Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Michael Douglas, Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon
Extras: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Filmographies
Kimberly Wells (Jane Fonda) is a news anchor for a local TV station, slowly working her way up through the ranks defined by company politics. One day she is covering a nuclear power plant as part of a series of informative coverage. While she and her crew visit the plant an accident happens and not knowing what is going on, her cameraman Richard (Michael Douglas) starts filming the following events without permission. Once they leave the building they try to use the material for exclusive coverage of the event but the station declines mostly due to legal reasons, in fear of a lawsuit. Aggravated, Richard steals the film and shows it to experts who are able to identify the accident and classify it with comments such as "we are all very lucky we are still alive!"
Immediately the men in the control room try frantically to refill the containment only seconds before they physically lay bare the core. After seconds of desperate measures, they manage to slowly refill the water and contain the danger, but they all know that they almost caused a China Syndrome as a result of a stuck needle on the gauge.
Originally released during a period when the fear of nuclear energy was on the front of everyone’s minds, "The China Syndrome" touched a very hot topic. It is a very authentic film and all the incidents you witness have been taken from real events. Sadly the liner notes tha twere part of the film’s previous DVD release have been dropped altogether as they gave viewers a very good overview over the individual events that were used to embellish the film, and where they really happened. For heightened drama and suspense the filmmakers accumulated all these incidents in the film in order to give the film the weight it needs. Ironically, only 12 days after the theatrical release of the film an accident as described in the film happened at Three Mile Island power plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Immediately the film was in everyone’s minds and catapulted it to the top of the box-office charts.
Although the danger of nuclear energy is not so much of a hot topic any more these days, the film is just as powerful today as it was in 1979 when it was first released. It actually makes you wonder, what happened to all these power plants? Have nuclear power plants been shut down and become relicts of the past? We have lost the entire dilemma out of sight, and I believe today, most people don’t really spend a lot of time pondering the origins of the power they use. Are we any safer than we were 20 years ago? I don’t think so, and after watching "The China Syndrome" again, maybe it is time to find out in which closet they hide all those skeletons…
Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment presents this Sepcial Edition of "The China Syndrome" on this DVD release in a <$16x9,16x9 enhanced> <$PS,widescreen> version in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is very clean and shows even the most intricate details. Shot during a period when film’s had a very strong contemporary look, the color scheme of the overall movie clearly dates the film with its subdued pastel tones. The general color reproduction of the transfer is very good however, reproducing these colors faithfully. Blacks are deep and solid, and highlights are well balanced. No edge-enhancement or compression artifacts are evident.
On this Special Edition release, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has added some cool new supplements, such as two featurettes featuring new interviews with actor/producer Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda as well as numerous other cast and crew members. It is great to hear the talk about the project with so much distance, reflecting back at how it has influenced their careers, what their own motivations were to pursue the project and more. They remember working with Jack Lemmon and how each of the cast member tried to bring out the best and most authentic of their onscreen characters.
The second featurette "Creating A Controversy" is a look at the production of the movie directly. Talking about how it all came together cast and crew members remember the making of the movie and the problems it was facing as a result of its hot topic. It contains a great many anecdotes and stories form the film that makes this featurette absolutely well worth watching.
Also included are three impressive deleted scenes as well as fimographies of the principal cast and crew members.