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There's Much More 'Armageddon' in DVD Release

May 27, 1999|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Though the 1998 blockbuster "Armageddon" has been out on DVD since fall, the disc had no extra bells and whistles. The new Buena Vista/Criterion Collection two-disc set, though, has more than five hours of extra goodies, which should send the film's fans into the stratosphere--assuming they want to shell out $50 for it, that is.

The first disc offers director Michael Bay's longer cut of the sci-fi thriller about a killer asteroid hurtling to Earth, including scenes not shown theatrically. The first audio commentary features Bay, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and stars Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck.

Bay is an interesting, enthusiastic guide through this big-budget extravaganza. Because he got his start in commercials, he's a fast shooter. In fact, the complicated asteroid attack of New York was shot in just four days and featured real effects, not computer-generated ones. Bay offers such tidbits as the fact that the little dog who attacks the Godzilla toys was flown from New York to Los Angeles for those scenes. The dog's salary: $20,000. The production also shelled out $20,000 to have Affleck's teeth capped so he would look more like an adult hero.

Bay also talks about how he encourages his actors to improvise and says he had to "sex up" NASA because the real facility looks like it's trapped in a '50s time warp.

Though Willis is a boring washout, Affleck is really funny as he constantly does impressions of co-star Billy Bob Thornton, as his character from "Sling Blade," and of Willis.

The second audio commentary features asteroid consultant Ivan Bekey, NASA consultant Joe Allen and cinematographer John Schwartzman.

The second disc features deleted scenes, a gag reel, the music video of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," plus an interview with the group, a storyboard gallery, several trailers and TV spots and an analysis of the special effects by the team of Richard Hoover, Pat McClung and Hoyt Yeatman.

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Though the Farrelly Brothers' "Kingpin" didn't have the theatrical success of their hits "Dumb and Dumber" and "There's Something About Mary," this outrageous 1996 comedy--starring Woody Harrrelson as a one-handed, washed-up bowler and Randy Quaid as an Amish bowler--has done well on video.

MGM has just released a special wide-screen and pan-and-scan DVD edition of "Kingpin" ($25), which features seven rather tasteless deleted scenes. These scenes have transformed the PG-13 film into an R-rated disc. Peter and Bobby Farrelly's commentary is a kick, whether they are talking about how Bill Murray tore up his script and improvised his scenes as a corrupt bowler, or pointing out all the friends they cast in the film.

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Also new: "Run Silent, Run Deep" (MGM, $25): a taut, well-acted World War II sub drama starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster and directed by Robert Wise. Featured in both pan and scan and wide screen.

"Pork Chop Hill" (MGM, $25): Lewis Milestone directed this gritty 1959 Korean War action drama starring Gregory Peck. Featured in both pan and scan and wide screen.

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