Spider-Man: Collector's Edition (2002)
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Audio Commentary-Sam Raimi, Laura Ziskin, Grant Curtis & Kirsten Dunst
Audio Commentary-John Dykstra, Scott Stockdyk, Anthony LaMolinara
Active Subtitle Track-Spider-Sense
Theatrical Trailer-Spider-Man;Mr. Deeds;Mutants, Monsters & Marvels;MiB II
Music Video-Hero-Chad Kroeger + Josey Scott; What We're All About-Sum 41
DVD-ROM Extras-Comic/Feature Comp;Record Own Comm;Visualizer;Links;Game Dem
Informational Subtitles-Weaving The Web
Featurette-Spider-Man: The Mythology Of The 21st Century
Gallery-S-M Archives;Artists Gall;Rogue's Gall;Loves of Peter Parker
Notes-Activision Game: Hints & Tips
Featurette-HBO Making Of;Spider-Mania;Director Profile;Composer Profile
Featurette-Screen Tests (4)
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|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 Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
Active Subtitle Track
Dutch Audio Commentary
English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Well...sort of.|
When Sam Raimi won the race to direct Spider-Man over other (rumoured) candidates like James Cameron and David Fincher, it was a move that at first seemed a little odd, but was soon accepted once Raimi revealed his honest love for the character since he was a little boy. A Spider-Man fanatic since childhood, Raimi beat out other interested parties by selling the producers on his vision for the film and by wanting to keep the film as true to the comic books as he could. This choice proved to be Raimi's success as well as delivering a sense of credibility to the masses who eagerly awaited its mid-2002 release.
The film itself plays like a comic book, and is up there with the best comic adaptations of all time. It deals with Spider-Man's beginnings, and shapes his internal battles perfectly. All the main characters are well fleshed out and the film includes enough Spider-Man knowledge to keep the hard-core fans happy, but to also keep the first timers entertained. This is a fine line for Raimi to walk because if he makes the film too self-explanatory, or on the flip side, too Spider-savvy then he stands to lose a great portion of his audience.
The first half of the film is some of the most enjoyable film making we have seen in a long time. As Peter Parker discovers his powers and how to use them, the film is real, the film is fun and the film is exactly what it should be - a true escape from the real world.
Tobey Maguire plays Peter Parker, a nerdy high school kid with a crush on his next door neighbour, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). On a school excursion, Parker gets bitten by a genetically enhanced 'super spider' and wakes up the next day with enhanced vision, strength and some funny goo spurting out of his....wrists. Meanwhile, his mentor Norman Osborne (Willem Dafoe) is about to lose his contract with the military unless he can prove his biotechnological research is ready for human testing. In a desperate ploy, he uses himself as the test subject and winds up transforming into the psychotic Green Goblin.
Thus a hero and a villain are made. The rest of the film offers up massive amounts of digital animation and well thought out set pieces as the story takes us from the origins of these characters, and shows us some incredible action before leaving us wanting more as the film winds out. Great stuff.
Tobey Maguire is fantastic as the characters of Peter Parker and Spider-Man. The innocence of Parker and the resulting heroics of Spider-Man have silenced all who doubted that he could do the job. He is funny, he is built, and he put in a lot of effort into making this role his own. Six months worth of training for 5 hours a day have certainly sculpted the kid we saw in The Cider House Rules and Pleasantville into someone worthy of playing an adored superhero.
Willem Dafoe is the clear highlight as the Green Goblin. He plays two distinct personalities as Norman Osborne and The Green Goblin, and owns the best scene in the film where he performs as both sides of his character's personality in front of a mirror. This scene is but one of the exceptional performances Dafoe makes in this film as he steals the film away from everyone else.
Spider-Man is a brilliantly crafted film that has captured and held on to the essence of the comic books. Raimi's direction and vision is amazing and the visual effects for the most part are outstanding. This is one film that was made for DVD - with that power comes the great responsibility of creating a beautiful DVD...lets see how they went.
The film is transferred in its original aspect ratio of exactly 1.85:1. This is unusual for Columbia Tristar, as they usually crop films of this ratio ever so slightly to 1.78:1. Congratulations, and our sincere thanks to the powers that be.
The picture is brilliantly sharp and defined at all times. There is barely a shot where I had to even question this fact. Each character is clearly defined and resonates from the screen. Shadow detail is also brilliant. There is a lot of action that takes place in darkened areas, and we can see everything perfectly - a credit not only to the DVD masterers, but also the lighting team on the film itself. There is one shot that appears a little murky and dark, however, at 30:13. It is explained in the audio commentary that this scene had a lot of colour balance added to it in post production to combat the ambient light getting brighter as the scene was shot nearing dawn. Other than that, the blacks are superbly deep and shadowed areas are defined perfectly. There is some very fine grain noticed at times, with some examples being at 24:40, 46:03, 59:59 and 84:51. This grain is incredibly fine and is a problem emanating from the source material, as more often than not, it appears only from one particular camera angle. There is no low level noise.
Colours in this film are the highlight for me. As the film is made like a comic book, there are bright, beautiful colours in almost every scene. Primary colours are abundant in the forms of red and blue for Spider-Man and green for the Green Goblin. The New York colour palette is represented perfectly and every other colour involved just sparkles. Take in the colour from the 'World Unity Fair' scene to see a wide variety of strong, stunning colours that have been beautifully rendered.
There are no MPEG artefacts to be found here, and some very, very minor film to video artefacts in the form of aliasing. I only noticed these as I was searching for them, but nevertheless, they are found at 27:47, 61:44 and 88:05. There are some specks of dust and dirt found on the film's negative throughout the film with some instances being at 27:40, 24:24, 25:37, 57:36 and 75:42. Again, this is no fault of the DVD masterers as the dust appears on the film's negative. Some of the same artefacts are apparent on clips of the film used in the featurettes on disc 2, proving that these artefacts could not be removed for the mastering of this DVD or any other transfer.
There are a number of subtitle tracks recorded on this DVD. I watched about 20 minutes of the English subtitles and found them to be fairly accurate to the spoken word, with only the occasional word left out for pacing purposes.
This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 74:40. It occurs between scenes just as the music and ambient noise drop off enough for it to take place - I believe that this is the best place for it, even though it is quite noticeable.
In summary, this video transfer is stunning. All the artefacts I have mentioned are either very minor or are something that could not be helped for the manufacturing of this disc. I have no problems rating this transfer as one of the best I have seen.
There are three audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack running at 448kb/s. There are also two English Audio Commentary tracks, with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound - I listened to all three soundtracks.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. It resonates from the centre speaker with a strong signal that balances beautifully between the left and right channels. Audio sync is not a problem either. Of course, this problem is almost not applicable in this film as two of the characters speak through masks for half the film!
If there is one composer in Hollywood who can be identified by his sound, it would be Danny Elfman. When I first watched Spider-Man many months ago, I did not know Danny Elfman was doing the music for the film, but after about 30 seconds of the overture in the opening credits, I knew that the man who had delivered us Batman, The Simpsons & Planet Of The Apes was ready to give us another taste of his best work. The score for Spider-Man is one that plays perfectly with the film but does not try to take over the action on-screen, which is a perfect balance and one that probably should be thought about a bit more often. The music on this DVD transfer is strong and well balanced throughout the channels. In the action scenes it gives a boost as well as sculpting our emotions to fit the scene when the film calls for it.
The surround channels are used wherever they can, which really helps to bring the viewer right into the film. Action sequences and marquee shots like Spider-Man swinging through the city are filled with effects from these speakers. At other times, they are used more subtly with well thought out additions like the bullet casing falling to the ground at 45:40. By far the biggest workout they get is during the final battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, though.
The subwoofer is used effectively throughout the film whenever it is required like during explosions and fight scenes. The best however, is when you are not expecting it, like at 8:39 and 9:32, when we first see the super spider that will bite Peter Parker. That is the sort of LFE use that I really enjoy.
|Surround Channel Use|
'The Spider Wrangler' is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and runs for 8:52. It features interviews and footage from Steve Kutcher who provided all the real life spiders for the film. He is an incredibly freaky guy.
'Bonesaw McGraw' is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and runs for 1:47. Featuring former WWF and WCW wrestler Randy 'Macho Man' Savage who plays Bonesaw McGraw in the film, Savage talks about his involvement in the film for his scenes. Again, he is another incredibly freaky guy.
'The Model Maker' is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and runs for 1:48. It is about Justin Mahalian, who made a lot of the models for the film. These models look amazing and have great attention to detail.
'Creating the world of Spider-Man' is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and runs for 3:17. Featuring Production Designer Neil Spisak and Director of Photography Don Burgess, it is a very interesting piece that shows off some of the people who made the film look so unreal.
'Designing the World of Spider-Man' is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and runs for 2:33. Ozzy Inguanzo is the Art Department Co-ordinator and Easton Smith is the Set Designer on the film. They both love their work and can show us how the world of Spider-Man was conceived.
'The Prop Maker' is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and runs for 2:14. It features William Naumann who is another freaky guy who actually built a lot of the sets for the film. An amazing job and one that seems very interesting.
J.K. Simmons - This test has Simmons practising one of the great diatribes he blurts out during the film. It is presented in 1.33:1 and runs for 00:49. It suffers from heavy grain.
CGI Spider-Man - This test is an early shot of Spider-Man climbing up a wall. It looks very good and is similar to how he looks in the final film. It is presented in 2.35:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. It runs for 00:21.
Makeup and Costumes - This test shows Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Rosemary Harris, Cliff Robertson and Willem Dafoe in various forms of their costumes standing in front of the camera doing different things. It is presented in 1.85:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. It runs for 2:55.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
In Region 1, released simultaneously with this Collector's Edition DVD is the 'Spider-Man Collectors Gift Set' that along with the Collector's Edition DVD, includes the following;
Alternatively, in Region 4, you can also buy the Spider-Man Limited Edition Box Set which consists of the DVD, Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters and Marvels plus the original soundtrack CD. A wealth of choices for Spider-Man fanatics!
The video transfer is of reference quality.
The audio transfer is superb and delivers all around the room.
The extras are expansive, informative and numerous.
|DVD||Sony DVP-S525, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos (81cm) 16:9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS797- THX Select|
|Speakers||Jamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround|