Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 4/26/00
review by Bill Hunt and Todd
Doogan of The Digital Bits
Special Edition - 1999 (2001) -
Lions Gate/View Askew (Columbia TriStar)
Film Rating: B
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/B/A-
Specs and Features
Disc One: Mooby Egg-A-Moofin'
128 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL
dual-layered (layer switch at 1:14:06, in Chapter 20), double Amaray keep case
packaging with slip case, audio commentary (with writer/director Kevin Smith,
producer Scott Mosier, DVD co-producer and View Askew historian Vincent Pereira,
stars Jason Lee, Jason Mewes and Ben Affleck), "Follow the Buddy Christ"
feature, technical commentary (with Smith, Mosier and Pereira), messages from
Mrs. Harriet Wise, "things to do instead of watching the movie",
Easter Egg, animated film-themed menu screens with sound and music, scene access
(28 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 and 3.0), Spanish (DD 2.0) and French
(DD 2.0), subtitles: English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned
Disc Two: Hosties
16 deleted scenes (with introductions from Kevin Smith, Vincent Pereira, Harley
Quinn Smith, Scott Mosier, Jennifer Smith and Jason Mewes), Jay and Silent Bob's
Secret Stash store promo, outtakes, 3 storyboards, cast and crew biographies and
filmographies, theatrical trailer, Easter Egg
1999 (2000) - Lions Gate/View Askew (Columbia TriStar)
Film Rating: B
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/B/D-
Specs and Features
128 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, full frame
(1.33:1), dual-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, 2 theatrical
trailers (for Dogma and The
Opposite of Sex), talent files, animated film-themed menu screens
with music, scene access (28 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French
(DD 2.0), subtitles: English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned
"I feel like Han Solo and
you're Chewie and she's Ben Kenobi... and we're in that fucked-up bar!"
You know that moment when you've been drinking with your best friends, and
you've got that good tequila buzz going, and you start talking about SERIOUS
shit like the nature of Good and Evil, and the reason for the Universe, and it's
all really great and you just GET it
and then the alcohol runs out and the
buzz starts to fade, and the conversation goes on a bit too long, and everyone
starts getting a little uncomfortable? Hold that moment in your mind, and
imagine it as a movie, and that's Dogma in
a nutshell. That's not to say that Dogma
is bad, because it's not. Not at all. It's often extremely funny and even
poignant at times
but sometimes it just derails itself a bit.
First things first, though - all that controversy this film stirred up with
religious conservatives? Give me a break. Who cares. Let's face it
Catholic Church, for all the good it does, has a bloodier history than any other
organization that's ever existed in the whole of human civilization. You know
why that is? The Church has no sense of humor. I mean, come on
can't laugh at yourself once in a while, what's the point, right? All I know is
that I watched WAY too many people marching like lemmings on TV, complaining
about this movie, and when they were asked if they'd seen it themselves, their
universal response was, "Uh no
but I just know that I don't like it."
Now THAT'S funny. If you're one of those people, I've probably already pissed
you off. But here's a clue: God gave you a brain, folks. He (or she) probably
wouldn't have done that unless he (or she) wanted you to think for yourselves
once in a while. In any case, I take such things as proof positive that God has
a great sense of humor. In my book, Dogma
as a religious flash-point is a non-issue. In fact, I really dig what director
Kevin Smith was trying to do here. But Dogma
well, it's a bit weak in the knees at times.
Let me quickly hit you up with the plot. Hollywood golden boys Ben Affleck and
Matt Damon play a pair of fallen angels (Bartleby and Loki), who have been stuck
in Wisconsin for ages, looking for a way to get back in God's good graces and
re-enter Heaven. One day, the pair discovers a loophole of Catholic dogma that
just might get them what they want. But there's a catch - if they succeed,
they'll unmake all of existence in the process. Enter Bethany (Linda
Fiorentino), a young woman who's lost her faith and who just happens to be the
human race's last hope. She's tasked by Metatron (the voice of God, played by
Alan Rickman) with the job of stopping Loki and Bartleby, but she's going to
need all the help she can get. And when you're holding out for the heroes, who
better than Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and director Kevin Smith)? Or how
about the never-before-mentioned 13th Apostle, Rufus (Chris Rock)? Or maybe a
sexless former muse turned stripper (Serendipity, in the form of Salma Hayek)?
Weird enough for you? Trust me - you ain't seen nothing yet.
Writer director Kevin Smith has definitely done his research into Catholic "dogma"
and lore. Dogma is an extremely
well-written script, with a VERY well thought out plot. But just when you think
the film's building up a good head of steam, it lurches to a halt under the
weight of a lengthy exposition scene. And that's the film's fatal flaw - if
you're going to satirize Catholic dogma, you've got to first make sure the
audience understands it. And so we get scene after scene of long (and sometimes
awkward) dialogue, where it's explained to us. Very little of the plot here is
self-explanatory. This definitely isn't a film where the visuals tell the story.
While I'm counting off the problems with Dogma,
I need to mention Salma Hayek and Jason Lee. Salma Hayek is bad. I mean, she's
but she's bad. Jason Lee is also bad. And he isn't pretty. And
there are several scenes (like the strip bar for example), which don't seem to
serve a purpose. Dogma originally had a
near 3-hour running time before extensive editing was done, and I can't help but
think it was probably a better film prior to the cuts.
But there's a LOT that does work in this film. The same dialogue that kills the
momentum at times kicks it into high gear at others - some of these jokes are
extremely funny, particularly anything involving Jay and Silent Bob. Chris Rock
is very funny as a forgotten Apostle (who was left out of the Bible because he's
black). George Carlin as a Catholic Cardinal on a mission to make the Church
more hip? Come on - that's damn funny! And the nature of God as revealed in the
end (specifically who plays God - I won't spoil it here) - how can you not crack
a smile at that? And again, you've got admire the work Smith obviously put into
the plot. Clever this flick's got in spades.
As DVD's go, the original disc looked and sounded fine, but it was pretty Plain
Jane. But this new special edition is way better. Let's start with the video.
You get anamorphic widescreen on both editions. The original movie-only disc was
a flipper with widescreen on one side and full frame on the other. The new
special edition is widescreen only. No big loss there though. Both versions
present very accurate (if muted) colors, with nicely rendered flesh tones. The
contrast is good, with deep blacks and excellent shadow delineation. And you'll
find no digital artifacting or annoying edge enhancement anywhere. These are
extremely nice transfers.
On the audio side, neither disc's sound will blow you away. Most of the time,
the rear channels are almost non-existent in the mix, but they do become more
active during action scenes. Don't look for much ambience though, but if you
want gimmicky surround sound, it abounds here. And that's fine - it's not really
a complaint, that's just the nature of the mix. But the dialogue is slightly too
underemphasized in this mix, and since it's a dialogue-heavy film, you'll need
to turn your volume up to get everything. And when you do, and you hit an action
scene... well, beware your sensitive ears.
So if the picture and audio quality doesn't vary much between these two DVDs,
why is the special edition the better of the two? Let's compare shall we? The
original movie-only disc features a whopping set of two of trailers (one
thankfully for Dogma) and some talent
files. That's that. Impressive huh? The new special edition has two commentary
tracks, including one with the cast and crew riffing hysterical about the movie
(and plenty of other stuff as well). You also get a "Follow the Buddy
Christ" feature, that occasionally lets you see two separate video feeds of
the commentary track being recorded via picture-in-picture (a la the Mallrats
disc). They're not feature length, but they're worth looking at when they
appear. You'll also find a second, audio-only track, which is all about the
technical side of making the film. This track features Mosier, Smith and Vincent
Pereira and, while it's also pretty funny, it's more informative than anything
else yet seen on a Kevin Smith DVD.
The new DVD also has a second disc of material, which features the video extras
(the most important of these being 16 deleted scenes with View Askew intros).
Having these here is great, but the video quality sucks - they're very digitally
compressed looking. Many of you may know that Disc Two was also supposed to
include an hour-long documentary. My guess is that the deleted scenes (more than
100 minutes in all) were compressed at a lower bit rate, to allow both these
scenes and the documentary to fit on a single disc. But when the documentary was
dropped at the last minute (reportedly over objections from Buena Vista, who
licensed the film to Columbia for DVD release), there wasn't time to go back and
recompress the deleted scenes at a higher bit rate to make them look better.
That small issue aside, the scenes themselves are pretty frickin' funny. You'll
have a lot of fun with them. Disc Two also includes some outtakes, storyboards
for 3 scenes, cast and crew bios and filmographies, a theatrical trailer and
Kevin and Jason Mewes shilling for their Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash comic
shop in Red Bank, New Jersey. You also get a pair of well-hidden Easter Eggs
(one on each disc of the set), video clips of a radical Christian lady begging
you to throw your DVD away and random ideas for stuff to do instead of watching
the film. It's a surprising amount of extras and it's a lot of fun.
Overall, the new Dogma: Special Edition
is a great effort on DVD and it delivers enough laughs to make it definitely
worth having a copy on your shelf. Your Franklins are well spent on the new
disc, particularly if you love the flick. If you don't care about the extras, or
want the film in full frame (gasp!), the movie-only disc is probably the better
way to go.
Dogma: Special Edition
Dogma (original version)