This DVD was incredibly innovative on its initial release, taking full advantage of what DVD had to offer, using multiple audio tracks and angles to deliver the most comprehensive release possible for a music video collection. Many releases from other groups have utilized similar techniques on their DVD releases since, but this one still holds up. As mentioned before all of the content is spread out over two dual-layer discs.
The two discs each contain 9 different videos for a total of 18. Each disc also has 2 different sections. One is called the "Videos in Sequence" section and the other is called "Videos With Supplements". The supplements on this release are vast, and at times are confusing to sort through, and this is one of the ways Criterion tries to make it easier..
I'll make my way as best I can through everything, because one problem the disc has is organization. I was a little lost at first but after playing with this release for a bit I was finally able to figure out a process to it.
If you go with the "Play Video in Sequence" you have the choice of watching all the videos on the disc in sequence, or one at a time. These videos are the original videos and you cannot change the angles on here, or go with different mixes. You have a choice of watching the video with the chosen track in stereo or in the new Dolby Digital 5.1 track. You can also watch the videos with a commentary by the band members, or by the directors of the videos.
The commentaries are fairly good, though not up to the Criterion standard I found. The problem I found is that each disc only has a half hour worth of videos so the commentary tracks only last a little over one hour. The track by the band is a tad disappointing. It's a little too quiet and they spend a lot of time making odd noises. I'm sure they're an intelligent bunch but you may not gather that from this track. They spend a lot of time doing play-by-plays which they admit they know they are doing and do try to get out of it. Sometimes it offers a few laughs, but generally I found this commentary very disappointing..
A little better is the director's commentary track. This actually has all the director's pitted together. This one works better because its more technical oriented. They always seem to keep on the topic of the current video and never really go off. The director's even on occasion play a Q&A session asking each other how they did the video. There are a lot of funny comments (at the expense of the group in some cases) and interesting facts.
For the directors that weren't there they are called up by someone named Ralph Spaulding, apparently from the Criterion Collection (more on him a little later). Some of these directors seem unsure as to what is going on but they also offer good amounts of info.
It should also be noted that Criterion has not indexed the commentary tracks like they usually do, but in this case, it doesn't really matter since the videos are so short.
When you select "Video with Supplements" you then get a listing of all the videos on the disc. You then select a video and get more options. Some videos have a lot and others have very little (in fact one has none!).
As everyone probably knows this disc has multiple angles and multiple audio tracks, and this is where this can be found. There are over 100 different ways to watch these videos. I did not do all the combinations straight through but I did a lot of playing! And I mean a lot. I have spent a few hours with this disc and I'm still not done with every possible thing you can do.
When you select a video you have choices on how to set this up. When you choose the option "Alternate angles and remixes" you get a listing of all the possible angles first, then you select one. Then you can select an audio track (the original angles and tracks are included), which are all in Stereo. And you can even switch angles and tracks while you play.
Not all angles and audio tracks go in sync with each other (some are WAY off!) but for the most part, the angles and the tracks do go together, which is something I was really impressed with. Lips match the words and the tune seems to match the rhythm of what is going on on screen. I admire the people that were able to make these all work. Some of the videos come with mixes called "A Cappella" (non-instrumental, vocal only tracks.) This is a fairly interesting extra, and they go along with the videos they play with.
There are also many other extras and I will go through each video one by one and try to cover them as best I can. It should be noted that each video comes with an Information section that gives the credits to the song and the video, and you also get album covers and single covers. I'll start with Disc 1.
(Iíll state that Iím not a huge fan of the group. I like some of their music, and this DVD release has made me appreciate them a little more, but generally Iím indifferent to them. But this didnít play into my review of this DVD release and Iím concentrating more on the technical aspects of it and will not comment specifically on the quality of the remixes.)
Intergalactic has 9 different angles and 6 different mixes. The angles vary between the Beasties running around, the monsters fighting, and simple background stuff. There is also the director's cut of "Robot vs. Octopus Monster Saga", which is a longer version of the video without the music (except faintly in the background). This comes with two stereo tracks that either have the music and sound effects or just the sound effects or you can choose between 2 different 5.1 tracks, either with music and sound effects or just sound effects. I find the video amusing so this longer version isn't too bad.. And then you also get storyboards for the video. The mixes are as follows: "Album Version w/ Sound Effects", "Colleone and Webb Remix 1", "Colleone and Webb Remix 2", "Sever & Hoffman Remix", "Prisoners of Technology Remix" and the "A Cappella Version".
Shake Your Rump has 4 angles and 5 mixes. The angles are more variations on the camera used. The mixes: "Video Version", "Madlib Version", "Truly Odd and J-Roc Remix", "Latch Bros. Remix" and the "A Cappella Version".
Gratitude has an interesting mix. You get the original version of the video as well as the "Oscilloscope Version" which is the music playing over a shot of an Oscilloscope, showing the sound waves. There is also a "Live Version" which comes with its own Commentary track. This track has ďCriterion producerĒ Ralph Spaulding on the phone with the videoís director Ari Marcopoulos, who talks about working with the group on the video. Itís an odd track and I suspect Ralph is actually Spike Jonze, as he does ask some bizarre questions and goes way off topic (asking Ari what heís wearing and then getting into talking to people online.)
Something's Got to Give comes with nothing but video information. No different angles or mixes or anything else. That's it.
Sure Shot has 2 angles and 6 mixes. The angles are the original or the choice of a three-way split screen. There is also a phot gallery from director Spike Jonze. The mixes: "Album Version", "Nardone Remix", "Large Proffesor Remix", "European B-Boys Remix", "Mario Remix" and "A Cappella Version".
Hey Ladies has 5 audio mixes: "Album Version", "Paul Nice Remix", "Count Bass D Remix", "Fred C Remix" and "DJ Strictnine and Paranorm Remix".
Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun has 6 audio mixes: "Album Version", "OD Remix", "DJ Moe Love Remix", "DJ Cheapshot Remix", "Egon and Jon Doe Remix" and "Dub Hackers Remix".
Body Movin' has a couple versions here (the default with the 5.1 mix is the Fatboy Slim remix.) You get the "Director's Cut" and a "G-Rated Version". The difference is that in the "Director's Cut" a man gets his head chopped off and the other he doesn't. You can also find "Don't Lose Your Head", which shows how the head-chopping scene was done, plus some different takes on the head flying. There are also some storyboards here. 5 mixes are contained here: "Fatboy Slim w/ Sound Effects", "Album Version", ""Kut Masta Kurt Remix", "Shawn J. Period Remix" and "Micky Finn & Special K Remix".
So Whatcha Want comes with 3 angles and 5 mixes: "Album Version", "All The Way Live Freestyle", "Butt Naked Version", "Soul Assassins Remix" and the "A Cappella Version".
Now we come to disc two, which is a little slimmer when compared to the first disc.
Sabotage comes with 4 different angles, which show different aspects of the chase sequence. There is a short segment that lasts almost 7 minutes, which is supposed to be an interview with the "cast" of a TV show called "Sabotage". This is on a show called "Ciao LA" and is actually fun to watch, as the Beasties play the actors as fairly arrogant, into themselves people. I found it had a couple good laughs. There's also a photo gallery from Spike Jonze and a video treatment, explaining the video is supposed to be a spoof on 70's cop shows.
Shadrach presents 3 angles and 6 mixes: "Live Version", "Album Version", "Mum's the Word Remix", "J Rawls Remix", "Joey Chavez Remix" and "Peanut Butter Wolf Remix".
3 MCs and One DJ only presents 6 angles, which are just alternate camera shots, one even has a 4-way split screen showing 4 of the angles put together. I liked this on the most, its fun and everything is in sync.
Ricky's Theme comes with just a photo gallery from Spike Jonze.
Pass the Mic comes with 5 mixes: "Album Version", "Part 2; Skills to Pay the Bills", "Prunes Remix", "Nardone Remix" and "A Cappella Version".
Holy Snappers comes with a photo gallery by Robin Moore.
Root Down has 4 mixes: "Album Version", "Free Zone Mix", "PP Balloon Mix" and "A Cappella Version".
Netty's Girl comes with a photo gallery labeled "Science". To be honest, I don't know if it has significance or not (right now I'm wishing I was more of a fan of the group then maybe I'd understand).
Alive has the most in the ways of angles and mixes in the set. It has 9 angles and 7 mixes. The angles just show some of the different shots used for the video, longer extensions of them. The mixes include: "Video Version", "Moby Remix", "T-Ray Remix", "Rapscallion Remix", "Evidence Remix", "Bentley Rhythm Remix" and "A Cappella Remix".
Phew! That covers the videos one by one, but there's still more.
Criterion has included a section on each disc called "Schematic Overview", which is a quick instruction guide on how to use the DVD. There is also a section called "Non-Profit / Web Links", which is devoted to information on groups to help the Tibetan people, as well as web links to these organizations and even the Beastie Boys site and the Criterion site.
Then there is a collectible poster, which has two sides. On one side it has the same artwork as the Criterion cover (missing the Criterion banner,) and the other has the same back artwork. They also included an instruction booklet, which shows you how to navigate the disc and where everything is located. Missing from this release is any sort of essay, which usually comes with other Criterion titles.
I donít know if this is an issue now with newer players but apparently there is a problem with the discs and they do not work well on older players. Currently I use an HD-A3 HD DVD player and Playstation 3 and havenít had problems with it. Iíve also played it on older Toshiba and Sony players, but I recall having issues with it on my older Panasonic A-100 and that guy had trouble playing the supplements. It kept freezing and locking up on me. Iím sure most newer players will be able to handle it, though.
Though I was slightly annoyed with the navigation I still have to say this disc is rather incredible, even by todayís standards. Itís an incredibly innovative and fun DVD to go through and one of Criterionís best achievements. 10/10