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Die Hard (1988)

NOTE: These commentaries are only available on the "Five Star Collection" release of Die Hard.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director John McTiernan and production designer Jackson DeGovia Rating:7.1/10 (24 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Dang on May 15th, 2008:Find all reviews by Dang
Lots of information from both speakers. McTiernan has interesting things to say about the creative choices made for the movie, and why they were made. Only flaw is a few slow moments where nothing is being said. Worth a listen.
Reviewed by Uniblab on December 29th, 2008:Find all reviews by Uniblab
Very informative indeed. It could have been really great if both commentators had recorded a full-length, individual track. McTiernan may not speak in a pleasant way to the listener, but it can't be denied that he's very articulate, whether to tell production anecdotes, describe shots, and share creative decisions taken on both script and direction levels. DeGovia is very successful and interesting in analyzing the movie's superiority compared to its various imitations.
Reviewed by sedna on September 10th, 2012:Find all reviews by sedna
I agree, I would have loved to hear both commentators in this track to have recorded full tracks because they're extremely informative. However, this track does a wonderful job blending the best, most insightful and informative pieces into one. There's an insurmountable source of information from both McTiernan and DeGovia. What's great is that DeGovia, besides giving you information about the production design, indulges in talking about storytelling, and film philosophy. There is an absolutely delightful section starting at 32 minutes in, all the way through 52 minutes, that deals with a ton of filmmaking / film theory discussion from both McT and DeGovia. I was giddy with excitement just rushing to jot down all the timeframes (as I usually do when I listen to commentaries) of all the valuable material these two were divulging. If you're an aspiring filmmaker, this commentary is extremely knowledgeable. I myself have found it very informative and have learned a lot. I will be coming back to this often.
Reviewed by Whispered on March 28th, 2017:Find all reviews by Whispered
Worth the price alone just to hear McT's espousing of European camera movement, how films are music, not words, etc. Great plumbing of a master director's process here.
Reviewed by grimjack on March 1st, 2024:Find all reviews by grimjack
Surprisingly excellent commentary. It feels like there are several moments of silence, but when they talk, it is usually to give us some interesting insights both to the film making process, the production of this film, and even lots of behind the scene stories about how everything just seemed to come together to make the film right.

There is a little talk about what the film was initially going to be like. And some severe changes they made to the story. And how he fought to have various visuals put into the film (he liked to shoot like a European and wanted cuts on movement, which was a big no-no at the time). And how when they started the film, they were not sure how it would end, so there are some problems with the early scenes and continuity.

He seems annoyed with how the film is cropped for TV and videotape, and was glad to see the widescreen DVD version, as he says you miss a lot of the geography of the film. And he used the full screen, as he did not make his film to be viewed on televisions.

He even seems a little amazed at times, that he was able to mix comedy with action in just the right amount. And how it was sort of Bruce Willis first film like this, how lucky he was to get Alan Rickman for his first film. And even the police officer was new to roles like this

It is a good listen, and I especially like that he understands how perfect of a film he made. He says he cannot help but see little mistakes and thinks of things he missed that he wanted to put in, but overall he knows this is a film that will always be remembered as a classic.
Commentary 2: Visual effects producer Richard Edlund Rating:6.0/10 (9 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Dang on May 15th, 2008:Find all reviews by Dang
Flat and boring. Lots of slow moments where nothing is being said. The man is not a gifted speaker. Only worth a listen for those very interested in visual effects.
Reviewed by Uniblab on December 28th, 2008:Find all reviews by Uniblab
Perhaps the disappointment with this commentary stems from the fact that it was probably taken from an interview, and plays more as an "audio essay" than a regular commentary. What Edlund says not only doesn't always corresponds to what's on the screen, but also doesn't even require the listener to see the movie simultaneously. All these annoyances don't prevent Edlund's lecture from being very interesting. He doesn't talk only about the movie, but does a kind of "Philosophy of Visual Effects", talking about their purpose and role in different kinds of movies, as well as showing his great knowledge of cinema technique and throwing good catchphrases like "it's the way God meant movies to be made" or "from blacksmiths to neurosurgeons".