On the DVD
With a perfect combination of awesome '70s-era packaging and a totally rockin' selection of bonus features, the Criterion Collection's director-approved special edition two-disc release of Dazed and Confused instantly qualifies as one of the very best DVDs of 2006--the 30th anniversary of the Bicentennial, man! That's what I'm talkin' about! As a sublime companion piece to Criterion's release of Richard Linklater's previous film Slacker, the set comes in a slipcase (complete with "Physical Graffiti"-like picture-windows) festooned with Flair-pen high-school "doodling" (just like you'd scribble on your Pee Chee folders, back in the day), and the features get off on a high note (kinda like Slater, y'know?) with writer-director Linklater's feature-length commentary, which offers all aspiring filmmakers an important lesson protecting your vision and knowing when not to compromise. In recalling the many struggles he endured during production, Linklater covers a lot of territory (notes from the studio, the fantasy abundance of muscle cars, selection of music, and his acute disappointment when Robert Plant--but not Jimmy Page--refused to allow Led Zeppelin songs to be used in the film), and his engaging, good-humored perspective (and appropriate sense of vindication) clearly arises from his film's eventual acceptance as a classic. (For all you film buffs out there, Linklater quite rightly recommends Tim Hunter's Over the Edge and Lindsay Anderson's If... as "great teenage films" that defined the genre before Dazed.) The film itself never looked or sounded better (Linklater and cinematographer Lee Daniel supervised the high-def digital transfer), and a generous selection of deleted scenes will be welcomed by the film's legion of loyal fans.
The Disc 2 supplements are highlighted by Making "Dazed", filmmaker Kahane Corn's decade-in-the-making 50-minute documentary, chronicling all aspects of the production from casting to the Dazed tenth-anniversary celebration in Austin, Texas, in 2003. "Beer Bust at the Moon Tower" allows random viewing of a 118-minute compilation of behind-the-scenes footage, on-set interviews (with cast members both in and out of character), audition footage, and recollections from the anniversary bash. The accompanying 72-page booklet is a Criterion master-stroke: Designed like a small-scale high-school yearbook, it's filled with more "doodling" artwork, lots of photos, three appreciative mini-essays (the best being by journalist/author Chuck Klosterman), recollections by cast and crew, and humorous "Profiles in Confusion" portraits of the characters in Dazed, reprinted from the film's similarly designed companion book. It's all topped off by a miniature reproduction of the film's original poster, designed by Frank Kozik. In terms of capturing "The Spirit of '76" and the film's celebratory sense of anti-nostalgia, this is surely one of Criterion's finest releases to date. --Jeff Shannon
However, a note to those of you who are reading this because you've seen the movie and want to know more about the DVD itself:
I was disappointed with the Flashback Edition. There are no commentary tracks and the extras, while funny, aren't too exciting and seem to be there for the purpose of having SOMETHING new for a second edition that they can make more money off the movie and pacify those who complained that the previous version had no special features at all.
The only extra segment that I enjoyed was the montage of 9 deleted scenes, some of which explain inconsistencies in the movie. For example, how did O'Bannion and others know that Mitch would be pitching a baseball game? Now I know. Having missed those scenes all these years I don't feel like I needed them. What I really wanted was some insight from Linklater. I watched it with the subtitles on (are those considered a "special feature" if they're embedded in the movie itself?) and that really did add to my enjoyment of the actual movie. Like I said, I can recite a lot of the lines. Now I can recite more and the ones that I'd misheard have been corrected.
If you already own the previous edition, save your money on the new one or buy another DVD.
Because I'm rating the overall DVD and not just the movie, it lost one star. The movie itself is a 5-star.
However, if there's no new anamorphic transfer on the new edition DVD, I'm not touch'in it. Read more