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Hard: Special Edition
commentary with director John McTiernan and production designer
Jackson DeGovia. Screen-specific audio commentary with visual
effects producer Richard Edlund.
the cast and crew on the promotional featurette
television spots, three theatrical trailers
really amazing "extended branching version" with additional
scenes from the "power shutdown" sequence edited seamlessly
back into the film.
is a must-own two-disc set, with an entire DVD devoted to extras
such as an "editing workshop" and an audio re-mixing sequence.
It's like film school on a disc. Other features include the
full-length screenplay (which is very easy to read), an interactive
stills gallery, DVD-ROM games, deleted lines and scenes, game
demos and newscasts.
Alexander Godunov, Bonnie Bedelia, Alan Rickman
Steven E. De Souza
||Joel Silver and Lawrence
John McClane, a feisty and crusty New York policeman on his
way to visit his estranged wife Holly in California, where she
is quickly and expertly climbing the corporate ladder. Just
minutes after arriving at the downtown office building, where
Holly and her fellow co-workers are enjoying a Christmas Eve
party, all hell breaks loose. In a mastermind plan, the building
and its inhabitants are taken hostage by terrorists-and of course
this is done with lots of gunplay and explosions. McClane, who
was in the bathroom "making fists with his toes" on the carpet,
as urged to do by a fellow plane traveler earlier that day,
escapes the floor unnoticed (yet still barefoot). With the entire
office under terrorist control (and there are a lot of those
gun-wielding men), it's up to McClane to save the day. Which
of course he does, single-handedly. His only link to the world
outside is through a hand-held radio (stolen from a terrorist
he killed); it's here that John communicates with Al, a behind-the-desk
cop. Alan Rickman plays the evil Hans, the leader of the terrorists
who aren't in this for the release of fellow "freedom fighters,"
as the gang wants the cops to believe. Instead, it's all about
money-a lot of money. Any viewer of the "Die Hard" series knows
the films have plenty of bloodshed and lots of warfare. As the
original theatrical trailers said, "it'll blow you to the back
of the theater."
keeps DVD lovers pleased as punch. This "Die Hard" version is
part of the studio's "Five Star Collection," and it's rightly
placed in the DVD Hall of Fame. The double-disc set is a DVD
lovers dream; the image and sound are better than they were
on the big screen. The anamorphic transfer is the poster child
for all DVDs out there. The picture is crisp and clear, the
special effects flawless. With all the explosions and gunfire,
the sound quality is really put to the test, and it passed with
straight A's. The sound is in both Dolby Digital and DTS, and
Karmen's soundtrack provides all-encompassing music paired with
the sensory-stimulating special effects. One of the best features
on the disc (No. 2) is a little tidbit where viewers get to
fully see and understand the difference between widescreen/letterbox
("those funny black lines along the top and bottom of the screen")
and "pan-and-scan" (where the picture fills up the entire TV
screen. Although it's obvious the crew prefers widescreen in
order to preserve the original intent and flow of the picture,
they explain both filming aspects and how they're each done.
It's a great teaching tool.
I start? First off, plan a few hours if you want to watch this
entire two-disc version, from opening film credits to the DVD-ROM
features. It's an amazing set, complete with everything a DVD-or
film-lover could want. The best part I feel was the "editing
workshop" feature on Disc 2. This is where you can have some
fun playing film editor. A series of outtakes is available for
viewers to choose a handful, place them in order and then view
the "final cut" of this scene created specifically by the viewer,
sitting at home with a remote control. It's amazing to see how
different-or similar-your scene is compared to those chosen
by McTiernan and the gang. The three sequences to choose from
are when McClane is in the airshaft and two featuring the bad
guys in the boardroom. There are plenty of different angles,
close-ups, points-of-view and dialog changes to choose from.
I became addicted to this feature! It made me want to enroll
in film school. Another notable feature was the audio mix section.
Set up in a similar fashion to the editing workshop, this feature
allows viewers to turn off three basic ingredients in any sound
set up: dialog, sound effects and music. You get to hear only
the gunfire, only the music or just the talking during a specific
scene. In addition, there's an extended branching version of
the film in "The Vault," which opens up Disc 2. Featuring the
"power outage" sequence in the movie, the branching version
shows a slightly longer scene, with one part in black and white
because it was cut out well before the final draft of the movie.
Viewers can also link to this branching version while watching
the movie on Disc 1.
McTiernan and production designer Jackson DeGovia produce a
feature-length audio commentary and it's informative. Of course,
if you compare it to the total interactivity and enjoyablity
of the rest of the "Die Hard" discs, then you're bound to be
disappointed. But hey, this is an audio commentary by the brains
behind the "Die Hard" franchise, so there are lots of informative
nuggets of information inside, albeit inside of a rather dry
commentary. Viewers get the low-down on why a certain scene
was shot this way as well as why the scene was shot at all.
Other commentaries include special effects supervisor Richard
Edlund, who produces scene-specific commentary when necessary
(like during the heavy special-effects scenes).
Don't wait. No DVD library is complete without this latest "Die
Hard" release. Fox has once again raised the bar for other studios,
and DVD-philes out there can rejoice. This "Die Hard" set is
one to be treasured.