CATEGORIES Classics, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Paramount, New on DVD, Home Entertainment, Cinematical Indie, Features, DVDs, CinematicalI bought my first copy of Chinatown on DVD when it was released in November 1999. The extras were limited to a theatrical trailer and a collection of short interviews with director Roman Polanski, writer Robert Towne and producer Robert Evans. The movie is so good that I didn't care about the lack of extras; DVD was still in its infancy and I was just glad to have it. Fast forward eight years and a new "Special Collection's Edition" is announced -- with no mention of a remastered transfer and only a few extras, which didn't sound so special to me.
The new version was released this week and the final edition sounds like a definite mixed bag. DVD Beaver reports that the video "looks cleaner, brighter, sharper, and more detailed than previous DVD releases. Colors are quite lush, and there is a lit bit more of the image on the sides depending on the shots."
As to the extras, however, Adnan Tezer at Monsters and Critics comments: "What is particularly disturbing about this new edition is that it seems like it was thrown together with little to no care." For example, the back of the DVD case says there are four new featurettes included, while the disk includes only three, two of which have different titles. On the positive side, the features total about 55 minutes and include new interviews with Polanski, Towne, and Jack Nicholson, while the interviews with Evans are from the 1999 sessions.
I'm very glad that the video has been improved, but I'm disappointed that more care was not taken to make this a true "Special Collector's Edition." More far-ranging interviews, including Faye Dunaway, would have been welcome, as well as archival materials and other extras that would delight collectors. The list price of $14.99 is modest, but I would have gladly paid more for a more comprehensive two-disk edition. Maybe that will have to wait until a new Chinatown is made?