Spider-Man 2.1 DVD - Review

Spider-Man 2.1 isn’t scheduled to hit the shelves until Tuesday, April 17th, 2007, but we managed to get our hands on a copy of the 2-disk DVD set, and the Wal-Mart exclusive bonus disk…

First, let me say that I am not a fan of double dipping customers on DVDs. The very idea of re-hashing a film to basically turn it into a $20 promotional tool for an upcoming release is not something that I find particularly inspiring or commendable. Having said that, I think there is more to Spider-Man 2.1 than simply promoting the upcoming Spider-Man 3…and if you’re a fan of Spider-Man 2…you might be even more of a fan of Spider-Man 2.1.

The copy that we have is the final retail version of the disk, including the Wal-mart exclusive bonus disk. Here’s what you get:

* Eight minutes of never-before-seen footage
* Commentary by producer Laura Ziskin and screenwriter Alvin Sargent
* Spidey Sense 2.1 trivia track with integrated pop-ups
* Featurette: “Inside Spider-Man 2.1”
* Featurette: “With Great Effort Comes Great Recognition”
* Multi-angle featurette: Danny Elfman’s score
* VFX Breakdowns
* Sneak Peek: Spider-Man 3

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The Wal-Mart disk includes a 13 minute look at the Villains of Spider-Man 3.

The Special Features are very different from the DVD’s 2004 counterpart, which is good if you’re into Special Features…more on them in a minute…first let’s look at the film.

The Movie

Spider-Man 2 is a great comic book movie. Maybe the best comic book movie ever…certainly in the Top 5. So it’s amazing to me that Spider-Man 2.1 manages to be BETTER…but IT DOES. The 8 minutes they have added to the film (mostly character moments, much to my delight and surprise) really help flesh out the characters more, and provide a more satisfying, and well rounded view of the main cast.

Harry, for example, in the original cut of the film, comes off as borderline insane. He seems to constantly obsess over Spider-Man with no letting up…no matter who he’s hurting. With the additional moments added to the birthday day scene in 2.1 however, we see a different Harry. One that, while obsessed with Spidey, still very much loves his friend Peter, and still considers him family. These few lines add layers of depth to Harry making him into a much more tortured figure.

There is a similar addition with Mary Jane, where we get to understand her motivations for getting married, and begin to see her as a more fleshed out character. These little additions should have been in the original release of the film, and are almost worth the price of admission by themselves, because they create a much greater flow for the film.

There is an extended version of the Spidey elevator scene that, while unecessary, is funny. As well as an addition scene with J. Jonah Jameson, that I won’t spoil for you here, that has to be seen to be believed.

The film looks beautiful, and the high def transfer is top notch as well.

Special Features

Now, I’m not a huge Special Features guy, so I’m only going to touch on these briefly, but the feature include an additional commentary track that is informative and moderately interesting, as well as a Spidey Sense trivia track that his very interesting and flows very smoothly.

There is also a feature that highlights the additional scenes in 2.1, and another giving us all the details on who did what to make this edition of the film happen.

Very cool stuff, but I honestly got bored with it after a while. Again, I’m not a Special Features kinda guy, so I’ll leave it to those of you that are. I think if you enjoy pouring through Special Features material, that there is a lot here to enjoy.

Wal-Mart Bonus Disk

This brief featurette doesn’t tell us much, other than to reveal that the Sandman is not a heartless monster, but a man very much like Peter, who just zigged when Peter zagged, and has now found himself in a bad way. There is also some face time for the artist that designed the villains in Spidey 3, and it is interesting to hear his approach to Venom.

This extra bonus disk is by no means a “must have”, but it does have some interesting info on the villains of Spider-Man 3.

Final Thoughts

I have never purchased Spider-Man 2….so this wasn’t a double dip for me…but even if it had been, I think it would be worth it to get a better version of the film than the original release. At a retail price of $19.95 I’m sure some Spidey fans will think twice before purchasing 8 minutes of additional footage and some Special Features…but I happen to know that Wal-Mart is only charging $12.95 for this bad boy…and at that price, it’s a steal.

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

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