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The Marvel Comics Pirate
Director: Sam Raimi
DVD Widescreen Special Edition
Color, Closed-
captioned, Dolby
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Columbia Tristar Home Video
Cast List
Tobey Maguire ... Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Willem Dafoe ...
     Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin
Kirsten Dunst ... Mary Jane Watson
James Franco ... Harry Osborn
Cliff Robertson ... Ben Parker
Rosemary Harris ... May Parker
J.K. Simmons ...
     J. Jonah Jameson, Daily Bugle Editor
Joe Manganiello ... Flash Thompson
Widescreen anamorphic format
Number of discs: 2

Other Formats:
VHS, VHS subtitled in Spanish, DVD

DVD Features:
Commentary by director Sam Raimi, Kirsten Dunst, producer Laura Ziskin, and co-producer Grant Curtis
Commentary by special effects designer John Dykstra and visual effects crew
Theatrical trailer(s)

Disc 1:
"Weaving the Web": subtitled pop-on production notes and historical facts
Branching web-isodes
Music videos: Hero (Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott), What We're All About (Sum 41)
TV spots
Filmographies and character files

Disc 2:
HBO Making of Spider-Man
Spider-Mania, an E! Entertainment Special
Director profile: Sam Raimi
Composer profile: Danny Elfman
Screen tests for Tobey Maguire, J.K. Simmons, and CGI Spider-Man
Costume and makeup tests
Gag/outtake reel
Conceptual art and production design gallery
Comic book artist pin-up gallery
"Spider-Man: The Mythology of the 21st Century" historical documentary
The Spider-Man Comic Book Archives
Rogues Gallery
The Loves of Peter Parker
Activision game hints and tips
For devoted fans and nonfans alike, Spider-Man offers nothing less than a superhero blockbuster. Having proven his comic-book savvy with the original Darkman, director Sam Raimi brings ample energy and enthusiasm to Spidey's origin story, nicely establishing high-school nebbish Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) as a brainy outcast who reacts with appropriate euphoria-- and well-tempered maturity-- when a "super-spider" bite transforms him into the amazingly agile, web-shooting Spider-Man. That's all well and good, and so is Kirsten Dunst as Parker's girl-next-door sweetheart. Willem Dafoe is perfectly cast as Spidey's schizoid nemesis, the Green Goblin, and the movie's a lot of fun overall.
The Movie
Director: Bryan Singer
DVD, Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Dolby
Rated:  PG-13
Twentieth Century Fox Home Video
ASIN: B00003CX8J
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In a time when race and religion don't separate people, but extra powers and mutated characteristics do, two longtime friends, Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) part ways, only to become rivals over the issue of how much patience they should have with "normal" people.
Living lives that scare most humans lacking the "X-factor" (a special power such as telekinesis), they fight over changing the general population into mutants. Xavier decides to help mutants in a special school while waiting for humanity to be more accepting, while Magneto opts to change all "normal" people into mutants in order to create a mutant-only world. Leading a group of four powerful X Men (and women) to rescue one lost girl (the mutant Rogue, played by Anna Paquin)--and the entire population of New York--Xavier recruits a new member to their group: Logan (Hugh Jackman), better known as Wolverine, joins the team with much reluctance, only to prove very valuable to the rescue effort.

Each member of the X Men has mastered their special gift--the ability to create a storm (Storm, played by Halle Berry), telekinesis (Dr. Jean Grey, played by Famke Janssen), eyesight carrying laserlike destructive power (Cyclops, played by James Marsden), the ability to heal nearly any wound he sustains (Wolverine). The chemistry among these four sets the stage for some expert teamwork--and some hidden romance. The mutants' ensemble work drives the action sequences, such as in a train station battle with Magneto's crew--including Sabertooth (Tyler Mane), Toad (Ray Park), and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos)--that unleashes a lot of destruction, thanks to the striking special effects.

You don't have to be a fan of the hugely popular X Men comic books to enjoy Bryan Singer's film, which is loaded with creativity, cool effects, and characters complex enough to lift it above run-of-the-mill action films. And Singer sets the stage admirably for the sequels that could turn X-Men into the strongest comic-book franchise since Batman.

--Sandra Levin
Cast List
Hugh Jackman ... Wolverine/Logan
Patrick Stewart ... 
   Professor X/Professor Charles Francis Xavier
Ian McKellen ...
   Magneto/Erik Magnus Lehnsherr
Famke Janssen ... Dr. Jean Grey
James Marsden ... Cyclops/Scott Summers
Halle Berry ... Storm/Ororo Munroe
Anna Paquin ... Rogue / Marie D'Ancanto
Tyler Mane ... Sabretooth/Victor Creed
Ray Park ... Toad / Mortimer Toynbee
Rebecca Romijn-Stamos ...
   Mystique/Raven Darkholme
DVD Features:
   Theatrical trailer(s)
   Deleted scenes
   "The Mutant Watch" featurette
   Excerpts from Bryan Singer interview
     on "The Charlie Rose Show"
   Hugh Jackman's screen test
   Still photo gallery
   TV spots

Widescreen anamorphic format

Other Formats:
VHS, VHS subtitled in Spanish,
DVD with DTS Stereo

Ten minutes of X-Men deleted scenes (most of them superfluous) are viewable separately or integrated into the complete film, with an onscreen symbol to mark when a deleted scene has been inserted. "The Mutant Watch" is a 23-minute promotional featurette originally broadcast on Fox TV at the time of the film's release, and combines interview clips with a "mockumentary" news profile of Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison) and his campaign to promote "mutant registration." Excerpts from Charlie Rose's interview with director Bryan Singer are worthwhile but too brief: the entire interview should have been included. Hugh Jackman's screen test (with costar Anna Paquin) provides an interesting glimpse of the casting process. The DVD's features are rounded out by a standard variety of production and costume sketches, two computer-generated "animatics" showing the preparation of action sequences, plus TV spots and theatrical trailers.
--Jeff Shannon
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