My opinion of this movie hasn’t changed after watching it again on this North American disc – I reviewed it previously on region 2 here.
The region 1 picture compares very closely to the region 2 version, that is, it’s generally good, but falls down occasionally in darker scenes. The PAL should get the edge due to resolution, but there really isn’t anything in it.
Verdict: Region 2 - just
Here is the first place where the region 1 scores heavily over the region 2 version. The region 2 features only a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and while it's very good, this region 1 gives the option of a DTS 5.1 track as well. Additionally there is a 2.0 Surround track in English, French DD5.1 and (not listed on the box) a Spanish DD5.1 track.
Verdict: Region 1
This is where the region 1 version comes into its own. The region 2 disc was actually released first, but on this evidence we will be better off with later releases, as although Columbia Tristar apparently intended to release a disc with the same spec as region 1, in the end we have a pretty desperate version when compared to region 1. To compare:
What’s on both discs:
The featurette HBO First Look: “The Evolution of Evolution” is introduced by Orlando Jones, and in HBO style runs for the usual fifteen minutes. It features interviews, behind the scenes, a very brief biography of Ivan Reitman, a look at the special effects with Phil Tippett and a glimpse of some deleted scenes.
The Cast section gives a text-only biography and filmography information about the actors, but only the four main stars. Likewise the Filmmakers section does the same for the crew, but this includes sixteen people.
The Production Notes is more static screens of information, and shares some but not all its text with the booklet.
What’s only on Region 1
There is a second featurette concentrating on the Visual effects. This looks at the full effects process from building maquettes through to developing the CG imagery. Although there is only so much that can be said about the special effects which are often very similar in so many movies, this featurette does have some new (to me) information about developing and directing a CG scene, and so it’s ten minutes were quite watchable.
Listed as a conversation with Ivan Reitman, David Duchovny, Orlando Jones and Seann William Scott, this is in fact just a screen specific commentary. A silly title really, as the fact that it is not clear that it is a commentary, and when activated just returns you to the main menu, may confuse some users new to DVD. The commentary itself is quite lively, with Reitman and Duchovny dominating. We do learn that it was Julianne Moore’s idea to have her character fall over all the time, Duchovny’s idea that his character should bare his backside, and Ivan Reitman’s son’s idea for the advert at the end of the movie. So it wasn’t all Ivan Reitman’s fault…
The commentary is also available with subtitles, which can be viewed with the commentary track, or with the normal soundtrack.
There are six Deleted Scenes, all presented in equal picture quality to the main feature. Each one is introduced by Reitman, with an explanation of why it was cut. One of these is an alternate ending which – while more rectal humour - is much better than the one actually used.
The Storyboard Selections is six scenes with the usual boarding images, though a multi-angle feature allows optional viewing of the scene itself alongside.
The Photo Gallery is a slightly incorrect description, as it would be more accurate to call it conceptual sketch art of the various creatures designed for the movie.
What’s only on Region 2
For some reason the trailers section didn’t make it onto the region 1 disc. The Theatrical trailer is presented in anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 and at least features a clip of a deleted scene, and another in which the dialogue was changed for a more general audience. The Teaser trailer features the tag line “Have a nice end of the world” which was later changed to “Coming to wipe that silly smile off your planet” after recent terrorist events. Finally there is a Trailer for Ghostbusters. This really should not be here as it just serves to remind us how much better a film that is than this one.
Verdict: Region 1 – by a mile
There are no ROM extras on either region 1 or 2 disc.
On region 2 this was a disappointing movie on an even more disappointing disc. On region 1 it’s still a disappointing movie, but at least the disc delivers all the extra material that the region 2 should also have done.
Verdict: If you really must get this movie make sure you acquire the region 1 version