NEWS ARCHIVE - 10th-16th OCTOBER 2005


Search Now:

In Association with



13th October 2005

I've received the four discs that make up the forthcoming King Kong DVD box set (the Region 2 version, from Universal), and have spent a couple of hours looking through the discs, and comparing the re-mastered version of the 1933 film to Universal's 2001 edition.

The new transfer is noticeably better than the old one, but the difference is not as impressive as I hoped  - and, frankly, expected - that it might be.

Some screen grabs comparing the old and new versions can be found here (this page contains many uncompressed images, and might take some time to load). There are a couple of frames from the colorized version there, too, for you to gawp at in awe and astonishment!

As you will see, the new version certainly has better contrast than the old one, which looks a bit washed-out in comparison. The new transfer also boasts noticeably more detail.

What you can't tell from the frame grabs is that the constant shower of tiny flecks of positive and negative dirt that blighted the previous version has been practically eliminated. The new version is, however, far from perfect (there are some quite prominent tramline scratches in the bi-plane scenes, for example), but it is much better. As you can see from the screen grabs, some parts of the film are (still) very grainy.

After seeing the new version, I began to wonder if the task of restoring the film was beyond even Warner Home Video's crack team of experts. Then I began thinking about how the improvements seen in the new version might have been achieved. Would a new state-of-the-art transfer from the same source material used for Universal's 2001 DVD, and a bit of digital noise reduction (to eliminate the flecks) have been enough to create this new version? Possibly...

The tramline scratches, in particular, worry me. They make me doubt that  the restoration process has really been as thorough as we had been led to expect. I've certainly seen worse scratches than the ones on the new King Kong disc eliminated from other restoration projects.

I think I'm right in saying that everyone is assuming that Universal's "restored master" is simply a PAL conversion of the version that has been prepared for Warner Home Video's forthcoming Region 1 release. This may not be the case - Universal may have independently created their "restored master", from their own source materials. I have asked Universal's PR company if they can clarify the situation. If the UK disc is a true representation of the print that will be on the American DVD, then there are going to be a lot of disappointed customers.

Assorted menu screens from the UK box set can be found here.

Sleeve images for the King Kong box set can be found here.

The original announcement of the forthcoming UK King Kong DVDs can be found here.

A thread about the film's DVD release can be found at Roobarb's DVD Forum.

Paramount has officially announced the details of the fourth and final Star Trek: Enterprise DVD box set, which will be released on October the 31st.

The set will feature a "UK audience only" featurette, Westmore's Aliens: Creating Dr Phlox and Beyond. I do not know if this, like earlier UK exclusives, will also be available as a bonus disc from Best Buy, or one of the other big US retailers.

Other bonus items on the UK set are: a featurette titled Enterprise Goes To The Dogs; audio commentaries (by writer Michael Sussman, Garfield Reeves-Steens and Judith Reeves-Stevens and Tim Gaskill) on "selected episodes"; outtakes; deleted scenes; text commentary (by Michael and Denise Okuda) on selected episodes; Star Trek Enterprise Moments: Season 4; Inside The Mirror Episodes; Star Trek: Enterprise Secrets; Visual Effects Magic; That's A Wrap!; Links To The Legacy; and a photo' gallery.

The episodes will, as usual, be presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio. RRP for the set is £84.99.

Paramount is also releasing a limited edition box set containing all four series of Star Trek: Enterprise on October the 31st.

There will be a thousand copies available, each coming with a an individually-numbered certificate of authenticity (there's obviously a thriving black market in bootleg Star Trek box sets - obviously the pirates have the engineering skills and technology to re-create the box, but will be thwarted by being unable to forge the authenticity certificate!)

The box set has an whopping RRP of £349.99.

The documentary about hardcore Star Wars fans, Starwoids, (announced here on September the 1st), has been brought forward a week, to coincide with the release of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. It will now be released on October the 31st.

Optimum Releasing will release Kim Ki-Duk's charming movie 3 Iron (Bin-Jip) on DVD on November the 7th.

The film is about a young drifter who enters strangers' houses - and their lives - while their owners are away, replaying their unwitting hospitality by doing small household chores.

The film will be presented in Korean, with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix, and English subtitles. The RRP is £19.99.

Mosaic will release Johannes Roberts' horror flick Forest of the Damned to rent on December the 26th, and to buy on January the 23rd.

The film is about a bunch of gormless teenagers who take refuge in a secluded cabin, in a forest apparently inhabited by angelic nymphs. The film stars special effects guru Tom Savini and Band of Brothers' Dan Van Husen. The film will be supplemented by two featurettes (Casting of the Angels and Evolution of Gatlin Pictures); deleted scenes; and a director's commentary.

Here's a bit more information about the American Pie Presents Band Camp DVD (announced on October the 10th, below): the disc offers a choice of audio tracks - a Dolby Digital 5.1 track (at 384kbps), and a DTS 5.1 track (at 768kbps). Because the film was intended to bypass a theatrical release, it's no surprise to discover that it's presented in anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio. Menu screens from the disc are available here.

The press release for the new Back To The Future Trilogy Ultimate Edition box set has arrived, so I can add to the information revealed on Monday (below).

The set is due on the 7th of November, with an RRP of £29.99.

The new four-disc set will apparently include "all the extras ever made"!

The official list of bonus features is as follows:

Disc One
-The Making of BTTF – a rare behind the scenes look
-Making The Trilogy - Chapter 1– a retrospective look featuring cast & crew
-Feature Commentary– with Director / writer Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale
-Deleted scenes
-Original make-up tests
-Did You Know That? - Watch and learn more interesting facts
-Production Archives – photos, storyboards and props
-Theatrical trailer
Disc Two
-The Making of BTTF Part 2 – a rare behind the scenes look
-Making The Trilogy - Chapter 2 - a retrospective look featuring cast & crew
-Deleted Scenes
-Hover board test - on location
-Production Archives – photos, storyboards and props
-Theatrical trailer

Disc Three
-The Making of BTTF Part 3 – a retrospective featuring cast & crew
-Deleted Scenes

-ZZ TOP music video, Doubleback
-Production Archives – photos, storyboards and props
-Theatrical trailer

Disc Four
Back to the Future
-Q&A with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale at the USC Film school
-Enhanced conversation with Michael J. Fox
-Deleted Scenes with [optional] commentary from Bob Gale
-Excerpts from the Original Screenplay
-Teaser Trailer
-Production Notes
Back to the Future Part II
-Q&A with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale – audio track
-Deleted Scenes with Commentary from Bob Gale
-Did You Know That? Universal Animated Anecdotes
-Production Design
-Designing the DeLorean
-Time Travel
-The Evolution of Visual Effects
-Huey Lewis and the News - Power of Love Music Video
-Production Notes
Back to the Future Part III
-The Making of Back to the Future - Part III
-Q&A with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale – audio track
-Deleted scenes with [optional] commentary from Bob Gale
-Did You Know That? Universal Animated Anecdotes
-Designing the Town of Hill Valley
-Designing the Campaign
-The Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy
-FAQ’s about the Trilogy
-Production Notes

11th October 2005

I have some details for you about Blue Underground's long-awaited and eagerly-anticipated release of Dario Argento's elusive giallo The Bird With The Crystal Plumage.

The two disc set - due on October the 25th - features a version of the film mastered in high definition from the original camera negative "including recently-discovered never-before-seen footage of explicit violence". The film is presented in anamorphic 2.39:1 format.

The film's soundtrack presented in English (6.1 DTS-ES, 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Surround 2.0 and original mono) or Italian (5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Surround 2.0 and original mono). English subtitles are also offered.

The film is accompanied by a commentary track (by genre experts Alan Jones and Kim Newman); two trailers; TV spots; Out of the Shadows (interview with co-writer / director Argento, 18m); Painting With Darkness (interview with cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, 10m); The Music of Murder (interview with composer Ennio Morricone, 8m) and Eva's Talking (interview with actress Eva Renzi, 11m).

A selection of screen menu grabs and film grabs are available here.

Larger - uncompressed, full-size - versions of three of the grabs (minus the black bars) can be found here, here and here. (These files are about 500k each). These have been modified so that the aspect ratio is correct for display on your screen, but otherwise they're direct from PowerDVD.

Optimum Releasing will unleash two slices of cheesy sleaze on November the 21st, when they issue The Stud and The Bitch on DVD. Further details will follow. All I know at the moment is that the RRP is £15.99.

SonyBMG Music Entertainment has announced the details of the  Eurythmics single, I've Got A Life, which is being released on October the 31st.

The track listing is:


1 - I've Got A Life

2 - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Steve Angello Remix


1 - I've Got A Life

2 - I've Got A Life (Sander Kleinenberg You're It Mix)

3 - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Remastered

4 - I've Got A Life (Video)

Here's the sleeve art:


10th October 2005


Let's start the week with a new Zeta Minor review. New contributor Peter Saunders has reviewed the new Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - The Complete Radio Series CD box set, from BBC Audio. Click on the sleeve image, left, or here, to go to the review.


Contrary to what the press release said about Infinity's release of The Hunger TV series on DVD, there's a twenty-six minute behind-the-scenes featurette, The Hunger Inside, on the first season set (although it's almost exclusively about the second season).

As I've only seen the first season discs, I don't know if this will also be on the second season set (where it more properly belongs, and where the press release said it would be).

Incidentally, the picture quality on this set is quite impressive, especially compared to similar releases, like 2 Entertain's colour episodes of The Twilight Zone, which are quite horrendous.

The two sets are due on October the 31st, with an RRP of £29.99 each. A couple of menu shots from the season one set are available here...

Further details about Buena Vista's forthcoming Dark Water disc are now available (following the announcement made on the 26th of September).

The film is presented in 2.35:1 ratio, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (at 44kbps). There's also an audio described soundtrack, and English and English FHI subtitles.

The durations of the bonus materials are: Beneath The Surface - The Making of Dark Water (16m); The Sound of Terror (7m); Deleted Scenes (2m); Extraordinary Ensemble (26m); Analyzing Dark Water Scenes (6m, not including the alternate audio mixes for the bathroom scene); Alternate Sequence: Wall of Water (4m).

Menus screens from the disc are available here.

Australian label Hopscotch Entertainment will be releasing Victoria Wood's 1994 play about two long-separated sisters who get back together again, Pat & Margaret on DVD on November the 17th. It's the first time the series has been released on DVD anywhere in the world.

The company will also be exclusively releasing The Best of the Lenny Henry Show, and also have the first two seasons of Bread, and Filthy Rich and Catflap (these are already available in the UK).

I've been sent a couple of Universal discs, without accompanying press releases. So, here are some details for the bonus disc in the Bridget's Diaries box set (which bundles the two Bridget Jones films); the bonus disc for the Back To The Future - Ultimate Edition box set; and the Will Ferrell comedy Kicking and Screaming. These are already listed by some of the e-tailers, so check there for more details.

Bridget's Diaries bonus disc:

Bridget Jones - A Cultural Icon (22m); Bridget Jones' Big Night (17m); three deleted scenes (2m, with introduction); World Tour of the Premieres (1m); Interactive Map of London (a quiz, trivia).

Back To The Future - Ultimate Edition bonus disc:

Back To The Future

Q&A audio interview with Bob Zemeckis and Bob Gale (99m); Enhanced Commentary with Michael J Fox (13m); deleted scenes (11m, with optional commentary); screenplay excerpts; production notes.

Back To The Future II  

Q&A audio interview with Bob Zemeckis and Bob Gale (55m); deleted scenes (with optional commentary) (6m); Production Design featurette (3m); Storyboarding (2m); Designing The Delorean (4m); Designing Time Travel (3m); Evolution of FX Shots (6m); Huey Lewis video (The Power of Love, 7m); production notes.

Back To The Future III

Q&A audio interview with Bob Zemeckis and Bob Gale (30m); The Making of... featurette (8m); deleted scene (with optional commentary, 1m); Dressing the Town (1m); production notes.

Kicking and Screaming:

The Red Cards - Deleted Scenes (12m); The Yellow Cards - Outtakes (9m); Alternate Takes (6m); From Rome To Hollywood (9m); Kickin' It With The Kids (3m); Soccer Camp (8m); Behind The Net: The Making of Kicking and Screaming (13m)

Menus screens for these three discs can be seen here:

Bridget's Diaries

Back To The Future

Kicking and Screaming

Momentum will release Rob Zombie's follow-up to The House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects, on DVD on December the 26th.

There will be two different editions: a single-disc film only version (which will be made available to rent from the 12th of December, and to buy ffrom the 26th, with an RRP of £15.99), and a two-disc Special Edition, for £19.99. The Special Edition version will have two commentary tracks, and a behind-the-scenes documentary.

The acclaimed BBC series Coast will be released by Contender Home Entertainment on October the 24th.

I wouldn't normally report on straight-to-DVD Disney sequels, but Kronk's New Groove is a sequel to one of the most underrated Disney movies of the last decade, The Emperor's New Groove, so I'm going to cut it some slack. The sequel features several members of the original film's voice cast, including John Goodman and Eartha Kitt, and newcomers John Mahoney and Tracy Ullman. The disc will be released on December the 5th.

The disc will feature a couple of kid-orientated bonus games (Kronk's Cranium Command and Play Aztec Pyramid), and a behind-the-scenes look at Kronk's impressive dance moves, How To Cook a Movie.

The disc will be available as part of a set with the original film, or separately. No technical details were announced. RRP is believed to be £19.99.

Two forthcoming TV titles from 2 Entertain have been delayed by a week: Drop The Dead Donkey - Series 3 and the Barbara Vine box set will now be released on October the 24th.

A new, straight-to-video, addition to the American Pie series, American Pie Presents Band Camp, will be released by Universal Pictures on October the 31st.

The film features the younger brother of Steven Stiffler, Matt, who sets out to capture on film the legendary "secret swinging sex parties of band camp life". The film stars Eugene Levy (Jim's Dad), but has apparently ditched all the original cast, except for a couple of brief cameo appearances.

The DVD will feature "poolside action" with Playboy Playmate of the Year Jennifer Walcott; Band Camp Dirty Diary (17m, "which gives viewers an inhibited look at what went on behind-the-scenes, as well as your chance to learn those all important techniques to pleasuring the female race from some one who should know, legendary porn star Ginger Lynne"); outtakes (4m); deleted scenes (12m); Band Camp's Dirty Secrets (Set Tour) (6m); Secret RoverCam Footage (15m); Baby Got Back music video (2m, "the girls of American Pie make a music video on the set that includes them dancing in the shower").

RRP is £17.99.


Some of you may have seen trailers for the new Russian horror movie Night Watch, which is about an epic battle between the forces of light and darkness. Some of you may even have already seen the film, at this year's Fright Fest event! It looks pretty cool - check out the trailer...

Quicktime:    High    Medium    Low   (Right-Click, "Save As")

Windows Media:   High   Medium   Low   (Right-Click, "Save As")

There's also a neat trailer available which condenses the entire film into two minutes, which you can watch here.


Ray Harryhausen will be signing copies of his new book, The Art of Ray Harryhausen, in the Forbidden Planet Megastore, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, on November the 19th. Contact the store if you'd like more details, on 020 7420 3666.

Last week's Zeta Minor News can be viewed here.

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.

Site content copyright © J.A.Knott - 2002-2005