Steven Spielberg Director's Collection: (Jaws / E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial / Jurassic Park / The Lost World: Jurassic Park / Duel / and more)
Blu-ray | Box Set
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Steven Spielberg is one of the most prolific directors in motion picture history. Spanning over 40 years, Steven’s career began as a teenager when he made his way onto the Universal backlot and befriended studio executives. His passion and talent quickly developed, allowing him to direct an unprecedented number of blockbuster films. The Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection showcases a selection of the Academy Award winner’s unforgettable movies filmed for Universal, including his very first TV feature, Duel, and his first theatrical release, The Sugarland Express, and blockbusters such as Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park. Steven’s work has captivated audiences worldwide and continue to set the standard for filmmaking.
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Finally ! It came in the mail from Amazon late this afternoon, and I couldn't wait to dig in.
I will simplify my personal review: many of the discs are the same as previous releases. (To clarify, 'Jurassic Park' is the same transfer as the 2011 release -- not the more recent waxy-looking version that accompanied the 3D Re-release -- which borders on being comparable to that horrible new version of 'Predator,' as one of the worst jobs of attempting to perfect a home video experience that I have ever seen.) Waxy, marionette-looking s***, is what it is.
The new additions in this release are: 'Duel,' 'Sugarland Express,' '1941,' and 'Always.' All of which look and sound AMAZING, in comparison to their former laserdisc or DVD releases. And for the most part, the extras are the same as before. Nothing new there, unfortunately. The only missing extra I noted is on the '1941' disc. Originally, the '1941' Laserdisc and DVD both included an additional music only track (which was well hidden, but accessible on the audio menu,) and that track is absent here. A good deal of Williams music, along with a song by The Andrews Sisters, could be played, and enjoyed, as audio-only. That would have been nice in one of the current digital sound formats, as opposed to only stereo; which is what is presented on the Laserdisc and DVD releases.
The Blu-ray set's Case, is the same type of construction as Paramount's release of the 'Indiana Jones' films. And I personally prefer this type of construction. The discs slide out very easy and are not scratched in any way by the sleeves they inhabit. It's a little harder to scratch a blu-ray than it is a DVD. Each movie's open gatefold contains an image of the theatrical poster and a few other images. There is also a small book included, which for owners or admirers of the 'E.T.' and 'JAWS' digi-books, includes all images and information, reprinted, from there. **((REVISED: When I originally wrote this review, I was going by memory; as I got rid of my own copies of those digi-books some time ago. And I have confirmed that this part of my review is wrong. To be precise: only a scant few pages from those digi-books have found their way into the 'Steven Spielberg Director's Collection.' Each of those previous releases, includes a book that is essentially mounted into the gatefold of the release, and each book is more than 50 pages !! So die hard collector's should hang onto that, if you still have it. My profound apologies for my error.))** And similar information is included for the other films. So it's kind of like having a digibook for each film. Albeit there are no additional special features. One of the only two minor complaints I have for this set, is a lack of additional extras for 'Sugarland Express' and 'Always.' **The 'Duel' special features have all been ported over.
The second (minor) complaint is that an additional disc "could" have been included, containing a host of Spielberg's early work in Television (as evidenced by one of the brief documentaries on the 'Duel' disc.) I guess because the 'Columbo' episode 'Murder by the Book,' is available on season one of 'Columbo' on DVD. The 'Marcus Welby' episode, 'The Daredevil Gesture' is available on season one of that DVD set, and the 'Night Gallery' episodes 'Eyes' and 'Make 'Em Laugh (or 'Make Me Laugh;' I've seen it under both titles,) are each available on season One of 'Night Gallery' on DVD.
However, the two episodes of 'The Psychiatrist' that Spielberg directed, 'Par for the Course,' and 'The Private World of Martin Dalton,' the episode of 'In the Name of the Game,' titled 'L.A. 2017,' and an episode of 'Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law' titled 'Eulogy for a Wide Receiver,' are not evidenced on home video at this time. Kind of sad, really. They all could have been included here on one blu-ray. Missed opportunity.
But this is an AWESOME package, in any case. And highly collectible. Many people are already complaining that over half the releases in this set, can only be defined as 'double-dipping' by Universal. Especially since only 'Duel,' 'Sugarland,' and 'Always' have not been released individually. And all others in the set, have. I wouldn't stress over that. 'Duel,' 'Sugarland,' and '1941,' will eventually be released, over the course of the next few months. I'm sure of that. So quite your bitching, please. There will always be sets of this kind. Sorry you got caught with several of the releases presented here already in your collection, but being anal-retentive to that degree is ridiculous. If you don't want it, don't buy it. Just wait for the single releases; they are coming, I confirmed that with a friend who works for Universal's home video division. THIS, is a really nice collector's set for Spielberg fans. Precisely what it's intended to be. If that's not you, then keep moving, nothing to see here.
One last note. The typical annoying Universal trailers, which pop up on discs like 'Apollo 13' -- and won't go away so easily ... are not here. **((REVISED: The discs for 'Jaws,' 'E.T.,' 'Jurassic,' and 'Lost World' are all cloned from previous releases, and therefore suffer from the same issues re: pop up trailers that 'Apollo 13' suffers from. I should have been more specific about that. Only 'Duel,' 'Sugarland,' '1941,' and 'Always' have the new menus, which do not bring up unwanted advertisements.))** There is a single pop up, reminding the buyer of the digital versions of the films available and then each disc defaults straight to the main menu. Which makes owning this set a much nicer experience.
I give this set my personal HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.