Mallrats: Special Edition (1995)
Audio Commentary-Cast And Crew
Featurette-Askew's Look Back At Mallrats
Music Video-The Goops - Build Me Up Buttercup
|Year Of Production||1995|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||Kevin Smith|
Universal Pictures Home Video
Joey Lauren Adams
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
|Smoking||Yes, hints at smoking dope|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Can you say "cult film"? Can you say "cult director"? Can you say "unexplained theatrical flop"? Can you say "hurrah"? Can you believe that Mallrats has finally been given the Region 4 Special Edition release it so richly deserves?
Mallrats is regarded by some to be one of Kevin Smith's weaker films - me, I think it rocks (dude)! A more than adequate review of the original Region 4 release can be found just hangin' somewhere around here. I will only provide a brief synopsis of the plot for the benefit of those of us too lazy to click on the preceding hyperlink. Instead, I will focus on the differences between this Special Edition release of the movie and the earlier bare-bones effort.
Basically, the film is a romantic comedy - with an edge. T.S. (Jeremy London, Party of Five) and Brodie (Jason Lee, Dogma and Vanilla Sky) are dumped by their respective girlfriends on the same day. They choose to commiserate with each other by hanging out at the local mall - not shopping, not browsing - just hangin'. There they bump into old chums (and omnipresent Smith characters) Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith). Other characters who flit in and out of their field of vision include Willam, who spends his entire day trying to determine exactly what is hidden in the "Magic Eye" 3-D picture, Stan Lee (himself) the comic book creator, Shannon (Ben Affleck) the smarmy menswear store manager and Mr Svenning (Michael Rooker) - who is at the mall to film a new television show called Truth or Date.
Of course Brodie's ex-girlfriend Rene (Shannen Doherty) and T.S.' former squeeze Brandi (Claire Forlani) also appear at the mall. Naturally, it doesn't take too long before the laconic guile of TS and Brodie combines with the dangerous enthusiasm of Jay and Silent Bob with a collective force equivalent to the Big Bang - and a cunning plot to win back the girls is hatched! The remainder of the film charts the emotional (and sometimes physical) collision of these and many other quirky Smith-penned characters, providing a funny, warm and idiosyncratic story as he tries to show us that love (plus luck and dope) can conquer all.
Mallrats is a cult film for a reason. Kevin Smith manages to provide mundane characters with just enough of a twist to make their every word (or silence, in the case of Bob) a pearl. When strung together, these somehow manage to fashion a beautiful necklace of a story. This may not be Smith's meisterwerk, but it is a damned good film, finally given a Region 4 DVD release which does it justice. Fans may not be able to resist buying this - although I fear many of them will already have forked out for the Region 1 release. Highly recommended for Smith fans, and for lovers of quirky, cool, funny - and fun - films.
The overall video transfer of this disc is good.
The film is presented in a widescreen ratio of 1.85:1 which is the original theatrical aspect ratio. It has been 16x9 enhanced.
The overall transfer is overly soft. Whilst this is not distracting, it is certainly less sharp than I would have liked. There is nothing major in the way of evident grain, although there is the merest hint in the background on occasion (such as the "dirt mall" scene at 53:13).
Shadow detail is not heavily tested, as most of the film takes place beneath the fluorescent glare of the shopping mall. Where necessary however it is perfectly satisfactory. Black levels are fine, on Bob's coat and the stage curtains for example, being nicely deep and solid. There is no significant low level noise on show.
Colours are bright and well rendered throughout, with no evidence of colour bleeding. The wittily titled stores within the mall provide plenty of opportunity for a varied colour palette and most of the spectrum makes a perfectly satisfactory appearance at one time or another. A great example of solid colour rendering can be seen on the neon-pink podium around 36:11. Skin tones are natural at all times.
The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts, however film-to-video artefacts crop up in the way of mild but noticeable edge enhancement on the odd occasion. Examples can be seen around Brodie at 13:57, Jay at 22:32 or T.S. at 44:55. Aliasing was not an issue at any time on my system.
The transfer does have a few minor film artefacts but these are always brief and never distracting. This remains a rather clean transfer, with the exception of a major artefact seen between 35:14 and 35:23. This is a thin, vertical, purple line, which crops up several times on only one of the cameras, when Brodie is talking.
The English (for the Hearing Impaired) subtitles are excellent, being very well timed and easy to read. They stick extremely closely to the dialogue at all times and provide detailed audio cues. The subtitles in fact provide notation for off-camera dialogue which can barely be heard (for example the voice of the store manager around 29:07).
This is a dual-layered, single-sided (RSDL) format disc - unlike the previous DVD 5 format release - but I did not notice a layer change during the film. I assume that it is placed between the film and the extras.
The overall audio quality of this disc is rather good for a comedy.
There is a choice of audio track on offer here. The first is presented in dts encoded at a half-bitrate 768 kbps. The second is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 384 kbps and they are both perfectly functional with no significant defects in the way of clicks, pops or hiss. There is little to separate the two tracks to be honest - on my PC the Dolby Digital track sounded more spacious, but on my review system, the dts track had a very, very slight slight edge in terms of clarity and depth. Neither will disappoint.
Dialogue was always clear with natural sounding voices which are not drowned out by the sound effects or musical score. I noticed no issues with audio sync in the film.
Ira Newborn is credited with contributing the main theme, but in reality much of the music is provided by a range of artists via a number of contemporary (although not particularly famous) pop tunes. Contributions come from bands such as Squirtgun, Belly, Weezer, Elastica and Silverchair. They do a reasonable job in providing some background noise, but little else really.
The soundstage is fairly frontal, as this is a dialogue driven comedy. There is some reasonable separation across the front soundstage however, with all three front speakers getting something to keep them occupied. The surround speakers are sparingly used, and generally only see service in support of the musical score and very quietly providing ambient noise (such as muzak in the mall and louder support for the crowd applause during the filming of the game show at 68:29).
There is nothing in the way of LFE activity from the subwoofer, and indeed on my set-up it slept throughout the film once the Universal logo music had finished.
|Surround Channel Use|
Rejoice, for at last we are blessed with several worthwhile extras:
The menu is a silent and static comic book inspired piece, with pictures of the main protagonists. It allows the opportunity to play the movie, select the audio format (dts or Dolby Digital 5.1), choose a subtitle language, one of a slight eighteen chapter stops, or play the following extra features:
This is an occasionally cluttered commentary, with such a large number of egos in the one room at the same time. Ben Affleck, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Jason Lee, Scott Mosier (producer) and Vincent Pereira (credited as "set production assistant" but described by Smith as the "resident View Askew historian") all throw their reminiscences into the mix. It is lively, informative and fun - it makes a very worthwhile listen for fans. It is presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps, and there are detailed subtitles available.
Filmed in October 1998, this featurette is presented at 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps. Running for 21:05, it provides a funny, detailed and worthwhile retrospective of the film with the views of Smith, Mosier, Jim Jacks (producer), Jason Mewes and Ben Affleck amongst others.
Are you expecting three or four cruddy scenes? Well, be prepared to be impressed as you are given the opportunity to watch 62:49 of original screenplay, extended and deleted scenes, including the original opening sequence, accompanied by studio footage of Smith and Pereira. A first class inclusion, this featurette is presented at 1.33:1 (with some letterboxed inserts, not 16x9 enhanced) with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps. Some of the image quality is a little dodgy, with time codes, camera/Telecine wobble and film artefacts galore, but for fans of the film this is a hugely important extra.
Presented at 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps. It runs for 2:18.
Presented letterboxed at 1.66:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps. It runs for 3:22 and features Jay and Silent Bob showing how to make a pop music video, accompanied by The Goops' cover version of Build Me Up Buttercup.
Presented at 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps. It is a funny piece from Smith who makes fun of the sad-sacks who spend time looking for Easter Eggs on DVDs. It runs for 1:19 and can be found by (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) clicking on the robot's eyes on the first screen of the Bonus features menu.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 Collector's Edition, released in June 2003, appears to contain significantly more extras than this second Region 4 release:
The Region 4 version misses out on:
The Region 1 version misses out on:
Make no mistake: this is an excellent DVD package. However, if you value the missing extras more than the dts soundtrack, then you will probably still prefer to purchase the Region 1 version. Either version is far preferable to the earlier Region 4 release, which contained the trailer as its sole extra feature.
Mallrats is a fun film about loves lost and regained. During the course of a day at the mall, we get to meet numerous Kevin Smith characters, all of whom have something to offer. Whilst the basic story is simple, the dialogue and delivery is uniformly very good. This is a warm, funny and feel-good film which will warrant repeat viewing. The excellent extras really do warrant calling this a Special Edition. Highly recommended for fans of Smith or his ilk.
The video quality is very good, but is a little soft overall.
The audio quality is good, with the welcome (but not overly inspiring) addition of a dts transfer.
There is a treasure trove of highly worthwhile extras.
|DVD||Harmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|