The Net: Special Edition

The Net: Special Edition (1995)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Jeremy Northam, Dennis Miller
Extras: 2 Commentary Tracks, Featurette, HBO Special, Trailers, Filmographies

After a release of the film on DVD in 1997, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is now revisiting the computer conspiracy thriller ’The Net’ as a Special Edition with some added materials that were missing form the previous release.

It is the story of Angela Bennett, a young woman whose entire life revolves around computers. She is a geek with no social life. One day one of her friends asks her to debug a program he sent, and the same night he dies mysteriously. Soon Angela discovers that the disc he sent contains more than just a snippet of code, and suddenly she is in mortal danger as well.

The DVD contains a good anamorphic widescreen transfer of the movie that is without notable defects or blemishes and reveals a good level of detail. The image is fee of grain or noise and is very stable. Colors are vibrant, helping to maintain the atmosphere set up by the film. Whether it’s the vivid colors of tropical hotels and tourists or back alleys at night, the DVD nicely reproduces them all without flaws. Blacks are deep and solid further helping to give the image depth. Edge-enhancement is evident in only a few shots and for the most part the transfer is free of the resulting ringing artifacts. The compression, is also free of distracting artifacts or pixelation, making this a beautiful presentation.

The DVD comes with a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track as well as Dolby surround tracks in a variety of other languages. The audio is very dynamic and rich, with good bass extension and clear high ends. Surround usage is aggressive and especially in some of the action sequences, the sound field nicely envelops the viewer.

Two commentary tracks can be found in this release, the first one featuring director Irwin Winkler and producer Rob Cowan. The track is informative and contains a lit of insight into the production. The second one, which I personally find even more interesting, is by writers Michael Ferris and John Brancato. The two elaborate nicely on the themes of the film, the characters and some of the peripheral thoughts that went into the material.

’The Net: From Script To Screen’ is an original featurette that sheds some light on how the film was ultimately realized as various participants tell their story as to how the script was turned into the final movie. Featuring interview snippets and footage from the film this is a well-put-together piece that is quite enjoyable.

The HBO Special ’Inside The Net’ is the archetypical promo featurette that was used to launch the film and to drive people to the movie theaters. Low on real information but full of talking heads, this featurette plays more like an oversized trailer, actually.

The DVD is rounded out by trailers for ’The Net’ and other similarly themed films, as well as filmographies of the principal cast and crew members.

’The Net’ is a decent film that always makes for good entertainment, although it is riddled with factual and continuity errors. Once you get over that, an engaging story is waiting for you and with the additional insight found especially in the commentary tracks of this Special Edition, you will find that this film may be more thought-provoking that is immediately apparent.