The first special feature to note is the inclusion of
the original "The Day the Earth Stood Still" in Blu-ray
as part of this three disc set. The original film looks
particularly although stock footage and segues look a bit
soft the film looks impressive in its Blu-ray presentation.
The only complaint I have about the film in Blu-ray is something
that I missed as I rushed to review it before when it was
released to coincide with the theatrical remake; the 5.1
mix compliments Bernard Herrmann's brilliant score but Fox
chose to ALTER the soundtrack by adding brand new sound
effects that sound extremely close to many of the original
ones. In this case where a full restoration of the film's
soundtrack elements, I find this a questionable decision.
Few restored films have used brand new Foley tracks the
only one that I know of that was both questionable but also
worthwhile was for Hitchcock's "Vertigo" where Robert A.
Harris did so at the insistence of Universal particularly
when he realized that a 5.1 mix of the soundtrack would
demonstrate huge gaps in the soundtrack. Even Harris questioned
what he was doing but given the fact that the original elements
for the soundtrack no longer existed AND that it was being
adapted for a 5.1 Surround Sound Mix he recognized that
it was important to make the filml sound as good as possible.
The same could be said for "The Day the Earth Stood Still"
BUT I found these new Foley effects a bit more intrusive
and obvious by comparison. Still, it does sound GOOD and
most fans probably won't notice the difference. None of
the special features from the original film are included.
This is just the film itself. ***
“Klaatu’s Artifacts” is a PIP feature that allows you
to watch material related to the production of the film
including raw footage, sketches, etc. There’s also a lame
game that allows you to make your own Gort. They should
have saved the money and actually sent out review copies.
The best special feature here for my money (aside from
the original film)is on disc one. Writer David Scarpa gives
us the history of the remake including a discussion of scenes/approaches
abandoned in early drafts of the film. He also makes some
interesting observations about what works well in the remake
and what doesn't. Unfortunately, director Derrickson is
MIA although it would have been interesting to hear some
of his thoughts outside of the behind-the-scenes featurette
on his approach to the material. I would love to have heard,
for example, a comparison contrast between early drafts
(and with Blu-ray it would have been very easy to present
a pip with early drafts of the script/storyboards and the
scene itself as well as Derrickson or Scarpa's comments)
and the finished product. Although Scarpa does a very good
job here it would have helped to have someone to moderate
his commentary track to prevent the stretches of silence
we do hear (which can be quite extensive). ***
We also get 3 deleted scenes which, if this is all
there is, suggests that Derrickson didn't cut the film in
post-production after screening it or at the insistence
of Fox but may have cut/changed the script material prior
to shooting the film. Either that or any additional footage
never received the post-production polish that they deserved.
None of the deleted scenes are essential and the decision
to remove them was right on the mark--they add nothing to
the film and would have damaged the pacing of the film even
"Re-Imagining The Day" is a short documentary on the
process of tackling such a daunting subject and of a film
highly regarded by many science fiction and film fans. The
original film may seem slow compared to current movies--in
fact its pacing reminds me more of a foreign film with a
pensive almost mediatative approach to the material by director
Robert Wise. In our over stimulated Attention Deficit culture
it might seem a bit slow but it's rewards are many. Writer
Paul Sammon (who wrote an exhaustive book The Making of
Blade Runner) extols the virtues of the original classic
film while others including director Derrickson discusses
his version of the same story. It's an interesting documentary
that provides some insight into the thought process behind
Derrickson's approach but doesn't explain the shortcomings
of the film very well (except in a hilarious scene where
Derrickson praises Reeves ability as an actor. I like Reeves
and within his limitations as a leading man he can be quite
good with the right material. "The Day the Earth Stood Still"
really isn't that material. There are at least a half dozen
other actors I can think of that would have done a better
job than Reeves). ***
We also get a featurette on the "Green" production of
the film. Although it isn't something you're likely to watch
more than once (if that), it is admirable what the producers
did with this film and trying to remain as “green” as possible
in keeping with the theme of the film. ***
The most interesting featurette to me was "Unleashing
Gort". The subtle overhaul for the massive robot from the
first film where Lock Martin portrayed Gort in a suit to
using CGI instead is discussed and the decision NOT to go
with a guy in a suit. The alterations to the "look" of Gort
and his presentation in the film do make sense within the
context of the film itself. We get an explanation for his
sparkly look that ties into what we discover about him later
in the film. We get to see the variety designs from a creature
that doesn’t look remotely human to one that looks almost
too human. ***
"Watching the Skies" is the final featurette included.
If I'm not mistaken this was the promotional film that Fox
had originally planned to air when the film was to premiere.
Don’t know what happened to prevent it from airing. ***
The second disc is a digital copy of the film and it
comes with all editions of the Blu-ray (you can purchase
the two films together without the digital copy of the film).
I still find these to be some of the most meaningless "extras"
that a studio can provide. I suppose they do it to prevent
piracy and control how many people watch the film on their
computers. I have bad news for Fox--it won't work.