The two-disc special edition of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was a long-awaited item, but should keep both serious and casual Star Wars fans happy for a while, thanks to a slightly expanded version of the film and a plethora of extras. Disc one contains the film, transferred from a new print (as made clear by producer Rick McCallum some time ago). The transfer is anamorphic, at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is quite simply gorgeous to look at. The image is crisp and clean throughout, with vivid and subtle colors both, and deep, detailed blacks. There is no sign of edge enhancement and no indication of compression artifacts. The original soundtrack was recorded in Dolby Digital Surround 6.1 EX, but has been downmixed to 5.1 EX for this release. Again, the soundtrack is flawless, with excellent surround effects, excellent separation, and beautiful mixing work. The directional effects alone are worth hearing. The standard Dolby Surround downmix sounds quite good, though it does lose the directional definition of the 5.1 EX mix. The disc also includes a Spanish Surround mix which deserves notice for a combination of an excellent voice cast and perfect matching. Disc one also includes an audio commentary by George Lucas and Rick McCallum, along with other crew members. This commentary is highly entertaining, informative, and helped tremendously by supertitles above the image that identify the current speaker. Disc two is simply packed. There are seven deleted scenes to start with, completed especially for this DVD release. Some are hardly worth looking at, but the expanded pod race is quite an eye-opener. The scenes can be viewed separately, or as part of a documentary. Other documentary pieces include "The Beginning," which is a new one-hour documentary, the 12 web documentaries originally carried on www.starwars.com, and five featurettes covering aspects of the production. Another section includes the teaser and theatrical trailers, TV spots (including the "Tone Poems" spots), and the "Duel of the Fates" video. There is also a section of animatics, and a further section of stills and graphic images. A featurette about the making of the Starfighter game completes the disc. All told, disc two alone takes hours to work through. Additional content is available through the www.starwars.com DVD section, which is accessible via the Interactual player/browser utility included on the disc. The feature has 50 chapter stops. Menus and transitions are animated, with some cute and funny moments to be found. Both discs are single-sided, dual-layered, and come in a slimline dual disc case.