Most people would say that the only true Mr. Darcy is Colin Firth. I would say that Matthew Mcfadyen gave him a run for the money as he woed the love of Elizabeth Bennett in this remake. If you have any idea what I am talking about, you are either a female or a man whose female counterpart forced him to sit and watch this costumed romance. I am of the second group of people. My wife’s favorite movie of all time is the 1995 TV Mini-Series Pride and Prejudice, where apparently a very sexy Colin Firth plays the aforementioned Mr. Darcy. She had been telling me that I would one day sit down with her and watch the FIVE HOUR mini series which she owned on VHS. No. I finally found a compromise. Pride and Prejudice was remade in a nice and tidy two-hour version and I took her to the movies to see that one, in exchange for her never threatening me with the five hour version again. When the bribe began to fade from her memory, I bought her the special edition DVD release of the 1995 version and told her that she could watch it anytime she wanted to, especially when I was at work. That has worked so far, and now in November I can add to it by buying her this new version of the remake. Extras will include an audio commentary with Direcor Joe Wright, a Conversations with the Cast featurette, a Jane Austen, Ahead of Her Time featurette, A Bennet Family Portrait featurette, a HBO First Look: Pride & Prejudice feature, two further featurettes on the Politics of Dating and The Stately Homes of Pride & Prejudice, Galleries of the 19th Century, and a Pride & Prejudice Family Tree. In addition to all that – the set will also include the Original Soundtrack CD and a Collectible Book. That should hold her off for a while longer anyway.
While Monty Python and the Holy Grail gets more publicity (rightly so), this Monty Python film deserves all the praise it can get heaped upon it. Now, we get a very nice affordable special edition of Life of Brian. First, lets compare this with the still available Criterion Collection edition. Criterion gives us commentary with Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Terry Jones, five deleted scenes with commentary, four radio ads and a documentary all on a single disc edition. On this release, we get a two-disc edition with the same commentary from the Criterion plus a new one with John Cleese and Michael Palin, the documentary and a cast read through (an original illustrated 110 minute recording by The Pythons of their early screenplay in progress). You also get the radio ads and the deleted scenes. This means noting is missing from the Criterion and you get a bit more. The good news for those of us who does not own it yet (and VERY bad news for those who do) is that this two-disc release is almost $20 cheaper than the Criterion. You get more for less money, so if you don’t have it yet, ignore Criterion and grab this two-disc special edition.
BLU-RAY STRIKES BACK
With the news that Paramount and Dreamworks are telling Blu-Ray to sod off and are going exclusively with HD-DVD, Blu-Ray needed something to keep in the game. Well they found something that should help them sell a shit-ton of Blu-Ray DVDs to horror movie fans. On October 2, we get four beloved horror movies – three of the greatest horror flicks of all-time and one of the largest cult movies made in the 80’s.
First off, we get Halloween on Blu-Ray. The original John Carpenter movie that started the entire slasher genre gets the high definition treatment, although I am not sure at this time which version (i.e. special features) we are getting here.
Next up is cult sensation Evil Dead II. The Sam Raimi directed, Bruce Campbell starring flick will include an audio commentary track with Raimi, Campbell, co-writer Scott Spiegel and make-up effects artist Greg Nicotero, a behind the scenes featurette, and a gore specific featurette plus the theatrical trailer. I don’t have the behind the scenes on my DVD, but I don’t have the Book of the Dead edition of Evil Dead II either.
Third is one of the greatest horror movies to have ever been made, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. This is ironic, since this week the remake was released on HD-DVD, and the superior original is getting the Blu-Ray treatment. On this release you get an audio commentary with Romero, Tom Savini, AD Chris Romero and DVD producer Perry Martin, fast film facts, The Dead Will Walk featurette, On-Set Home Movies, Monroeville Mall Tour, trailers, TV spots, radio spots and a commercial for the Monroeville Mall. This won’t replace my Dawn of the Dead Ultimate Edition (with four different versions of the movie including Zombie), but it’s nice for those who want to upgrade to high def.
Finally, the fourth movie coming to Blu-Ray is Romero’s Day of the Dead. It will include commentary with Romero, Savini, production designer Cletus Anderson and actress Lori Cordille, a second audio commentary with Roger Avery, The Many Days of Day of the Dead, Fast Film Facts, Behind-the-Scenes, an audio interview with Richard Liberty, trailers, TV spots, radio spots and a Gateway Commerce Center Promo. Unlike Dawn, this one could replace my Divimax two-disc edition, as it holds the exact same features, but I am not ready to replace DVDs I already have with high def discs. I have GREAT editions off all four of the movies, so I will probably skip this for now, but if you are ready to make the switch to high def, this should be a great day for you.