Hot on the heels of Republic Pictures’ recent release of “Highlander, The Director’s Cut,” marking the 10th anniversary of the swordplay classic, comes a much-modified sequel, “Highlander 2: Renegade Version, The Director’s Cut” (109 minutes, Rated R; VHS, $19.98; laser disc, $69.88).
Like all such director’s cuts, “Renegade” - originally released as “Highlander 2: The Quickening” - was reworked to bring it closer to what the filmmakers originally intended. An obvious difference is the change in subtitles; among the new surprises within the film itself is an explanation of how another planet exiled the immortals to Earth.
The plot remains much the same: Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery reunite when Connor MacLeod (Lambert) calls up the spirit of his mentor, Juan Ramirez (Connery), and they join in one final, fiery battle to save mankind. Michael Ironside and Virginia Madsen co-star.
Before re-editing the film, producers Peter Davis and Bill Panzer and director Russell Mulcahy shot and added 19 minutes of new footage to bring the film closer to how it was first envisioned. This version also has been digitally remastered in a letterbox format, with a new look and state-of-the-art special optical effects.
The two-piece laser disc set contains a running audio commentary by the director and producers and an extensive still-frame supplemental section. The soundtrack has been digitally remastered in Dolby Digital Surround Sound, and both picture and sound are THX certified.
In addition, the studio has included a behind-the-scenes documentary entitled “Highlander 2: To Be or Not To Be A Sequel” on both laser disc and VHS. This is a great edition for movie buffs who yearn to know everything about the film.
The original theatrical film has spawned extensive merchandising, national fan conventions and a television show, “Highlander: The Series,” starring Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod, born 70 years after Connor.
The Highlander Web site, at http://www.highlander-official.com, features graphics, behind-the-scenes footage, background information on actors and producers, reviews, interactive games and contests.
Walt is Mickey on Disney video
Something to help the little ones pass the summer months: the re-release of Disney’s ninth full-length animated feature, “Fun and Fancy Free” (1947, rated G, 73 min., VHS, $27; CLV laser disc, $29.99; CAV laser disc, $49.99).
Walt Disney Home Video released a painstakingly restored version this week to mark the movie’s 50th anniversary. The new version has a cleaned-up soundtrack and vivid colors not seen in the original release.
“Fun and Fancy Free” was the last animated feature for which Walt Disney served as the voice of Mickey Mouse. He first did Mickey’s voice in 1928, but got too busy with other things (like “Cinderella” and “Alice in Wonderland”) and reluctantly turned over the voicing duties to studio sound-effects expert Jim Macdonald, who did Mickey until he retired in 1977. (Mickey is now voiced by Wayne Allwine.)
“Fun and Fancy Free” offers two separate stories.
One - “Mickey and the Beanstalk” - had Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy together for the first time in an animated feature.
They climb the beanstalk to rescue the singing harp in a story narrated by Edgar Bergen and his wooden pals, Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd.
In the other tale, “Bongo,” a little performing bear who has become a circus star is tired of the life he leads. Dinah Shore narrates.