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DVD Picks The Abyss - Ladyhawke

This is Monica's quick selection of her favorite DVDs that she owns. We didn't include the B5 DVD sets which can be found in the Babylon 5 section. show.

NOTE: DVDs are listed alphabetically by title.

Jump to: abyss · ff · green mile · fotr · ladyhawke
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The Abyss (Special Extended Edition)
Format: DVD -- Region: 1,2 -- Rated: PG-13,15 -- Length: 171 minutes -- Released: 2000
Amazon Amazon.com Price: -- This item is currently not available.
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Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
After a nuclear submarine mysteriously sinks in a remote part of the ocean floor, a team of divers on a prototype underwater oil rig are pressed into service by the U.S. Navy in a rescue attempt. When a hurricane cuts off contact between the surface and the underwater depths, the crew begin to see evidence of a strange, possibly alien intelligence at work. While chief Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) bickers with his ex-wife and boss (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), the Navy commander begins to grow increasingly paranoid about the mysterious alien life and threatens to use a recovered nuclear weapon to destroy everything.

James Cameron's undersea epic is a tale of sacrifice and hope in an amazing alien landscape that covers 2/3 of the Earth's surface. Featuring landmark visual effects but plagued by production difficulties, the cast and crew were stretched to the breaking point and THE ABYSS became one of the most expensive films ever made in its time, but the final result is a remarkable blend of action and human drama. Scenes cut from the theatrical version, including a number of special effects sequences involving huge tidal waves threatening the cities of the world, are restored in the Special Edition version.

MORE DETAILS:

  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Available subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Color, Closed-captioned, THX, Widescreen, Box set, Dolby
  • Theatrical trailer(s), TV spot(s)
  • Multi-Story Option: Consumer can select original theatrical release (145 min) or special edition release with 28 minutes of added footage
  • Video Subscripture Version: Viewers can read pop-up captions throughout the film explaning how the special effects were created
  • Documentary: Under pressure: Making The Abyss (60 min) with cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
  • Comprehensive film analysis from storyboards and concept art to final release
  • Widescreen letterbox format
  • Number of discs: 2

MONICA'S REVIEW:
This is one of my all time favorite movies. It has a great balance of romance, action and wonder about the unknown. I remember working in a video store at the time it came out on VHS and we would often play it in the store since it wasn't a rated "R" movie and we never got tired of watching it. Also, if you haven't seen the special edition where they added almost 30 minutes of additional footage, I highly recommend doing so. The ending is different but I think it makes more sense than the old one.

OTHER EDITIONS:
This DVD is available in a Full Screen Edition (2002, extended version only, no extras, no widescreen) and a Single Disc Edition (2002, includes both theatrical and extended version, some extras, widescreen) as well.

RELATED PRODUCTS:
If you liked the music in the movie, you might as well pick up the Soundtrack.

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Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within (Special Edition)
Format: DVD -- Region: 1,2 -- Rated: PG-13,PG -- Length: 108 minutes -- Released: 2001
Amazon Amazon.com Price: $14.99 -- List Price: $19.94 -- Save: $4.95 (25%) -- Usually ships in 24 hours
Amazon UK Amazon UK Price: £4.98 -- List Price: £24.99 -- Save: £20.01 (80%) -- Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
Earth is a desolate wasteland in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Humanity has been decimated by an invasion of Phantoms, insubstantial aliens that extract and devour the spirits of living things. The few remaining humans have retreated to a handful of cities that are protected by massive bio-energy shields. The beautiful Dr. Aki Ross (voiced by Ming-Na) and her mentor Dr. Sid (Donald Sutherland) have discovered that the energy signatures of eight key Earth spirits can cancel out and destroy the Phantoms. With the help of Captain Edwards (Alec Baldwin) and his band of marines, they must scour the globe for the last two remaining spirits before General Hein (James Woods) manipulates the refugee government into attacking the aliens with an orbital laser that may also destroy the Earth.

Hironobu Sakaguchi's film is taken from the popular Final Fantasy video game franchise, which is particularly well suited to film adaptation with its series of original stories, but the movie features entirely new characters and settings. And like Toy Story and Shrek, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is completely computer generated. Unlike those cartoon comedies, though, The Spirits Within is a serious science fiction drama with astonishingly human digital actors. Aki, the female lead, appeared in a full-page spread in Maxim magazine's Hot 100 list--and was indistinguishable from the real-life models. The setting and conflict make for incredible action, but it's the larger issues, character interaction, and human elements that really make the movie shine. The Spirits Within is not simply a science fiction movie, in the same way that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is not simply a kung fu flick. The result is a fantastic summer movie with better action and more emotion than Pearl Harbor, and actors more lifelike than those in that other video game movie, Tomb Raider.

MORE DETAILS:

  • Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Dolby
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Available subtitles: English, French
  • 2 Feature-length commentary
  • Score commentary
  • Original interactive documentary: "The Making of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within."
  • Final Fantasy Shuffler: Become the filmmaker
  • DVD-ROM exclusive interactive film exploration
  • Number of discs: 2

MONICA'S REVIEW:
Both Fredrik and I are big fans of the FF games and knew we had to see this movie. However, I wish I had seen this movie in the theaters to get the full effect but after watching it at our friend's house (they have a huge screen TV), I think that just about counts as the same thing. Of course, we had to go out and get it soon after so we could go through all the DVD extras on our own time.

The story isn't bad (it does capture some of the same feeling one gets from playing the games) but it was the graphics that blew me away. While still a far cry from being exactly human like in their motions (especially the facial expressions), the details and textures is what did it for me. Their hair moves realisically and you can even see their freckles and pores! I thought it was well worth the price and just as entertaining to watch now even though many improvements have been made to the animation technology and will someday become outdated.

OTHER EDITIONS:
If you are not interested in getting all the extras that comes with the Special Edition, you may want to pick up the Single Disc Edition (2001) instead.

RELATED PRODUCTS:
There is a book available, The Making of FINAL FANTASY: The Spirits Within that might be interesting to read. Also, if you liked the music in the movie, you might as well pick up the Soundtrack.

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The Green Mile
Format: DVD -- Region: 1,2 -- Rated: R,18 -- Length: 188 minutes -- Released: 2000
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Amazon UK Amazon UK Price: £4.98 -- List Price: £18.99 -- Save: £14.01 (74%) -- Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) is the Head Prison Guard on Death Row at the Cold Mountain Correction Facility in the 1930s. When a new inmate, John Coffey (Michael Duncan), is sent to the prison for the brutal murder of two children, the guards notice something very odd about him...

As with King's book, Frank Darabont (Director) takes plenty of time to show us Edgecomb's world before delving into John Coffey's mystery. With Darabont's superior storytelling abilities, his touch for perfect casting, and a leisurely 188-minute running time, his film brings to life nearly every character and scene from the novel. Darabont even improves the novel's two endings, creating a more emotionally satisfying experience. The running time may try patience, but those who want a story, as opposed to quick-fix entertainment, will be rewarded by this finely tailored tale.

MORE DETAILS:

  • Package Type: Snap Case
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Dolby
  • Theatrical trailer(s)
  • Behind-the-Scenes Documentary Walking the Mile
  • Widescreen anamorphic format

MONICA'S REVIEW:
I have yet to read the books the movie was based off of but do look forward to reading them someday. I heard they are even better than the movie (which is often the case anyway). I have been a long time Stephen King fan but his books have become less and less interesting to me lately. However, it is clear that he still has some good stories to tell and he is getting better about adapting them to the screen. The characters in this movie are wonderfully written and acted. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie as I bought it after hearing so much about it. Having it recommended by someone close to me didn't hurt either.

RELATED PRODUCTS:
I would also recommend picking up the book, The Complete Serial Novel (1999) to complete the Green Mile experience. It was originally published as six separate novellas about a month apart but this edition collects all those in one book for your convenience. Finally, if you liked the music in the movie, you might as well pick up the Soundtrack.

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DVD: The Fellowship of the Ring (Platinum Series Extended Edition)
Format: NTSC / PAL -- Region: N. America/Japan/Most European -- Rated: PG-13 -- Length: 208 minutes -- Released: 2001
Amazon Amazon.com Price: $19.99 -- List Price: $24.98 -- Save: $4.99 (20%) -- Usually ships in 24 hours
Amazon UK Amazon UK Price: £9.98 -- List Price: £19.99 -- Save: £10.01 (50%) -- Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
DISCS 1-2: The Feature
Unique version of the epic adventure with over 30 minutes of never-before-seen footage incorporated into the film and new music scored by Academy Award(r)-winning composer Howard Shore (approx. 208 minutes); four audio commentaries by director and writers, the design team, the production team, and the cast featuring more than 30 participants including Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, and Academy Award(r) winners Richard Taylor, Andrew Lesnie, Howard Shore, Jim Rygiel, Randy Cook, and many more.

DISCS 3-4: The Appendices
Two discs with hours of original content including multiple documentaries and design/photo galleries with thousands of images to give viewers an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring".

MONICA'S REVIEW:
This is definitely my favorite movie and DVD set right now. It is simply amazing. I have never been a huge LOTR fan and have only read The Hobbit when I was a kid and couldn't get into the LOTR trilogy at the time. However, I realize that many things in Raymond E. Fiest's Riftwar Saga (which I love) was probably inspired by Tolkien's work. While Fiest has his own twist to the genre, I see many similarities to Tolkien's ground breaking concepts.

I was in awe of this movie when I saw it in the theater and I am amazed at the amount of extras and features on this DVD set. There are hours upon hours of bonus material where they go into the details of how this mammoth undertaking was made. I have only gone through one disc of material but as soon as I find time to go through the rest, I might update this review.

RELATED PRODUCTS:
Make sure you pick up the Illustrated boxed book set if you want even more details about Middle Earth. Also, if you want to see the same version that was seen in the theaters, pick up the Widescreen DVD Edition. It has different features than this edition so even if you are a die-hard fan and want all versions of this movie, you won't be wasting your money. Finally, if you are indeed a die-hard fan, you may want to skip this particular edition and go straight for the Platinum Series Extended Edition Collector's Gift Set which has the same content but with a few extra features.

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Ladyhawke
Format: DVD -- Region: 1,2 -- Rated: PG -- Length: 121 minutes -- Released: 1985
Amazon Amazon.com Price: $10.99 -- List Price: $14.98 -- Save: $3.99 (27%) -- Usually ships in 24 hours
Amazon UK Amazon UK Price: £3.98 -- List Price: £12.99 -- Save: £9.01 (69%) -- Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
A haunting adventure fantasy about a pair of cursed lovers who are transformed into animal shapes during alternate periods of the day. Broderick, who provides comic relief, is appealing as the couple's young friend, and ultimately, their rescuer.

MORE DETAILS:

  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Available subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Color, Closed-captioned, HiFi Sound, Dolby
  • Production notes
  • Theatrical trailer(s)
  • Full-screen and widescreen letterbox formats

MONICA'S REVIEW:
None so far...

OTHER EDITIONS:
There is also a VHS version (1985) (NTSC only) available as well.

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