Ghost Rider (2007) - 3-Disc Limited Edition Extended Cut

Genre(s): Action / Adventure
Sony || NR - 123 minutes - $34.95 || June 12, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-07-12


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Writer(s): Mark Steven Johnson (screen story)(screenplay)
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Wes Bentley, Donal Logue, Sam Elliott, Peter Fonda


Theatrical Release Date: February 16, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:

    Disc 1:
  • Filmmakers' Commentary
  • Producer Commentary


  • Disc 2:
  • Spirit of Vengeance: The Making of Ghost Rider
  • Ghost Rider Animatics
  • Sin & Salvations: Comic Book Origins of Ghost Rider


  • Disc 3:
  • Art in Miniature: Sideshow Ghost Rider Collectibles
  • Comic-Con 2005
  • Comic-Con 2006


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Plot (from DVD back cover): Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) was only a teenaged stunt biker when he sold his soul to the devil (Peter Fonda) -- a misguided attempt to save his father’s life that destroyed his own. Years later, Johnny is a world-renowned daredevil by day, but at night, he becomes the Ghost Rider of Marvel Comics legend. The devil’s bounty hunter, he is charged with finding evil souls on earth and bringing them to hell. But when a twist of fate bring Johnny’s long-lost love (Eva Mendes) back into his life, Johnny realizes he just might have a second chance at happiness -- if he can beat the devil and win back is soul. To do so, he’ll have to defeat Blackheart (Wes Bentley), the devil’s nemesis and wayward son, whose plot to take over his father’s realm will bring hell on earth -- unless Ghost Rider can stop him.

Translation of the above plot: A guy with a flaming skull seeks vengeance on evil-doers. Done.

The “extended cut” adds about 9-minutes of more dread on the viewer, and none of it really adds anything meaningful to the story. I know one should not take a movie about a guy with a skull of fire seriously -- and trust me, I didn’t --, but couldn’t writer/director Mark Steven Johnson put together something that had momentum or a semi-intriguing story? Unlike his director’s cut of Daredevil, I actually felt this “extended cut” was actually worse than the theatrical version. Nothing particularly wrong with the scenes added, but prolonged and made its flaws even more visible.

My review of the theatrical version sums up my thoughts on the movie, though I will add something about Nicolas Cage. He’s a good actor when given the right script, but oh my, when he has to stretch things (such as his head first turns into fire), hammy doesn’t begin to describe his performance. Let’s just say, those scenes make me long for George Clooney in Batman & Robin...

If you’re interested, here is the link to my theatrical review: http://www.moviemansguide.com/reviews/movie/read.php?id=ghostrider



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Even the worst Marvel adaptations usually bring about a fine DVD release. The recent Fantastic Four Extended Cut comes to mind, yet somehow Ghost Rider doesn’t continue this trend. This review covers the Circuit City “3-Disc Limited Edition Extended Cut”, which includes a bonus disc.

DISC 1:
Filmmakers’ Commentary - Director Mark Steven Johnson and Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Mack provide the more entertaining track of the two. They give some more trivia about making the movie, having Nicholas Cage star and Mark Steven Johnson points out the scenes added for the extended cut.

Producer Commentary - Producer Gary Foster sits down for a solo track that is formal but informative about the origins of the project. He explains some little tidbits like getting music rights and other little things. As one would expect from a commentary on a, IMO, poor flick, there’s a good bit of fudging with the praise. Not a lively track by any means, but fans of the flick might find some use...

DISC 2:
Spirit of Vengeance: The Making of Ghost Rider (~80:37) - Split into 3-parts, this feature-length ‘making-of’ featurette takes the viewer from pre to post-production. The filmmakers discuss casting, special effects and story elements. Unfortunately, there is no option to watch them at once but I decided to review it as one long featurette. The 3-parts are titled: “Spirit of Vengeance” (28:53), “Spirit of Adventure” (29:32) and “Spirit of Execution” (22:12).

Ghost Rider Animatics (3:27) - Just a montage of pre-visualizations of the Ghost Rider.

Sin & Salvation: Comic Book Origins of Ghost Rider (46:05) - Its these comic book history documentaries that normally make these 2-disc sets worthwhile. Fantastic Four: Extended Cut, Spider-Man, Batman Begins, etcetera, gives the viewer the history behind these characters through the years. But after watching this one, it was obvious this was a second-tier “superhero” as there really wasn’t much said. This is split-up by decades and are not playable all at once.

DISC 3: (included w/ the Circuit City Exclusive)
Art in Miniature: Sideshow Ghost Rider Collectibles (9:35) - Not very interesting, just features the sculptures talking about getting designs early and how the fire effects were done for the two Ghost Rider figures.

More interest for comic book fans are the Comic-Cons for 2005 (9:57) and 2006 (13:01). The first one featured the panel consisting of Avi Arad, Mark Steven Johnson and Eva Mendes (and Gary Foster, I think). Cage was off shooting, I presume, Next. He does appear on the 2006 panel with Mendes and the rest of the gang.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Ghost Rider is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 2.40 OAR. The colors are nicely distributed balancing between the darker devilish tone and the campy-monster-of-the-week vibe. I didn’t notice any scratches or dust, so it seems Sony’s transfer was near perfect.

The feature gives you the option of either the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1. Obviously, if you have the equipment, go for the latter. I did go back and forth between the two and while the DTS track isn’t as overwhelming as I wanted, it’s still nice having it. A French 5.1 is also available along with English, French and Spanish subtitles.



.::OVERALL::.

Ghost Rider is not a good movie, simply put. I could pop in Fantastic Four and find some enjoyment, and the “extended cut” DVD is great, and I had the same hope for this 2-disc release. I was, however, disappointed. The features are fine, just not worth the money that goes along with such a poor movie that manages to get worse from theaters to DVD.