Spider-Man (Blu-ray) (2002)
Main Menu Animation
Theatrical Trailer-Spider-man 3, Surf's Up, & Ghost Rider
Alternate Audio-English Audio Descriptive Service
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Sam Raimi|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
††† Spinning a web of interesting characters, great action set-pieces, and solid writing, Spider-man is a wonderful, character-driven, action film, lovingly helmed by long-time Spidey fan, Sam Raimi. In an age of forgettable, VFX-driven movie-spectacle, Spider-man reminds us of how entertaining and enjoyable superhero films can be when they're made with style, care, and respect. Although not perfect, Spider-man remains a great stand-alone action film, as well as an excellent foundation for the movie trilogy.
††† The very talented 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 popularity of the comic books led Spidey to television. The first Spider-Man animated television series premiered on US television in 1967 and ran for two seasons. By the late 1970s, Spider-Man comic strips were syndicated through newspaper channels, and were regularly appearing in over 600 newspapers worldwide. In 1977, Spider-Man returned to television, and between 1977 and 1979 a live-action Spider-Man television series was aired.
††† Following the runaway box-office success of Superman: The Movie (1978), a few of the live-action television episodes were edited together to make three Spider-Man movies. These films are now largely ignored by Spidey fans, and recognized as the cash-grabs they were. During the 1980s, and up to today, various animated versions of Spider-Man have also been created for television, with varying degrees of success.
††† After a number of false starts, 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 swung into the Top 10 all-time box-office films. Apart from its great commercial success, Spider-Man was also warmly greeted by critics and comic-book fans alike.
††† This outstanding commercial and critical success helped lead to the avalanche of comic book to film-adaptations that followed. Marvelís rival, DC Comics, might have had great success with both their Superman and Batman film franchises, but Blade, X-Men, and The Fantastic Four, are just three of the successful film franchises that Marvel now enjoys, along with the Spider-Man films.
††† 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, and he also struggles to get his homework done, or keep a job. He gets sick and he definitely gets tired. Heís a bit of a geek, and he's considered "intelligent but lazy". Heís 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 gift, which he chooses, with great responsibility, to use for the good of his community.
††† It's no secret that producer/director James Cameron was trying to get a Spider-man film made for some years, without success. But comic books have influenced many of Evil Dead director, Sam Raimi films, so while he wasn't an obvious choice at first, in hindsight, he was a perfect choice as director. His knowledge and love of the source material is obvious in his attention to detail in all three Spider-man films, and the fact that they manage to accurately capture the spirit of the original comics.
††† The screenplay for Spider-Man was written by David Koepp, who is perhaps best known for writing the first two Jurassic Park film adaptations. The movie opens by introducing us to the nerdy high school student, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire). Peter lives with his uncle, Ben (Cliff Robertson), and aunt, May (Rosemary Harris), who are loving parents to him.
††† Peterís a nice guy. Heís smart, but very shy. The girl of his dreams, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), lives next door to him, but she hardly seems to know he even exists. Peter's best friend is Harry Osborn (James Franco), the coasting, but loyal son of the wealthy, selfish, and arrogant scientist and industrialist, Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe).
††† Peterís life changes dramatically and unexpectedly while on a school excursion to a lab at Columbia University. Peter is bitten by a genetically altered "super spider", and overnight he gains super-arachnid-like powers, such as a sixth sense, the ability to climb walls, unnatural strength, amazing agility, and incredible reflexes. He also develops glands in his wrists that allow him to shoot and spin webs.
††† Naturally, and understandably, Peterís first thought is to use these new powers for personal gain. But, following a family tragedy, Peter vows to fight crime, and Spider-Man the super hero is born.
††† Meanwhile, Spidey's first super-nemesis is also created through genetic mutation. Norman Osborn's extreme scientific experiments also give him superhuman strength and ability, but at a great cost. With his mutation comes madness, aggression, and evil. His access to the latest in experimental military hardware also provides him with a frightening helmet, armour, and a horrific armoury of weapons with a jet-propelled glider. After his first very public act of terrorism, the NY press names him The Green Goblin.
††† Spider-Man is a well-crafted and thoroughly enjoyable film, but it is not perfect. The first two acts of Spider-Man are undoubtedly better than the slightly disappointing final act. The early scenes in which Peter discovers his new powers and tentatively explores them with great wonder and excitement recall all of our collective childhood dreams. The film becomes more serious, darker, and more violent as it progresses, and the relatively violent final showdown between Spidey and the Green Goblin seems to come from an entirely different movie.
††† One nagging complaint I have with the film is that while most of the CGI work is fairly seamless, it is often very obvious when Spider-Man is a CGI creation. In some short segments the digital animation looks a little clumsy, which jars with the rest of the film which has very high VFX standards. That noted, Raimi's direction is solid, and he thankfully avoids an overabundance of CGI, often rather filming in a very personal, POV style, which gives us a sense of being on a journey with Peter/Spider-Man.
††† The transfer is truly outstanding, and of reference quality. It has been mastered in 1920 x 1080p, using AVC MPEG-4 compression.
††† The High Definition transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, in a native 16x9 frame. This is the film's original theatrical ratio.
††† The sharpness of the DVD's picture was excellent, but the high definition transfer is something else all together. For example, consider the intricate detail in the spider web at 9:01 and the incredible definition in the brickwork of the buildings at 26:24. The black level is perfect, with true deep blacks. The shadow detail is also excellent. For example, consider the scene in the dimly lit interior of the Oscorp Lab at 15:06 and the exterior street scene at night at 43:18.
††† The colour is perfect, with a rich palette of perfectly-saturated colours. The flesh tones are accurate.
††† While there is some film grain noticeable at times, this is due to the film stock used. There are no problems with the transfer in regards to MPEG, film artefacts, or film-to-video artefacts.
†††† The BD is zoned for all regions, and there are 21 subtitle streams present. The English subtitles are accurate.
††† This is a BD-50 (50 GB Blu-ray disc), with the feature is divided into 28 chapters.
††† Spider-man boasts a wonderful sound design, and as with the DVD, the BD's audio is excellent.
††† Originally released theatrically in Dolby Digital, dts, and SDDS surround audio, there are five audio options on this BD:† The feature is presented English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD (48kHz/24-bit), with an English Audio Descriptive Service, as well as providing the option of Czech, Hungarian, and Russian Dolby 5.1 dubs.
††† The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent throughout.
††† The musical score is credited to Danny Elfman, who has also provided memorable scores for films such as Batman, Dick Tracy, Men In Black, Planet of the Apes, Red Dragon, Hulk, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Elfman's dramatic and traditional orchestral music score superbly underpins the action and emotion of the story.
††† As an action film with a wonderful sound design, the surround presence and activity is excellent. The rear speakers are used effectively to help carry the score and provide a lot of ambience throughout. There are a number of rear directional effects, which includes panning between speakers during the action sequences, such as the gun shots during the car chase at 46:29 and the Green Goblin's menacing and swirling glider at 103:49. There are also some nice touches with some more subtle rear sound effects, such as the ambience in the city street at 43:20 and the distant waling sound of the police siren drawing closer at 44:26.
††† The subwoofer is also utilised very effectively throughout, and the LFE track is used well from the many sound effects and explosions throughout.
|Surround Channel Use|
††† Spider-Man is currently only available in high definition as part of a box-set, and rather surprisingly, unlike the original two, three, and four-disc DVD editions, the extras here are very light.
††† An animated menu with audio.
English Audio Descriptive Service
††† This is an optional audio track which narrates the on-screen action.
††† Although Spider-man has no region coding (it is zoned for all regions), it will only be released on Blu-ray in Region A (North America) on October 30. In terms of content, our disc's should be identical, except the Region A gets some different audio dubs, such as French and Spanish audio options for the feature.
††† Spider-man will not be released on HD-DVD.
††† Note, the Two and Three-Disc DVD (Region 4) editions had plenty of extras. There was also a Four-Disc Deluxe version that came with three DVD discs, and the soundtrack on a bonus CD. In R1, there were no less than five different editions of Spider-man released, including a Superbit version.
††† Thus, I will not be surprised if we see an extras-loaded, stand-alone edition of Spider-man released here in high definition in the future.
††† Spider-Man represents the best kind of summer blockbuster. It is bold, entertaining, well-paced, and intelligent. There's plenty of visual effects and over-the-top action and stunts, but never at the expense of the characters or story.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is also excellent.
The extras are very, very slim.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic High Definition 50' Plasma (127 cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Samsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)|