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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 12/22/99

The Ricky Martin Video Collection
1999 (1999) - Sony Music/Columbia Music Video

review by Frank Ortiz of The Digital Bits

The Ricky Martin Video Collection Program Rating: C

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): C/C+/D-

Specs and Features

40 mins, NR, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, "behind-the-scenes" featurette, program-themed menus, song access (9 songs - 10 chapters - see song listing below), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0 - some songs in Spanish), subtitles: English & Spanish

How many times have I caught myself with one of those catchy Ricky Martin tunes in my head? "Here we go… Ole, Ole, Ole!" And I won't even start with the "crazy life" song. Can you believe this guy has a few DVDs available already? After hearing his so so performance on SNL a little while back, I found the doubling done on almost all his vocal lines to be humorous. So does this guy REALLY do it all? Acting, singing, dancing…? Well, he can do the last two apparently, 'cause you see him doing it in this collection of videos.

After a brief introduction, we jump right into the English version of Living' La Vida Loca. And what follows are more songs in both English and Spanish (some in all Spanish, and some in mostly English). The truth is that this guy has the looks, the moves, and some great promotional power behind him. Oh yeah... I think he's got some talent too. Seriously, his musical talent is better displayed in some of his ballads. His performances show a ton of energy, which is difficult to translate to the TV screen... but he manages to do it. Most of this is done pretty well, with upbeat tunes, and great direction and settings. All in all, this is an interesting collection of decent music videos from Martin.

There's a quote from Ricky on his Sony music site, where he talks about his listeners: "I want them to feel free, liberated. I want them to be who they are with my music." Okay, that's a nice goal to have when creating and performing music. And there's definitely a need for fun music (Sony sure knows there's a market out there for it). I can't claim to be a huge fan of Martin, but I do have respect for any Latin artist, creating and performing music that many enjoy. You gotta like a guy that brings a little of the language from his home to the masses here in the grand old U.S. of A.

On this DVD, the video quality varies from song to song, but there are a few that are quite clean looking. Some are subdued and soft in tone (mostly the ballads), while others are brighter. One thing that's present in most of the videos is good flesh tones - the colors generally look nice. Still, the video never seems above average. The sound cracks me up. The 2.0 stereo track isn't bad, and is actually my preference here. But the 5.1 surround (when present) isn't that impressive. The mix is fine, it just sounds very bland and unappealing. If you're going to take the time to create 5.1 sound, then make it worth our while. Here, it just seems to be missing something - a little more creativity perhaps.

You want extras? Too bad. Well... there is a whopping 6-minute "behind-the-scenes" featurette. I'm amazed at how much money goes into all the publicity and promotion of this artist, yet the extras on this DVD are overlooked. It would be nice to have even a 10-minute interview with Ricky. Or an artist biography or discography. Or maybe a commentary track to one of the songs - anything to show us that he cared enough about this DVD to be involved. But no. As it is, I wonder if Martin even knows this DVD exists.

Maybe I'm expecting too much. No... actually I think I'm not. This medium is so perfect for giving fans all those nice little extras that make purchasing a DVD worthwhile. We know it can be done with music on DVD, so the lack of effort here irks me. In any case, Ricky Martin's video work shows talent and vigor. If you're a fan, this DVD collection is probably a descent buy, especially at the current prices. But I simply can't recommend this title to anyone else. It's definitely a skimpy disc, to be purchased at your own risk.

Song Listing

Livin' La Vida Loca
She's All I Ever Had
La Bomba
Perido Sin Ti
Livin' La Vida Loca
(Spanish version)
Maria (Spanglish)
Bella (She's All I Ever Had) (Spanish version)
The Cup of Life* (live Grammy performance)

* The Official Song of The World Cup, France '98

Frank Ortiz

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