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''Scarface'': Now It's Really Loud

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 21, 2006

Tonight I'll be neck-deep in new TV (''The Office,'' ''Grey's Anatomy,'' ''CSI'') and plenty of you will be, too. Lots of office conversation today about ''Grey's.'' But since the conversation here is going to broaden to include a lot of other topics, let's also consider a movie question.


Specifically, what do you do when you want to make more money off something you've already released on DVD? Well, you repackage it. But what if you already packaged it really well? You decide to get really weird about your packaging.


At least, that's what's happening with Universal's DVD of Al Pacino's ''Scarface'' in a ''Platinum Edition'' on Oct. 3. Universal has released the movie before, including in a ''Two-Disc Anniversary Edition'' three years ago that was pretty well done.


For the new ''Platinum Edition,'' Universal has included four of the featurettes from the 2003 DVD (although not the ''Origins of a Hip-Hop Classic'' segment). But it has gone quite mad with a new extra, an optional onscreen counter that keeps track of how many times the F-word is used, and how many bullets fly.


The F-word counter is on the left side of the screen, right next to a little F-bomb (complete with fuse), while the bullet counter -- accompanied by a gun -- is on the right. The counts can increase with alarming rapidity, and it's even funny for a couple of minutes. I am sure, too, that faithful fans will study the accuracy of the F-word counter. (The bullet count is a little harder to follow.)


Now, that alone may be enough to get you to plunk down $29.98 for another copy of ''Scarface.'' (I think one per household should be enough. And in some cases too much. One of my co-workers cringed today when I matter-of-factly mentioned ''the chainsaw scene.'')


If you need more incentive, a Universal press release also promises ''BIGGER GUNS, BIGGER EXPLOSIONS and BIGGER SOUNDS!'' -- those are their capital letters -- via digitally remastered sound effects.


Universal sent out a demonstration disc comparing the previous release to the new one in the shootout-laden ''Say hello to my little fren' '' scene. Being the wary sort, I preferred to dig out my copy of the 2003 edition and compare it directly to the new release. Definitely louder. Very much louder. Not that the previous release was all that quiet.


I should probably say something about the outrageousness of changing a movie from its original form. In principle, that worries me. In practice, I keep thinking, come on, this is ''Scarface''!

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