I didn't appreciate this movie in the theaters but for some reason it's much better on DVD.
I guess extended only refers to the film but even then I couldn't tell the difference.
Con Air is one of those movies that you either like or you don't. There really isn't much of a middle ground. You aren't going to get too many people saying, "That film was okay." When I first saw this tale of Cameron Poe (Nicholas Cage) onboard a plane that is taken over by the convicts it is transporting, I didn't like it. I thought that Cage was acting like an imbecile (not the character, but the way he was acting was imbecilic). I didn't understand how the prisoners could take the plane to a neutral location and somehow be "free." There were a lot of blank spots that I just didn't get.
A few years later, being out of film school and just wanting to enjoy movies again, I rescreened this film on DVD and I loved it. Cage no longer bothered me, the plot no longer bothered me (I don't think it ever bothered the producers), and I just sat back and enjoyed this movie for the good time that it is. Watching this version of Con Air in an extended cut, I have to admit I didn't notice too many things about it that were different. I still enjoyed it but I wasn't able to disseminate what was different about this version than any of the others.
I could watch them side by side but I don't think that that would do anyone any good.
No Special Features on this "Extended Edition."
2.35:1 - Aspect Ratio. This movie has a bigness to it that does nothing but celebrate what a good time it is. There aren't many imagistic moments and those that are there are thankfully brief. Simon West has created a movie that mixes just the right amount of music video and classical film language. The DVD transfer and compression has been done with great care. Even on my smaller system, I feel I got the full effects of it. Now, the big problem for fans is going to come when this movie gets rereleased in High Definition. Are they going to want to pay again for that?
Dolby Digital 5.1. The audio in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie is always good. In fact, it seems like an equal amount of work has gone into the sound in addition to the look. It didn't make sense to me until now, but I think that Bruckheimer produced film's are the only ones that I go to because of their sound design. Everything about it raises the stakes of the story and contributes something to the largeness that these films have.
The front cover of this DVD looks like they have taken a piece of a plane and awkwardly inserted a picture of John Malkovich, Nicholas Cage and John Cusack on it. The back cover has some pictures from the movie, a description of what Con Air is about, a cast list and some technical specs. Overall, the only thing extended about this set seems to be the title.
Okay, why are there no Special Features on this DVD? Why just release an extended version of Con Air? This isn't Apocalypse Now we're talking about! It's a fun, popcorn movie that doesn't need to be made into anything more than that. I could slag the producers but I honestly think that Jerry Bruckheimer makes good films. He's obviously done something correct to attract the fans to come to his movies. How many producers do you know that can open a movie? I don't hear people beating down the door to see the most recent Christine Vachon flick?
While I think people might feel ripped off by this being called an "Extended Cut," it's always a good idea to read the packaging before you purchase the DVD, right?
Con Air was released June 5, 1997.