We're having a little difficulty accessing the Net today, so uploading
has been tough. But we've got a little new upcoming DVD specs and cover
art for you.
First up, Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of their Whale
Rider: Special Edition on October 28th (MAP $19.95). The disc
will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio
commentary by the filmmakers, deleted scenes, a "making of"
featurette and a soundtrack showcase.
Buena Vista will release Alias: Season Two
on December 2nd (SRP $69.99). Like the first season, this six disc set
will feature anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
Extras will include audio commentaries with the cast and crew, The
Telling documentary on the making of the season finale, the
Undercover: The Look of Alias
featurette, more deleted scenes, another gag reel, the Alias
parody seen on Monday Night Football,
and a look at the making of the Alias
And finally, New Line's Dumb and Dumberer:
When Harry Met Lloyd - Platinum Edition DVD will street on
November 11th (SRP $27.95). Look for anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary, deleted scenes, documentaries,
outtakes, the theatrical trailer, Easter eggs and more.
Here's the cover art for all three. Each title can be pre-ordered now
at our retail sponsor, DVD
Planet. Remember, by supporting them with your DVD dollars,
you're supporting us here at The Bits
Also, early this morning we announced the winners of our three latest
Contests. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who
entered. We'll be starting more soon.
Now then... we'll be back tomorrow morning with a new column from Adam,
as well as a pair of new DVD reviews from Rob Hale. See you then!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/2/03 - 4 PM PDT)
At long last... our review of 20th Century Fox's 2-disc
United - Special Edition is here (widescreen version of
course)! And just to let you know, we've also got several more DVD
reviews in the works for later this week, including Paramount's The
Core, so be sure to stay tuned for them.
In a quick bit of upcoming DVD news, Paramount has officially revealed
that the DVD version of its Laura Croft: Tomb
Raider - The Cradle of Life will street on November 18th,
along with a 2-pack of the sequel release plus the original film on
disc. Details and cover art will follow shortly.
And as long as we're talkin' 'bout "the mountain", you may be
surprised to learn that the DVD release rights for the South
Park TV series may have passed from Warner Bros. to
Paramount, now that Viacom has gained complete ownership of Comedy
Central. That means that South Park: The
Complete Third Season should now be a Paramount release later
this year. We expect to have more details on what this means for the
DVDs themselves, as well as official confirmation of the move, later in
Watch for the winners of our
to be posted later today.
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/2/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Morning folks! Hope you all had a great long holiday weekend. Sarah and
I spent some time at the beach, had a nice dinner out, watched a couple
of DVDs, and joined Mr. and Mrs. MusicTAP
for an afternoon at a local Octoberfest-type event. All in all, not a
bad way to spend the holiday.
We'll be back later this morning to announce the winners our three
Trivia Contests... and yes, we'll also
finally have that review of X2: X-Men United.
But first, we have some sad news to report. Actor Charles Bronson
passed away this weekend, at the age of 81. You can read more
at CNN.com. Bronson will probably forever best be known for his
role in the Death Wish films, but
it's for his turn as the unnamed "harmonica man" in Sergio
Leone's epic Once Upon a Time in the West
that we'll always fondly remember him. We can think of no better way to
honor him than by giving Paramount's forthcoming 2-disc special edition
of that film a spin when it hits store shelves on November 18th. Just
one MORE reason to look forward to it, I guess... as if we needed one.
your pre-orders in quick.
Also this morning, we've been getting a HUGE volume of spam e-mail due
to this Blaster virus. We're not infected, but judging by the sheer
amount of spam we're getting, a LOT of our readers have been hit. We're
talking hundreds per hour. So if you haven't already scanned your
computer with your anti-virus software, and taken the appropriate
measures, now's a good time to do so. You can learn more about the virus
at the Symantec website.
Back later this morning! Stay tuned...
Damn... it's taking me a LONG time to get through all the extras on
this X2 DVD. There's a lot of
material on Disc Two, and reviewing it all is taking more time than
anticipated. Sarah and I celebrate our 13th anniversary this weekend, so
I'm going to take my time with the review and post it right after the
Labor Day holiday. Rest assured, we've got some other great reviews on
the way as well. Thanks for your patience.
We do have four new SACD reviews up for you high-resolution audio fans
over at our MusicTAP
Minds: Cry, Willem
Jeths: Bella Figura, Tchaikovsky
Chamber Music Society: The Seasons and Pete
Whitman's Xtet: Where's When?.
We've also launched three new
featuring great DVD prizes from
Don't miss 'em!
Just a quick heads-up on our new DVD book. McGraw is telling us that
they expect the book to street in the first week of October. We're doing
some last minute tweaks and corrections, and some graphics are still
being assembled. We'll give you an exact street date as soon as it's off
to the printers.
One last thing today - Warner Bros. has revised the cover art for their
upcoming Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
DVD. Here's a look:
Now then... go see some movies and spend some quality time with family
and friends. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on
Tuesday! Peace out.
Afternoon, folks! You Disney animation fans will be thrilled to know
that the studio has just revealed FOUR new 2-disc special editions set
to be released next year. Look for Pocahontas:
Special Edition, Alice in
Wonderland: Special Edition, Mary
Poppins: Special Edition and Lilo &
Stitch: Special Edition in 2004. This is in addition to next
year's Platinum title, which is currently expected to be Aladdin.
Now then... we're pleased as punch to be able to bring you
new installment of Barrie Maxwell's Classic Coming Attractions
column today. In this column, Barrie begins a two-part look back
at classic Hollywood musicals, runs down more new classic title
announcements and even reviews no less than NINE discs, starting with
Porter Collection, which includes Kiss
Me Kate, Les
Melody of 1940, High
Society and Silk
Stockings. He also reviews Fox's recent Hello,
That Jazz and Simon
& Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park just to round
things out. You definitely don't want to miss it.
We'll be back tonight with THREE new Trivia
Contests, so be sure to check back then. And tomorrow, we'll
check in with our review of Fox's upcoming X2:
X-Men United - Special Edition DVD.
See you then!
(LATE UPDATE -
8/27/03 - 1:30 PM PDT)
Our own Adam Jahnke's checked in with a new edition of
Bottom Shelf. This time, Adam muses on The
Point and Purpose of the DVD Review in Modern Society. More
aptly (and simply) titled
Knowing One's Place, we think Adam's making an important
point. In fact, he answers none other than this all-important question:
What is the reason we review DVDs here at The
Digital Bits? Here's a hint: It's probably not to take
waveform measurements of a disc's soundtrack.
We'll be back tomorrow with a new Trivia
Contest, and we expect to post a new Classic
Coming Attractions column from Barrie as well. Stay tuned.
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/27/03 - 11:30 AM PDT)
We've got more cover artwork for you this morning. Here's a look at
MGM's John Carpenter's Escape from New York:
Special Edition (12/16) and To
Live and Die in L.A.: Special Edition (12/2), as well as A&E's
just released version of Neil Gaiman's
Neverwhere (in stores now).
Also this morning, we have a rundown of the rest of MGM's December
slate. Due on 12/2 are Darling,
Odds Against Tomorrow, Lord
Love a Duck, He Walked by Night,
Crime of Passion, Once
Upon a Crime, Buster,
Car 54, Where Are You?, How
to Get Ahead in Advertising, Real
Men, Checking Out, Livin'
Large and Cops and Robbers.
Thanks to all of you who e-mailed me with the name of that Bigfoot
movie I was trying to think of yesterday. It is, in fact,
the Legend of Bigfoot. Now there's a goofy fun flick. And to
add another, how about the classic
18 (starring Darren McGavin, Robert Vaughn and Gary Collins)?
There's a good B-movie if ever there was one, and it ought to be on DVD.
And after I mentioned Johnny Quest
yesterday, a ton of people wondered where the rest of the classic
Hanna-Barbara cartoons are - The Jetsons,
The Flintstones, etc. Warner
Bros... time to get busy!
Finally this morning, and speaking of Warner, the studio has sent word
that they're planning on re-releasing Oliver Stone's JFK
on 11/11 (MAP $19.95). This 2-disc JFK:
Special Edition will include the film in anamorphic
widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (the 205 minute cut). Also
included will be the Beyond JFK
feature-length documentary, 12 extended/deleted scenes and audio
commentary with director Oliver Stone. We believe that this is basically
the same disc as before, simply with the addition of the documentary.
Back with more later. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 8/26/03
- 1 PM PDT)
It's official. MGM has just announced the DVD release of John
Carpenter's Escape from New York: Special Edition. The 2-disc
set, due to street on 12/16 (SRP $29.98), will include the film in
anamorphic widescreen video, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and 2
feature-length audio commentaries, the 10-minute "bank robbery"
opening scene (with commentary by John Carpenter and Kurt Russell), the
Return to Escape from New York
documentary (featuring new interviews), a featurette on the making of
the John Carpenter's Snake Plissken
Chronicles comic (along with a special edition issue of the
comic itself), trailers, photo galleries and more. The packaging will be
Digipak, enclosed in an embossed outer sleeve, with liner notes by
Oh, we're not done yet. How about a To Live
and Die in L.A.: Special Edition on 12/2 (SRP $19.98)? You'll
get anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio
commentary by director William Friedkin, a deleted scene and an
alternate ending, the Counterfeit World: The
Making of To Live and Die in L.A. documentary, a photo
gallery, original theatrical trailers and more.
Also today, Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of the Whale
Rider: Special Edition for 10/28 (SRP $26.95). Extras will
include a behind-the-scenes featurette, audio commentary by the
filmmakers, deleted scenes with optional commentary, a "soundtrack
showcase" and more. It's a great film by the way - don't miss it.
And here's a big surprise.
Underground has officially announced that it will be releasing The
Final Countdown on DVD on May 25th, 2004. The DVD release will
reportedly include both THX approved anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and
full frame video, taken from new high-definition transfers, along with
newly remixed audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES. There will
be a number of extra features to be announced. No kidding.
We'll have cover art as soon as it becomes available. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/26/03
- 12:30 PM PDT)
Okay... to kick things off today, we've got some more new cover art for
you to check out. Here's Fox's The X-Files:
The Complete Eighth Season (11/4 - just one more season of
X-Files left to go), Criterion's
Tokyo Story (10/14) and Warner's
To Have and Have Not (11/4).
Around the site this morning, we've updated
all of the DVD
hardware and software sales and rental data that we track
regularly. The latest
DVD Player Sales numbers put the format at over 53 million
here in the States. Just FYI.
We've also announced the winners of our latest
Contest. Congrats to all and thanks to all of you who entered.
Another one will start in the next few days, so be sure to stay tuned.
In other news, A&E has announced the DVD release of JFK,
Mail Call: The Best of Season #1,
The Men Who Killed Kennedy: 40th Anniversary
Commemorative Edition, Persuaders:
Season One and Profiler: Season 2
for 11/25. BMG Music will release Alan
Jackson: Greatest Video Hits #2, Brooks
and Dunn: Red Dirt Road, Dokken:
Japan Live '95 and KISS: Symphony
on 9/9, with Allman Brothers Band: Live at
the Beacon Street Theatre, Jane's
Addiction: 3 Days and Sammy Hagar:
Long Road to Cabo on 9/23 and INXS:
Live Baby Live on 10/7. Buena Vista has announced Alias:
Season Two on 12/2. Dreamworks has set Sinbad:
Legend of the Seven Seas for release on 11/18. Lions Gate
will release Miami Tail and Saved
by the Bell: Seasons One and Two on 9/2, with Stevie
following on 9/9 and Best of Resfest Shorts
#3, Counterstrike and
Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan,
Supermasochist on 9/23. Paramount has announced House
of Fools and SpongeBob
SquarePants: The Complete First Season for 10/28, with Cool
World and Fairytale: A True Story
following on 11/11, and the Once Upon a Time
in the West: Special Collector's Edition on 11/18. 20th
Century Fox has officially announced King of
the Hill: Season Two for 11/11, X2:
X-Men United for 11/25, and Buffy
the Vampire Slayer: Complete 5th Season and M*A*S*H:
TV Season 5 on 12/9. And finally, Warner has set Terminator
3: Rise of the Machines for release on 11/11 and The
West Wing: The Complete First Season for 11/18.
Speaking of DVD titles, I was thinking the other day about funky little
off-beat titles that ought to be on DVD, but aren't yet. Now that The
Final Countdown is going to find its way to disc (see 1 PM
post), how about The
Last Chase (starring Lee Majors and Burgess Meredith),
(the animated title from Ralph Bakshi),
Crusoe on Mars (you know the one),
to the Moon (where that kid hides in an Apollo moon rocket and
ends up saving the mission), The
Man Who Saw Tomorrow (that completely cheesy and bogus
Nostradamus flick narrated by Orson Welles),
Double McGuffin (by Joe Camp - the guy who did all the Benji
flicks) and for the life of me I can't remember the title, but that
quasi-documentary where all those scientists go in search of Bigfoot,
and they're camping in the woods one night and a whole group of Bigfeet
go storming through their camp. It was like an episode of In
Search of, only better. Anyone remember the name of that one?
Good stuff all. Well, okay... not necessarily good, but stuff that I
really loved as a kid. And for God's sake, somebody PLEASE release the
entire classic Johnny
Quest animated series on DVD.
And finally this morning, some of us here at The
Bits had the pleasure of attending a special outdoor DVD
release party last night, in honor of The
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The event, sponsored by
New Line and The Tree People, was held in Franklin Canyon Park, in the
middle of the Hollywood Hills. Several hundred people gathered for food,
fun and to view a screening of The Two Towers
under the stars. Here's a few pictures from the night.
Morning, folks! We've got some interesting news for you fans of BBC
programming on DVD. At last week's DVD
Entertainment 2003 conference, reps from both Warner and
Acorn Media revealed their upcoming plans for BBC DVD releases. Here's
what to expect in the near future:
Warner Bros. - The
Office: Season 1 & 2, Coupling:
Season 2, MI-5
Acorn Media - Tipping
Also, HBO revealed a number of new TV series releases on the way,
including Curb Your Enthusiasm,
The Wire, Real
Sex, Taxi Cab Confessions,
American Splendor and Elephant.
Warner also confirmed that The Ben Stiller
Show is currently in production for release later this year,
with Ben Stiller and the cast members working on many new features.
In other news, Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of Adam
Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights: Special Edition
(as a 2-disc set) for 11/4. Other titles streeting that same day are
The Pact of Silence, Micki
& Maude, Platinum Blonde
and Real Shlemiel.
And Warner Bros. has announced the DVD release of National
Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: Special Edition for 10/7 (SRP
$19.98). This will be a single disc special edition.
Here's some new cover art for you today, including two of the above
mention titles in addition to Criterion's Le
Cercle Rouge and Schizopolis
(both 10/4), Disney's Walt Disney Treasures:
Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume Two (12/2) and Warner's
High Sierra (11/4). All can be
pre-ordered now from
If you're interested in high resolution audio, over at our
MusicTAP site, Matt Rowe
has posted a massive list of all the leading requests from readers for
eventual release on the DVD-Audio and SACD formats. There's some good
stuff being requested, so do check it out.
And don't forget - we've kicked off a new
over the weekend, but it's a quick one. It ends tomorrow morning at
12:01 AM. So get your entries in FAST!
We've got an exciting week of DVD coverage on the way for you,
including two new columns, DVD reviews and more. Stay tuned...
In a special panel discussion yesterday afternoon at the DVD
Entertainment 2003 conference in L.A. (entitled The
Battle Over the Next Generation), a panel of industry
representatives extolled the virtues of moving from current DVD to a
high-definition disc based format. In particular, proponents of the
various concepts vying for the HD crown (including Advanced Optical
Disc, Blu-ray and Pixonics pHD) discussed the advantages of their own
particular proposal of choice.
Here's the bad news: It's a little too early to tell for sure, and
there are industry forces that are trying to prevent it, but there's a
real chance we might be headed for an AOD/Blu-ray format war. That said,
here's the good news: EVERYONE on the panel (including representatives
of leading hardware manufacturers on both sides AOD/Blu-ray divide, and
even one of the major Hollywood studios) expressed confidence that
whichever format ultimately gains the high-definition advantage,
backwards compatibility with existing DVD software is considered a given
in order to make the transition easier for consumers. So if you've been
concerned about HD-DVD or Blu-ray (or whatever comes next) making your
existing DVD movie collection obsolete, you can now rest easy. The new
disc players (whatever format they may be) should all be able to play
current DVDs in addition to next-generation HD software.
Also of note is the fact that some in the industry believe that the
transition to the next generation format needs to happen earlier, rather
than later, in order to ensure that prepackaged media remains the option
of choice for HD consumers, instead of Video On Demand (VOD).
Fascinating stuff and you can be sure we'll be talking a lot more about
these issues in the months ahead.
Last night, in a special ceremony in L.A. hosted by Leonard Maltin,
6th Annual DVD Awards were officially announced.
Interestingly, more than 40,000 votes were recorded in the
Viewer's Choice category. The
winners are as follows...
Singin' in the Rain: Special Edition
Best DVD Audio
Queen: The Game (DTS
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon
Best DVD-ROM Support
Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Extreme DVD
Best Bonus Game Feature
Monsters, Inc. (Disney)
Best Audio Presentation
Minority Report (DreamWorks)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the
Ring: Extended Edition (New Line)
Best Menu Design
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - Vista Series
Best Video Presentation
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the
Ring: Extended Edition (New Line)
Best DVD-Video Music
Miles Davis Live in Munich
Best Educational/Documentary Title
Lost in La Mancha (New
Best Standard Release
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Best Special Edition
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the
Ring: Extended Edition (New Line)
Best in Show (chosen from all
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the
Ring: Extended Edition (New Line)
Viewer's Choice (chosen from all
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Congratulations to all the winners!
Also today, we have a first look at the cover art for three of the
upcoming Walt Disney Treasures
titles (coincidently hosted by Leonard Maltin) - The
Chronological Donald, Volume One, Walt
Disney: On the Front Lines and Tomorrowland.
All street on 12/2. We're still waiting on art for Mickey
Mouse in Living Color, Volume Two.
And with that, we're off for the conference again for one last set of
sessions. Just FYI, we've updated our
Towers DVD review with more information on which of the
features is anamorphic and which isn't. We also have more information on
the bonus offers that come in the packaging (a lot of people were asking
about it). Be aware that our package held no rebates for the upcoming
We'll be back later with a new Trivia
Contest, and tomorrow with another new review. Stay tuned...
So you want reviews, do you? Then how about a look at New Line's 2-disc
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers?
Yeah, we thought that might get your blood pumping. ;-)
Also today, we have specs on Fox's X2: X-Men
United DVD. Set to street on 11/25 (SRP $29.98) in both full
frame and anamorphic widescreen versions, look for the 2 disc set to
include Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio, audio commentary with Brian
Singer and Tom Sigel, a second commentary with Lauren Schuler Donner,
Ralph Winter, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris and David Hayter, 11 deleted
scenes, The Second Uncanny Issue of X-Men
making of documentary, 11 featurettes (including The
Secret Orgin of X-Men, Nightcrawler
Reborn, Evolution in the Details:
Designing X2, United Colors of X,
Wolverine Deathstrike Fight Rehearsal,
Introducing the INCREDIBLE NIGHTCRAWLER!,
Nightcrawler Stunt Rehearsal, Nightcrawler
Time-lapse, FX2: Visual Effects,
Requiem for Mutants: The Score of X2
and X2 Global Webcast Highlights),
3 theatrical trailers, a stills gallery and more. Sounds like a nice
And the good news doesn't stop there. Warner Home Video has just
announced the 11/18 DVD release of The West
Wing: The Complete First Season (SRP $59.98). The 4-disc set
will include all 22 first season episode of the series in their original
full frame (1.33:1) aspect ratio, with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0
surround. Special features will include audio commentaries from series
creator Aaron Sorkin and director Tommy Schlamme on five key episodes,
including the Pilot, What
Kind of Day Has It Been, Take This
Sabbath Day, In Excelsis Deo
(which features additional commentary from co-executive producer and
director Alex Graves) and Celestial
Navigation (with additional commentary by co-executive
producer and director Chris Misiano), cast and crew interviews, 2
behind-the-scenes documentaries (The
Primaries and The West Wing
Inauguration), behind-the-scenes footage from the first
season (including Capital Beat and
Sheet Music), deleted scenes, the
Gag Order outtakes and bloopers
reel, the Off the Record
featurette (outtakes from various cast and producer interviews) and
more. We'll post cover art as soon as its available. Good news for fans
of TV on DVD!
One additional note on West Wing.
Recent episodes of this show have been shot in 1.78:1 anamorphic
widescreen, so with any luck, future seasons on DVD will be anamorphic
In other news, it seems there's a bit of a delay on Criterion's
forthcoming DVD release of Kurosawa's The
Lower Depths (which had been set to street yesterday). We'll
post more when we have it.
Also, we invite all of you to take another look at our
of the Month - M. Jason Reed. He's really a talented fellow,
and he's done some major updating to
website. Just as a reminder, this isn't a paid advertising thing.
We're just using the extra banner space we have each month to give some
hard working artists a little well deserved exposure. So please check
out his stuff! Thanks!
And finally... yes, we've posted the winners of the
Congrats to all!
Now then, we're off to the DVD Entertainment
2003 conference in L.A., which runs today and tomorrow. So
we'll be back tomorrow morning to announce the winners of the DVD
Awards. Stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 8/19/03 - 5 PM PDT)
Sorry for our delay in getting the contest winners posted. We're
unfortunately having a bit of a situation. It seems some unsavory
Internet Spammer has harvested all our digitalbits.com e-mail address
off the website and is using them to bombard both us and others with
junk e-mails. So if you've received something that looks bogus that
looks like its coming from The Bits
(even WE are receiving them from our own addresses) just know that it
isn't us. We aren't hit with any kind of virus and the server is clean
as well. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about it. It's just
the cost of being a well known website apparently. It's possible this is
nasty worm virus that's going around right now, so if you have a
PC running Windows, it's probably a good time to make sure you have all
the latest security updates from Microsoft, and that you check to make
sure your anti-virus software is working and up to date.
Anyway, we'll get those contest winners listed soon, and we'll have a
review tomorrow as well. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/19/03 - 12:01 AM PDT)
As promised, we've got cover art for you for 20th Century Fox's X2:
X-Men United and The X-Men
Collection, which will include both X2
and the recent X-Men 1.5 DVDs in
one package. We'll have specs and official details later this morning.
We'll also be back to announce the winners of our Trivia
Contest later, so stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 8/18/03 - 4:30 PM PDT)
We've gotten confirmation from a number of reliable retail sources that
Fox's X2: X-Men United will street
on November 25th, just in time for Thanksgiving.
And we have even MORE details on Warner's T3
DVD for you (street date 11/11). The disc will feature two audio
commentaries with director Jonathan Mostow and stars Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes and Kristanna Loken, an
introduction by Arnold Schwarzenegger, "revealing new footage",
an on-set gag reel, the T3 Visual Effects Lab
("four interactive effects labs that let viewers build their own
rip-roaring action scene"), the Skynet
Database ("integrated profiles that contain original
written material and behind the scenes profiles mixed with visual
effects to create a stylized dossier"), the Terminator
Timeline, the HBO First Look
documentary, a featurette on the making of the video game, galleries of
storyboards, "Dressed to Kill" costume and production designs
and poster artwork, something called "Toys in Action",
trailers (including alternate and international trailers), the video
game trailer for Atari's Terminator 3 Rise of
the Machines, a PC game trailer, and DVD-ROM material
(including a PC game demo and a weblink).
(LATE UPDATE - 8/18/03 - 11:30 AM PDT)
Okay, we've got two more things for you this morning, both follow-ups
on stories from our 7 AM post. First of all, Warner's T3
DVD will officially include audio commentary with director Jonathan
Mostow (and cast members), deleted scenes, documentaries, featurettes,
Easter eggs, a gag reel, a video introduction, a photo gallery, trailers
and assorted DVD-ROM features. Here's the cover art (expect widescreen
and full frame versions)...
Also, Bits reader Steve K.
forwarded us an interview with Pixar's Andrew Stanton
MovieMaker magazine, which places the recent news about
Disney's defunct 2-D animation department in sharp relief. As Steve
noted in his e-mail to us, Disney's animation problems seem to stem from
stagnation due to mismanagement and a lack of good storytelling, whereas
the Pixar folks seem to have a pretty good handle on things. Maybe
Disney would do well to emulate them.
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/18/03 - 7 AM PDT)
Warner has just announced the DVD release of their Terminator
3: Rise of the Machines for November 11th. The 2-disc set
will be packaged in an Amaray keep case (SRP $29.95) and will contain
the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (a
full frame version will also be available). We expect to have full
details on the extras, as well as cover artwork, very soon.
In other news, numerous reliable retail sources are reporting that 20th
Century Fox has a November street date planned for its DVD release of
X2: X-Men United. We should have
official confirmation in the next day or two, along with cover art and
full specs. According to our sources, extras on the 2-disc set will
include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, numerous
behind-the-scenes featurettes and a multi-angle sequence among other
features. Word is the film will also be available in a specially priced
2-pack with X-Men 1.5.
You fans of Trek Parker and Matt Stone's Orgasmo
will be thrilled to learn that the film's
website is now reporting that the title will finally hit DVD in
December here in Region 1 as a fully-loaded special edition.
We've gotten official word from Buena Vista that their new wave of Walt
Disney Treasures titles (due on 12/2) will include four titles - Walt
Disney on the Front Lines, The
Chronological Donald, Mickey Mouse
in Living Color 2 and Walt
Disney's Tomorrowland. We expect to have more details on
these soon as well.
And, speaking of Disney, here's some news that will absolutely break
your hearts if you love classic animation like we do.
to the Mouse Planet website, Disney is shutting down their
traditional 2-D animation department in favor of computer animation
work. This news has also been reported by Jerry Beck's excellent
Research website. It's a shame that Disney of all studios
would make this move. Anyone who thinks traditional hand-drawn animation
is dead as an art form should watch a Miyazaki movie for a rude
awakening. Of course, it's probably not as cost efficient and profitable
as computer rendered animation, which would explain why it's happening.
Truly sad news.
Finally this morning, in the interest of getting more Trivia
Contests posted this month, we've moved up the close date of
contest to tomorrow morning at 12:01 AM PDT. So be sure to get
your entries in quick!
We've got some interesting news for you fans of the Hulk. Universal has
just announced the DVD release of The
Incredible Hulk: The Television Series Ultimate Collection on
10/21. This 6-disc set includes 18 episodes of the series rated by fans
as their favorites. SRP will be $69.98.
Fans of ex-Police front man Sting also have something to be happy
about. His new CD, Sacred Love,
streets on 9/30. Dying to have the title on SACD? No problem - the title
will be a hybrid SACD with both an SACD and a CD layer. There's also a
new Sting DVD, called Inside, due
on 10/7. And Universal has announced that it will release Sting's Brand
New Day on DVD-Audio format on 9/23. Be sure to visit our
for all the latest DVD-Audio, SACD and music DVD release information.
Columbia TriStar has announced its 10/21 release slate. In addition to
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
(in both PG-13/full frame and Unrated/widescreen versions), look for a
2-pack of Charlie's Angels: Superbit
and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
(Unrated widescreen), Respiro,
The Wubbulous World of Dr Seuss - Cat's
Playhouse, The Forever Knight
Trilogy - Part 1 (5 discs), Jolson
Sings Again, The Jolson Story,
The Marrying Kind and You'll
Never Get Rich.
Also today, Buena Vista has officially announced its first two "waves"
of EZ-D 48-hour disposable DVD releases (which will be available in 4
test markets). Look for 25th Hour,
Hot Chick, Rabbit-Proof Fence,
The Recruit and Signs
on 9/9, and Dracula II: Ascension,
Paid in Full, The
Quiet American, Shanghai Knights,
Sweet Home Alabama and They
on 10/7. For the record, open them on the day you buy them and you'll be
throwing them away on 9/11 and 10/9 respectively. How much do you wanna
bet that unsuspecting consumers buy them (attracted by the super-low
price) and then Disney starts getting complaints a few days later ("Yeah,
my new DVD doesn't work for some reason. Can I exchange it?").
Back Monday with new DVD reviews. See you then!
At long last, Paramount has OFFICIALLY announced the DVD release of
Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West:
Special Collector's Edition for 11/18 (SRP $19.99). The
2-disc set is now confirmed to contain the 165 minute version of the
film, in restored anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio and a cleaned-up mono mix as well, audio commentary (featuring
directors John Carpenter, John Milius and Alex Cox, film historians Sir.
Christopher Fraying and Dr. Sheldon Hall, plus additional comments from
cast and crew members), the documentaries An
Opera of Violence, The Wages of
Sin and Something to Do with Death
(that include exclusive interviews with Claudia Cardinale, Gabriele
Ferzetti, Bernardo Bertolucci and cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli
with contributions from John Carpenter, John Millius, Alex Cox, Sir
Christopher Frayling and Dr. Sheldon Hall), The
Railroad: Revolutionizing the West featurette, a location
gallery, a production gallery, cast profiles and a theatrical trailer.
Also, we have officially confirmed that the disc WILL feature the same
cover art as the international release. Here's a look at that, along the
cover art for Young Sherlock Holmes
and Hud (both TBA for December -
Amazon is reporting a 12/2 street for both, but that's not official):
And yes, you CAN pre-order Once Upon a Time
in the West right now at
Planet. Have we mentioned we're excited for this title? Damn, this
is gonna be an awesome (and expensive) 4th Qtr for DVD fans...
We're doing the final proofing and approvals on our new DVD book today
(boy, this book thing is a lot of work!), so we're pretty busy with
that. But we've kicked off a new
today, giving you all a chance to take home EIGHT great new DVDs from
20th Century Fox, Buena Vista and MGM, so don't miss it.
Also today, we have a sneak peek at the final cover artwork for
Columbia TriStar's Charlie's Angels: Full
Throttle - Unrated Widescreen Special Edition (street date:
10/21). We'll post the rated edition art when it's available.
And finally today,
has a great article up today on a big phone protest by
environmentalists, scheduled to take place today, targeted against
Disney and CEO Michael Eisner. The reason? Said environmentalists are
none too happy with the studio's plan to market disposable DVD movie
discs. These special DVD discs, called EZ-Ds, will be made available in
four test markets in September. After you open the air-tight package,
you have 48 hours to watch the disc, after which time it become
unreadable. We think it's a silly and unnecessary idea, much like the
Divx pay-per-view format was before it. But hey - when you're a massive
media corporation, I guess you try anything that might make another buck
or two. You go, environmentalists!
Last week, at a special press event in L.A., we got the chance to take
a sneak peek at Buena Vista's upcoming 2-disc DVD releases of Sleeping
Beauty and The Lion King.
A number of Disney reps were on hand, along with DVD production
personnel and a pair of special guests (Lion
King producer Don Hahn and Mary Costa, the original voice of
Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty)
were on hand to answer questions. They're pictured here, talking to
Disney's Head of DVD Production Andy Siditsky (on the right).
In special presentations, Disney execs previewed some of the extra
features of both discs, and the assembled press got the chance to see
some of the work that was involved in creating them. In the same process
that was used for Snow White
before it, Sleeping Beauty was
restored frame by frame, with the original cell animation and background
art used as a reference for correct color timing. It's no exaggeration
to say that the film looks and sounds better now than it did even in its
original theatrical release in 1959. The disc will feature elaborately
animated menu screens that mimic the multi-plane animation style of the
film. Fans of the film, and classic animation in general, will
appreciate the fact that the 2-disc set will include the most
comprehensive collection of artwork of Sleeping
Beauty artwork ever assembled in one place. This is found
elaborate 3D galleries, which can be accessed in separate adult-friendly
and kid-friendly themes. The film is presented in BOTH anamorphic
widescreen (2.35:1) and full frame, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and
MANY other features as well, including interactive games, original story
reels and much more.
Parents with children will appreciate the fact that both Sleeping
Beauty and The Lion King
include a new Disney feature called the Disney Art Project. Think of
this as a sort of audio/video instructional program that shows you how
to make fun little art projects out of simple household materials (for
example, a paper and cardboard dragon). The whole idea is to create an
opportunity for kids and their parents to spend time together doing fun,
The Lion King features no less
than four different ways to view the film: the original theatrical
version and a new "special edition" version (which includes a
new musical number), both in anamorphic widescreen video (1.85:1). In
addition, each of these versions can be played with the original 5.1
audio mix or a brand new Disney Enhanced Home Theater 5.1 mix. For both
versions of the film, the original directors and animators returned to
remove dust and dirt, add additional detail and to re-color time the
entire film to achieve the best picture quality possible. In addition,
the original sound engineer for the film returned to create the new home
theater mix. The whole idea is to completely immerse the viewer in the
sound field. The new mix is intentionally much more dynamic, aggressive
and enveloping, with greater LFE reinforcement. We were able to demo
several scenes in the new mix, and compare them to the original 5.1 mix.
The difference is spectacular. You'll feel the thunderous sound during
the stampede scene. And the film's distinctive opening cry, sung by Lebo
M, has that much more power. It's really an impressive mix that will
absolutely test your home theater. I'm guessing this mix will be a
serious contender in the Best DVD - Audio category in next year's Bitsy
The new musical number that appears in the special edition, The
Morning Report, was written by the original musical team of
Elton John and Tim Rice, and was animated by the film's original
creative team (it was actually written for the stage production of The
Lion King). The DVD allows you to examine The
Lion King via a number of differently themed "journeys"
or paths. You can learn about the animals, the story, the stage
production, the making of the film and the creation of the music. Each
of these features extensive new interviews with virtually everyone
involved, great behind-the-scenes stories and never-before-seen
material. There are also deleted scenes, extensive art galleries and
numerous documentary featurettes.
For the kids, there are lots of interactive games, including Timon
and Pumba's Virtual Safari. Think of this as an animated
version of the Indiana Jones or Jungle Cruise Disney theme park rides.
You're in a jeep, guiding the tour with your remote control. You can
take several different paths and various things happen along the way
depending on where you go, requiring you to make different navigation
choices. The whole thing is in 5.1 sound. Kids will really have fun with
Each of these DVDs promises to be quite extensive and looks to satisfy
both the serious Disney animation fan and more casual family viewers.
And you'll be happy to know that Disney execs once again reiterated the
fact that all of the company's beloved, feature-length animated titles
will be released on DVD by 2007 (Platinum titles will be released 2 per
year starting in 2005 to make this happen).
Now then... moving on today,
Store magazine has a story up on the first season of classic
SCTV episodes coming to DVD in
January. In addition, they have
interesting piece on the overcrowding of big titles in the
upcoming 4th Quarter. Both are worth a quick read.
Finally today, anyone out there need a DVD player? We're selling one of
the players we've used for the last three or four months here at The
Bits' West Coast office. It's a
DVD-3800 progressive scan DVD-Video/Audio player, in practically
brand new condition, obtained directly from Denon. Features include
Silicon Image/DVDO PureProgressive decoding, 12 bit video D/A
conversion, AL24 Processing Plus (for DVD-Audio), and a Burr-Brown 24
bit/192 kHz audio D/A converter (click
here for a PDF file with all the details on the unit from the
Denon catalog). It plays both DVD-Video and DVD-Audio titles, as well as
music CDs, DVD-R/RW discs and CD-R/RW discs (including MP3 discs). We
used it as our reference video player and to review DVD-Audio discs. But
we've recently upgraded to a high-end combo unit that also plays SACD
titles, so we've decided to offer it to our readers. The unit SRPs for
over $1,000, and sells for about $950 online. We offering it for $800
plus shipping. If you're interested, contact Sarah at
We're also selling a number of laserdisc titles from our library,
including the Disney's Alice in Wonderland:
Exclusive Archive Collection box set (CAV edition),
Kieslowski's Blue, White
and Red, Boogie
Nights: The Criterion Collection, Braveheart,
Disney's Cinderella: Deluxe CAV Edition
box set, Close Encounters of the Third Kind:
The Criterion Collection, The
Cutting Edge, Doctor Zhivago,
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
(Japanese edition), Forrest Gump: Deluxe
Edition, Hail Columbia
(IMAX), Raiders of the Lost Ark
(widescreen edition), Indiana Jones and the
Temple of Doom (widescreen), Indiana
Jones and the Last Crusade (widescreen), Lawrence
of Arabia: The Criterion Collection, Disney's The
Little Mermaid (CAV widescreen), Disney's The
Little Mermaid (widescreen), Peter
Gabriel: Secret World Live, The
Shadow (DTS), Disney's Snow White
and the Seven Dwarfs: Deluxe CAV Edition box set, Disney's
Toy Story: Deluxe CAV Edition box
set, West Side Story (DTS), Wind,
and The X-Files: Fight the Future.
We're selling them for $7.99 each ($14.99 each for the box sets) plus
shipping (U.S. Priority Mail). If you're interested in more than one,
we'll cut you a deal. And if you're in the L.A./O.C. area, we can
arrange pick-up so you can save on the shipping. Again,
e-mail Sarah if you're
Okay - that's enough The Digital Bits
shopping network for today. Back tomorrow with a new Trivia
Contest and more. Stay tuned... ;-)