Are New Blu-rays of 'Wall Street,' 'The French Connection' and 'Halloween II' Worth the Double Dip?

Are New Blu-rays of 'Wall Street,' 'The French Connection' and 'Halloween II' Worth the Double Dip?

Oct 01, 2012

Wall Street Filmmakers Signature Series

Nothing captures the rampant greed of the '80s better than this Oliver Stone drama starring Michael Douglas as Reaganomics master Gordon Gekko and Charlie Sheen as the ambitious corporate raider Gekko takes under his wing. The movie made its Blu-ray debut back in February 2008 and now makes its double dip as part of Fox's new Filmmakers Signature Series.

What's New?: The original release had a transfer that was the same one used for the DVD, which means the image was only a small step up from a standard-definition release. It had an audio commentary, two documentaries and deleted scenes. This new Filmmakers Signature Series edition has all the same extras, but the film features a new HD transfer approved by Stone as well as an improved DTS-HD Master Audio track. The new BD also ships with a 28-page booklet on the making of the film, including actor and director profiles.

Skip or Double Dip?: A lot of films made in the late '80s suffered due to cheap film stock, and the first Wall Street release is evidence of that. The new version shows the magic that can be done with a new transfer approved by the director. Gekko would want you to buy Wall Street again because this double dip is a sound investment.


The French Connection Filmmakers Signature Series

Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider play two NYC narcotics detectives who try to take down a major French kingpin with little support from their supervisors in an attempt to make their careers in this 1971 William Friedkin police thriller. The film made its Blu-ray debut in February 2009 with a controversial recolorization (see below) before getting this new Filmmakers Signature Series edition.

What's New?: The 2009 Blu-ray contained an intro by Friedkin defending his color-timing choices, which gave the film an odd pastel look that was nothing like what appeared originally on-screen. The original edition also had a featurette on the color timing, a trivia track, "Anatomy of a Chase," commentary tracks, deleted scenes, two TV specials and other behind-the-scenes featurette. The new Filmmakers Signature Series edition corrects all that pastel nonsense that made the first BD release look like a colorized black-and-white movie, and therefore all supplements related to the pastel atrocity are gone. Also gone is a BBC TV special and a few other trivial featurettes. The new edition does add "Hackman on Doyle" and a short featurette about former detective Randy Jurgensen, who advised on the film.

Skip or Double Dip?:  Even though you lose more extras than you gain in this new edition, the first one featured crazy color timing that fueled outrage by purists everywhere. Destroy that copy and double dip with confidence.


Halloween II Collector's Edition

The terror continues for poor Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in this sequel to John Carpenter's horror classic Halloween. Set during the same night as the original movie, unstoppable killer Michael Myers tracks down Laurie at the hospital where she was taken and carves his way through the staff to get to her. Universal released a 30th Anniversary Edition in September 2011 and now, a year later, Scream Factory has released a Collector's Edition.

What's New?: The Universal edition had a decent transfer and included the excellent documentary Terror in the Aisles as well as an alternate ending and six deleted scenes. The new Scream Factory edition has a slightly improved transfer than the Universal edition and includes the deleted material, but loses the documentary. Instead, the Scream Factory Collector's Edition adds audio commentaries, a 45-minute making-of featurette, a featurette on the locations as they appear today, a stills gallery, TV and radio spots and, most impressively, the inclusion of the very different television cut of the film.

Skip or Double Dip?: Although the Terror in the Aisles documentary is missed in this new edition, that doc wasn't solely focused on Halloween II. This new Scream Factory edition features an improved picture as well as more additions that are directly tied to the sequel itself, making it more treat than trick.

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