Monster: Special Edition DVD Review
PictureWe have a perfectly acceptable print with perfectly reasonable quality that will not get in the way of the storytelling, but nor will in thrill or inspire you. The 1.85:1 anamorphic print is clean and free from any analogue or digital print damage. The movie is dark in nature and the print is dark in tone. Primary colours are muted in the daytime, and only come alive in the bright lights of the cars and distant city as Eileen plies her trade on the dangerous highways of Florida, almost mockingly out of reach. The only other time colours are punched up is the courtroom scenes with Eileen in her garish orange jumpsuit. Some of the darker scenes loose a small amount of shadow detail and become grainy in the deep shadows but they are not intrusive. A perfectly acceptable modern print, but not outstanding.
SoundDTS YAAAY. Well yes a DTS track is present, and it does add the features I have become accustomed to in a good DTS mix, added bass, added space and added volume over its Dolby Digital cousin, however the benefits of DTS are never really utilised, or indeed required. A few scenes during Selby and Eileen's courtship have some wonderful 80's rock music (I'm sorry but it is my generation) that blasts with life from the surround channels, and the sub is woken from its slumber by the few gunshots, but otherwise the dialogue heavy track doesn't need the extra bandwidth of DTS.
ExtrasThis two disc special edition proclaims over two hours of added value on the slip case, but I was terribly disappointed by the missed opportunities for inclusion in this set. What we get is a feature commentary, largely by director Jenkins and star Theron, that is as intense as it is informative, but given the subject matter this was never going to be a jolly chatty affair was it? There are seven extended or deleted scenes with optional commentary, they add little to the story and it was easy to see why they were dropped. The “Behind the scenes” documentary is now almost compulsory on even the most basic DVD, and it is present and correct here. While not lightweight studio fluff, it does not have as much content as I wanted. We get a few talking heads and some on set footage and a brief glimpse of Charlize in make-up, but given that the events are all real, and the locations are all real and he people involved are all real it would seem sensible to give us more of the reality of the story in the documentary. I wasn't expecting Nick Broomfield quality but some of the actual events and people involved would have added meat to the bones of this lacklustre featurette
The extras are rounded out with an interview with the composer the erudite and succinct BT, and a totally hopeless film mixing demo which held my attention for about 10 seconds.
VerdictMonster is a testament to the storytelling power of film, the determination of the director and the sacrifices to her art of a movie star. It is not entertaining but it is enthralling and I would urge you to see it. This disc however offers little over the standard edition. The extras are not worthy of a purchase and neither is the DTS track, although it is OK. This is a movie that was hard to watch a second time, and I think would be impossible to watch a third, so purchase is not essential, but do rent or borrow a copy.
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