Reviews of Region 2 discs from Ultimate DVD #07

JAWSMISSION: IMPOSSIBLE
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

A small fraction of Ultimate DVD's huge Region 2 Reviews section - now out every month!

www.BlackStar.co.uk - The UK's Biggest Video Store
Search blackstar.co.uk for DVDs & videos, or use links below to buy the discs reviewed
BlackStar give a 20% discount off all pre-orders and postage & packing is free!

JAWS • Back to top Rated: PG
Spielberg’s classic chomps its way on to DVD! Here's the first peek of a preview copy…

The Movie

The inhabitants of the small, quiet town of Amity suddenly become part of a bloody buffet as a huge great white shark takes up residence in the shallow waters of the local beach. Immediately the local Sheriff (Scheider) decides to take up arms – not the ones left washed on the shore – along with a marine biologist (Dreyfuss) and a barking old sea dog (Shaw).

With some movies you never forget where you were the first time you saw them. This is one. Emerging out of the waters of the very early years of Spielberg’s career, this masterful suspense thriller submerges the audience in a terrifying ordeal against a soulless, mechanical (and that’s not a dig at the effects!), great white shark. Spielberg presents some incredibly realistic characters and handles the pacing perfectly, holding off on revealing the nautical killer until the viewer’s guard is completely down. 5 stars - Digital DynamitePetrifying, funny and indelibly affecting.

The Extras

At the very top of the pile comes a superb documentary which features up-to-date interviews with Spielberg, Dreyfuss, Scheider and writer Peter Benchley. Taking the story of the production right from the outset (Spielberg reading the book), through the troubled production (the rubber shark that never worked), to the composition of John Williams' legendary score – which Spielberg initially thought was a joke!

There are a flood of Deleted Scenes (see sidebar), followed by two outtakes: one in which Roy Sheider’s gun fails to fire, again and again and again and a couple of different versions of Robert Shaw’s death scream

Finally (with the exception of three trailers, a trivia game, some information on sharks and cast and crew bios) there are the production drawings. Around five different scenes are shown in storyboard form, made all the more interesting because they detail the earlier drafts of the script, as do the following more lavish production sketches.

As the actual release disc contains even more than this preview copy, be assured of perfect edition of a 5 stars - Digital Dynamiteclassic to get your teeth into!

Grant Kempster

Credits
Jaws (provisonal cover) - Buy this at Black Star

Cast • Roy Scheider
Richard Dreyfuss
Robert Shaw
Director • Steven Spielberg
Duration • 118 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 20
Languages • English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Subtitles • English, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, Turkish

Release Date • July 24
Distributor • Universal

Buy this DVD @BlackStar

Highlight

Chapter 10
Most memorable because it was the first time I swore in front of my parents. It involves a severed head.

Deleted Scenes

1. A brief scene of banter between Mr and Mrs Brody
2. The boyfriend of Jaws’s first victim gives a report to Sheriff Brody
3. A quick moment during the parade
4. Brody is given his assignment
5. Quint buys piano wire and sings like a loony
6. The shark lynch-mob head for the waters
7. Some monotone actor spoils a perfect scene
8. The lynch-mob are attacking the waters
9. A touching speech about Sea Otters
10. A Hooper and Brody moment.

from Ultimate DVD #07

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE • Back to top Rated: PG

Just light the fuse and stand back at a safe distance…

The Movie

A wave of nostalgia wells up during the opening title sequence of Mission: Impossible: the lit fuse, the funky theme music, subliminal images of the IMF agents… Then, aside from the self-destructing tape recorder and some nifty rubber disguises, De Palma jettisons all resemblance to the classic Sixties TV series, re-inventing it as a Bond-ian star vehicle for Cruise.

It’s not necessarily a bad move, as Mission: Impossible – while certainly hampered by major flaws – still succeeds as an irresistible thrill ride, with some high velocity set pieces that Barbara Broccoli and co would trade in their licence to kill for. The much maligned plot – in which Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is the sole survivor of an internal mole hunt gone wrong and becomes ‘disavowed’ – isn’t particularly remarkable, and the game of bluff and double bluff does wear thin by the final act.

Likewise the performances are lacklustre to poor, with only the laconic Rhames and mischievous Vanessa Redgrave really seeming to understand how this secret agents stuff should be played.

But De Palma buoys things along with his trademark camera trickery, and Cruise earns every cent of his vast salary in some graceful and balletic stunt scenes. Not, then, a definitive action movie of the Nineties, but, judging by the huge box office for MI2, 4 stars - Damn Good Discit certainly left audiences wanting more.

The Extras

Paramount UK once again top their US counterparts by releasing the Region 2 version of Mission: Impossible as an anamorphic transfer. And quite stunning it is too… There’s also the theatrical trailer; devised by monkeys, it includes the Channel Tunnel pay-off 1 star - Slapped On Disc– even down to the resolution!

David Richardson

Credits
Mission Impossible - Buy this at Black Star

Cast • Tom Cruise
Jon Voight
Ving Rhames
Emmanuelle Beart
Director • Brian De Palma
Duration • 105mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 13
Languages • English
Subtitles • English, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, English for hearing impaired
Release Date • July 3
Distributor • Paramount

Highlight

Chapter 8 – The Black Vault
A superb exercise in tension as Ethan breaks into a vault that is sensitive to sound, heat and pressure…

 

Buy this DVD @BlackStar

from Ultimate DVD #07

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE • Back to top Rated: PG

The recipe for a perfect Bond cocktail

The Movie

The film of JFK’s favourite Bond book, From Russia With Love was the movie which cemented the franchise as an energetic series of girls, guns and explosions. British agent 007 James Bond is sent to recover a code machine and its sexy defecting operator, unaware he’s being manipulated by a criminal organization who have a number of evil goals. Introducing gadgets and some of the elongated action sequences the like of which are still used today, this is the Bond title used as a template 5 stars - Digital Dynamitetime and again: not without reason.

The Extras

Another complete extravanganza in the extras department: when a film from 1963 gets more than most modern releases, you know something’s wrong somewhere. A 25-minute documentary about Harry Saltzmann is a comprehensive look over the career of Cubby Broccoli’s business partner, with words from an impressive number of people including John Barry, Roger Moore and George Lazenby plus family and friends. It’s not afraid of talking of the darkness in his life, but remains balanced and affectionate.

There’s a theatrical trailer, a little defused by the dated voiceover and showing most of the end Klebb sequence, while there’re also trailers for From Russia With Love/Dr No and From Russia With Love/Thunderball double-bills , plus three TV spots and radio trailers – a “Bond sale” would you believe? – for the latter.

Inside From Russia With Love is a 34-minute full-screen documentary narrated by Patrick Macnee, containing interviews with many of the cast and crew involved, including a translated Daniela Bianchi. Including coverage of shooting disasters and troubles, it’s a very involving piece of work, and typical of these Bond releases, re-watchable in itself.

The brilliant commentary uses the same approach as Dr No in getting carefully selected excerpts from most of the cast and crew (with a special note for future Bond regular Walter Gotell), the result being an informative feature covering all aspects of production. A full photo-library with headings such as Filmmakers, Portraits, and Dressed to Kill presents a wide variety of rare images. 5 stars - Digital DynamiteThirty two chapters. Perfect.

Ian Atkins

Credits
From Russia With Love - Buy this at Black Star

Cast • Sean Connery
Lottel Lenya
Robert Shaw
Bernard Lee
Director • Terence Young
Duration • 115 mins
Screen Ratio • 1.78:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital Mono
Chapters • 32
Languages • English
Subtitles • English
Release Date • June 26
Distributor • MGM

Buy this DVD @BlackStar

Highlights

Chapter 26 – The Whole Story
As Bond and nemesis Red Grant, Sean Connery and Robert Shaw provide one of the most physical battles 007 ever had. Although a gadget (the suitcase) starts it, it’s down to a brutal fistfight which shows an agent at work you can believe has a license to kill.

 
 
 
 
from Ultimate DVD #07

Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction

UltimateDVD footer