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review by Zach B.


Rated R

Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star

Running Time: 128 minutes

Starring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock

Written and Directed by Kevin Smith

Retail Price: $24.95

Features: Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selections

"Dogma" is not an easy movie to talk about since there's so much history behind it, but I'll do my best talking about it. I'm a big Kevin Smith fan, and I loved every minute of Dogma. While it's not my favorite Kevin Smith film of all time, it's pretty damn good (I love every single one of his projects). Besides a very good story, "Dogma" also shows how much Smith has grown as a filmmaker and how he keeps evolving.

The story of "Dogma" is pretty simple: Two renegade angels named Loki and Bartleby (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) have found a loophole to get them back into heaven. Unfortuantley, by going through it'd wipe out the universe. That's where Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) comes in along. Along with Rufus the 13th Apostle (Chris Rock), a muse (Salma Hayek) and Jay and Silent Bob, they're out to save the world.

People are familiar that "Dogma" caused quite a stir upon it's original theatrical release. This being Smith's fourth film, well before it came out people started to go nuts about it how it offends religons and whatnot. Miramax was going to release the film and "bought it from themselves for ten million dollars" (What the f***?), but they soon dropped it and Lions Gate gave it theatrical distribution during November 1999. The film was Smith's most successful yet, and Columbia/Tri-Star distributed it on DVD and video.

So is "Dogma" as bad as they say it is? Not really. This is America of course, and in America people will complain and sue over any little thing. A lot of Americans always have to put the blame on others, and even before the movie came out people started to show their discomfort. While I'm not of the Christian faith (I'm Jewish), I didn't find anything so offensive within the film. People who have major faith really shouldn't get so upset about this film. It's really nothing terrible, though I can see people getting offended at some portions... though they really shouldn't. Sometimes I think people should just relax and chill out, enjoy themselves and whatnot. Smith does have a lot of religous references, and even says himself in his excellent essay included with the DVD that the "only wrong thing with Christianity is Christians". This movie has a lot to say and says it very well.

Smith has put together quite an ensemble here and they all work really well together. Damon and Affleck, who go way back as we know, have great chemistry as the two angels. Jason Lee, another Smith alumni, is great as the evil Azrael. Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) are always great, while Fiorentino does a great job as Bethany. Chris Rock is hilarious and Rufus and Salma Hayek does a pretty good job with her character. Even though Alan Rickman has a smaller role, I liked watching him.

This is Smith's first foray in really widescreen terrority, and while he discusses on one of the commentaries people blasting him for it, I think it works really well. The film features some nice editing and a lot of great camera shots. This film is surprisingly technical and actually works well that way. Smith was always a strong writer, but I think with each outing he becomes even more of a great director. I look forward to seeing what he does next. "Dogma" is really well shot film.

Smith once again delivers a fine film complete with funny lines, pop culture references and great acting. Though the whole religon deal will be a turn off to some, it shouldn't be. Sit back and enjoy "Dogma".

"Dogma" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it ranks as one of Columbia/Tri-Star's best transfers ever. Despite some blemishes, specks and scratches that appear here and there, as well as some shimmering and noise, everything else is perfect. The transfer is pretty sharp, though at times it can be a tad soft. I didn't notice much grain, while colors are well saturated and black levels are dead on. Fleshtones and hues are accurate while detail is very good. A superb transfer that I was very, very pleased with. A full screen presentation is also included.

With a 5.1 Dolby Digital track in English, "Dogma" has some surprisingly good audio considering the material involved. The climax sounds great, while the action scenes such as killings, the poop monster and the train scene bring the back speakers to life. .1 LFE is pretty good and the music sounds really nice through the speakers. The dialogue is clear and crisp and not distorted, while nothing overpowers it. Overall, a nice mix. English closed captions, French, Spanish and English subtitles are included, plus Dolby Surround mixes in English, French and Spanish.

The Theatrical Trailer. A special edition is due out in the future though so I'd wait for that.

"Dogma" is another fine View Askew effort. This DVD sports a great presentation, but wait for the special edition of the film. If you haven't seen the film, check it out. And don't be cautious of the religous content.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)




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