The DVD’s main menu. See the rest of the menus here.
DVD Menus and Bonus Features
The bonus features on this release are sparse, but sufficient considering that it is a recut of an existing product.
The DVD menus are straight and to the point — static images with score playing over the top. The design is more reminiscent of the earlier DVD releases than the final couple of seasons. They look good, and the lack of animation is not a bad thing.
“Back to the Beginning” is a new featurette created to explain the reasons for the remake and just how it was done. It runs about seven and a half minutes, and includes new interviews with Brad Wright and visual effects supervisor Michelle Comens. Wright explains his reasons for wanting to redo a 12-year-old pilot, and Comens talks about the upgrades to the effects.
It’s important to have a piece like this on the re-release, but it’s pretty short and by-the-numbers. (If you’ve listened to our 2008 interview with Wright, much of what he says will be familiar already.) It would have been nice to have a longer and more in-depth look at the task of remaking the movie (with a look at the original dailies and more side-by-side comparisons of the different takes, for example). And while it would no doubt be awkward to have him show up here, we’d love to hear Jonathan Glassner’s take on both the original and the Final Cut. (For that, watch for GateWorld’s brand new interview with the co-creator of Stargate SG-1, coming soon!)
The audio commentary marks the very first for series lead Richard Dean Anderson (“Jack O’Neill”) and only the third for co-writer and executive producer Brad Wright. The two are clearly friends with a long history of working together, and they approach the commentary quite informally. As expected Wright points out the changes to the episode (including a lot of what viewers won’t have picked up on) and talks about his reasoning, while Anderson offers fun insights into the original filming of the show — and injects his trademark, dry humor.
Most interestingly, the two men hint at the politics involved in the pilot’s original creation, with Brad and Jonathan Glassner serving as co-creators and their editing decisions arbitrated by Jonathan Symes, president of MGM Television at the time. Wright originally tried to cut Carter’s “reproductive organs” line, for example, and Glassner put it back in, with Symes casting the tie-breaking vote.
Both features also address a drastic problem faced by the production, when an entire roll of film from the very first day of shooting showed up with a huge scratch down the middle. At the time they were forced to work around it, choosing shots they wouldn’t have otherwise used and even leaving the mark visible in some places. Today, digital technology allows them to remove the scratch and use the shots they wanted.
It is understandable why MGM would want to keep the remake’s modest budget focused on improving the movie itself, and not on producing a bunch of extensive bonus features. Fans won’t be buying this for the bonus features anyway. But the rare commentary with Wright and Anderson does add significant value.
NEXT: Final Conclusions