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DVD REVIEW

Spider-Man - WS Special Edition

 

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst
Director: 
Sam Raimi

Rating: PG-13

Review Posted: 10.23.02

 

By John Teves

 

The Movie

 

On a school trip, Peter (Tobey Maguire) and his classmates are given a science demonstration on arachnids; a genetically altered spider bites Peter. Soon after, he discovers that he has unusual powers: he is endowed with the strength and agility of a spider along with a keen, ESP-like "spider sense." Peter first uses his powers to make money, but in the face of a tragedy that hits close to home, he vows to dedicate his life to fighting crime, taking to heart the words of his beloved Uncle Ben (Cliff Roberston): "With great power comes great responsibility."

 

Meanwhile, businessman Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), is undergoing some changes of his own. An experimental formula has gone awry, increasing his intelligence and strength but also driving him insane. He is now the Green Goblin, Spider-Man's archenemy, who will put young Peter Parker's vow to fight crime and help innocent people to the ultimate test.

 

Director Sam Raimi does a magnificent job of getting the most out of his cast while staying loyal to his material. The special effects are impressive, but they never get in the way of the story. SPIDER-MAN is a true classic, and a fantastic film, it is by far the best film adaptation of a comic book character ever made, and the film is the first great action packed adventure of 2002.

 

>Read Sara's Film Review.

 

The Video

 

SPIDER-MAN appears in its aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture looked strong and sharp. The sharpness looked clear and well defined, with only a few wider shots that displayed some mild softness. I detected no signs of edge enhancement; jagged edges caused no problems, but I did notice mild speckles and grit here in there. The print showed a little grain at times, but for the most part the film was clean.

 

Colors looked somewhat accurate, certain scenes could have appeared a bit bolder. Black levels were deep and dark, and shadow detail appeared appropriately dense. I did notice some minor compression, mostly noticeable on dense backgrounds. Nevertheless, despite some shortcomings, SPIDER-MAN presented a very pleasing image.

 

The Audio

 

SPIDER-MAN is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The mix showed good stereo definition and created a reasonably lively and convincing setting across the front channels. Effects came across accurately displaying a powerful element to the mix, but donít get too excited, I guess I was expecting something a little more from this DVD presentation Ė inconsistent use of the surrounds only seemed lively during the action sequences, but for some reason I found myself expecting more.

 

Maybe Columbia/Sony will release the Superbit Deluxe addition of SPIDER-MAN with a DTS  track sporting the commanding mix Iím looking for Ė hint, hint. In respects to the audio, I thought the audio quality was good. Dialogue appeared well incorporated, and speech always sounds natural and distinct. Overall, not a very exciting audio experience, but enjoyable nonetheless.

 

The Extras

 

>Check out some cool DVD clips right here!

 

Disc One:

 

Subtitled Factoids "Weaving The Web"
Commentary: Sam Raimi, Laura Ziskin, Kirsten Dunst & Grant Curtis
SFX Commentary
Trailers & TV Spots
Filmographies & Character Files
Music Videos: Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott, "Hero" & Sum 41, "What We're All About"
DVD-ROM Features:
Comic/Feature Comparison
Record Your Own Commentary
Countdown To Spider-Man 2
Weblinks


Disc Two:


HBO Making Of Spider-Man
"Spider-Mania": E! Entertainment Special
Director Profile: Sam Raimi
Composer Profile: Danny Elfman
Screen Tests
Costume and Makeup Tests
Gag/Outtake Reel
Conceptual Art & Production Design Gallery
Historical Documentary
The Spider-Man Comic Book Archives
Rogues Gallery
The Loves of Peter Parker
Comic Book Artist Pin-Up Gallery
Activision Game Hints & Tips
DVD-ROM

 

Overall

 

SPIDER-MAN is an excellent DVD. You get an action packed film with good picture and pleasurable sound and donít forget about the solid extras. For those looking for a DTS track, Iím sure Sony will release a new Superbit Deluxe edition sometime next year. Consumers may want to hold off purchasing this 2-disc set if a DTS track is your preference. However, if you must have this film in your video library, this 2-disc set of SPIDER-MAN comes highly recommended.

 

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