Reservoir Dogs: Special Edition DVD Review
PictureThe anamorphic 2.35:1 image is sharp and detailed throughout - this is one of those transfers where skin pores and even individual facial hairs are readily discernable. Colours are rich, but seem a touch over saturated - at least as far as reds and greens are concerned. This is quite noticeable during the warehouse scenes where the walls appear perhaps a tad too green at times. I could be way off base here, but I wonder if blues have been filtered slightly to accentuate the colour of the copious amount of blood on display? Video noise is held pretty firmly in check, although you may notice a touch of mpeg artefacts in the background of a few shots. Edge enhancement is conspicuous by its absence and blacks are deep and strong, allowing for good contrast levels.
Overall I'd say this two disc release has picture quality worthy of the Special Edition tag.
SoundFor a movie that is renowned for its scenes of violence Reservoir Dogs is surprisingly dialogue driven for the most part, with little by the way of sound effects to really test any home theatre system. Rear surround channels are used sparingly and gunshots tend to err on the side of “tinny” rather than the deep full bodied blasts of more recent films. I was a little surprised by this - early on in the movie, shortly after the scene where Joe and his gang of many colours chip in for the waitress' tip, the accompanying music (Little Green Bag by the George Baker Selection) has some deep, strong bass and raised my hopes for what may come. Sadly my hopes were never fully realised and for the most part the 448Kbps Dolby Digital track is best described as functional. Ultimately I felt the audio side of things was just a little bit of a let down - especially as we on this side of the pond lose the DTS track that is available on the region 1 release.
ExtrasThis new Special Edition boasts 3 hours of supplemental features, on disc two, and I was eager to put the quality of these extras to the test. First up, though, was the audio commentary found on disc one. Quentin Tarantino is “joined” by producer Lawrence Bender and selected cast and crew members. The speech marks are there merely to indicate that this is one of those commentaries that have been spliced together, with input being recorded separately and then edited together. It also has a lot of introduction lead-ins - which I always find stifles the flow of the commentary somewhat, but is perhaps understandable given the circumstances. Tarantino immediately describes the commentary as being newly recorded for “The 10th Anniversary DVD release” - so this isn't a newly recorded commentary. But, is it any good? I thought it was OK... but most of the insights are available elsewhere on the disc and with the commentary suffering from such a “hatchet” job I found it hardly worth the effort of watching the movie whilst being distracted by the commentary!
Disc 2 starts with Original Interviews: lasting just under the hour we get to hear the thoughts of the director, producer and cast members about their experiences on the Dogs set. Again the interviews are heavily edited and there's very little flow their stories.
Next up are the Film Noir Files introduced by novelist/screenwriter Donald Westlake and with input from Mike Hodges (director/writer - Get Carter), Robert Porlito (author - Savage Beauty), John Boorman (director - Point Blank), and Stephen Frears (director - The Hit and The Grifters). At less than twenty minutes long these particular features could have had their time tripled and I still would have wanted more!
The Deleted Scenes feature has 3 scenes that didn't make the movie (thankfully!) and two different versions of the ear splicing event. As seems to be the norm for such clips had these deleted scenes somehow made their way into the movie the effect would undoubtedly have lowered the overall quality of the movie. I'm sure most people will agree with me - these scenes deserve to have been left on the cutting room floor.
Next up is Class Of '92: 1992 Sundance Film Festival. And here we have it - the piece de resistance. After more interviews we come to the Sundance Institute's Filmmaker's Labs: Scenes Of Reservoir Dogs. Here we get to see some rough and ready film work with Steve Buscemi and Quentin Tarantino enacting a couple of scenes from the movie. You wanna know why Buscemi got to play Mr. Pink instead of Mr. White? You wanna know why Quentin Tarantino may not have done the character of Mr. White justice had he played the part instead of Harvey Keitel? The answers are here for all to see!
Securing The Shot: On Location with Billy Fox is a five minute piece whose title says it all.
Last, but by no means least, we have Tributes And Dedications which at just under the hour includes yet more interesting stories.Despite the promise of a set of extras worthy of such a seminal classic what we have here is almost a case of quantity over quality. Some of what's been included is interesting, even if it does relate to Reservoir Dogs in the most roundabout of ways. And where is Harvey Keitel?
VerdictWith a choice of snazzy new 2 disc digipack, with Limited Edition character slipcases or original group image this latest edition would grace any DVD collection. Buy this, now!
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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