Overall | Clerks: Collector's Edition (Shock) (1994) | Chasing Amy: Collector's Edition (Shock) (1996)

Kevin Smith 2 DVD Set: Special Collector's Edition (Clerks/Chasing Amy)

Kevin Smith 2 DVD Set: Special Collector's Edition (Clerks/Chasing Amy)

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Released 5-Jan-2003

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Overall Package

    This box set is good stuff. The two discs it contains are vast improvements over their predecessors. The original Clerks disc was really quite awful, and the original Chasing Amy disc was very little better. Both were pan-and-scan transfers (I am pretty much convinced that the transfer used for the original Chasing Amy disc was intended for videotape). Now, both movies have been given widescreen 16x9 enhanced dual-layered transfers, and they are complete with the notorious Kevin Smith commentaries, and all the extras we wanted. Of all the Kevin Smith discs that were released in Australia, these were the two that stood out as being in dire need of replacement. And now they have been replaced. Cool! OK, you have to buy the two together, because they are only available in this box set, but I could think of worse deals: at least you can't have bought one of the discs already, because they aren't available separately.

    I should mention that there are extras in the box. To be precise, you get an A3 mini-poster, which reproduces the cover art of the box, and two postcards, each reproducing the cover art of one of the discs. I can't say that this would sway my buying decision either way, but it might matter to you.

    I do like it when the discs in a box set have a similar look. These aren't bad — both have a bold "Collectors Edition - Widescreen" maroon stripe across the top, but otherwise they remain faithful to the original artwork — that will do nicely.

    Now all we need is a new Mallrats disc with all the extras...

    Video quality is the real winner on these new discs, dramatically improved over the original releases.

    Audio quality is far less dramatically better, but there've been some slight improvements. Unfortunately, the one big omission is subtitles, so I hope you can enjoy the audio presentation — hearing-impaired viewers have been neglected.

    Extras? Well, the original discs had nothing significant in the way of extras. The new ones have the commentaries, the deleted scenes, the outtakes... That'll do nicely, thanks.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, February 21, 2003
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Clerks: Collector's Edition (Shock) (1994) | Chasing Amy: Collector's Edition (Shock) (1996)

Clerks: Collector's Edition (Shock) (1994)

Clerks: Collector's Edition (Shock) (1994)

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Released 8-May-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary-director, cast and crew
Deleted Scenes-7
Theatrical Trailer
Alternate Ending
Music Video-Can't Even Tell-Soul Asylum
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 88:14 (Case: 112)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (84:12) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kevin Smith
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring Brian O'Halloran
Jeff Anderson
Marilyn Ghigliotti
Lisa Spoonhauer
Jason Mewes
Kevin Smith
Case PUSH-27
RPI $59.95 Music Scott Angler


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, frequent
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, final scene

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    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.

Menu

    The menu is static and silent.

Audio Commentary

    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.

Deleted Scenes

    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:

Trailer (1:54)

    A standard trailer with intro by Kevin Smith.

Alternate Ending (4:01)

    OK, now this is a bit of a cheat — this is the same segment that is presented as the last deleted scene above.

Music Video (4:27)

    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.

Censorship

    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.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
10 Year Anniversary Edition coming in R1 -
A Kevin Smith film... - Dark Lord (Bio? We don't need no stinkin' bio!) REPLY POSTED
Audio Sync -
open matte/pan and scan/etc/ -
audio sync -
Audio sync -
RE: Audio Sync -
Still can't get it right....... why bother??? -

Overall | Clerks: Collector's Edition (Shock) (1994) | Chasing Amy: Collector's Edition (Shock) (1996)

Chasing Amy: Collector's Edition (Shock) (1996)

Chasing Amy: Collector's Edition (Shock) (1996)

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Released 8-May-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Introduction
Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Theatrical Trailer
System Setup-Colour Bars (with introduction)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 108:30 (Case: 105)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (25:17) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Kevin Smith
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring Ben Affleck
Joey Lauren Adams
Jason Lee
Dwight Ewell
Jason Mewes
Kevin Smith
Case PUSH-23
RPI $59.95 Music David Pirner


Video Audio
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 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, constant
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Chasing Amy is a brilliant film. I really like this film, even though it makes me angry every time I watch it — (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) a guy gets something he has no right to expect, then completely screws it up. This is the third film in Kevin Smith's New Jersey trilogy. The complete trilogy is: Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I think this is the best film of the lot.

    The first version of Chasing Amy released in Australia was presented at 1.33:1 — it was pan-and-scan, and that was a dreadful decision. This film was shot to be seen in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 — that's how we should be seeing it. The Region 1 version is a Criterion Collection DVD, presented widescreen, 16x9 enhanced. I really rather liked the Criterion Collection disc, even though it has more film artefacts than I'd expect for a Criterion disc. This new release Australian disc was a bit of a surprise — it has the Criterion Collection label on the menu, the extras made for the Criterion disc (with many mentions of the Criterion Collection, including an appearance by Susan from Criterion) — but the important thing is that this version is widescreen, 16x9 enhanced, just as it should be. We get a PAL transfer, which is good to see.

    I went to a lot of trouble in my previous review of Chasing Amy not to give away the plot, so I won't spoil that here. There are so many brilliant scenes in this film — like the early scene with Dwight Ewell, for example.

    This disc is currently only available in a box set with Clerks, but that is not a tragedy — the version of Clerks included is the new widescreen version, too. If you want one of these movies, you'll probably want the other, too.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. That is the intended aspect ratio, which is exactly what we want.

    The image is a bit soft, but actually sharp enough to enjoy — the softness looks like it is attributable to film grain (the film was shot on Super 16 colour film), but that's not the whole reason — the R1 transfer is not quite as soft, indicating that grain isn't the only reason. Shadow detail is rather good. There's no low-level noise.

    Colour is really rather good. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are quite a few film artefacts, but I suspect they are rather difficult to avoid — every version I've ever seen has shown plenty of film artefacts. Admittedly, the original R4 was really awful, and this is much better, but that doesn't mean that this transfer is clean — there are plenty of film artefacts, flecks, spots, hairs, and so forth, but they are mostly small, momentary, and not annoying. There's some mosquito noise in addition to the film grain, especially in backgrounds.

    There's no significant aliasing, no moire, and no other 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 Region 1 disc offers subtitles for the hearing impaired.

    The disc is single-sided and dual-layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 25:17. It is rather obvious, and a bit jarring, because the sound is interrupted. If anything, it's even more jarring on the commentary.

    When the movie ends, and all the credits have rolled, the DVD stops playing, rather than returning to the menu. The only other disc I've seen do this is the Clerks disc included in the same box as this one. I don't like it — I'm used to discs returning to the menu.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in English, in Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded, at 192kbps. The commentary is the same: Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded, at 192kbps. This is not the same soundtrack as on the previous R4 version — it's better quality, even though the previous one was 224kbps (that one had quite audible hiss).

    The dialogue is clear and comprehensible. There are no visible audio sync problems.

    David Pirner has provided an interesting score. There are lots of contemporary songs too, well-chosen to add to the atmosphere.

    This 2.0 soundtrack, not surround-encoded, provides no signal for the surrounds and subwoofer. It is a stereo soundtrack with some width to the soundstage, but nothing special.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Unlike the original R4 disc, this one offers extras. Rather good ones.

Menu

    The menu is animated, with music. It is the menu from the R1 Criterion Collection disc — not only is it identical, but it has "The Criterion Collection" across the top, which is a touch inappropriate, given that the Criterion Collection hasn't been released in R4 (or is that something they are about to announce?). I suspect that the menu has been converted directly from NTSC to PAL — it shows some ugly aliasing.

Introduction (2:59)

    This introduction by Kevin Smith is basically a long apology for his decrying of DVD at the start of the commentary — the commentary was originally recorded for laserdisc, back at the very beginning of the DVD era, before it became obvious that laserdisc was dead and DVD ruled.

Audio Commentary

    This commentary features Kevin Smith, but he is accompanied by Ben Affleck, Scott Mosier (producer and bit-part player), Jason Mewes (not drunk this time), Robert Hawk (associate producer), Jon Gordon (Miramax), and Vincent Pereira. It's a typical Kevin Smith commentary, with a lot of really interesting information buried in among some abuse of Ben Affleck, and the occasional pointless anecdote. He points out a couple of scenes that were thrown into Chasing Amy after being dropped from the earlier films Clerks and Mallrats. It is well worth a listen.

Trailer (3:15)

    It is not often that you get an introduction to a trailer, but Kevin Smith likes to defy tradition...

Deleted Scenes

    There are ten deleted scenes, each introduced by Kevin Smith and/or other guilty parties. There's an introduction to this section playing on the menu — it's worth watching.

Outtakes (5:28)

    These are included in the deleted scenes menu, but they are outtakes rather than deleted scenes.

Colour Bars (1:54)

    Now here's a silly thing: Jason Mewes introducing colour bars.

R4 vs R1

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 Criterion Collection disc. The Criterion Collection discs are supposed to be the best possible efforts, at a premium price (although this disc has been marked down from the original price I paid). This Region 4 release has all of the extras that were included on the Criterion disc — it even uses the Criterion menu.

    The Region 4 disc is missing:

    The Region 1 disc is missing:

    The interesting part is the respective video transfers. The R1 video is a bit dark, causing some of the finer details to disappear, but it's a little sharper, and shows slightly fewer film artefacts. The R4 video is brighter, showing better shadow detail, but a few more film artefacts. Honestly? Neither is perfect. Both are acceptable.

    The 5.1 soundtrack sounds like a big plus to the Criterion disc, but it really isn't that huge a difference. Oh, you can tell the difference, but this is a dialogue-driven movie, and it doesn't need the surround sound.

    In the end, it comes down to this: if you have the Criterion disc, then you don't need this one. If you don't have it, then you have a decision to make, and I don't envy you — I'm leaving the choice up to you.

Summary

    Another re-release of a Kevin Smith film that is a huge improvement over the initial version.

    The video quality is good, hurt only by fairly frequent film artefacts.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are very good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, February 21, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE