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There's a few things you need to know about this review before we begin. This is Spielberg, I love the guy and his movies and could write about him all day but 1) We only got sent a few of the discs from the boxset (luckily all the ones not previously available), 2) We got them fairly late, so this will have to be a quick overview of the set rather than the love letter piece I would like to have had with the great director's work and lastly 3) We didn't receive a copy of the book bound boxset to take a look at, so really the focus here is going to be on the new discs, a bit on the currently available discs and sadly no hands on overview with the boxset itself (so do feel free to let us know all about it in the comments section if any of you are picking it up).

Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
This new book bound boxset features eight of Spielberg's movies:

  • Duel (previously unavailable on Blu-ray)
  • The Sugarland Express (previously unavailable on Blu-ray)
  • Jaws
  • 1941 (Theatrical and Extended Versions) (previously unavailable on Blu-ray)
  • E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
  • Always (previously unavailable on Blu-ray
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park

The Discs



Duel



Video


Coming out of the softer credits sequence, Duel looks fantastic. It's a little gritty, and there's the odd soft edge and blurry shot but none of that is enough to reduce the wonderfully bright and clear widescreen presentation of this classic. The orange and browns of the film look fantastic and the warm sun gives everything a glow unmatched by previous releases. The image has a great feeling of depth to it with the big rig's distance to David Mann's (Dennis Weaver) car always being felt with the wide open country towns and long winding roads. Detail across the board is crisp and elements like the dirt on the big rig and the shine on car paintwork really feeling more rich than ever.

 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

Audio


The audio track is precise and works very well. The general driving ambience of engine and radio is as effective as ever but the power of the lorry is really the powerhouse of the track. Big and bassy and just scary to be around, just as it should be. The score sits very well too, hovering eerily over the clear dialogue or building to add to the constant tension.

Extras


There's nothing new here unfortunately, just a port over of the previous and great DVD release.

  • Conversation with SS (35:44 SD)
  • SS and the Small Screen (09:27 SD)
  • Richard Matheson: The Writing of Duel (09:24 SD)
  • Photograph and Poster Gallery
  • Trailer

 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

Sugarland Express (109 mins)



Video


Sugarland Express looks slightly worse off than Duel with its fair share of grain and softer elements and with a slightly darker filmic look generally but the enhancements are still felt. There are softer, detail lacking scenes, especially when a scene isn't under direct sunlight but when the film is bathed in light it really comes to life with twinkling eyes, sharp strong edges and the odd pop of primary colour. Generally speaking this is a rather soft aged affair that's had very little love in terms of remastering over the years and there's not a lot show off here. It does of course look better than the previous DVD release but much of the film sits in the shadow of the back of a car or in a house and it doesn't always get to show off.

 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

Audio


The audio track is a much smaller sounding stereo track that lives entirely in the front speakers and rather centrally too. Dialogue is clear at all times and everything is balanced but effects like skidding or revving engines feel very confined at times and not all that dynamic. Sugarland Express feels very much it's age in terms of sound design and is certainly has the least amount going on across the boxset.

Extras


No big surprise given how little love this film has had over the years but all we get extras wise is the usual original trailer (03:14 SD).
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

Jaws


Check out Gabe's in-depth Jaws review of the US release which mirrors this UK edition
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

1941 Theatrical (118 Mins) /1941 Extended (146 mins)

(Note: the two editions for 1941 come on two separate discs. The 1941 Extended disc comes with just an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track but all of the same subtitles tracks.

Video


The smoky, sort of dark looks of 1941 always seemed a bit hazy on DVD but everything is much brighter and crisp here on Blu-ray. The haze is still there but edges are much sharper and once again light sources really enhance the whole affair even when some brighter lightening actually blasts out detail at time. The night scenes were where 1941 really used to suffer but that all seems fine on Blu-ray with strong spotlights and even the smallest level of detail on uniforms or vehicles holding up much better than ever before. Everything from the miniature work to the wildly over the top set pieces for this madcap comedy looks noticeably better on this Blu-ray and even though the film is a chaotic for the most part, it certainly began to show off Spielberg's sense of scale and sense for beautifully constructed and presented sets and locations.

 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

Audio


The 5.1 Track on 1941 has always been good but not great. The score and sound effects are crisp and strong (well mostly, some of the SFX feel almost out of place in their lack of impact and comedy placements) but the dialogue always seemed a little lower than it needs to be to compete. That happens again here and there's the usual muffled elements in the higher pitches too. It's a strong track just one that seems to have aged in placement and style and not always down to the wacky set up the film has.

Extras


1941 always made up for itself with a fine set of extras, including the feature length making of that is always a great watch - they are all here.

  • Making of (101 mins)
  • Deleted Scenes (08:39)
  • Production Photographs
  • Trailer 1, 2 & 3

 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial



Video


I've watched E.T. many times on Blu-ray as it's up there with my favourite films of all time and my family adore it. The Blu-ray does everything right, it's rich in colour, the image is wonderfully sharp and detailed and everything from dark bedrooms to sunlit streets look absolutely beautiful. Like Jaws, this one is obviously the title to get a whole lot of love when it comes to restorations and Spielberg of course made sure this one fit his vision perfectly. Frankly put, this is the best E.T. has ever looked on home release.

 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

Audio


The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 here does the best score of all time a fantastic turn. It's incredibly strong and powerful and John William's work has never been so wonderfully celebrated on home release. Every layer of these wonderful pieces of music are heard and placements feel just right as the score envelopes you in its emotional ride. Dialogue is again fantastic and sound effects all carry well as well. Between E.T and Jaws this set holds two of the best HD remasters out there.

Extras




[*]Deleted Scenes (04:00 HD)
[*]Steven Spielberg & E.T (13:00 HD)
[*]The E.T. Journals (54:00 HD)
[*]A Look Back (38:00 SD)
[*]The Evolution and Creation of E.T. (50:00 SD)
[*]The E.T. Reunion (18:00 SD)
[*]The Music of E.T. : A Discussion with John Williams (10:00 SD)
[*]The 20th Anniversary Premiere (18:00 SD)
[*]Designs, Photographs and Marketing
[*]Theatrical Trailer
[*]Special Olympics TV Spot


 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

Always (122 mins)



Video


Always has always looked more like a TV movie than a Spielberg movie but in HD it gives it a new lease of life. Then image is nice and sharp, is loaded with detail at times and while the colours are a little muted there's still a pleasant warm glow to everything from skin tones to the luscious greens of the many trees dotted around the film. The blue sky looks fantastic and gives a real sense of the wide open skies and the image always has a strong sense of depth. All in all Always still has its TV movie looks most of the time but this HD upgrade makes for a nice revisit to the largely forgotten Spielberg movie.

 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

Audio


The 5.1 track is very much a frontal affair and not as dynamic as the pilot escapades should warrant but its all quite strong and clear even if it feels as if there zero bass backing anything up most of the time. The smallness of the track is very much felt throughout and it never quite lives up to excitement going on at times but there is a marked improvement over the previous DVD release.

Extras


Once again it's another Spielberg film that's had no love over the years so all we get is the original trailer (02:18 SD).

 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

Jurassic Park/The Lost World


Check out Gabes's detailed review of recent US Jurassic Park Trilogy boxset that mirrors the UK release but be sure to disregard Jurassic Park III as it was of course not directed my Spielberg and not included in this set.
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection

Overall


The Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection is a fine boxset covering the esteemed director’s work (even if there isn't anything at all modern in there due to The ‘Berg working out of many other studios in the last decade or so). Sadly, it’s a tough all out recommendation as I feel it might be a bit late in the collecting game for some fans, given that the big four titles ( Jaws, E.T. and the two JPs) have been available for a while and are no doubt owned by nearly everyone at this point (or available pretty cheaply separately via steelbooks and boxsets and whatever variation you might want).
 
With that said, Duel is a big draws here and even though some would consider the remaining three titles some of The ‘Berg’s weaker offerings, it’s still a good to have them on Blu-ray finally and well treated given their largely left out in the cold status when it comes to Spielberg's back catalogue.

As I said, I have not had sight of the book this is all housed, or the level of quality or depth of writing in it or indeed the boxset’s packaging but for those of you who have not yet taken steps into the world of Steven Spielberg on Blu-ray, given the unavailability of at least half the titles and the quality of the bigger blockbuster titles, this would make one hell of a Christmas present I’d imagine.

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.

 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection
 Steven Spielberg Director's Collection


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