The Specials: Special Edition
The Specials, released in a limited theatrical run in late 2000, is a super-hero comedy by first-time director Craig Mazin. The film stars Rob Lowe (Weevil), Jamie Kennedy (Amok), Thomas Haden Church (Strobe), Paget Brewster (Ms. Indestructible), and James Gunn (Minute Man), who also wrote the film.
The Specials, the 6th or 7th greatest super-team in the world, consists of the Strobe, Minute Man, Weevil, Deadly Girl, Amok, VIII, Power Chick, Ms. Indestructible, Mr. Smart, U.S. Bill, Doug the Alien Orphan, and the newest member, Nightbird. Only fighting real super villains six or seven times a year, the Specials biggest enemies are the egos of a few members, their infighting, and a few love affairs. However, a new toy line by KOSGRO toys promises to change all that by bolstering their image and giving them some much needed publicity. But at the party, Strobe catches his wife, Ms. Indestructible, with the Weevil. Angered by this and their shoddy toy line, Strobe disbands the Specials and the members go their separate ways. But when danger calls, will the Specials put aside their differences and band together once again?
The Specials is a fairly funny super-hero film that I enjoyed; however, as the Weevil said in the film, "…the Specials weren't meant for everybody. They were meant for the oddball, the rebel, the outcast, the geek." While I'm unsure of which of those categories I fit into, his advice is sound: the film won't appeal to everyone. The team is comprised of all sorts of weirdness that leads to many funny moments. The story and acting are both decent as well. The only slight disappointment I had with the film was that there was no big battle or a real chance for them to use their super powers, like in Mystery Men. However, at the very end, the characters do get to show off their powers for a moment, which was nice.
The Specials is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. For a film less than a year old, I really expected a flawless print, but such is not the case. Small white specks pop up quite frequently, and while not distracting at first, they soon become an annoyance. There is some grain present in the film as well, though its mostly confined to the darker scenes. Colors are vibrant, flesh tones are accurate, and blacks are decent.
The Specials is presented in Dolby Surround 2.0. The film is almost entirely dialogue-driven, with very little surround use. Dialogue sounds crisp and clean throughout with no distortion that I detected. The film's music sounds quite good as well.
Billed as Special Edition, the main extra is an audio commentary by Mazin, Gunn, the producer, Mark Altman, and the Visual Effects Supervisor Mojo. I found the commentary to be fairly interesting and amusing, though I'd recommend it only to fans of the film. Also included on the disc is the complete toy commercial and the complete wedding video, both of which appeared in the film, ten deleted scenes, a photo gallery of 24 pictures, and the film's trailer. The deleted scenes are mostly the "interview with a Special" type that appears periodically throughout the film; several of them are quite funny and could've been left, though I'm glad that a few of them were cut.
Those who enjoy comedic super-hero films, such as Mystery Men, should give the Specials a try. Pioneer's DVD boasts decent audio/video and some cool extras for fans of the film. Recommended.