NEWS ARCHIVE - 10th - 16th JULY 2006


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14th July 2006


A quick update today to tease you with some menu screens for the forthcoming Doctor Who - The Hand of Fear DVD, which is due to be released on the 24th. We'll be reviewing the disc next week!


The Ennio Morricone concerts at the London Hammersmith Apollo that were due to take place on the 19th and 20th of July have been cancelled. They will be re-scheduled for December (exact dates TBA).

13th July 2006


Arrow film will release Richard Elfman's delirious fantasy movie Forbidden Zone on DVD on August the 14th.

The 1980 film defies description, so in this case I'll defer to the press release: "Welcome to the Forbidden Zone, a bizarre world ruled by a sex-crazed midget king and populated by his domineering wife, their beautiful topless daughter, a giant dancing frog butler, a chicken boy, obese bikini-clad maidens, a machine gun-toting schoolteacher, a human chandelier, the irrepressible Hercules Family and Satan himself, and a place where degraded beings of every imaginable kind run riot!" Sweet!

The film features a score by Danny Elfman and the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, and stars cult icon Susan Tyrell and The Man With the Golden Gun's Hervé Villechaize.

Arrow's disc comes from a high definition widescreen source, with "restored and re-mastered" Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

The disc will feature a commentary track with director Richard Elfman and writer/actor Matthew Bright; A Look Into The Forbidden Zone - an "extensive" documentary featuring interviews and archive footage (including scenes from Elfman's lost film, The Hercules Family); outtakes and deleted scenes; two complete scenes from The Hercules Family; Oingo Boingo music video for Private Life; and a theatrical trailer.

The RRP is £15.99.

Apparently the sleeve image for Optimum's six-disc The Collected Adventures of Asterix DVD box set that the etailers are using isn't the finished one. This is...


Two forthcoming signings of interest at Forbidden Planet's Shaftesbury Avenue, London store...

Terry Gilliam will be promoting his next movie, Tideland, on Saturday the 5th of August, between 1 and 2pm (he'll be signing copies of Mitch Cullin's novel, amongst other things, presumably). 

Neil Gaiman will be signing copies of Fragile Things on Tuesday the 26th of September, between 5.30 and 6.30pm. The book will be offered for £14.99 (RRP £17.99).

Signed copies can be ordered from Forbidden Planet's Mail Order division, on 020 7803 1900.


On Sunday I attended a screening of Bryan Singer's eagerly-awaited Superman Returns at the BFI's IMAX cinema at London's Waterloo.

The film begins with Superman returning to Earth, after a lengthy absence (visiting the burnt-out remains of his home planet, Krypton). He finds that things have moved on while he's been away. Most notably, the woman he loves (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lois Lane), has become engaged to Richard White, the son of the Daily Globe's editor; and the villainous Lex Luthor has been released from incarceration, because Superman missed an important parole hearing. Does the world still need Superman? What do you think!

The film is virtually a punchier remake of the 1978 film, which starred Christopher Reeve. There's less about Clark's childhood and teenage years (that's what Smallville is for), but essentially the plot is the same.

The film is generally very satisfying. The effects are, unsurprisingly, far more elaborate than they were in 1978, and the set pieces much are much more spectacular. Brandon Routh is great as Clark and Superman; Kate Bosworth is appealing, as Lois Lane; and Kevin Spacey successfully walks a fine line between genuine menace and scenery-chewing. There are some nice cameos (by Jack Larson and Noel Neill - Jimmy Olson and Lois Lane to George Reeves' Superman), and plenty of sly in-jokes (including a nicely-staged recreation of the cover of the very first Superman comic book).

If you've got an inkling to see the film, there's little chance that you'll be disappointed - it does, to borrow a horrible phrase, what it says on the tin.  If you see it at a IMAX cinema, you're sure to enjoy the ride. Not only are there the usual benefits of seeing the film in IMAX DMR format (a huge image, and effortlessly-controlled 12,000 watt audio), you'll also be able to experience about twenty minutes of the film in 3D (using the polarised glasses provided). Flashing on-screen icons alert the viewer to put on - and then take off - the 3D glasses.

There are four sequences in 3D, including a couple of the film's big action scenes. The 3D works extremely well for the most part (there's the usual problem of the eye / brain not quite keeping up with some of the fast-moving action), and extremely well when the camera keeps still, or relatively still, for any length of time. The 3D is often quite spectacular, making the difference between seeing the film and experiencing it.

There are several more 3D feature films due at the IMAX before the end of the year, but the others are animated films. This may be your only opportunity to experience a grown-up live-action feature film in 3D in the foreseeable future!

Superman Returns opens at the IMAX on Friday. More details can be found at the IMAX website, or on 0870 787 2525.

10th July 2006


Network will release The Champions - The Complete Series Special Edition on DVD on July the 31st.

The popular ITC adventure series, about three special agents given supernatural powers after being rescued from a plane crash in the Himalayas, stars Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo and William Gaunt.

The nine-disc set contains all thirty episodes of the 1968-69 series, which was created by Monty Berman and regular Doctor Who contributor Dennis Spooner.

To tempt owners of the individual discs (2000) and the previous box set (2004, both from Carlton), Network have added some mouth-watering bonus features to their box set, including a brand new documentary about the series, We Are The Champions, which includes contributions from Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo, William Gaunt, Associate Producer Johnny Goodman, Production Manager Malcolm Christopher, Assistant Director Ken Baker, Director Cyril Frankel and writer Brian Clemens.

Other bonus features include three commentary tracks (Alexandra Bastedo, Stuart Damon and William Gaunt on The Beginning and Autokill; and a second on Autokill by Malcolm Christopher, Ken Baker and director Roy Ward Baker); an extended version of The Beginning featuring especially-shot bookend sequences; Artistes test footage; nearly thirty-minutes of incidental music by Edwin Astley, Robert Farnon and Albert Elms, prepared as a musical suite, to accompany an extensive image gallery, including many behind-the-scenes stills; The Legend of The Champions movie-length compilation (of The Beginning and The Interrogation), made by ITC in the early 80s; episodic trailer gallery (nineteen trailers, with American and UK soundtracks - especially-transferred for this set); generic trailer gallery (again, especially-transferred); specially-shot Channel 9 promo's; merchandise gallery (including the front and backs of The Champions trading cards); Annual material PDF (featuring the ongoing Joe 90 Top Secret comic strip); reconstructed ad-caps; variant title sequence, featuring unused title music by Robert Farnon; and a commemorative booklet, featuring an in-depth essay on the series, written by Mike Richardson.

RRP for the set is £59.99. Best online price at the moment seems to be Amazon's: they have it for £39.99!

Lions Gate Home Entertainment will release supernatural shocker An American Haunting - which is based on the only documented case of a person being killed by a spirit - on August the 28th.

The film, which is set in Tennessee in the 1800s, stars Donald Sutherland, Rachel Hurd-Wood, James D'Arcy and Sissy Spacek.

The disc will be offered in 5.1 Dolby Digital format, with optional English HoH subtitles (the aspect ratio is TBA).

The disc will feature an interview with director Courtney Soloman and Sissy Spacek; eight deleted or extended scenes; four alternate endings; and a gag reel. The RRP is £19.99.

inDVD will release the multi-BAFTA-winning two-part Channel 4 drama series Sex Traffic on DVD on September the 4th.

The three-hour series, which starred John Simm as a charity worker investigating the plight of young European and Balkan women being exploited in the sex industry, won BAFTA awards for Best Drama Serial and Best Actress (for Romanian actress Anamaria Marinca).

The series will be presented in its original 16:9 anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. The RRP is £15.99.

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

Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.

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