ExtrasThere's a link to an interactive web site.
VerdictWith an improvement in both image and audio qualities the only reason left to go for the 2 disc Special Edition is for the supplemental features... Personally, I'll stick with the much clearer image of the Superbit release.
PictureI was a little unimpressed with the R1 Special Edition release of Spidey 2, but this Superbit release goes some way to address that DVD's image quality shortfalls. Things look much better here and although the colour palette remains similar, things take on a completely different feel. I'm unsure if colours are subtly different, or if the undoubtedly cleaner and sharper image on this Superbit offering merely make it appear so. All the points that I raised in my review of the 2 disc Special Edition have are no longer issues here, and things look much better this time round. The Uni Campus scene still shows a rather vibrant green grass effect, but skin tones look better to me. But it's the removal of video noise that really improves image quality - gone is the grain in darker scenes, replaced with a solid and at time almost 3-D image. The interior scenes at aunt May's house are also slightly crisper and less dingy looking, and when Parker goes outside and meets Mary Jay... well all noise is now gone, leaving Mary Jane much more natural looking.
The hospital shot at the beginning of chapter 17 also shows a marked improvement, and the video noise that was so apparent before is now gone, and we're left with a detailed and sharp image with virtually no noise at all. I mentioned edge enhancement in my previous review at the beginning of chapter 35, as Peter Parker walks between the two houses. There's still a touch of the dreaded ghostly effect here, but the whole shot looks so much more detailed - even the wording on the box is much sharper... it of course reads “Municipal Records Center” and not “Centre”! One particular shot that I mentioned in my Special Edition review really took me by surprise here - the Doc Ock screen grab that I described as “outstanding” before is simply incredibly clear now.
Of course it isn't only those particular scenes that benefit from the Superbit treatment - image quality throughout is a vast improvement, and now the “Mastered in High Definition” tag actually seems to mean something. If you want to see Spider-Man 2 looking as good as possible then this Superbit release is a vast improvement over the Special Edition. No extra features, though.
SoundAnd things continue to improve when comparing audio tracks. All Superbit releases come with Dolby Digital and DTS tracks, and Spider-Man is no different. The DTS offering here really opens out the soundstage, with rear effects and bass in particular benefiting from the DTS treatment. I complained of a slightly harsh, overbearing quality before. The harshness is now gone, replaced with a full on action soundtrack that allows your speakers to “breathe” - bullets that zipped around your head from speaker to speaker, have now seemingly been released from their enclosures and emanate from a myriad points in space. Explosions sound similarly impressive, and the runaway train fight scenes sound simply stunning and overall the DTS track included in this Superbit release improves on an already reasonably impressive audio quality.
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