Spider-Man 2: Collector's Edition (2004)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer
Audio Commentary-Cast And Crew
Informational Subtitles-Spidey Sense 2
Featurette-Web-i-sodes: Costume Design, Comic Con Q & A
Featurette-Web-i-sodes: J. Jonah Jameson
Featurette-Web-i-sodes: Peter Parker And Mary Jane Watson
Music Video-'Ordinary' By Train
Music Video-'I Am' By Killing Heidi
Featurette-Making The Amazing - 12 Featurettes
Featurette-Hero In Crisis, Ock-Umentary: Eight Arms To Hold You
Featurette-Interwoven: The Women Of Spider-Man
Multiple Angles-Enter The Web
|Year Of Production||2004|
|Running Time||122:14 (Case: 127)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Sam Raimi|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
††† "With great power comes great responsibility". Director Sam Raimi, Screenwriter Alvin Sargent, and the Spider-Man Producers all seem to appreciate this fact. Following the runaway success, both critically and commercially, of the original film, in Spider-Man 2 they have expertly crafted an exciting action film, with surprising depth. As Raimi and Sargent have chosen to focus on their characters and story as much as the amazing SFX and action sequences, the end result is a plot-driven, roller-coaster ride filled with action, suspense, drama, and romance.
††† The very talented and creative Stan Lee created Spider-Man for Marvel Comics. (Lee is also responsible for the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man, and the Hulk). Spider-Man made his debut in 1962 in a comic book series - Amazing Fantasy 15. Spider-Man was immediately popular, and the series was quickly renamed Amazing Spider-Man. Indeed, the growing popularity of Spider-Man helped Marvel Comics to become the dominant comic-book publisher by the early 1970s.
††† The first Spider-Man animated television series premiered on US television in 1967 and ran for two seasons. By the late 1970s, Spider-Man was syndicated through newspaper channels, and was regularly appearing in over 600 newspapers worldwide. In 1977 Spider-Man returned to television, and between 1977 and 1979 a live action Spider-Man TV series was aired. Following the success of Superman: The Movie (1978), a few of these episodes were edited together to make three Spider-Man movies. During the 1980s, and up to today, various animated versions of Spider-Man have also been created for television.
††† In 2002, Spider-Man: The Motion Picture came to the big screen. With a cumulative box office gross of over $US800 million, Spider-Man happily sits in the Top 10 of all-time box-office films. Apart from its great commercial success, Spider-Man was also warmly greeted by critics and comic-book fans alike.
††† A long-time Spider-Man fan, Raimi, and star Tobey Maguire had both contracted for three Spider-Man films (before the script for the first one was even written), so following the success of the first film, sequels were inevitable.
Thus, the arrival of Spider-Man 2 was not a surprise. Spider-Man 2 also earning a place in the all-time Top Ten Box Office films was also not a surprise. The amazing CGI, visual effects and SFX generally in the sequel were not a surprise. Furthermore, the breath-taking stunts and gripping action set pieces were not a surprise either. What was surprising about Spider-Man 2 was the depth of the story and characters.
††† In the original Lee comic books of Spider-Man, a radioactive spider bit a high school student, Peter Parker, while he was attending a scientific demonstration. The spider had crept into a beam of radiation, generated by the experiment, before it bit Peterís hand, and as a result Peter gained the powers of a spider magnified by the radiation. Peterís new found superhuman abilities included incredible superhuman strength, superhuman reflexes and balance, the ability to stick to most surfaces, and an intuitive sense for danger. He was also able to spin and shoot webs.
††† What I, and I imagine most people, love about Peter Parker/Spider-Man is that despite being a super hero, he is spared none of the problems of ordinary life: He has ups and downs with his friends, family, and employers. He struggles to get or keep a girlfriend. He gets sick and he definitely gets tired. A bit of a geek, he's "intelligent but lazy". A genuine nice guy, with a good sense of humour. Indeed, he's often referred to as "your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man". Peter's an ordinary young bloke, with an amazing gif, which he chooses, with great responsibility, to use for the good of humanity.
††† In Spider-Man 2 we find Peter (Tobey Maguire) at the end of his tether. He's struggling to hold on to his job, pay the rent, and pass his exams. Furthermore, he seems to be losing his Spider-Man powers. And, the love of his life, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), is engaged to another man. To make matter worse, his best friend, Harry Osborn (James Franco), blames Spider-Man for his father's death, and is seeking revenge, and Peter's Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) is about to be kicked out of her house.
††† A strong theme in Spider-Man 2 is choice: Consumed by insecurity and inner turmoil, the strain of being a super-hero permanently on call is taking its toll. Peter's secret identity is a weight on his shoulders that he no longer wishes to bear. Peter must choose between what he wants to do and what he feels he must do.
††† Instead of creating a stand-alone film, Raimi has opted to further explore the characters and relationships he set up in the first film. All the main characters in Spider-Man 2 have dreams: Peter dreams of an ordinary life where he can pursue his love for Mary Jane, and his love of science and photography; Mary Jane dreams of success as an actress, and of being happily married; and Dr. Otto Octavius dreams of creating a new energy source through fusion. And this brings us to our villain . . .
††† Every hero is measured by their nemesis, the villain, and unlike the Hulk, Spider-Man 2 is not all soul-searching. Dr. Otto Octavius (a wonderfully restrained and subtle performance by Alfred Molina) is a good-hearted and genius scientific researcher, working for Oscorp. Peter admires Octavius, just as he did Norman Osborn (before Osborn became the Green Goblin). Octavius dreams of creating cheap renewable electricity through fusion. Tragically, his fusion experiment goes horribly wrong, killing Octavius' devoted wife, and leaving him with four robotic tentacles ("actuators") fused into his spinal cord. The evil AI of the actuators soon begin controlling Octavius, and the mild mannered scientist degenerates into Doc Oct, a cruel, selfish man, driven by vengeance, and hell-bent on achieving his fusion dream no matter what the costs.
††† As for the DVD, as I wrote in my review of the brilliant Black Hawk Down: Collector's Edition, Columbia Tristar "continually deliver the goods for R4 DVD fanatics, such as myself. I own many, if not most, of their DVD releases, including Spider-Man, MIB, xXx, Hannibal, Gladiator, Apollo 13, Mummy Returns, and the Superbit DVDs, such as The Patriot. Their DVD catalogue contains some of the finest demo discs ever released in R4". With Spider-Man 2, Columbia Tristar have provided us with yet another demo disc. The quality of the movie and its transfer, and the breadth of extras, easily make this one of the best DVD releases of 2004.
††† The transfer is close to faultless. It is sublime and of reference quality. It was a pleasure to watch this DVD on both a widescreen television and projected onto a large screen. Indeed, if you can watch this DVD with a projector, I encourage you to do so, as it really enhances the scope of the film, especially during the city sequences as Spider-Man swings between the towering NY buildings.
††† The transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1, which is very close to its theatrical ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.
††† The sharpness is excellent throughout. For example, consider the detail in the cityscape at 8:32. Indeed, at 21:22, the printed codes from the library reference stickers on the spines of Peter's library books can be clearly read. The black level is also great, with deep, true blacks. I imagine this was an artistic choice, but the film often has a high contrast, and some shadow detail in certain scenes, such as at 14:22 is lost. That said, other scenes, such as the dark, shadowy exterior shot at 13:58, exhibit great shadow detail.
††† The colour is beautifully saturated, and a rich colour palette is on display throughout. This is important with this film, as Raimi subtly uses colour and colour-themes throughout the film in his story-telling.
††† There are no MPEG artefacts, such as pixelization or posterization marring the presentation of the film. However, some scenes, such as at 28:25, do display some excessive film grain, but this is due to the source material and not the transfer.
††† There are no problems with film-to-video artefacts such as aliasing or telecine wobble. Minuscule film artefacts, such as tiny black or white flecks do appear infrequently throughout the movie, but again this is due to the source material. I never found them distracting, and unless you're looking for them, they will go unnoticed. At times I did notice some slight edge enhancement, but it is very subtle. There is also a lot of green-screen work throughout which I'm sure contributes to the appearance of this effect.
††† There are a number of subtitles present, including English, Italian, English for the Hearing Impaired, English Audio Commentary, Italian Audio Commentary, English Audio Commentary, Italian Audio Commentary, English Information, and Italian Information. The English subtitles are accurate.
††† This is a Dual-Layered disc, with the layer change placed at 78:04. It is very smooth and as it is between scenes, it is not disruptive.
††† The sound design of Spider-Man 2 is simply awesome! Everything from the subtlety of trains rattling past Peter's apartment in the background to the cacophony of the NY traffic in the street scenes has been captured sensationally.
††† Originally released theatrically in dts, SDDS, and Dolby Digital, the DVD's audio is presented solely in Dolby Digital. There are a few audio tracks on the DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English Dolby Digital Stereo Surround (192Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).
††† There is a lot of looped dialogue in Spider-Man 2, yet the dialogue quality and audio sync are perfect throughout on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.
††† The orchestral musical score is primarily credited to Danny Elfman, and it mainly comprises a re-working of his themes from the first film. A few other composers have contributed some additional music, and a few songs also appear throughout, including the clever use of Burt Bacharach's Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. The score and songs suit the film, and help underline its emotional intensity.
††† The surround presence and activity is both aggressive and immersive. The rear speakers are used effectively to help carry the score, such as at 90:48, and to provide ambience throughout. There are a lot of rear directional effects, including panning between the speakers, for example at 89:45 when Spider-Man snatches his suit back from the wall of Jameson's office. The DVD boasts an immersive soundfield, which through the clever use of the rears still keeps the viewer firmly focussed on the screen.
††† The subwoofer is also utilised very effectively to support both the score and the sound effects. There are many excellent examples of the effective use of the LFE channel, such as the ominous, booming footsteps at 48:02, or when the car crashes through a shop window at 87:07.
|Surround Channel Use|
††† To top off a brilliant transfer, Spider-Man 2 also boasts a collection of genuine extras, spread across two discs.
††† An animated menu and sub-menus (in comic book style), with audio.
Trailer: Hellboy (2:20)
†† Upon loading Disc One, this trailer automatically plays before the Main Menu. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The DVD controls are not locked-out, so you can skip it if you like. I'm not a fan of forced trailers, but I happen to like this movie.
††† If the viewer selects this option, factoids and trivia appear throughout the film (similar to subtitles). I really enjoyed this extra, and actually preferred it to the commentary tracks.
††† These are the original four online featurettes from the film's theatrical release, and all are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (with letter-boxed clips from the film), and Dolby Digital stereo audio. Some of this material is repeated in Making The Amazing on Disc Two.
††† Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, non-16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
††† Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
††† A collection of out-takes from the film, presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, non-16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
Featurette - Making The Amazing (126:12)
††† A very comprehensive look at the making of Spider-Man 2, which in turn is composed of 12 featurettes which can be viewed separately or together. While the featurette includes letter-boxed clips from the film, I must admit that I was surprised and disappointed that, unlike the brilliant Star Wars Trilogy documentary Empire of Dreams, found on the Star Wars Extras Disc, which is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced with Dolby Stereo Surround audio, the Spider-Man 2 featurette is only presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
††† The chapters of the featurette are:
††† Key cast and crew discuss the central character, and the many problems that beset Peter Parker.
††† A look at the difficultly in creating an interesting and challenging villain with some depth of character.
††† A short exploration of the women in Peter Parker's life, from his Aunt May to the love of his life, Mary Jane Watson.
††† A behind-the-scenes look at filming the climatic pier segment. The footage is shown from three different angles. There is also a fourth angle which is a composite. Viewers can change angles using their remote.
††† This gallery displays Alex Ross' beautiful paintings, which record key scenes from the original film. The paintings were used as part of the opening credits sequence for Spider-Man 2.
††† Spider-Man 2 is due for release on DVD in Region 1 on 30 November 2004. However, it is due for release here on 17 November 2004, so it looks like we get it first. R1 consumers will initially be given a choice of buying either: Spider-Man 2 Special Edition (Widescreen, 2 discs) or Spider-Man 2 Special Edition (Fullscreen, 2 discs), or Spider-Man & Spider-Man 2 (Widescreen 2 discs). I say "initially", as following the initial release of Spider-Man in R1, other versions followed, including a Deluxe Edition and a Superbit edition. Indeed, in R4 there are currently at least three versions of the original Spider-Man DVD, including single-disc, double-disc, and four-disc editions.
††† In regards to the 2-disc Special Edition, the Region 4 DVD misses out on:
††† The Region 1 DVD misses out on:
††† In summary, we get the DVD first, and with one more extra than the R1 version. If you also consider the PAL/NTSC difference (and the inherent superiority of our PAL transfer), our version is the clear winner.
††† Spider-Man 2 is one of those rare sequels which is not only as good, but is even better than the original film that spawned it. The exciting action and effects all serve the story, and the DVD boasts a sublime transfer and enough genuine extras to keep fans glued to their couches for weeks. Bravo Columbia Tristar, you've done it again!
††† The video quality is excellent.
††† The audio quality is also excellent.
††† The extras are genuine, interesting, and entertaining.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|