HTF REVIEW: "Groundhog Day" Special Edition

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jan 16, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    49,232
    Likes Received:
    5,996
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    [​IMG]

    Groundhog Day Special Edition

    I will not hesitate to admit that this one
    of my all-time favorite comedies, and I am
    certain, it ranks high amongst many of you.
    And why not? Groundhog Day is one of
    the most unique comedies ever made in that it
    is a though experiment of sorts that makes us
    take a look within ourselves and see how some
    uncertainties may prevent us from being good doer's.
    Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is a sharp-witted
    weatherman for a local station. Sent out on an
    assignment to cover Punxsutawney's Groundhog's Day
    festivities, the day ultimately become's Phil's
    worst nightmare. An unexpected blizzard traps
    Phil in in town, and he is forced to stay at the
    local inn.
    Things soon to go from bad to worse as the
    next morning Phil awakens to discover it's
    Groundhog's Day all over again...and again...and
    again. Each day he relives the same events as
    before until he discovers the only change that
    can happen is within himself.
    The film's perfectly cast co-stars include Andie
    MacDowell as his Producer and Chris Elliott as his cameraman.
    Generally I am strongly against studios rereleasing
    product to DVD, calling it a SPECIAL EDITION, and
    only tacking on a few bits of added content. My
    first fears were that this was exactly what Columbia
    was doing. After all, their original 1997 DVD
    release was regarded as being visually near-perfect.
    I compared the original 1997 release to this new
    Special Edition. The source material is exactly
    the same. I noticed the same film blemishes in
    the exact same places on both discs. And while
    I wish I had two DVD players of the same make that
    I could make side-by-side comparisons, switching
    between the two discs, I found improvement with
    this new release.
    The Special Edition boasts a brand new anamorphic
    (1.85:1) transfer. This release slightly improves
    upon the older video transfer, with more natural
    looking colors, especially in the flesh tones. The
    new transfer has a much cleaner look to it, erasing
    some of the slightly noticeable graininess of the
    older version.
    What you will certainly find more pronounced on
    this Special Edition is the 5.1 Dolby Digital Mix.
    I could immediately hear a more robust sonic
    improvement all across the soundfield, especially
    in the music tracks where my SV Subwoofer was
    producing some nice bass response.
    Now, did I miss something here? The back cover
    states there is a 5.1 DTS track on this disc. I
    will be absolutely damned if I could find it.
    The Language menu gives you a choice of
    DOLBY SURROUND and DOLBY DIGITAL. Where then is
    the DTS track selection? Did Columbia forget to
    include this track? Either I'm alerting the media
    of a huge mistake or I am going to look like an
    idiot if someone else's copy has a DTS track on it.
    Extra Features
    To begin with, the DVD starts with a rather cute
    animated sequence from Channel 9 News that brings
    up a map of the town with cross-streets, and heads
    of the characters popping out of animated cars and
    such.
    The Weight of Time is a really fun newly
    produced 30-minute documentary that has some neat
    surprises and one noticeable omittance. The
    documentary starts from the beginning as writer
    DANNY RUBIN and Director HAROLD RAMIS talk about
    the film's original script treatment and how much
    it had changed by the time Ramis had reworked it.
    Joined by actress Andie MacDowell and Actor Stephen
    Tobolowski (the nerdy NED the insurance salesman),
    we hear about the antics that went on around the set,
    as well as how the filming location was selected,
    and the cold weather that plagued them. Hidden
    within this documentary are many short outtakes from
    the film that are quite funny, including a montage of
    outtakes where Murray and MacDowell are trying to warm
    up from the cold. Noticeably absent from all this is
    Bill Murray, who I suppose could not be secured for
    this documentary.
    There is a running audio commentary from Director
    Harold Ramis included for the first time.
    There are three Trailers that include
    It Could Happen To You; Peggy Sue Got Married
    and of course, the original Groundhog Day
    trailer.
    A Filmography is also included for Director
    Ramis and all the three major stars of the film.
    Final Thoughts
    Normally I don't advocate taking a good DVD
    release and trying to squeeze more out of it a
    second time around. However, in this case, this
    is a Special Edition that while not overly packed
    with extras, boasts what seems to be a cleaner
    transfer and souped up audio as well as a really
    fun documentary.
    I still want to know where the DTS track is
    on this release and I caution all of you to
    investigate this problem before considering
    purchase based upon what the specs indicate.
    Release Date: January 29, 2002
     
  2. Kraig Lang

    Kraig Lang Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 28, 2000
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey Ron,

    This is one of my (Near Future) Must Buys. Thanks for the review.

    BTW, you've got great timing, I gave away my older version yesterday in anticipation of this.

    Kraig
     
  3. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2000
    Messages:
    3,971
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Didn't I just buy this disc?
    Didn't you just ask me that?
    In the spirit of the movie, I'll have to go get it.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2000
    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is one movie that I can definately watch over and over. One of my favorite movies, I can't wait for the SE in two weeks. Hmmm, might be time to learn to play the piano.
     
  5. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,577
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for the attention to the improved picture and sound quality. This is a movie I LOVE (as opposed to love, then like a lot, then like, then what movie? [​IMG] ), so any improvement commands a purchase.
    This a movie that caught me by surprise when I first watched it. It seems to have infinite playability.
     
  6. Duncan Harvey

    Duncan Harvey Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2000
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ron - is it really 5.1? I ask because apparently the R4 version of this (released a couple of weeks ago) has a 3.1 track (which sounds kind of wierd - if its a discrete version of the 2.0 mix why not make it 4.1?)

    shame about the DTS - but if its not a true 5.1 maybe this explains its absence.
     
  7. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 1997
    Messages:
    10,612
    Likes Received:
    764
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Another repurchase! Argh! (just blew a wad of cash on Tombstone and Sixth Sense...)

    Ned? Ned Ryerson?
     
  8. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2000
    Messages:
    12,251
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I already sold my old copy in anticipation of this! Ron, thanks for the review. [​IMG]
     
  9. Craig Cunningham

    Craig Cunningham Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 4, 1999
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
  10. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2001
    Messages:
    4,385
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The DTS could be a mistprint. It would seem strange that Sony would put DTS on a 9 year old comedy whose original theatrical audio is Dolby Surround, and not on more recent action films like Final Fantasy and The 6th Day.
     
  11. Craig Cunningham

    Craig Cunningham Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 4, 1999
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I sent an e-mail to the Big Picture reviewer about this issue. Hopefully, he will verify that it contains a DTS track. I will let everyone know what I find out.
     
  12. Jon_B

    Jon_B Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2000
    Messages:
    1,025
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is one of my favorite movies. I had already purchased the first release. I might have to drop my old one and bring in the new one.

    Jon
     
  13. Craig Cunningham

    Craig Cunningham Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 4, 1999
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The Big Picture says Groundhog Day SE does not have a DTS track as indicated in their review. [​IMG]
     
  14. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Just curious: How's the commentary?
     
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    49,232
    Likes Received:
    5,996
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Scott,

    I rarely listen to commentaries.

    It's not a matter of choice -- it's a matter

    of available time.

    Reviewing films is an extra hobby of mine that

    gets sandwiched between a normal 8.5 hour job and

    running this forum.

    Unlike other reviewers who get paid to write

    reviews and can spend their entire day doing as

    such, I'd rather review as many titles as I can

    without going back and watching a selection twice

    in order to hear the commentary.

    I realize that not doing commentary reviews makes

    my reviews less worthy in some aspects, but I have

    to ultimately choose my priorities.
     
  16. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ok, Ron. I wasn't trying to rile you up or imply that your reviews were somehow "lacking". That question was pretty much open to anyone.

     
  17. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    49,232
    Likes Received:
    5,996
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Oh, Scott, you didn't rile me up

    nor did I take your comments offensively.

    Take care!
     
  18. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Cool. I thought maybe I just caught you in a sour mood! I'm definitely picking this DVD up when it's released. I'm a sucker for a good commentary, and bought the new Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for the exact same reason.
    Pretty weird, considering I'll never listen to these commentaries more than once!
     
  19. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 1999
    Messages:
    2,601
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Looks like Columbia played it smart by not including a DTS track.

    The improvement in picture quality over the last release is worth the exclusion of a DTS track - especially since DTS wouldn't be much of an advantage for this title.
     
  20. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2000
    Messages:
    2,178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    When a DVD is reviewed and doesn't even notice there's really a DTS track there, it's not a good sign for the site and most likely indicates that they don't actually go through the DVD and instead just watch a brief segment and take a quick look at the extras. The Big Picture's review is pretty small. The lack of DTS is kind of disappointing, since that leaves 2 benefits to the SE: commentary & documentary. A little bit of a letdown. I'm sure some very minor video improvement due to putting everything on a dual-layered disc, but still I've been holding off getting this one for a while in anticipation of an SE, and while I'm sure the DD sounds great, it'd be a shame if they took off the DTS at the last minute because people here were complaining over it.
     

Share This Page