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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 3/15/00

The Bone Collector
1999 (2000) - Universal

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVsEncoded with DTS & Dolby Digital 5.1 Digital Surround

The Bone Collector Film Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A+/A

Specs and Features

118 mins, R , letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:02:52, at the start of chapter 12), Amaray keep case packaging, Spotlight On Location featurette, audio commentary with director Phillip Noyce, production notes, cast and crew bios, trailers for The Bone Collector and The Skulls, DVD-ROM materials (including website information), film-themed menu screens with animation and sound, scene access (20 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English, Closed Captioned

Generally I hate movie trailers. Bill and I both do. But when it comes to trailers, I’m also quite the hypocrite. When I go to the movies, I love watching the trailers. The problem is, usually right after the trailers are done, I feel like each and every one of them was awful. They either make the movie look horrid, give the whole thing away or use footage that doesn’t even appear in the gosh darn flick. Here’s an example of how a trailer can effect your point of view. When I saw the Tumbleweeds trailer, I thought it sucked. It made the movie look like something no one in their right mind would want to see it. But next thing you know, Janet McTeer is all over the place as a prospective nominee for Best Actress. Then she actually gets nom’ed and guess what? I still -- to this day -- I have no desire to see the film because of the trailer. That’s the power of the trailer.

That leads me right to The Bone Collector’s doorstep. I have a habit with DVD, which is that I watch the trailer before the film -- it makes it that much more a theater-like experience. So up comes the Bone Collector trailer... and away goes my hope for this being a good movie. The trailer for this film is awful in more ways than one. It doesn’t really do anything, it makes the film look repetitive and boring and when it’s compared to the actual film, it doesn’t even project what’s going on in the story. The worst thing though, is it blows the killer’s identity. If you know voices and see a lot of mainstream movies, then you’ll recognize the killer when you hear the voice in the trailer. I’m not going to say who it is, but when you hear the voice and then see the guy (who you remember having that voice in other films), you’ll know.

So what are you going to do? Nothing. Just sit back and don’t over think it. When it comes to this movie, don’t listen to what everyone else has to say. It’s good. It’s a tightly wound character study with a creepy crawly atmosphere and some top notch acting. If you can suspend some belief for two hours, you can thoroughly enjoy this film.

Denzel Washington is Lincoln Rhyme, the best forensic guy in the state of New York (maybe even the world). At the beginning of the film, he has a horrible accident that causes him to lose everything he once knew, and have to start over with a new look on life. When a young street cop named Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) stumbles upon a crime scene, her quick thinking and eye for detail brings her to the attention of Lincoln and he makes her his eyes, ears and legs on crime scenes. The two of them are on a case where a killer is leaving clues that only Lincoln can solve. The riddles all seem to be pointing to the next crime, as if to say, "Stop me before I kill again." Can Amelia help stop the crimes before they’re committed? And if so, at what cost? It’s an old-fashioned crime film with a very modern day edge. Some of it is stomach churning, some of it is shocking, but most of it is engaging. I actually liked the film a whole lot – even if the trailer sucked.

The DVD helps that. This is another really top-notch edition from Universal. The menu screen intro is freaky and the disc's got a great commentary track from director Phillip Noyce. And as I mentioned, for those who want to see if they can figure out the killer before seeing the film, Universal added the trailer for your viewing pleasure. I’ll go back and talk about the commentary track. Noyce does a good job here. He talks about just about everything you would want, from the history of the production to working with this cast (which is solid all around) and even how anamorphic widescreen is the best way to go on your home viewing screen. He’s a regular Digital Bits poster boy – just listen to what he has to say from about 18:25 to 20:15 about the subject. Rounding out the extras is a half-hour, behind-the-scenes Spotlight On Location job that's a nice addition.

Quality-wise, this is a great disc as well. The anamorphic widescreen picture is sweet, with nice color control and super contrast. Every light shaft wraps itself around the piercing darkness, creating a wonderful mood. The tones and depths of the blacks are succulent. There are no digital artifacts to be seen and it’s got some tight grain, boy. The picture is virtually flawless. On the sound side, you get Dolby Digital 5.1, which is very active -- nice and creepy. The echoes, the roar of helicopters and vicious thumps are all well represented. It’s just a damn good disc... but it doesn’t stop there. For your listening pleasure, you also get an even better DTS 5.1 track. If you thought the sound field for the Dolby Digital track was full, wrap your ears around this one. This disc is a great reason for everyone to upgrade their audio systems.

I'm sure there are a lot of you out there who probably already hate this flick. To you I say, give it a chance. It has a couple good things to offer and it might surprise you. It sure surprised the hell out of me. There are worse things you could do than to check out a seriously creepy flick on a dark night at home. Just be sure to lock all the doors and make sure the windows are bolted. Because you never really know... do you?

Todd Doogan

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