DARK CITY - needs a new SE DVD edition w/ "director's cut" option

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Carlo Medina, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    This is a plea to New Line (and thus Warner Brothers) to release Ebert's top film of 1998, DARK CITY, as a new Special Edition DVD. [ala WB's recent and great 2-disc treatments]

    Also, please include a "pseudo director's cut" version, via seamless branching. By this, I mean the original film minus the intro dialogue voiceover by Kiefer Sutherland.

    If you listen to the commentary, this voiceover was put in place at the demand of the studio so as to "clue in" the audience. However, if you watch the film and keep the soundtrack off until the point where Sutherland's character pops open his pocketwatch, you'll see that the film plays as a much better film noir "whodunit" kind of film. Proyas himself seems to also like the film better without the VO.

    To please the purists as well, it would be real easy to include this pseudo director's cut as a seamless branch for audio only. The film itself doesn't need to be changes, just that one version has the VO, and the other doesn't.

    In addition to this pseudo DC addition, please also:

    1. Use modern encoding techniques and create a new anamorphically enhanced DVD transfer off of the best available elements (preferably a nice HD master taken from a pristine print). Use a high bit rate to compensate for the dark nature of the film.

    2. Use a 448kbps DD track (doesn't have to be EX encoded).

    3. Potentially include a DTS track (I'm willing to bend on this since it's a dark film and a lot of bits need to be allocated to the picture).

    4. Retain the commentary tracks, especially Ebert's wonderful track. It would be nice to hear if he has any new thoughts on the version of the film without the opening voiceover.

    5. Use any and all available supplements that Proyas and Co. are willing to put out for public consumption, and include them on the second disc. Any involvement by the principles (Rufus Sewell, Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly and William Hurt) would be greatly appreciated as well.

    Please, New Line and Warner, consider this wonderful film for an SE treatment!

    Many thanks!
     
  2. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

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    This DVD has a stellar transfer and soundtrack already. One of the earlier DVDs out there and still one of the best in my opinion. I honestly dont see a real need to revisit this one as it is a splendid disc already. While I would appreciate some new documentaries, overall this is a pretty solid DVD especially if you consider its original release date, which was August 98 on DVD. Quite a good disc for such an early release.
     
  3. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Sean,

    I rewatched this last night, and I totally agree that the soundtrack is very good. That's why I'm not pushing for a DTS track as the original shows what a good DD track can do.

    But the video portion, which I thought back in 1998 was reference, has not aged as well as the audio. A lot of shots look soft now (I'm viewing on a RP91->Michael Chen ISF'd 47" HDTV) and it definitely is softer than your average current-release titles (and I'm not talking about artificially sharpened (read: EE) current titles but just general A-grade current transfers). There are also quite a few instances of combing due to being either misflagged or some other artifact.

    The video now doesn't look bad. It's just not reference. And this is a new enough film that I know if they revisited it they could pull an amazing transfer out of it.

    But the most important new feature I'm asking for (IMHO) is the option to not have the opening dialogue voiceover.
     
  4. Matt Czyz

    Matt Czyz Supporting Actor

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    I'm not going to shell out another 20 bucks if I can get rid of the opening v.o. with the push of the mute button. I think the disc is fine as is.
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    The problem with that (and that's what I've been doing showing it to my friends) is that you miss out on the great haunting score behind Keifer's VO (which was meant to be part of the original intro). And then when you unmute you're thrust midway through a soundtrack crescendo.

    But you're definitely entitled to your opinion, and if mute works for you, more power to ya!

    For me, I'd like to hear the spooky, haunting soundtrack as it was meant to introduce one into the movie and set a tone without the VO.
     
  6. Wouter Heyse

    Wouter Heyse Agent

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    While I love this movie more than almost any other, and I can see how the opning narration really should be removed, I simply cannot fault this DVD. I would have to agree that making a new version of this wouldn't get me to double dip.
     
  7. DavidS

    DavidS Stunt Coordinator

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    One thing i really wish they did include on the disc was an isolated score, as there was supposed to be one originally.
     
  8. Devin_C

    Devin_C Stunt Coordinator

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    [​IMG] I also wouldn't double dip for a new release - and I saw this three times in the theater (dragging others the second & third times). I think the film stands up well, both in audio and visual elements, and the supplements now are pretty good (I also enjoyed Ebert's commentary track).
     
  9. Jack Johnson

    Jack Johnson Second Unit

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    I recently found Dark City for $5.50 in Wal-Mart's cut-out bin. What a find; I snapped it up immediately.

    Looks great to my eyes--certainly much better than my old VHS tape--and I was pleased it was enhanced for 16x9, even though an earlier review suggested it wasn't. What with the full-screen version being made from a Super 35 element, that's also worth a look...to sample the added visual texture now and then.
     
  10. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

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    I personally dont find this transfer soft on my Panny 47. It is not Matrix Reloaded level detail, but is still a very nice and sharp transfer.

    The isolated score thing would be nice, but I honestly cannot think of anything they could do to this release short of HD DVD to get me to double dip, as the current release pleases me on every level
     
  11. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    This disc is already top notch... there's no need for a new one. I certainly wouldn't buy it.
     
  12. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    The DVD is already considered to be not top-notch because it is only a DVD5. That's why it's available for $5-$10, because all the old DVD5s are pretty much retired.
     
  13. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    Your rationale makes no sense... there are a lot of DVD5s still out there.
     
  14. Matt Czyz

    Matt Czyz Supporting Actor

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    Jack,

    Just FYI, Best Buy has been selling Dark City for that same price for about three months now.
     
  15. JoshB

    JoshB Supporting Actor

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    The French R2 release has DTS and additonal extras but loses the Ebert commentary.
     
  16. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    I wouldnt mind redipping if it was a 2 disc edition. Or even a DTS edition. But thats just me...

    Love this film though.
     
  17. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Depends on the the merits of the second disc. The current one is always a treat, and agree that the DD is excellent.
     
  18. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

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    Actually Dark City is a DVD 10, a double sided single layer disc. And there are plenty of those out there still, and plenty of DVD 5s as well. It is discounted most places because it is an older DVD and not a well known title, and New Line and retailers are trying to get late adopters to stock up on product. Many great movies are cheap now in this price range....and many are DVD 5s and 9s too!
     
  19. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Hey, if NL did decide to upgrade an already fantastic DVD into some sort of 2-disc mega-set...obviously I'd buy one.

    And one of the things on my wish list would be a 'directors cut' - IF Proyas actually had some changes he'd wanted to make. I heartily agree that the opening voice-over is silly and may even damage the movie in some small way...but that one alteration wouldn't be enough to warrant a full-blown Directors Cut.

    And it makes me very happy to know that so many people have grown a strong affection for this movie. I first saw it on DVD, and kicked myself for not supporting it in the theaters. I've since watched it at least a dozen times, and it just doesn't ever get old.
     
  20. Mike_Richardson

    Mike_Richardson Supporting Actor

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    When DARK CITY was first released, I walked into the theater late, during the scene where Rufus Sewell first wakes up in the tub. The way the movie is written and directed, you're NOT supposed to know everything that's going on at the start, and I thought DARK CITY was supremely effective the first time I saw it, as you're trying to piece together everything that happened.

    Imagine my shock when I bought it on DVD and saw what I missed -- an unbelievably unnecessary voice-over which EXPLAINS THE WHOLE PLOT IN THE FIRST MINUTE!!

    When I show the movie to friends, I actually skip Kiefer's narration and let the movie play from there. There's no question that's one of the most transparent, needless post-production additions a studio has applied to any movie I can think of.

    The DVD otherwise is terrific, though a new edition with some deleted scenes would be fine with me [​IMG]
     

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