E.t. the extra-terrrestrial

No other director has produced more hits and more variety than Steven Spielberg.  You’d have to travel pretty far to find someone who didn’t love at least one of Spielberg’s films.  Whether it’s Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Minority Report, or War of the Worlds, each of Spielberg’s genre blockbusters rival the best of other major directors’ films.  That doesn’t even include his more critically acclaimed dramatic works, Schindler’s List, The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Saving Private Ryan, Munich, and Lincoln. 

The films Spielberg directed at Universal Studios are being released tomorrow in a new boxed set in both a DVD and Blu-ray edition.  Whether you’ll go for this set isn’t a matter of whether this is a great collection of great movies.  It’s more about math.  Today only you can get the set for less than half the published retail price at Amazon.com here.  First of all you get eight films on eight discs, and unlike other directors’ releases, like the superb Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros., this edition includes a bundle of great extras on several of the discs.  These films have been released singly and you may already have the best available editions of films like Jaws.   But if you don’t this may be the time to catch up your video library.

Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

You get Spielberg’s first film, actually a TV movie, the suspenseful Duel (1971), featuring Dennis Weaver (Dragnet, Gunsmoke) being pursued by a psychotic truck driver.  It’s the ultimate road rage movie well before the term was even coined.  It includes “A Conversation with Director Steven Spielberg,” “Steven Spielberg and the Small Screen,” “Richard Matheson: The Writing of Duel,” a photograph and poster gallery and the original trailer.

You also get Spielberg’s first theatrical film, The Sugarland Express (1974), probably tied as the least of the discs in this set.  This early Goldie Hawn vehicle only comes with the original theatrical trailer, and no other features.

You get the best of the best, Jaws (1975), including several features: “The Making of Jaws,” “The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws,” “Jaws: The Restoration,” “From the Set,” “Marketing Jaws,” “Jaws Phenomenon,” as well as deleted scenes and outtakes, storyboards, production photos, the theatrical trailer, as well as BD Live access and the Pocket BLU App.

The fourth movie in the set is 1941 (1979), the comedy you likely forgot or never knew Spielberg directed, featuring John Belushi.  It’s a fun watch for nostalgia, but certainly not like any other Spielberg hit.  The disc includes “The Making of 1941,” as well as deleted scenes, production photographs, and theatrical trailers.

Dreyfuss and Goodman Always

The second certified blockbuster in the set is E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), a great flick for the Halloween season.  The disc includes several extras: “Steven Spielberg & E.T.,” “The E.T. Journals,” “A Look Back,” “The Evolution and Creation of E.T.,” “The E.T. Reunion,” “The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams,” “The 20th Anniversary Premiere,” as well as deleted scenes, designs, photographs and marketing, the theatrical trailer, a Special Olympics TV spot, and others.

One of Spielberg’s most underrated films is the supernatural romance drama Always (1989), starring Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, and John Goodman.  It’s unfortunate this disc doesn’t include features other than the trailer.

The third and final blockbuster in the set is Jurassic Park (1993).  If you’re not into checking out the 3D Blu-ray version (to be reviewed here at borg.com tomorrow), this is the version for you.  This disc includes features “Return to Jurassic Park: Dawn of a New Era,” “Return to Jurassic Park: Making Prehistory,” “Return to Jurassic Park: The Next Step in Evolution,” “The Making of Jurassic Park,” original featurette on the making of the film, “Steven Spielberg Directs Jurassic Park,” “Hurricane in Kauai,” early pre-production meetings, location scouting, “Phil Tippett Animatics: Raptors in the Kitchen,” “Animatics: T-Rex Attack,” “ILM and Jurassic Park: Before and After the Visual Effects,””Production Archives: Photographs, Design Sketches and Conceptual Paintings,” “Jurassic Park: Making the Game,” the trailer, and other extras.
Spielberg Directors Collection set

Probably tied with The Sugarland Express as the lesser of the films is The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997).  This disc includes Returning to Jurassic Park: Finding the Lost World,” “Returning to Jurassic Park: Something Survived,” deleted scenes, “The Making of the Lost World,” an original featurette on the making of the film, “The Jurassic Park Phenomenon: A Discussion with Author Michael Crichton,” “ILM & The Lost World: Before and After the Visual Effects,” and other extras.

Again, you need to act fast to get the pre-release price from Amazon.com here.  It’s a pretty good small compilation of some of best blockbusters and lesser known films for fans to explore.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com