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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Earth vs. the Spider (2001)

Earth vs. the Spider (2001)

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Released 13-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Featurette-Making Of
Trailer-Godzilla; The Forsaken; The Breed; Hollow Man
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 86:22
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (52:30) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Scott Ziehl

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Dan Aykroyd
Devon Gummersall
Amelia Heinle
Theresa Russell
Christopher Cousins
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $36.95 Music David Reynolds

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    If you've seen The Fly then you more-or-less know the basic plot of Earth vs The Spider. Basically, Quentin Kemmer (Devon Gummersall) is an all-round nice guy but a bit of a wimp, which is just a bit of a concern since he's a security guard at Biochemco, a company that is doing top secret military research. He's also a comic book fan with a passion for one particular character, a half man/half spider, called Arachnid Avenger. When there's a break-in at the lab, Devon's partner is killed. Blaming himself for the death, Devon misguidedly tries to turn himself into a superhero by injecting himself with spider mojo juice. In the short term, all goes well with his confidence and strength increased, and he uses this new-found power to save Stephanie Lewis (Amelia Heinle), his next door neighbour and love interest, from assault. Things start to go steeply downhill from this point.

    Investigating both of these crimes is Detective Inspector Jack Grillo (Dan Aykroyd), a cop who's lost the respect of his peers and his wife (Theresa Russell) because of an incident in which his partner was killed.

    Unfortunately, this movie just doesn't work and this is for one major reason. Unlike similar efforts such as Spider-Man or Superman this movie takes itself seriously, whereas the others are infected with liberal doses of humour and have their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks. I mean, come on, the plot is just too silly and unbelievable to be taken seriously but this seems to be what we are expected to do. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that on this production there are no less than 7 people who get some sort of writing credit and about 12 people who were producers of one sort or another.

    The only redeeming feature of this effort is the amazing models, puppets and make-up produced by none other than Stan Winston and his very talented associates. In case you don't know, Stan's the guy responsible for similar efforts in Aliens, Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park to name but a few.

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Transfer Quality


    In general, the transfer is very pleasing but I feel that the sharpness of the image was one notch below where it could have been. I can't say whether this condition is due to the transfer or if it is faithful to the original film.

   1.85:1 is the original aspect ratio for this movie. This 16x9 enhanced transfer offers us an aspect ratio of 1.78:1.

   This is a dark movie so shadow detail is important and I'm happy to report that it is up to the mark. There was no low level noise. The image is pretty sharp but just a touch less than perfectly sharp. There is also the occasional shot in which the focus is a little soft and there's one really out of focus shot at 65:14. I would suggest that this is not a problem with the transfer but rather is a true reflection of the source material.

   While the set design, for the most part, utilizes a relatively drab palette, there are also occasional splashes of vivid colour. All the colour, including skin tones, looks quite natural.

    Artefacts of all types are thankfully rare. I wasn't aware of any MPEG or film artefacts at all. Film to video artefacts were limited to some infrequent subtle aliasing which may well go unnoticed.

    I sampled about 10 minutes of the English subtitles and found them reasonably accurate but not word perfect. They appear as white text near the bottom of the screen and are legible and well timed. If English is not your preferred language then there's a good chance this disc will still satisfy your needs as there are no less than 19 subtitle options.

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring at 52:30 during Chapter 17. It is absolutely perfectly placed in the middle of a fade to black and it could easily go entirely unnoticed.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This is a flawless audio transfer which utilises all the channels to create an enveloping soundfield.

    German and English Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded audio tracks are provided on this disc . Naturally, I listened to the default English soundtrack.

    There were no problems with the dialogue which was always easily understood. The audio sync did not present any problems in this transfer.

    The music by David Reynolds was suitably dramatic and had a quality which somehow gave a cartoonish feel to the production. It was somewhat reminiscent of the feel created by the music in the old Batman television series.

    As previously noted, all channels are used and this applies both for effects as well as the musical score. The soundfield is nicely enveloping,

    The subwoofer is used to support the effects and the musical score. It's used nicely to add some real punch to the gun shots.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are quite a number of extras but they are only of minimal value.

Menu/Main Menu Introduction

    The 1.78:1 aspect ratio menu features 16x9 enhancement, animation and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Prior to the display of the menu and when switching from one menu to another, there's a short animated sequence.

Dolby Digital Trailer-City

Featurette-Earth vs The Spider Behind The Scenes (1:48)

    This featurette gives us a very brief look into how some of the special effects were created. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 without 16x9 enhancement. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.


    There a four individually selectable photo galleries: Monster Sketches (6 photos), Building The Monster (18 photos), Behind The Scenes (35 photos) and Production Stills (31 photos).

Trailers-Godzilla (1:49); The Forsaken (1:51); The Breed (1:29); Hollow Man (1:27)

    Four trailers for various movies. The trailer for The Breed features Dolby Digital 2.0 sound and an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The rest feature Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and are all in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are 16x9 enhanced.

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

    Brief filmographies are provided but only for Dan Aykroyd and Stan Winston.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Except for differences in the audio and subtitle languages, both region's discs are identical.


    Earth vs The Spider is a silly movie that makes a very silly mistake by taking itself seriously and consequently fails to satisfy on any level.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is also excellent.

    There are a number of extras, however, these are of limited value.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Thursday, October 03, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

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