Now you wouldn't go expecting a normal film from Baz Luhrmann, so the news that the double disc release of "Moulin Rouge" is anything but ordinary shouldn't come as a great surprise.
Picture The film is presented with picture quality so good, it's what the word gorgeous was invented for. Despite the fast zooms and pans over a myriad of vibrant colours, you won't catch any of them merging together into a 'Can Can' blur of their own.
Sound Fox are really getting into releasing films with a choice of either Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 mixes. Both are very effective in enhancing the constant sense of movement that drives the film through exciting sound effects, and excellent presentation of the music score.
Audio Commentary One (Disc One) This is the 'Production Commentary', with Baz Luhrmann, art designer Catherine Martin, and cinematographer Don McAlpine. The emphasis is on the technical, which is hardly surprising given the complex nature of the production, but it may bore some. We do find out though that blue light was used to enhance Nicole Kidman's skin tones, and that Martin's priority was to, "work out how we could create a world of entertainment under women's dresses". She's actually referring to the problem that the dancers of the day wore split knickers, and they couldn't do that for the film. Presumably Sharon Stone was unavailable.
Audio Commentary Two (Disc One) Baz Luhrmann and co-writer Craig Pearce get together for a chat about the writing process. Pearce's worry was the sudden realisation that "Oh my god, we're making a Can Can movie", but as you'll find out, it worked out fine in the end.
Disc Two Special Features
There are a number of Easter Eggs on this disc, which include footage of a guy dressed up as a cello, an additional scene and rehearsal footage. Just look out for that green fairy lurking about in the menus. Otherwise, all the extras are split into categories, with each containing several elements to explore.
'Making Of' Documentary A sea of behind-the-scenes footage combined with the finished product merges before your eyes, as the various cast and crew interviewees explain what they were trying to achieve. Baz equates the 1900 Paris setting as the equivalent of today's cutting edge rock music scene, and wanted to take all the cultural references of the time and put them into "one movement", that became "Moulin Rouge".
The Stars This is a gallery of interviews with the stars of the movie. Kidman reveals that she was never interested in making a musical ever, until of course she learned that Baz had a vision.
"The Story is About" Learn more about the writing process with footage of Baz and Craig at work reading through the parts, and Craig discussing what characters had to be dropped.
The Cutting Room Everything you ever need to know about editing a Baz Luhrmann movie is here, including deleted scenes, interviews, and Baz's 'mock visualisations' where he drops his own extra dialogue into scenes to provide a template for the pick-ups, or re-shoots.
The Dance This is an excellent and well-designed section that's well worth visiting. Obviously for the flow of the story they couldn't use all the footage of the four major dance sequences. So what we have here are the four scenes in full, and in 5.1 sound. If you wish, you can also go multi-angle too.
The Music What do you know - there's footage here of Baz Luhrmann skipping about in a snowy Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow (it's not always like that you know). He's visiting composer Craig Armstrong who talks us through his work for the film. Here's also an interview with Fatboy Slim where he shows us the Atari ST he still uses for all his music (damn fine computer) because it works better for him than all the latest technology. You'll also find music videos in this section.
The Design For a comprehensive array of galleries and interviews about all the design elements, including a section devoted entirely to knickers, this is your stop.
Marketing Anything promotional to do with the movie, including trailers, teasers, image galleries, and more lives here.
"Moulin Rouge" is available as a two-disc set on its own, or in a double-pack with the new Special Edition DVD release of "Romeo + Juliet".
Ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1
Technical Features: Scene selection, animated menus, multiple language subtitles, audio description for the visually impaired, and English captions for the hearing impaired.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.