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review added: 6/2/99



Taxi Driver
Collector's Edition - 1976 (1999) Columbia TriStar Home Video

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Taxi Driver: Special Edition Film Ratings: A+

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

Specs and Features

114 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1 aspect ratio), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 89:37 at start of chapter 23), Snapper packaging, Making Of Taxi Driver documentary, photo montage/portrait galley with commentary by special edition producer Laurent Bouzereau, original screenplay, advertising materials, theatrical trailer, storyboard sequence, production notes, cast and crew bio information, film-themed menu screens, scene access (28 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai, Close Captioned


Alright kids -- get off your butts, pull out your check books, get to your favorite DVD shop, and slam down whatever you have to to buy the new edition of Taxi Driver. It has to be, pound for pound, one of the best DVD special editions ever. No -- it's not one of those DVD-ROM discs, nor does it have a bunch of fun games that let you see hidden footage. It's a film course -- an inside look into the making, the psychology, and the philosophies of one of the greatest American films ever made.

Taxi Driver is important to me. It's important to a lot of people out there. And if you don't know about it, I'm not going to sit here and write why Taxi Driver should be important to everyone. If you've never seen it -- see it. If you have, see it again. And if you heed my words, and you choose to see it again, do so with this new DVD special edition.

Columbia TriStar already put Taxi Driver out on DVD -- and it wasn't one of their better discs. It was grainy as all hell, and had compression problems out the wazzo. Not so with this disc. This new edition features a digitally remastered print. Not only is this one of the best transfers of this film I've ever seen, it's anamorphic. And I'll tell you, only recently have I become a die-hard anamorphic fan -- that's the absolute only way to go, and for those of you who haven't checked a disc out that offers this ability, you're missing out.

As for audio, the stereo soundtrack is really nice -- way better than the laserdisc. I don't think I can quite say enough positive things about this disc. I feel giddy about it -- I just got done watching the disc for the third time, and I feel like the way I did when I first fell in love with the movies.

Movie extras are the way of life on DVD, and these days, unless you're gonna put out a special edition, there really is no point in releasing cool movies. The people over at Columbia Tristar usually know this, and they've redeemed themselves (for the first DVD release of this film) with this disc (and if Ghostbusters is as cool as they promise, I think you'll be hearing me sing their praises soon again).

The disc is jam packed -- and none of it is junk. It's a thrilling journey into the world that the filmmakers behind Taxi Driver lived in. There's an excellent documentary (with interviews) done by special edition guru Laurent Bouzereau. Any questions you have will be answered here (or in the photo montage commentary, where Laurent lets loose some great nuggets that didn't make it to the documentary). There's storyboards for the slaughter sequence, a filmography, production notes, and theatrical trailers as well. That's not all -- there's also the ability to pop into the screenplay at any point in the film. The screenplay is a great read, by the way, and you can read it all the way through without watching the film. In the script, there are a few things that didn't make it to the film, and after reading it, you'll learn that much of the character dialogue seems to have been improvised by the actors to be a bit fuller. Reading the script is fun, and gives you a look at the blueprint the actors and Scorsese used. This has to be one of the most fulfilling special edition discs NOT put out by Criterion. I don't think there's a thing wrong with it.

I dunno, I'm in a Candyland of the soul right now -- with this DVD, one of my favorite things in life is now bigger and better than ever. Everyone should be this happy at some point in life, and I promise you, if you are a fan of this film, and you buy this disc the second it comes out, you will be too. That's right... I'm talkin' to you.

Todd Doogan
todddoogan@thedigitalbits.com




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