Clerks: Collector's Edition (Shock) (1994)
Audio Commentary-director, cast and crew
Music Video-Can't Even Tell-Soul Asylum
|Year Of Production||1994|
|Running Time||88:14 (Case: 112)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (84:12)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Kevin Smith|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan Encoded||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, final scene|
Clerks is a landmark film in so many unimportant ways. It is the first film in Kevin Smith's New Jersey trilogy of five films (clearly Kevin Smith is as numerically impaired as Douglas Adams) — the others, in chronological order, are: Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It is the film that introduced the world to Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith). It is the film that launched Kevin Smith as a writer / director.
This film was made on a really tight budget, so they shot on really cheap film stock: black-and-white 16mm film. Given their low budget, the lighting was very limited, too, so the results are really rather grainy. It doesn't matter how much restoration they do — the quality of the video image will never be particularly high.
The first version of Clerks released in Australia was full-frame — it was probably pan-and-scan, but it may have been open-matte. Either way, it is not the correct aspect ratio. The intended aspect ratio was 1.85:1, and that's how I want to see it. The Region 1 version is widescreen, roughly 1.85:1, but it isn't 16x9 enhanced. I'm pleased to see that the new Region 4 release isn't just widescreen; it's 16x9 enhanced as well. I've never seen this film looking this good — OK, it's not looking fabulous, but it looks much better.
The story is unchanged (so check the previous review if you haven't seen the movie), but now we can appreciate the movie the way it was meant to be seen.
This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. That is close to the intended aspect ratio, which is what we want.
The image is somewhat soft, but actually sharp enough to enjoy. Shadow detail is limited, with tones plummeting into black earlier than we'd like in most scenes. There's plenty of film grain but no low-level noise.
Colour is not an issue — this is a black-and-white film. There are a couple of burns on the film (they are pointed out in the commentary). Unlike the previous disc, this version is black-and-white throughout, with rather reasonable whites, and truly black blacks.
There are amazingly few film artefacts — they must have used an incredibly clean print for this transfer. There are still one or two, but they are momentary and barely visible. The original Region 4 disc showed plenty of film artefacts, even more than the Region 1. There is some telecine wobble, but it's not troubling — given that some of the footage was shot hand-held, it's difficult to tell which is hand-held wobble, and which is telecine wobble. There is the occasional vertical line on the film, but I suspect these are in the original source material.
Due to the mild softness of the transfer, there's no aliasing and no moire visible. There are no noticeable MPEG artefacts.
There are no subtitle tracks. That's a real shame — it means that hearing-impaired viewers can't enjoy this new and improved transfer.
The disc is single-sided and dual-layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 84:12, and it's rather well placed, in one of the many black screens between sections, making it invisible on many players.
One kind of odd thing: when the movie ends, and all the credits have rolled, the DVD stops playing, rather than returning to the menu. This is the only disc I've seen do that.
The soundtrack is provided in the original English, in Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded. It's not particularly good, with clearly audible tape hiss.
The dialogue is mostly fairly clear and comprehensible. Dialogue sync is never a problem. There are moments of obvious ADR, but it's obvious because of differences in reverberation, not in sync.
The score, from Scott Angley, is amusing, but most of the music is in the form of contemporary songs.
This 2.0 soundtrack, not surround-encoded, provides no signal for the surrounds or sub.
|Surround Channel Use|
Unlike the original R4 disc, this one offers quite a few extras. When you choose the Special Features menu you get Kevin Smith's introduction to the deleted material.
The menu is static and silent.
This commentary features Kevin Smith, with occasional contributions from several other contributors (not all of them coherent — Jason Mewes sounds drunk or stoned). The sound quality on this commentary is dreadful, sounding as though it was recorded using a Dictaphone sitting in front of Kevin Smith — his voice is reasonably clear, but everyone else is way too quiet.
This commentary was recorded for the laserdisc version of the movie — there are a number of references to this.
There are seven deleted scenes, each complete with an introduction by Kevin Smith. On the Region 1 disc, all the deleted scenes are run together in one long sequence. On this disc each scene is available separately:
A standard trailer with intro by Kevin Smith.
OK, now this is a bit of a cheat — this is the same segment that is presented as the last deleted scene above.
This is a music video for the Soul Asylum, who perform the song under the closing credits. They didn't want to sing on this music video, so Jay and Silent Bob perform on it.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 disc is a Miramax Collector's Edition, released in 1999. It has the same extras, a similar menu, very similar artwork (except that the R1's disc label is plain, not picture). The big difference between the two is that the R1 offers an NTSC transfer that is not 16x9 enhanced, while the R4 offers a 16x9 enhanced PAL transfer — that's already a big advantage for the R4, but then we add in the fact that the R4 is a cleaner transfer, with fewer film artefacts and no aliasing, moire, or shimmer — it's a clean KO win for the R4. Err, well, unless you need subtitles — if you need subtitles, then your only option is the R1, unfortunately.
A marvellous re-release of the first Kevin Smith film — it makes the previous disc look like rubbish (not that that's hard!)
The video quality is as good as it can possibly be, given the original source materials.
The audio quality is reasonable, again, considering the source materials.
The extras are pretty good.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|