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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 5/9/01

Special Edition - 2000 (2001) - MGM

review by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Antitrust: Special Edition Film Rating: D+

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

Specs and Features

108 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:02:29, in chapter 10), Amaray keep case packaging, audio commentary with director Peter Howitt and editor Zach Staenberg, Antitrust: Cracking the Code featurette, deleted scenes with optional commentary, When it All Goes Wrong Again music video by Everclear, theatrical trailer, animated film-themed menu screens with music and sound effects, scene access (16 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0), French & Spanish (DD 2.0), subtitles: French & Spanish, Closed Captioned

Antitrust is one of those movies where... well... to be fair.... Ah, the hell with it. Antitrust bites. There's just no way around it. The movie is terrible. I'm talking laughably bad.

The story is as follows. Tim Robbins plays Gary Winston (think Bill Gates), the head of a global market-dominating computer company, N.U.R.V. (think Microsoft), that's about to release a revolutionary new piece of communications software called Synapse (who cares what it stands for - think Windows). Enter Ryan Phillippe, who plays Milo Hoffman, a brash young computer genius that Winston recruits to help him finish Synapse on schedule. It seems like the chance of a lifetime for Milo (never mind the "all code should be free!" credo that Milo and his programmer buddies proclaim) and so he relocates himself and his girlfriend (played by Claire Forlani - yowza!) to Portland, Oregon to take the job. So far so good, right? Well, Milo quickly discovers that Winston is stealing code from the best programmers in the business to complete Synapse on time… and he's killing them to cover it up. Insert appropriately ominous music here.

You'd think that would be a cool premise for a film right? Unfortunately, Antitrust is so predictable and amateurish that you'll feel insulted for having watched it. First of all, Philippe, Forlani and much of the supporting cast couldn't act their way out of a plastic bag. Philippe, in particular, is just saccharine awful. These folks were definitely cast for looks alone. Only Robbins is truly good (he has a lot of fun with his over-the-top role), and Rachael Leigh Cook (as a fellow programmer working on Synapse) is passable. Second, the directon is just silly. There's a scene, about 2/3rds of the way in, where Milo starts to figure out what's going on... and the director actually crash zooms/pushes into his face (lest we miss Milo's look of shock) and cuts to a quick flashback montage to previous scenes (just to make sure we get it - like we didn't remember what happened 20 minutes earlier?). There were moments where my wife and I just laughed out loud. Throw in several SERIOUS plot holes, and a lame "This is going to be important" plot point involving sesame seeds (no kidding) and you've got a stinker that's only worth a rent if you want a good chuckle.

And that's too bad, because this DVD is pretty nice for what it is. The video is presented in a good looking anamorphic widescreen transfer, with great color and contrast, and very nice overall clarity. The audio is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 and, while it isn't going to blow anyone away, it features nice ambience and decent bass. A few directional effects are present in the mix, and dialogue and music sound clear and audible at all times.

Extras include an audio commentary by director Peter Howitt and editor Zach Staenberg (funny given how seriously they seem to take the film, and how bad it is), a short featurette on the making of the film, several deleted scenes (with optional commentary), an alternate opening and ending to the film, the When it All Goes Wrong Again music video by Everclear and a theatrical trailer. Not awesome stuff, but better than you'd expect. But not good enough, unfortunately, to make up for the film itself.

Right off the bat with Antitrust, you can tell you're in for a cheesy flick. The opening credits start with a visionary Robbins speech, intercut with shots of mysterious computer code. You're thinking, "Hhhmmm... some kind of secret computer program, a virus maybe..." and yet it's easily identifiable as basic HTML. I guess the director figured that his teen audience would be too stupid to notice. Funny - that's exactly the crowd that's mostly likely to be able to spot HTML. Anyway, I've said enough. Rent it, buy it... whatever. But you've been warned.

Bill Hunt
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