A band that's been evolving greatly over the years from a punk band to party rock to more rap, The Beastie Boys have stayed an immensely popular act that's gotten more and more creative musically over the years. They've also embraced technology, as shown by this remarkable 2-DVD release, which shows the Beasties over the years from "Holy Snappers" to recent singles like "Alive" and "Sabotage". Multiple audio and video selections are available for each of the music videos, with remixes by artists like Fatboy Slim and Moby available with the audio button. A few videos on these discs provide as many as 6 different audio versions of the song and 9 angles(Intergalactic). A couple of videos do not have additional material at all, but the majority of them do. An "operations manual" included as an insert provides an easy listing to look through to see the more specific details.
Both discs open with a similar main menu that splits the particular disc into two parts - videos and videos with supplements. The videos section is where viewers can go through the general presentation for the music videos offered - Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0 and both commentary tracks are available through this section. The other section breaks it down to give you other options such as remixes by other artists via the audio button, alternate footage via the multi-angle button and more. The menu for the song gives the viewer the chance to pick which features they want to start with, but you can also switch things up midway through easily.
This is not a collection of every Beastie Boys video, but, for the most part, it provides a solid sampler of their work: (Disc One) 1. Intergalactic, 2. Shake Your Rump, 3. Gratitude, 4. Something's Got To Give, 5. Sure Shot, 6. Hey Ladies, 7. Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun, 8. Body Movin', 9. So What'Cha Want.
(Disc Two)10. Sabotage, 11. Shadrach, 12. Three MCs and One DJ, 13. Ricky's Theme, 14. Pass The Mic, 15. Holy Snappers, 16. Root Down, 17. Netty's Girl, 18. Alive.
VIDEO: Again, the videos offered here are from all different years, and obviously, the newest videos such as "Alive" and "Sure Shot" look the best. The newer videos offer excellent sharpness and detail. Some of the older videos are occasionally a little bit grainy, but I didn't see any flaws at all in the way of shimmering or pixelation. Colors are also excellent on many of the videos. With the exception of a couple of videos that look a bit aged at this point, the videos look excellent.
SOUND: The videos are offered in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio for the video presentations boasts fine audio quality, but the 5.1 audio isn't very elaborate. I suppose that with the beats of the beasties, there could be some gimmicky or overdone use of surround sound, but I would have liked a little more than the presentation here, which generally uses the surrounds to bring the same audio further out into the room.
During some of the newer videos, this approach worked better. "Gratitude", "Sure Shot" and "Alive" sounded particularly good. Generally, the audio quality is really good, and the audio definitely is perfect for playing loud, although anyone with anyone in the surrounding area might want to keep things under control as bass delievers strongly on most of the songs. There is also 2.0 audio available for the songs, and the remixes are in 2.0; these presentations sound good on their own terms, especially some of the remixes - Moby's version of "Alive" sounds particularly good.
MENUS:: Menus are stylish and easily navigated between the two sides of the discs - videos in sequence and videos with supplements.
Commentaries: During the videos, there is the choice of two commentary tracks - one with the Beastie Boys and one with video directors such as Spike Jonze. The commentary with the Beastie Boys does not provide anything particularly deep or insightful about the band, and during a couple of videos, they wonder what happened to the cool clothes they were wearing during the video shoot. A few times, they even seem to admit that the commentary isn't going to far. From the opening though, they just seem to be watching all the videos and having a bit of a laugh as they remember their work from over the years - no more, no less. The director's tracks, which offer commentary by some of the video directors, does give some more information about the productions, but again, neither of these are particularly lively discussions.
Other Extras Disc One: The short film "The Robot Vs. Octopus Monster Saga", which is sort of a spin-off of the "Intergalactic" video; storyboards for "Intergalactic"; live video for "Gratitude"(w/commentary); small photo gallery for "Sure Shot" by Spike Jonze; additional "Body Movin" outtakes called "Don't Lose Your Head", storyboards, plus director's and g-rated cuts of the video.
Other Extras Disc Two: A hilarious short program called "Ciao LA", which has the "stars" of the "Sabotage" video being interviewed, and also "Sabotage"'s area contains photos by Spike Jonze as well as the text treatment for the video. On this disc, "Ricky's Theme", "Holy Snappers" and "Netty's Girl" also have small photo galleries.
Also: Again, there are a few videos that don't offer alternate audio/video, but most do and what's offered (especially some of the different video angles) are quite cool to go through. Some of the remixes by artists such as Moby and Fatboy Slim have been available on singles, but it's certainly great to have them all here and paired up with their video. Also, for each video there is an "information" text section that tells you more details about it. There is additional information about non-profit programs and related websites available from the main menu. The familiar Criterion "color bars" as well as more information on how to get around the disc are both under the "schematic overview" section.
Final Thoughts: The "Beastie Boys Anthology" is easily a must for fans of the band, who will enjoy having many of the videos from the band all on this one disc, with a ton of extra features to look through. Other groups should take a look at this release to see how a music video DVD should be done. Recommended.