Over a decade after working together on Batman Forever, director Joel Schumacher and Jim Carrey re-teamed for The Number 23. This supernatural thriller sees Carrey in serious mode, playing a man whose life is strangely marked by the number 23. It's a bonkers plot with a lot "trashy thrills" but not enough laughs for Carrey fans who mostly stayed away.
Schumacher reveals that, funnily enough, this project is his 23rd directing gig, in an otherwise humdrum commentary for the film. In fact the special features on this DVD are littered with spooksome anecdotes about this numerical enigma and how it manifested during production. In the Making Of featurette, Carrey insists "I've had an obsession with this number for a very long time." And producer Beau Flynn was floored after reading the script because, he says, "Twenty-three is my lucky number." Wow. Who'd have thought it?
Carrey's co-star Virginia Madsen experienced a slightly more "haunting" coincidence when she arrived at the studio and was allotted the parking space No. 23. She tells that story in one of ten other behind-the-scenes featurettes (each one lasting just under two minutes). Her credibility, though, is somewhat undermined by another snippet of this interview, where she insists that her world is being mysteriously influenced by randomly appearing cupcakes.
In a desperate attempt to lend some weight to this package, the visual effects supervisor gives commentary for three sequences. Unfortunately, he doesn't explain how the effects were achieved as much as simply narrate the action. Creating The World Of Fingerling offers a longer look at production design and special effects, but again, doesn't delve too deeply. When it comes to the nuts-and-bolts of the filmmaking, the most we learn is that the washed out look of the 'suicide blonde' scenes were achieved using a 'bleach bypass' process. You're left to figure out what that process might entail.
Add And Subtract
Sixteen deleted scenes sounds like a lot, but it probably adds up to less than 16 minutes (and .23 seconds if you add it up carefully!). They include an alternative opening, which is really the ending, but there's also an alternative ending to make life more confusing. We also see Walter having engine trouble in his van, and later, having more engine trouble. There's more from the 'suicide blonde' as well, trying on a chic little black noose for size.
Venturing beyond the realms of the movie, a featurette on The Number 23 Enigma hears from a lot of science bods on the way numerology has shaped cultures going back to ancient times. Numbers, you see, help us make sense of an apparently chaotic world, and for some old world philosophers they were also considered "a manifestation of the divine." Numerologist Glynis McCants takes it a bit too far though, showing us how to figure out our 'Life Path Number' and thus fulfil our destiny and feel more 'in tune' with the universe. No doubt her 'life path' has been enhanced by a few extra zeroes since taking up this line of work.
Certainly this DVD has more than its fair share of fluff features, but the silliness can be quite amusing. As long as you're not expecting any profound insights, you can easily while away, oh, 2 or 3 hours...
The Number 23 DVD is released on Monday 23rd July 2007.