HTF REVIEW: "The Net" Special Edition (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 10, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    The Net

    Angela is having an identity crisis...literally!
    Whenever a studio re-releases a title that has
    already been released to DVD, but this time touting
    it as a "Special Edition", I want to see if there
    is truly a reason for spending the money on a
    repurchase. Most people repurchase thinking the
    transfer is going to be better than the old. After
    all, it's not uncommon for the studios to take
    the same transfer and wrap it up in a new package
    with added material that may or may not warrant
    the repurchase.
    Not ever having owned the DVD release of The Net,
    I had to do some research and find out a little
    more about the original DVD release.
    Basically I found that the DVD was released in
    1997, was enhanced for widescreen, and contained
    little or no extras.
    So, basically, it *seems* that Columbia is
    perhaps doing a little more justice to this
    release with a Special Edition that touts a
    brand new anamorphic transfer and a few extras
    to boot. But is this new transfer something to
    get excited about? More on that in a moment.
    Let me first talk about the film.
    Angela Bennett (Sandra Bullock) is a software
    engineer. She lives alone and doesn't have many
    friends or contacts. Her only activity outside
    of her home is visiting her Mother.
    This is just a regular evening for Angela as
    she calls in to her company's contact about
    bugs in a piece of computer software that she
    is beta-testing. Her phone contact informs her
    that he has accidently stumbled on a weird glitch
    that he needs her to debug. He leaves that night
    to meet her, only to die in a mysterious plane
    Angela soon discovers that what her contact
    has stumbled on is top secret information belonging
    to a group of cyber criminals that will stop at
    nothing to get it back. What's worse, is that these
    cyber criminals have totally erased her life,
    replacing her records with that of a known felon.
    With the police chasing her, and cyber criminals
    wanting to end her life, Angela must find out
    why everything is happening to her and who is
    responsible for it.
    This is a sensational cat-and-mouse game that's
    perfect for cyber geeks like us! Released in 1995
    right as the internet was becoming commercially
    available, the film explores the real dangers of
    cyber criminals stealing personal identities.
    How is the transfer?
    The reason I brought so much attention to this
    Special Edition at the top of my review, is
    because Columbia is touting this new release
    as a "new 16x9 widescreen high definition transfer".
    After reading a claim like that, one would think
    that the DVD is going to look pristine.
    Presented in a (1.85:1) ratio, I was a bit
    disappointed in picture quality. Not that the
    transfer doesn't look good -- it does! The problem
    is that I had thought it would and should look
    Picture quality remains very clear, though a bit
    warm. What bothered me most was the evidence of
    video noise that could be seen in the film's
    darker sequences. I could see it in everything
    from a closed door to a fire alarm sitting on the
    wall. It's just an ever-irritating presence of slight
    fuzziness that your eye catches.
    While the transfer is fine, I just can't say
    that this high definition transfer has resulted
    in anything superior that I have seen other studios
    put out.
    The 5.1 Dolby Surround mix is very pleasing
    from Mark Isham's subtle opening score with
    piano notes rising above violins to the noisy
    enveloping sounds of an amusement park with low
    LFE rumblings of a turning Ferris Wheel. I was
    very pleased that the surrounds were effectively
    used, without being excessively overused.
    Special Features
    When you pop in the disc, you'll find yourself
    amused by the animated menu that features Sandra
    Bullock clicking her mouse and being stunned by
    a wealth of secret information being exposed
    before her eyes. The menu becomes a computer
    screen with cartoon icons located on the right.
    These icons are labeled "CYBERBOB", "ICEMAN" and
    "GATEKEEPER". As you move your remote arrow over
    each icon, the hidden choices of "PLAY MOVIE",
    "AUDIO SETUP" and "SPECIAL FEATURES" are revealed.
    I must admit, it is a very clever menu.
    The DVD contains two audio commentaries. The
    first is with writers John Brancato and Mike Ferris.
    The other commentary features Producer Rob Cowan
    and Director Irwin Winkler.
    Producer Rob Cowan and writer Michael Ferris
    tell us how the movie started as a completely
    different idea in the featurette, The Net:
    From script to screen. Initially, it was to
    be a film about stolen identity. However,
    recent newspaper stories about computers and
    people being "watched" turned the film into an
    entirely new entity. This is a terrific look
    at a bunch of writers who talk about how their
    initial ideas and goals to make a conspiracy movie
    reminiscent of those released in the 70's, turned
    into something else -- even humanizing a villain
    that was intended to initially be faceless. This
    19-minute documentary is a total dissection of the
    movie from paper to screenings where the Director
    played around with how much material he could keep
    adding without weighing the film down.
    Also included is the HBO SPECIAL: Inside The
    Net, another one of those famous promo
    pieces that gives a generalized overview of the
    film. Sandra Bullock, back in 1995, talks about
    the prospects of people losing their social lives
    to their computers. She predicts that in 10 years
    every household will have a computer and nobody
    will have to leave their home to communicate.
    Smart girl. She talks about how much freedom
    the internet allows you to express yourself, and
    how much the computer can make you feel isolated.
    We are taken on the set with Bullock and Director
    Irwin Winkler. We also get some input from fellow
    cast mates Jeremy Northam and Dennis Miller. Near
    the end of this 20-minute special, Bullock remarks,
    "It was fun. I feel like I took a whole computer
    class in three months"
    In addition to the film's original trailer,
    there are two additional trailers: 28 Days
    and The Thirteenth Floor.
    There is also a Filmography included for
    the film's three major stars and Director Irwin
    Final Thoughts
    It's interesting that when I first saw The Net
    in 1995, most of the internet technology and ideas
    that the film portrayed seemed a bit far-fetched.
    Now seven years later, technology has vastly improved
    and the notion of hackers stealing identities
    doesn't seem so unlikely.
    The Net is a terrific thriller that all
    of us can easily relate to. Plus the fact that
    it stars the beautifully sexy Sandra Bullock is
    worth the purchase price alone.
    Add this to your collection.
    Release Date: April 2, 2002
  2. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

    Feb 14, 2002
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    Thanks for the review, Ron [​IMG] I had no idea there was an SE of The Net, but now it's definitely on my list. Sandra Bullock.... *insert Homer Simpson's drooling mug*
    ps-- Would you mind if I ask what gear you're using to view the DVDs you've made screencaps of? The shots look excellent!
  3. MikeF

    MikeF Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 17, 2000
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    A terrific thriller?

    Oy vey.
  4. Gavin_L

    Gavin_L Second Unit

    Aug 24, 2001
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    thanks ron for the review, one of the films i'll be picking up april 2nd, keep up your wonderful work
  5. Joel C

    Joel C Screenwriter

    Oct 23, 1999
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    The first DVD was price-reduced in 2001, but it was actually a very early Columbia TriStar release (1998?), which explains why it is featureless.
  6. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

    Dec 4, 2001
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    Thanks for the review. As I like the film and have never purchased the original version. This will be one for me to purchase when it comes out.
  7. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

    Aug 26, 2001
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    Sweet! I'll be getting this. [​IMG]
  8. Chad Gregory

    Chad Gregory Supporting Actor

    Oct 11, 2000
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    Hence the problem with including screencaps. They will almost always look different once in motion.
  9. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

    Apr 8, 1999
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    Real Name:
    David Scarpa
    I'll be inte minority here, even in 1995 I thought this film was cheesy. Does'nt she walk into a computer show and start hacking from a computer during a sales pitch, I remember laughing at this one. Of course not that I remember it that same cheesy scene is in GoldenEye slbeit inRussia.
  10. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Thanks for the update. I pulled that

    2001 release number from a retail website.

    Appreciate the correction. I have updated it.

  11. Niko Nykanen

    Niko Nykanen Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 20, 1999
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    "terrific thriller"??
    I found it Extremely Boring and Formulatic so I would suggest that you people Don´t buy it.
    Rental tops.
  12. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

    Jun 19, 1999
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    I have to agree with Niko... this movie isn't very good.

    It's good to hear that Columbia continues to release quality DVDs, I just question their choice of movie re-releases.
  13. John Stone

    John Stone Supporting Actor

    Aug 5, 2001
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    Gotta disagree with the "terrific thriller" summary. IMO The Net is one of the worst movies dealing with computers and technology ever made. I put right down there with "Hackers". It's lifeless, highly unrealistic, sloppy and cheesy. I feel that this film does not deserve an SE re-release when so many other, much better Columbia movies are still not out on DVD in any form.
  14. JeffMuller

    JeffMuller Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 18, 2000
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    Well, I gotta admit that I enjoyed watching this movie.

    And "not realistic"??? Are you kidding??? Where I come from, really hot, young women are always geeky recluses who have no social life. :p)
  15. Steeve Bergeron

    Steeve Bergeron Cinematographer

    Feb 3, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Steeve Bergeron
  16. JoeDeM

    JoeDeM Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 12, 2001
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    Barrie, Ontario
    Real Name:
  17. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

    Feb 12, 2002
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  18. David Ruiz

    David Ruiz Second Unit

    Aug 13, 2001
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    I saw this movie in theaters, and it has been one of my favourite movies of All Time. I purchased the original DVD, but sold it on Ebay once I heard this one was being released. I guess I gotta head on over to Best Buy and pick it up. I love this movie!

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