Men In Black: Collector's Series (Dolby Digital)
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn, Linda
Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio
Screen Story and Screenplay by Ed Solomon
Based on the comic by Lowell Cunningham
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Retail Price: 29.99
Features: Video Commentary with Barry Sonnenfeld and
Tommy Lee Jones, Deleted and Extended Scenes, "Metamorphosis
Of Men In Black" Featurette, Promotional 1997 Making-Of
Featurette, Multi-Angle Visual Effects Demonstration of the
"Tunnel Scene", Storyboard-to-Screen Comparisons, Storyboard
Gallery, Production Photos, Conceptual Art Gallery,
Interactive Character Animation Studies, Will Smith and
Mikey "Men In Black" Music Video, Talent Files, Theatrical
Trailers, DVD-ROM: Weapons of MIB, Devices of MIB, 3-D
Exploration of MIB Headquartes, Resident Alien Tracking, MIB
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 5.1 Dolby
Digital English, English Dolby Surround, Fench Dolby
Surround, English Captions, French Cpations, Spanish
Captions, Mandarin Captions, Cantonese Captions, Chapter
Search (27 Chapters)
Another incredibly anticipated DVD title, "Men In Black"
was supposed to be out long ago... if it weren't for
Spielberg who was unsure of the DVD format and decided not
to release any of his or Amblin titles on DVD (since then
he's been giving in). It's been a long wait, and DVD fans
have been pretty pumped for this release.
Based on the cult comic book, "Men In Black" was the top
movie of the summer of 1997, raking in a good, cool 250
million. It was also the most successful Columbia Pictures
movie of all time. It also gave Will Smith the nickname
"King of Summer" or whatnot due to the previous success of
Day (but he later bombed with "Wild Wild West").
The whole idea and plot of "Men In Black" is quite
simple, really. A cop named Jay becomes a member of a top
secret government agency which investigates alien and
phenomena on Earth. He is teamed with Kay, and it's up to
them to stop a raging evil.
Barry Sonnenfeld, a former cinematographer and successful
director ("The Adams Family", "Adams Family Values) directed
"Men In Black", and I think it is because of him the movie
works so well. His direction and vision is superb, and
really makes the film feel like something special. The cast
is very good, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith have great
chemistry. The sets and design aspect of the film is really
nice, and the special effects are really good. They make the
film pretty fun, and it's all coursety of Industrial Light
There are three versions of Men In Black. One a Dolby
Digital release, one a DTS release, and one a
Edition release with a few more fantastic bells and
whistles. This Dolby Digital version is more standard, but
still packs an impressive punch.
The Dolby Digital Collector's Series release of "Men In
Black" is presented in an anamorphic widescreen display of
1.85:1. The transfer is breathtaking, at best. The image is
a little soft, but the transfer I expected is the usual
excellent Columbia standard. Colors pop right out at you,
fleshtones are remarkable and detail is vivid as well as
clear. The picture is really crisp too. The only complaint I
have is the grain which came up now and then, but other than
that, this transfer will please everyone who views it.
A movie like this was simply MADE for 5.1 audio. This is
an action movie. Yes, there is dialogue, but there are many
cool effects and sounds. The music makes good use of the
channels, as well as crashes, blasts, flying sounds... you
name it. This will rock your speakers, you can feel the
sound bouncing all over the place. Bass is very good here,
as well as fidelity. This mix is really creative, and fits
the movie perfectly. No one will be disappointed here
either. There is also English and French Dolby Surround
The transfer and sound are excellent, and the features
are good too. They may be missing some of the Limited
Edition stuff, but still feature some nice stuff.
First off, there is a Commentary with Barry Sonnenfeld
and Tommy Lee Jones. This is one of the better
commentaries I have heard lately, and it is one of those
"video" commentaries we've come to see from Columbia, the
Mystery Science Theater 3000 type where you see the
sillouttes of the people. This track is pretty entertaining,
and the two discuss the joys and work of the making of the
film. You're sure to pick up some nice knowledge of the
movie by listening to the track.
Deleted Scenes... pretty self explanitory. Here
you'll see what didn't make the final cut of the film, and
you can see why. They are pretty short in total, and some
are extended as well as alternate versions of what appears
in the movie. A nice touch to see what we were missing out
"Metamorphosis of 'Men in Black' Documentary runs
under a half hour and shows how the movie was brought from
the comic page to the silver screen. Pretty interesting to
watch and it does feature interviews.
There is also a short, promotional Featurette
which runs around seven minutes and is pure fluff to
advertise the movie.
One of the most notable scenes in the film was the tunnel
scene, and the Multi-Angle Deconstruction of it is
really cool to check out. It uses the angle feature on your
DVD player, and shows how difficult and big of a special
effects task is to make something like it. There is also an
optional commentary from the ILM crew, and you can see five
different stages of how it was brought to life.
Character Animation Studies also uses the angle
feature to show you three different characters and how the
animators created them with different layers. Much like the
tunnel scene's effect, it shows the process of what
animators do and how it is done.
Storyboard Comparisons are used for three
different scenes, and are the basic storyboards on one half
of the screen to the final product on the other half. You
can also view Storyboards seperatley in a gallery.
The Conceptual Art Gallery features some great
original artwork, and how all designs featured went in or
differ from what can be found in the final film. There are
3-D Models, paintings, sketches. It's also a good view.
Production Photo Gallery has a bunch of photos of
the people behind the scenes, such as animators, costume
desiners and art people. These are some really good photos
and introduce us to those who worked on the creative side of
There are the usual Talent Files which points out
Sonnenfeld's and the cast's key moments in the industry and
basic info, as well as Theatrical Trailers. One is
the Men in Black Teaser, one is the full Men in Black
trailer and the other is a Men In Black II teaser, which
actually has a different voice over to hype a little about
the sequel and uses footage from the original teaser. The
trailers for the original are a bit rough and could have
used a little cleaning up, but they're not terrible. There
also trailers for the home video release of Ghostbusters and
theatrical trailers for Starship Troopers and The Mask of
Zorro, among another. There is also the hit music video,
Men In Black with Will Smith and Mikey.
There are also some neat DVD-ROM features. Beside the
basic Weblinks, you can take a peek at the Men In
Black HQ (you need Quicktime VR, though) as well as
MIB Weapons and Devices. There's also a Game
and Resident Alien Tracking.
If you like your releases pretty standard and don't care
about features or sound, this is the version for you. With
some good features and a wonderful presentation, the wait
for Men In Black on DVD was worth it. Enjoy!
(4/5, NOT included in
NOT an average)