Interview with Sylvester Stallone (28m52s) - this was on the previous release. It was shot in 2000 and sees Stallone reminiscing about Rocky and how we wrote and began production of the movie. Interestingly, it was whilst at an Ali fight, that Stallone was inspired to write about the character of Rocky. He witnessed no-hoper Chuck Wepner knock down Ali and this gave him the idea for Rocky - the story of a man given his chance in life to do something that would be remembered for ever.
John Avildsen (Director) presents the making of the film's fight footage (11m53s) (again not new to this release) - this is a brief featurette by the director showing early 8mm test footage of the first fight between Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa. It is quite interesting to see how they choreographed the fight sequences and shot from angles to make the punches look like they were connecting. It was also used to show Stallone that he looked a bit overweight on the screen and needed to tone up a bit!
Tribute to Burgess Meredith (7m26s) (not new). This featurette has Stallone, Burt Young and Carl Weathers paying tribute to “Mickey”.
Tribute to the film's cinematographer - James Crabe (3m25s) (not new) - John Avildsen pays tribute to the cinematographer for Rocky, James Crabe who he praised for giving the movie it's gritty dark feel.
Director/Cast/Producer Audio Commentary - this too was present on the previous release and features John Avildsen and input from various cast members although I did not notice Stallone on there unfortunately. I didn't have the chance to listen to the whole thing but I am looking forward to returning to it at my leisure as the input from Avildsen, Shire, Young and Weathers sounded insightful from what I heard.
Also as per the previous version there is a trailer for each five films and 3 TV spots.
The first new feature comes in the form of “Staccato - interview with Bill Conti: The Composer's Notebook” (11m) - this featurette explains how composer Bill Conti scored the movie and his thinking behind the use of various instruments and musical styles. It was interesting to discover how he works and how he can alter the emotional involvement of the viewer with his music.
”Make Up!: The Art and Form - interview with Michael Westmore” (14m32s) is another new feature, this time looking at the make up and prosthetics used in Rocky. Obviously we are all familiar with the swollen eyes of Rocky at the end of the fight but it was interesting to learn that Burgess Meredith also had prosthetics to give him the effect of a broken nose and cauliflower ears!
Steadicam: Then and Now - interview with the inventor of the steadicam Garrett Brown (16m44s). This was a great little featurette - Garrett Brown is one of those guys who makes you think “Why didn't I think of that”. He invented the “steadicam” and has gone on to invent most of the camera equipment used in various sporting events for capturing live moving action. Here we see his first attempt at a steadicam and his test footage running up and down some steps outside of his local art museum.....yep, when John Avildsen saw this demo footage, not only did he want to use the camera but he also wanted to know where the steps were!! The rest as they say is history. It was funny for Brown to return to the steps for this documentary, to show us the original footage and then to be passed by groups of tourists running up the steps themselves, apparently something that most visitors to Philadelphia now want to do!
The Rocky Anthology Ultimate Edition is the best way to watch Rocky films currently available - period. The most important aspects have been addressed - namely the video and audio quality, so for this alone I'm happy. The extras present here are fine and make enjoyable viewing, however I just feel that there has been a missed opportunity compared to the depth available for the collectors editions of other movies. I certainly hope this is addressed when this makes it's debut on the next generation DVD format as it surely will.
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