Feelings aside about the quality of the old Stanley Kubrick Collection and thoughts about the re-issue of a new set, this additional documentary, available only in the new set, is really a major enticement for those considering a purchase of the new set. It's a terrific 142 minute documentary feature that goes into absolutely every detail of the career of Kubrick, with new footage from the archives that has never been seen previously.
The film starts with a look at Kubrick's childhood and initial interest in photography that brought him towards cinema. The documentary takes a look at all of the director's films, giving an equal focus to everything from the first - "Fear and Desire" towards the final - "Eyes Wide Shut". Narrated by "Eyes" star Tom Cruise, the documentary features interviews from many, many people from the director's past, from Malcolm McDowell to Sydney Pollack to Cruise to Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
The documentary even talks about the projects that the director had in development, such as "A.I.", which was recently directed by Steven Spielberg and will be released this Summer. The amazing thing about the documentary is the behind-the-scenes footage that has never been seen before. Combined with the interviews with friends and family, the feature opens up a previously unseen, warmer side of the director - telling us more about the creative process and personal life of the director that was never really shared before. There's some especially funny stories at times, especially one shared by Sydney Pollack, who didn't know what to expect from working as an actor on "Eyes Wide Shut" - and thought he'd be done with his part in a week.
"A Life In Pictures" must have taken an enormous amount of work and effort to complete, not only to get the interviews together, but to find all of the footage and rare material that has gone into the documentary. It generally gives an equal look towards all of the director's works, and I'm sure that even the biggest fans of the director will likely find some new tidbits and information within this superb feature.
VIDEO: The documentary is presented in a variety of aspect ratios with different film-clips - most of the documentary, especially the interview portions, are presented full-frame. The picture quality varies throughout the documentary - some of the clips look better than others, but since the interviews are pretty new, their quality stays generally the same. Sharpness and detail are overall pretty respectable, and there are only a few minor flaws.
The flaws really don't distract much - there's a slight amount of edge enhancement and a few traces of pixelation, but nothing that I found particularly noticable or irritating. Most of the picture appeared clean and clear, with really no concerns.
SOUND: I was very suprised to see that this documentary is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Although much of the presentation essentially folds up to mono, especially for the interviews, there's an excellent score, which really fills the room and adds greatly to the documentary, drawing the viewer in deeper. Although audio quality differed from the older clips to the newer clips of films shown, the interviews remained consistently clear and clean.
MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, with film-themed backgrounds.
EXTRAS: Cast/crew bios, but nothing else. I doubt anyone won't be satisfied, and very much so, from what they've learned in the documentary itself.
Final Thoughts: "A Life In Pictures" is an incredibly well-done documentary that will give viewers a massive amount of Kubrick information. For those who are considering a purchase of this new set, viewers will find this documentary to be a fantastic addition.