Perfect Circle, A-aMOTION (2004)

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Released 23-Nov-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-MJK
Audio Commentary-Billy
Booklet-12 pages
CD-A Perfect Circle "rEMIXED"
Music Video-The Outsider Director's Cut
Music Video-Blue - Three Contestant Runner-Up Videos
Trailer-Bikini Bandits (3)
Gallery-Photo-77
Additional Footage-Video Clips
Easter Egg-Weblink
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 40:12
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By David Fincher
Paul Hunter
The Brothers Strause
Steve Grasse
Studio
Distributor
Virgin Records
EMI Music
Starring Maynard James Keenan
Billy Howerdel
Josh Freese
Jeordie White
James Iha
Danny Lohner
Paz Lenchantin
Troy Van Leeuwen
Tim Alexander
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Maynard James Keenan
Billy Howerdel
John Lennon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio Varies
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Spanish Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
Japanese Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    A Perfect Circle is the brainchild of former housemates Billy Howerdel and Maynard James Keenan. Maynard is also known for his vocal duties in the eclectic and highly regarded metal band Tool, while Howerdel has acted as Tool's guitar technician in the past. The band have two albums of original material to their name; Mer De Noms (2000) and Thirteenth Step (2003). A Perfect Circle have also released an album of cover songs under the title eMOTIVe (2004) which is intended as the companion piece to this DVD. Both eMOTIVe and aMOTION were released in November last year, before the US presidential elections, and were targeted to influence the vote against president George W. Bush.

    The band came about while Howerdel and Keenan were living together, and Keenan had some spare time as Tool were in hiatus. The various incarnations of A Perfect Circle have included the following musicians, all of which contribute to the music on this DVD.

    Nine of the band's promotional video clips make up the bulk of this DVD. Some are great and some are average. I've written a little about each below.

  1. Judith (Unedited) (4:07) Directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en), this is a visually creative clip that uses what we would consider extreme film artefacts to great effect. The song Judith was written about Keenan's ailing mother, and the looming vultures that he perceived were adding to her uncomfortable existence. The video is an all-time favourite of mine, presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1.
  2. 3 Libras (3:35) This song is apparently based on nine members of Keenan's family, all of which share the same star sign. The imagery is smooth and exhibits a strange, fairy-tale quality. This clip is also presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1.
  3. Weak and Powerless (Unedited) (3:20) This clip shares some visual similarities with the music videos by Tool, an altogether dark and gritty theme, combined with confronting imagery. The direction is quite intense, using shifts in focus within frames to direct the viewer's attention and disorienting film frame rates. The song itself is based around the first step of an alcoholic's rehabilitation, or could be related to any form of addiction, in which one admits that their life is out of control. This clip is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1.
  4. The Outsider (Edited) (4:10) When approaching filmmakers for a video treatment of this song, Keenan found most potential directors had misinterpreted the sentiment of the lyrics. Frustrated, he decided to feature the Bikini Bandits (an unashamed homage to 70s breast fanatic Russ Meyer) and base the clip on tits and guns - not that there's anything wrong with that. As the title suggests, this is the sanitised version of the clip, with blurred nudity and obscured gestures. An uncensored version is included in the extras and runs much longer, and is arguably superior. Although it opens in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the majority of this clip is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
  5. Thinking Of You (4:40) The second clip to feature the infamous Bikini Bandits, this adventure sees our heroes infiltrating the headquarters of a G-Mart meat processing plant. This clip is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
  6. Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm of The War Drums (6:00) An animated and very effective statement against corporate America and certain politicians. This clip is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
  7. Blue (Contest Winner) (4:07) A competition was conducted via the band's official site, in which fans could direct and submit their own video of this song. Being an amateur production, the quality isn't as sharp as the other clips but the concept suits the song well. This clip is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1.
  8. The Noose (Live) (5:48) A fairly disjointed succession of footage is compiled here, to give the feel of an intimate live performance. An interesting tune, but my least favourite of the videos presented here.
  9. Imagine (4:47) From their eMOTIVe album, this is quite discordant in comparison to John Lennon's original. Violent archival war footage and recent election campaigning are combined with a political message that avoids any attempt at subtlety. This is juxtaposed by a CNN-style scrolling text at the bottom of the screen with interesting facts, some of them hilarious. This clip is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    A few years ago, when I was writing for a Sydney-based music publication, I was fortunate enough to meet the band during their first tour of Australia. I recall being  struck by their approachability and easy-going nature and they remain one of the most memorable foreign artists I have had the pleasure to meet. As evidenced by the content of this DVD, this band are proof that one can be artistic, politically vocal and musically creative whilst retaining a healthy sense of humour.

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

Track Listing

1. Judith
2. 3 Libras
3. Weak And Powerless
4. The Outsider
5. Thinking Of You
6. Counting Bodies Like Sheep To...
7. Blue
8. The Noose (Live)
9. Imagine

Transfer Quality

Video

    The aspect ratio of this transfer is variable, but most commonly presented in 1.33:1 full frame. A number of clips are presented in the intended ratio of 2.35:1, however none of the content on this DVD is 16x9 enhanced. Most of the promotional material presented here has translated well to the DVD format, however there are a few exceptions.

    Judging by the level of image resolution and the absence of any gain in pitch, this PAL transfer appears to be an NTSC conversion. There is a fair degree of detail evident, however there is nowhere near enough fine detail to make a zoomed 16x9 image viewable. Blacks appear solid when intended and shadow detail is acceptable. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.

    Track 7 (Blue) is an amateur production and exhibited the lowest all-round quality of the clips presented here. A handful of issues are visible, most of all a lack of resolution.

    Colouring varies greatly from one clip to the next. The first three videos seem to be colour corrected in post production, usually appearing washed out. The animated clip contains some very bold splashes of colour but doesn't appear to suffer from any bleeding at all.

    MPEG artefacts are prevalent from time to time and are most obvious during the animated video (track 6), where some heavy pixilation can be seen. The live performance (track 8) also suffers greatly due to the fast movements and camerawork, combined with bright stage lighting. The first three clips use some extreme film damage and artefacting to artistic effect, most prevalent in David Fincher's clip for Judith.

    The lyrics of the feature videos are not subtitled, however the two audio commentaries are subtitled in Japanese, French, Spanish and German.

    This disc is single sided and single layered (DVD5 format).

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

Audio

    There are three soundtracks available. The default soundtrack is Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (224Kb/s). Two commentaries are also included.

    Maynard's singing voice is clear and easy to discern within the music. I don't have any issues with his enunciation personally, however I am aware of others who are not comfortable with his vocal abilities, so it may be a matter of taste. Audio sync seems to be fine, although in the more artistic music videos it can be difficult to determine at times.

    Being a stereo soundtrack, there is no surround activity present. The quality of the music is comparable to that of the original CD: crisp, with good depth, but a higher bitrate would have been preferable. As I mentioned above this transfer appears to be an NTSC conversion, so there are no pitch issues to speak of.

    There are no annoying hiccoughs in the audio, aside from a clumsy edit that cuts the fadeout of 3 Libras prematurely.

    There was some overlap of bass guitar and kick drum to be heard in the subwoofer. In reality this response is subject to your own hardware setup, but is worth mentioning nonetheless.

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

Extras

    None of this disc's content is 16x9 enhanced.

Menu

    The menu pages are animated very simply and include the most subtle of page transitions. The audio accompaniment is similarly minimal, but effective.

Audio Commentary-Maynard James Keenan

    This is the most detail I have heard from Maynard, covering each video and many aspects of the recording process. A little time is also spent explaining the lyrical motive of each song and his thoughts on the clip itself. This is interesting viewing and rare in the sense that Maynard is normally very guarded. Both audio commentaries are subtitled in Japanese, French, Spanish and German.

Audio Commentary-Billy Howerdell

    Billy discusses the song writing process he shares with Maynard and the history behind some of the compositions. A couple of anecdotes from the recording studio are also included. Only four of the videos are covered here; tracks 1, 2, 3 and 7. Both audio commentaries are subtitled in Japanese, French, Spanish and German.

Music Clip-The Outsider (Director's Cut) (6:47)

    What can I say? More Bikini Bandits. More tits and more guns. This director's cut adds an introduction and closing sequence in the style of an annoying infomercial. It's so riveting, you may have to watch it twice.

Music Clips-Blue (3)

    Three of the runners up in the competition are included here, each running for 4:07. Clip A features some great stop-motion animation that would have been very labour intensive. Clip B uses flash animation and looks equally great, while Clip C is clearly inspired by The Grudge. All three are quite good, considering the directors are amateur.

Bikini Bandits Trailers (3)

    The Bikini Bandits are a b-grade amalgam of politically incorrect retro sleaze akin to Russ Meyer and weird Troma-style humour. Three Bikini Bandits trailers are available here; Bikini Bandits Experience (2:55), Bikini Bandits Save Christmas (1:15) and Bikini Bandits Sauvent Le Monde (3:12). All  feature the involvement of Maynard James Keenan in some form and are certainly not for everyone.

Featurette-Video Clips (Part One) (12:38)

    This montage of footage covers various incarnations of the band while rehearsing and touring. It comes across as highly random in places and becomes laborious viewing in the second half, but there are a couple of moments that make it worth seeing at least once. The audio and video quality is highly variable here, so be warned. This featurette is presented in an aspect of 1.33:1.

Photo Gallery

    There are 77 photos to flick through, covering most band members on stage and during their time off. There is no audio accompaniment.

Easter Egg-Weblink

    On the main page, press the down button at any time to highlight the dot at the bottom of the frame. Press enter for a link to a not-very-secret website that uses flash animation to allow you to mix your own song.

Audio CD-A Perfect Circle rEMIXED (39:42)

    As a general rule I find remixes to be a throwaway affair, adding little new value to a recording and in many cases tearing out the soul of music you love and replacing it with electronica. Some of the music on this CD falls into that category, while others are a simple alternate version or reworking of the original mix. Track eight is the stand out, an orchestral version played and sung by Paz Lenchantin. The disc itself is copy controlled and includes nine tracks.

  1. Judith "Renholder" Mix (4:24)
  2. 3 Libras "Feel My Ice Dub" Mix (4:28)
  3. The Outsider "Apocalypse" Mix (5:28)
  4. Weak and Powerless "Tilling My Grave" Mix (3:05)
  5. The Outsider "Frosted Yoghurt" Mix (4:07)
  6. Blue "Bird Shake" Mix (3:57)
  7. 3 Libras "All Main Courses" Mix (7:17)
  8. The Hollow "Constantly Consuming" Mix (3:40)
  9. The Hollow "The Bunk" Mix (3:14)

Booklet

    A glossy 12 page colour booklet is included in the package, featuring lyrics and artwork similar to the DVD menus as well as many credits and thankyous from the band.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This release is identical in content across all regions. Despite its PAL formatting, the music on this disc is pitched perfectly, indicating that the Region 4 disc is in fact an NTSC conversion.

Summary

    aMOTION is a worthwhile cross section of A Perfect Circle's career so far. The inclusion of some great bonus material makes it a must for fans of the band.

    The video transfer is adequate.

    The audio transfer is adequate.

    The extras are substantial and worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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