It's hard to cover a life like that of Charlie Chaplin's in a short period of time (even if that "short" period is two and a half hours). The problem is, Richard Attenborough's "Chaplin" tries to cover way too much, and in the process fails to give us much insight on Chaplin or his times. On DVD, the scene selection option is terribly wonderful because the film give different aspects of Chaplin's life seperate, sketchy vignettes. His wives and mistresses are in it for two minutes apiece, "The Great Dictator," "City Lights," and "Modern Times" each have only one scene, and if you blink you might miss the coverage of "The Gold Rush."
The film is entertaining in that it is briskly paced, and the performances are good. Robert Downey Jr. should have won an Oscar, and supporting performers, especially Geraldine Chaplin, Kevin Kline, James Woods, and Dan Aykroyd, are great. But one reason their performances are so good is because they are given no challenge. Chaplin is the only character in this movie who has more than two dimensions.
The DVD fares better. Colours are good throughout, and there aren't any visual flaws worth noting. The menu interface is pretty neat. On the extras front, there are several documentaries that are essentially promos for the film. There are quite a few production notes, including some about Chaplin's films (which, appropriately, are as sketchy as the film itself.) Hidden on the disc are some fairly illuminating interviews with Downey, Anthony Hopkins, Attenborough, and others.