Red Hot Chili Peppers

Funky Monks

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Details At A Glance

Category Music/Documentary Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1991 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 60:42 Minutes  Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,3,4,5,6 Director Gavin Bowden
Warner Reprise
Warner Vision Australia
Starring Anthony Keidis 
Michael "Flea" Balzary 
John Frusciante 
Chad Smith
Case Super Jewel
RRP $39.95 Music Red Hot Chili Peppers

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital None
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Linear PCM Stereo 48/16 2.0, 1536 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    This is a transfer to DVD of the Red Hot Chili Peppers home video Funky Monks, a release whose track listing misleads us into believing that we're being treated to promotional videos for some of the songs from their fifth album, BloodSugarSexMagik. Don't believe it: this is just an uninteresting look behind the scenes at the recording of a few songs, and the band goofing off. Not even recommended if you're actually a fan, which I haven't been since the sixth album, One Hot Minute (also known as the Going Through The Motions album). I've never been so disappointed in a music video from a major studio in my life: was one actual complete music video too much to ask for?

Transfer Quality


    Matching the massively disappointing content is a rather ordinary video transfer. The video transfer is presented in Full Frame, or at the ratio of 4:3, as was the home video that this DVD is a conversion of. It is entirely in monochrome, with not a single splash of colour in sight, which makes the packaging's Colour Mode entry a case of blatant false advertising. The transfer is not really sharp at all, with everything softly focused and seemingly edge-enhanced from the slight outline that members of the band have during some shots. Shadow detail is poor, but this is to be expected since the budget this home video was filmed on would have restricted them to the use of a single camcorder. Low-level noise was non-existent, which is probably the nicest thing I
could have to say about the luminance of this transfer.

    Colour was non-existent, and as a result, bright lights often show as a variable white field that is quite distracting and annoying. MPEG artefacts did not occur, which is understandable given that there is only sixty minutes of footage present and the transfer rate of the DVD constantly hovers around nine Mb/s. Some minor aliasing occurred, but it was mostly hidden by the fact that it occurred in brightly lit fields that were reduced to an indistinct white blur by the limited colour spectrum. Video artefacts consisted of flares, grain, white blotches, and any other sign that the source material had been buried in soft mud for three months that you care to name.

    The subtitles are non-existent, which is a problem because of the loss of some voices under background noise such as passing cars, but more on that in a second.


    If you thought I was disappointed in the video content of the disc, then wait until you hear what I have to say about the audio. The audio is presented in Linear PCM Stereo, and is restricted to English only, which makes you wonder why this disc was released everywhere except for Region 1, where they have the dreaded NTSC format. Given that Dolby Digital 5.1 has been proven to be a much better format for music DVDs (Live And Loud, anyone?), I was most upset to see that it had been omitted from this disc. This is the biggest give-away that this disc is just a videotape whacked onto a disc with a digitally processed soundtrack. The dialogue that occurred in the behind-the-scenes moments was clear and easy to understand, but when things moved to outside of the studio, high levels of ambient noise, especially passing cars, drowned it out. The vocals in the rare snippets of actual music were perfectly clear, and indeed it was just like listening to the album in those small points.

    Audio sync was never a problem at any time in the transfer, which makes it appear more logical to assume that the source material was recorded using your garden-variety camcorder. The music contained on this disc is mostly written by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with the exception of some music that was inserted in post-production from artists such as Led Zeppelin. The disappointing thing is that no song is allowed to continue for more than a couple of minutes, which is dreadfully annoying. Having real music videos interspersed with the actual recording processes instead of the band talking crap would have made this video so much better.

    This is a DVD with a PCM stereo mix, which is all I need to say about the non-existent surround presence. Both the surround channels and the subwoofer went off into the corner and felt the depressing effect of being unused.


    No extras. This DVD is a replica of the VHS version, which was presented as being merely a collection of footage of the band goofing around. This DVD would have been much better if it had been presented as a dual layer disc with sixty minutes worth of music videos on the other layer. Given how much fun to look at the actual video for Give It Away is, this is just plain criminal.


    The menu contains still frames from the feature, and is merely a scene-selection menu. Why it was included at all is beyond me.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 and Region 4 versions of this DVD appear to be identically-featured.


    Funky Monks' cover implies a collection of music videos and footage of the men who make up Red Hot Chili Peppers doing interesting things. It delivers neither of the above, and I can safely say I remain a dissatisfied former fan.

    The video quality is as good as you'd expect from a DVD that was most likely sourced from a Betacam source tape. It's an absolute mess with no rhyme nor reason, and combined with the entertainment value, this is unacceptable on VHS, let alone DVD.

    The audio quality during the actual songs is just like listening to the BloodSugarSexMagik album on CD. It would have been even nicer if just one song was presented in its entirety. However, the difficulty in making out Anthony Keidis' speech when he talks about what led him to write the song that made him and his band famous is unforgivable.

    The most hoped-for extra, the actual music videos that were used to promote the album and the singles, has been left off like any other you could imagine.

Ratings (out of 5)

© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
March 28, 2000.
Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer