed that both The
Six Million Dollar Man and The
Bionic Woman are currently being prepared for DVD release in
2005. Figured you classic TV fans would like to hear that good news!
We'll tell you about the screening itself, and review the actual Buck
Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series DVD,
Back later with more. Stay tuned...