David Fincher’s 1997 psychological thriller, The Game, had the misfortune to be the follow-up to the seminal Seven, and although reasonably well-received it could not match either the critical plaudits or the box office of that movie.
This was a real shame because The Game would be a career high for most directors, but such was the quality of Fincher’s work with Brad Pitt – before and straight after – that this tale of twisted reality would be forever in the shadow of the twin towers of Seven and Fight Club.
Both of those movies quickly received extensive two-disc DVD releases at the dawn of the format with multiple audio commentaries, deleted scenes, alternate endings and even such detail as explorations of how video and audio are mastered for the home theatre. In comparison The Game was rather neglected. The original DVD release had virtually no extras at all, although that was eventually superseded with a ‘special edition’ that was more generous.
Now we have what looks like the ultimate The Game release – the Criterion Blu-ray ‘Director Approved’ special edition, which was issued September 2012. It is not the debut of the film on Blu-ray, but it looks like a superb package.
A new restored digital transfer by the original director of photography, two 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks to choose from, and some new behind the scenes footage, look to be the pick of the features, although audio commentaries and an alternate ending also feature amongst the bonus selections.
The extras are still not as extensive as those for some of Fincher’s other films, but you get the feeling that the tank is now empty with this Criterion release as far as The Game is concerned.
Maybe with the TLC shown here, it is time for this movie to finally step of the shadows and stand shoulder to shoulder with Seven and Fight Club. That was a superb run of film-making that Fincher is unlikely to match again.
This Blu-ray is a region A disc.
- • USA ORDER: The Game (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
- • CANADA ORDER: The Game (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
- • UK ORDER: Criterion Collection: The Game [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
THE GAME – Director Approved Special Edition:
- • New, restored digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Harris Savides, with original theatrical 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
- • Alternate 5.1 surround mix optimized for home theater viewing, supervised by sound designer Ren Klyce and presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
- • Audio commentary by director David Fincher, Savides, actor Michael Douglas, screenwriters John Brancato and Michael Ferris, digital animation supervisor Richard “Dr.” Baily, production designer Jeffrey Beecroft, and visual effects supervisor Kevin Haug
- • An hour’s worth of exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and film-to-storyboard comparisons for four of the film’s major set pieces, with commentary
- • Alternate ending
- • Trailer and teaser, with commentary
- • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Sterritt