Even if you know nothing about "Daredevil", you'll be an expert by the end of this highly entertaining and innovative two-disc kick-ass DVD.
Picture Beautifully rich with colour, and deep with detail in the shadow world sequences, this is a particularly sharp transfer.
Sound Just how vengeful and angry do you like your 5.1 mixes? You can pick between Dolby or an even more furious DTS mix, but both contain a staggering amount of effects to illustrate Daredevil's enhanced hearing abilities.
Disc One Special Features
Audio Commentary Director Mark Steven Johnson and producer Gary Foster get together for an informative commentary on how the film was shot. They had many ideas on how to illustrate the super sensory powers of Daredevil on the screen and these are discussed here.
Quite why they didnít just mock-up an alleyway for a key scene in the film is a mystery though. Instead, they used a notoriously dangerous alley and crack addict hang-out in Los Angeles to double for New York. Nobody wanted them there so nets had to be hung to catch all the debris people were throwing at them, and some crew wore hard hats. Still, it makes for a good story, if still slightly puzzling as to why they should put themselves in such peril.
Text Commentaries: If you choose this subtitle option, facts about the movie and comic book flash-up throughout the film.
Enhanced Viewing Mode: This is an impressive feature that brings up menus during the film so you can watch special effects sequences, in multi-angle, with commentary from the visual effects supervisor.
Disc Two Special Features
Much like the "Spider-man" DVD, this disc two offers you an initial choice between features relating to the film or the comic book.
Beyond Hell's Kitchen This hour-long documentary on the making of the film comes with an enhanced viewing mode, opening up further mini-featurettes on specific effects, and the preparation for the fantastic playground sequence choreographed by Master Cheung Yan Yuen's highly entertaining wire team.
The documentary also charts the long production history of the film as rights went from Fox to Disney to Sony, and then finally to Regency with distribution by Fox. In between all this chopping and changing, Marvel nearly went bankrupt (not as a result of "Daredevil" rights though). Once with Regency, Mark Steven Johnson relentlessly nagged them to let him direct the film. As he'd never done a project of comparable size before they were reluctant to let him have a shot, but he won through in the end. The rest of this documentary goes behind the scenes of what turns out to be an interesting shoot.
Jennifer Garner's Screen Test Garner starts off here just looking sullen, but before long she's illuminating the screen... bless.
Multi-Angle Dailies This feature is quite cool as not only can you watch scenes in multi-angle but also alternate takes. The fight between Daredevil and Kingpin is great fun to watch being shot.
Featured Villain: Kingpin If this short interview with Michael Clarke Duncan about his character in the movie proves anything, it's that we need more Clarke Duncan than the few minutes on offer here. This guy is a man mountain of charm.
Daredevil First Look Special These HBO programmes can veer between dangerously cheesy to rather good. This effort is thankfully closer to the rather good end of the spectrum due to the behind-the-scenes footage of the highly inventive and enjoyable fight choreography.
Moving through Time and Space with Tom Sullivan This featurette is all about Tom Sullivan, a man who has been blind since birth. It's not held him back though as we see him go through impressive workouts, play golf, play the piano and exercise considerable skills. He was advisor to "Daredevil" for partially sighted issues.
Additional Extra Features Also in the 'Film' section of disc two are trailers, three music videos and five stills galleries.
Man Without Fear: Creating Daredevil This hour-long look at Marvel and the Daredevil character is a dream for comic fans. The history of Marvel is covered, with Stan Lee interviewed about his inspiration for the blind superhero and his fears about the character. The various pencillers through the decades of Daredevil are all interviewed, explaining their individual contributions and chatting about the art of pacing in a comic book.
Shadow World Tour The execution of this feature is a little clunky but a worthwhile idea. Comic scenes alternate between live action footage from the film to make up a scene, but the pacing is too slow.
Modelling Sheets Finally, we end with profiles of the characters that inhabit the world of Daredevil.
Ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1
Audio Tracks: English and English for the visually impaired
Menus: A series of highly slick menus draw you into the Shadow World where you can make your choices...
Special Features Subtitles All of the special features come with subtitles apart from the trailer and music videos.
The "Daredevil" DVD is out to buy in the UK from Monday 14th July 2003.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-N5 DVD player.