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A bored teenager sitting next to my wife in the cinema was fidgeting on his cellular phone throughout the entire Spider-man movie, composing lengthy SMS messages.

Maybe the movie lacked a villain with clear goal in mind. Perhaps the inevitable sequel will feature a mad scientist villain who wants to destroy all cell phones and Spider-man must stop him. Maybe today's teenagers will identify with that. Who knows? I'm just not sure what will constitute a happy ending in such an event. I'm rooting for the villain to destroy all those annoying cell phones, which seem to have taken over their "owners" . . .

WORTH IT? But if you don't want to sit next to any bored teenagers and if you're not averse to a bit of lawbreaking, you can download the pirate version of this movie that appeared on the Internet the day before its American premiere.

Even though the movie was attained via a technique called Telesync, which involves pointing a mounted digital camera, at a cinema screen, the image and sound quality is surprisingly good. In fact, the DVD I picked up featured a stereo soundtrack! (Unlike the lousy Episode II pirate copy doing the rounds, Spider-man was filmed in an empty cinema without any audience present and sound equipment attached to the speakers for audio clarity.)

RECOMMENDATION: Scarily enough the DVD I bought even had an animated menu with chapter selections and features the theatrical trailer (albeit in a heavily pixellated format - no doubt an MPEG downloaded from the, er, Web). However, the picture quality is still below what one expects from the DVD format and is closer to an inferior VHS tape. Still, if you can't wait, then your local friendly pirate can help you out I'm sure.

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