Mallrats 10th Anniversary DVD Review
PictureThe theatrical version has a 1.85:1 aspect anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TV's picture with an average bitrate of 6.50 Mbps. For the most part the picture can best be described as average; it is clear and bright with good detailing. Colours are nicely bright, but do tend towards the blue a little. Brightness and contrast are well set, even though there is no need for the deep blacks within the film, the rear of the TV set scenes are well realised with no loss of detail. Digitally there I spotted no compression artefacts, but there was edge enhancement visible during some scenes. There were no original print problems and pleasantly no film grain either, impressive considering the 'low' budget nature of the film. Clearly then, without the sheen, polish or depth, but equally no real problems it falls fairly and squarely in the average bracket.
The extended version has a 1.85:1 aspect anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TV's picture with an average bitrate of 5.98 Mbps. This version has been compiled from various different sources, the best of which is the theatrical version above. The other sections are a pretty mixed bag, for example the opening scenes are comparable to the theatrical print, whilst with some scene extensions there is a noticeable drop in quality. In such cases the print is darker, with drab colours, though these are rare. On occasion there is some print damage also seen. There are also occasional frames missing between these extensions, these are 'disclaimered' by Smith and Mosier in their introduction. However, all these negatives don't make for a bad watch, they are not particularly distracting and one quickly gets used to it, so once again I'd place this in the average bracket.
SoundBoth theatrical and extended versions have three Dolby digital tracks, English 5.1, Spanish 2.0 Surround and French 2.0 Surround. As we know Smith loves to talk, he has all his characters talk loads, clearly then this film is not suited to a fully immersive sound experience, having said that there are some quite nice effects, from both the score and the ambience. Dialogue, the most important part of the film, is always clear, well defined and precise and well centred in the frontal array. There is also a nice range, perhaps a little light on the bass, but this is Dolby so we can forgive and there is little bass to speak of in the film. Finally, I was never disappointed with the track, much like the picture there is neither polish nor sheen, but works well for the film.
The French and Spanish surround tracks are flatter by comparison, both really a stereo track with little to the rears. They sound like the same track excluding the dubbing.
ExtrasAt first glance this extras list is very impressive, however there are a number duplicated direct from the original collectors disc, the new extras though are very impressive.
First, the duplicated extras, a quick glance since most will already know. There is the excellent feature commentary with Kevin Smith, Ben Afflect, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Scott Mosier and Vincent Pereira. All these people are obvious friends, they discuss much and there is much laughter. The only thing that ages this commentary is the constant references to the 'latest production' Chasing Amy, and the 'come scene'. Otherwise this is a very enjoyable track, there is never a break and someone always has something interesting or offbeat to say, even if it is at a tangent.
Next is View Askew's look back at Mallrats, still young and fresh faced, but with knowledge that their film was a box office flop and resurrected on video/DVD, interesting from a historical point of view; complements the new extra of interviews with the cast and crew on the set; these are very fresh and young faces eager to please and filled with a hopeless innocence that their project is the best in the world; great history.
The music video of the Goops song Build me up Buttercup was directed by Smith as a tie in to the film, shameless it is too.
Finally there is the theatrical trailer for the film rounding up the old, so onto the new.
First up there is The Erection Of An Epic - The Making Of Mallrats, starts off with comments from the onset interviews, and then launches into all new material. Everyone is interviewed including critics that panned it on its initial release, who now kinda like it. There is no one specific argument for the films box office failure; all have their theories and all are explored in this great piece of reflection. No stone is left unturned and all are candid, but still very complimentary in their dissection of the film.
Kevin Smith has a brief (twenty minutes - it's brief for him) set of questions and answers to an unseen interviewer; the questions are written for us to read before he answers. I love to hear this guy talk, I find him funny whereas other find him crass, so I liked this extra, much of what he says though can be found in other areas of the disc.
There are a number of outtakes, all pretty lame and of atrocious quality.
Finally for this side of the disc there are some production photographs.
On to side two; there is an introduction to the extended version by Smith and Mosier, they basically explain why this version was made, the problems they had with it and generally lark around, only need to see this once I think.
For me the best extra on the disc is the Q&A with the cast and crew at a tenth anniversary reunion. This is in much the same style as the Evening with Kevin Smith DVD, he along with Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Jeremy London , Renee Humphrey, Scott Mosier, James Jacks (producer) and David Kline (cinematographer) sit on stage and answer questions from an audience. There are some truly laugh out loud moments during its fifty minute run time, and some truly weird ones, I don't know what it is, but Smith seems to attract them!
Finally for the extras section I have found four easter eggs, three on side A and one side B. On side A, the first is found by pressing up on the remote on the main menu to highlight flames above the Mallrats insignia, it plays an outtake from the Kevin Smith Q & A. The second is found on the languages menu, press right from the commentary to highlight an ! next to Lee's head, it plays an 'interview' with Jason Lee conducted by Jason Mewes. Finally for this side on the bonus menu, press left to highlight a gun on Smith, it plays Mosier and Smith berating you for looking for easter eggs. The one on the side B is found on the special features menu by pressing up on the remote twice to highlight an X next to Mallrats: the reunion, it plays outtakes of Lee in the lingerie department.
VerdictMallrats may not be the best film out there, but it is certainly not the worst. After ten years it seems to have matured like a cheese, rather than a wine, and has become all the better for it; even those that hated it now come to appreciate what it was Smith was trying to achieve. As impressive as the 2003 collector's edition was, if you are a fan of the film, I would defiantly consider upgrading. The extended film really is not that much, but with the wealth of extras, especially the reunion Q&A it is well worth it.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £16.72
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