In the video diary section of this double-disc set, director Brett Ratner is stopped and asked what will be on the DVD. Plenty of stuff, he replies, and he's not wrong. But by far the best feature is his audio commentary, where he explains how he grappled with this latest instalment in the Hannibal Lecter series.
Picture The lavish rich art design of the movie is all here in textured detail, thanks to a superb transfer that doesn't lose a thing in the often low lighting.
Sound Whether you choose the Dolby or DTS 5.1 mix, both lend a sense of massive scale to Danny Elfman's music score.
Disc One Special Features
Audio Commentary One Brett Ratner is joined by scriptwriter Ted Tally for a highly informative and often amusing commentary track.
Brett describes how, upon being given the script, he mused, "What am I, the go-to guy on the sequels?" When he then spotted the respected Ted Tally credit on the script, he wondered, "Why am I being sent this?" Ted shoots back, "Cause you're cheap", and that sums up nicely the level of banter on this track.
Just to complete Ratner's bemusement over being offered this project, he was then summoned to meet with legendary producer Dino de Laurentiis, who kicked off the conversation with, "Why do they like you? I've never heard of you."
Audio Commentary Two While many commentaries come in for some stick on this site for being, well, crap, we do acknowledge that they're hard things to do. Even harder is a music commentary, which is what poor Danny Elfman has been stuck with here. Wisely, he chooses to insert only the odd comment between the cues in a music score that speaks for itself quite adequately.
Disc Two Special Features
Making of After the self-deprecating and insightful commentary on disc one, we get stuck with cheese as we go "Inside "Red Dragon"". "It's a psychological thriller," offers Anthony Hopkins, and on that comment you should hit the stop button.
Lecter and I In this short interview, Hopkins reveals that he "had no idea it would catch on in this way", referring to his character, and that upon receiving the script for "Silence of the Lambs", he thought it was for children.
The Burning Wheelchair (aka "Freddie on Fire") This is a four-minute look at the flaming wheelchair stunt, and it has to be said - it looks like a scary task for the stunt guy.
Visual Effects The execution of this featurette is lazy as we're shown before and after comparisons of effects used in the movie. Better captions and presentation are needed here.
Storyboard to Final Feature Comparison Four scenes are presented with storyboard and finished film both in view for you to compare.
Brett Ratner's Video Diary This 40-minute video journey has the odd highlight, but frankly is rendered no less than extremely irritating due to awful background music. You do get to follow the production from first day on the crew bus (Hopkins is in the Lear jet) to the premiere, but you may end up cannibalising yourself as the plinky plonk music eats into your brain.
Screen and Film Tests It's unusual to see as much as 12 minutes of screen tests on a DVD, and now we know why. They're deadly boring. Unless of course you like to see actors mug away (and, let's be honest, you can watch the film for that).
Make-up Application Want to see shards of mirror being inserted into eyeballs? This section comes with a warning about graphic content!
FBI Profile After the audio commentary, the extra features just get more and more mediocre, until we hit this gem of an interview with John Douglas, a real FBI Profiler. His trick for success is to visit mass murderers like Charles Manson late at night, and try to let them manipulate him while gleaning information from them. His descriptions of these encounters are certainly creepy.
The Leeds House Crime Scene Want to see the art department spray blood around a family home? You wish comes true here.
Additional Scenes In this section you'll find seven deleted scenes, four alternate versions of scenes, and three extended scenes, all with optional commentary. Most of this material is so short, Ratner barely has time to tell you why it was cut.
Brett Ratner's Untitled Student Film By this point, any suspicions that the extra features cupboard at Universal studios is near empty are confirmed. Ratner couldn't even give this dull film a title, and it lacks sound.
Additional Extra Features Also on the DVD is a trailer and teaser trailer.
Ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1
Audio Tracks: Multiple languages
Subtitles: Multiple languages
Menus: Animated, with music
Special Features Subtitles: Every single one of the special features (that require them) come with subtitles.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-N5 DVD player.