It seems that this fantastic
film is to be re-released in US Theatres
this Spring by Pioneer Entertainment
A DVD will then follow in the Summer which is to be completely restored and re-mixed into Dolby Digital 5.1. Apparently a new English dub will also be supplied from a better translation of the Japanese script.
I haven't been able to tell if the original Japanese soundtrack will be available along with English subtitles, but judging from the outcry over the Mononoke Hime DVD, it's bound to be in there somewhere.
The only extra I know of so far is a comparison between the original and the restored visuals.
I can only hope that they will include plenty of other extras like the Making Of documentary, so that I can finally replace my Collector's Edition VHS.
The current release date for the DVD special edition is July 24th. The first 100,000 of these are packaged in a Limited Edition tin case
*eyes glaze over*.
The features confirmed are:
- New Film Transfer from the original negative, featuring restored & re-mastered sound
- New English Translation of Original Screenplay Used For Dubbing
- Theatrical Trailer(s) & TV Spot(s)
- "Production Report" (The Making of Akira)
- "Sound Clip" (a documentary on the creation of the soundtrack)
- Director's Interview (conducted in 1988)
- Production Materials
- "Restoring Akira", featurette
- Akira Glossary
There are two movie-only editions each with different sound formats also. I have this pre-ordered, so the moment I get my hands on it and have finished dissecting both discs (although many of the special features are already on the collector's Edition Video Set) I will provide a more detailed review of the DVD.
I got my copy of Akira in a much beefier tin than I imagined it would be, very nice. The actual DVD is a mixed bag. The menus are very stylish, possible my favourite of any of the DVD's I own. The film transfer is fine, I can't really say more than that, it doesn't strike me as exceptional. The sound is the same, although I am disappointed with the 5.1 surround. It barely seemed to be used, no bass rumbles, hardly any movement from the other speakers. I didn't listen to the new dub so I can't comment on that. The subtitle translation differed ever so slightly in places from the original, but was much clearer for it.
One feature that deserves a mention is the capsule option. Very often throughout the film, a capsule will appear at the bottom of the screen. Pressing play will pause the action, and give you a translation of any grafitti in the current scene. It's an interesting addition.
The other special features aren't really that special, there are the old interviews and 'making of' documentaries which now look very dated. The new feature on how they restored the movie is useless. They tell you what they did to restore it, but not how. All you get are a few short segments with various people telling you what they did, with no real insight whatsoever into the processes involved.
Overall my reaction to this DVD is very mixed. I am glad I now have a superior quality version to my VHS edition, but it doesn't live up to the hype. It seems to be all style and no substance, if only Criterion had overseen this project.
Also in response to Wukong888: Indeed, Akira certainly isn't the deepest film out there, but many, many people have a special place for it in their hearts. It was one of the first anime films I ever saw, and the one that captured my imagination. Like Princess Mononoke now, Akira was a stunning introduction for people who normally might not have ever discovered anime.