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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Man On The Moon
Man On The Moon
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted June 3, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

There really couldn't have been anyone else to play Andy Kaufman besides Jim Carrey - Carrey, who was an enormous fan of the comedian, takes the role and completely becomes it. There are a number of scenes where he's so good it's almost scary. Watching it, it reminds me of some of the early stand-up comedy moments from Carrey, where he would try things and experiment; sometimes it wouldn't work, but even if it didn't, you were entertained by how far out there it went. It's an experience...

...And so is the film. Revolving around the history of Kaufman, director Milos Forman takes the audience from the performer's childhood to the stand-up gigs, to "Taxi" and to the end of his life. Kaufman, as he repeats, is not a comedian but a performer, and the surreal nature of everything down to the prank of lounge act Tony Clifton is an amazing thing to witness. We eventually are introduced to the other cast of characters in Kaufman's life, from his manager George Shapiro(Danny Devito) to his co-conspirator, Bob Zamuda(Paul Giamatti) to his girlfriend, Lynne Marguiles(Courtney Love). I was greatly impressed by the supporting cast, who never become overshadowed by the performance from Carrey, which is one of genius.

The film even opens with a frustratingly brilliant bit, with Carrey as Kaufman welcoming the audience to the movie, explaining that he wasn't happy with it, and letting the credits roll. The bit goes on a little too long, but the end result is hilarious. Time and time again, though, it's Carrey's performance that makes the movie truly memorable, bringing Kaufman to life with an intense, out-of-control performance that's easily the actor's very best.


The DVD

VIDEO: The transfer from Universal for "Man On The Moon" is good, but it's not quite as good as it could have been. The picture is adequately sharp, but it seems a little on the soft side on occasion. Detail is good, but not great. Colors occasionally are bright and make an impression, but generally, stay fairly subdued. Flesh tones are natural, though.

The remaining problems are slight, but noticable. There is some slight shimmering and pixelation, but they aren't terribly distracting. The print used is in very good condition, with only a minor mark or two. It's certainly watchable, but it's not the best work Universal has done.

SOUND: Universal has inclued both DTS and Dolby Digital audio for "Man On The Moon", and both are pretty similar to each other. The film is mainly dialogue driven, with not much else during the picture. Surround use is pretty minor, but effective when used. The score sounds clear and smooth, and dialogue is clear and well-integrated. The DTS track sounds a little smoother and more natural - especially during the performances, but I didn't find a major difference between the two. The DTS "piano" trailer is included.

EXTRAS: This could have been a bigger special edition; although Universal's extras that are included are enjoyable, I wish there was more included, such as a commentary from the director or even Carrey.

Deleted Scenes: There are about 10 minutes worth of deleted scenes included; some are just interesting to watch, but there are a couple that are pretty entertaining and were probably cut due to time.

Spotlight On Location: Another of Universal's documentary features, "Man On The Moon: Behind The Spotlight" takes equal turns on featuring the history behind Kaufman's career and the production of the movie. Director Milos Forman as well as many other members of the cast and crew share their thoughts on the movie as well as Kaufman's career. The viewpoint of Carrey on the career of the performer is especially interesting to listen to.

Andy Kaufman Bio: There is a text bio of Kaufman, and there are little logos you can select to watch a clip of Kaufman.

Notes: Cast and crew bios, production notes.

Music Videos: "Man On The Moon" and "The Great Beyond", from REM.

Trailers: Trailers for "Man On The Moon" and "Nutty Professor 2".

Also: DVD-rom features and recommendations.


Final Thoughts: The film tends to get a little long once or twice, but Carrey's performance is remarkable. Universal's DVD isn't quite as strong as it could have been, but it's still an enjoyable presentation. Recommended.

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