New on DVD
DVD Review: 'Spider-Man 3: 2-Disc Special Edition'
Too many bonus features, too little time
In the third outing for the Marvel Comics' franchise, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is gearing up to pop the question to his lady love MJ (Kirsten Dunst), but of course life and Harry Osborn (James Franco) interfere. Harry debuts his persona as the New Goblin and also begins his campaign to woo MJ. Meanwhile, Peter gets affected by the alien symbiote, which turns his eyes to Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), who is in turn the object of affection for Eddie Brock (Topher Grace). When the symbiote overtakes Eddie, he becomes the fearsome Venom. Oh, and one more villain rears his head: the conflicted Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), who becomes Sandman.
Because of the movie's long runtime, the bonus features that succeed the most are the ones that don't try to rehash the same material as in the film. On the first disc, those particular extras would be the Snow Patrol music video "Signal Fire" and the preview for the Action Command Spider-Man toy. "Signal Fire" is an adorable home video-style concept about going to see your kids' stage version of "Spider-Man," complete with kiddie versions of Spidey, MJ and even Doc Ock. The toy commercial is just goofy fun, featuring a remote controlled Spider-Man doll that can do choreographed action combos, recites witty phrases and comes in two colors: regular and Venom.
The two audio commentaries take up more time and aren't that exciting. Director Sam Raimi teams up with the six actors for the talent commentary. Oddly enough, the cast seems to take over the questions, although there are periods of silence when they just seem to get caught up in watching the film. The filmmaker commentary at least offers a bit more insight with the behind-the-scenes acting challenges and visual logistics. There's really nothing new here.
It's the same story with the bloopers. Maguire seems to be a happy-go-lucky fella, easily cracking up or goofing off. It's mildly amusing, but not riveting. The galleries are interesting from an artistic standpoint, at least for the detailed sketches and sculptures/maquettes. The director and cast gallery basically include publicity shots.
The second disc is all bonus features, all the time. Yes, a grand total of 11 featurettes litter this disc to wring the life out of every nuance of the film. Four of them focus on the physical aspects of the (relatively) new characters: Sandman, New Goblin, Venom and Gwen Stacy. In "Grains of Sand" and "Covered in Black," the biggest emphasis is on how special effects were used to create Sandman and Venom's unique bodies and their movements. "Re-Imagining Goblin" discusses the liberties taken with creating a new Goblin, from the look to the way his weapons are designed. Finally, "Hanging On" shows that Howard is no slouch when it comes to death-defying stunts with her own action sequence when the floor of a building collapses thanks to cool hydraulics.
Not enough stunts? Well viewers can check out the nice catch-all "Fighting, Flying and Driving: The Stunts," the logistics of doing Sandman's "Wall of Water" scene and the "On Location Cleveland" featurette, probably one of the coolest ones because it focuses on a chase sequence that destroyed 18 cars.
Also of interest are the more technical "Inside the Editing Room" and "The Science of Sound," while "Love Triangles" delves into the more emotional side of the film and "On Location New York" features "Spider-Man" creator Stan Lee doing his requisite film cameo.
EXTRAS: Filmmaker and cast commentaries; bloopers; Snow Patrol music video; photo galleries; "Grains of Sand: Building Sandman"; "Re-Imagining the Goblin"; "Covered in Black: Creating Venom"; "Hanging On :Gwen Stacy and the Collapsing Floor"; "Fighting, Flying & Driving: The Stunts"; "Tangled Web: The Love Triangles of Spider-Man 3"; "Wall of Water"; "On Location Cleveland: The Chase on Euclid Avenue"; "On Location New York: From Rooftops to Backstreets"; "The Science of Sound"; "Inside the Editing Room"; theatrical TV spots from around the world