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Seven: Platinum Series (Disc 2)

List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted November 19, 2000 | E-mail the Author
Disc Two: The second disc provides additional materials; the menu opens to reveal more supplements, some of which are quite fascinating, especially the first one I'm going to explore for this review.

Mastering For The Home Theater: This section is a series of documentaries that shows how the film's presentation was optimized for this new Platinum Series edition. The audio/video and color correction segements run together for about a total of 22 minutes.

Audio Mastering: This section provides commentary from the people at Mi Casa studios who talk about what was done to take the sound of "Seven" and remaster it for the home theater environment. They talk about working with the director and sound designer about correcting and tweaking subtle things about the film's sound for this DVD version.

Video Mastering: The colorist and head of video post production talk about the technical details of the process of bringing the look and feel of "Seven"'s images to come closer to what the director was originally seeking to have them look like. It's very technical, but impressive to listen to in the way that it's amazing the technology available for use to make films look absolutely more superior than ever before at home. Also interesting is listening to them talk about the obstacles of using the original negative for this new DVD presentation.

Color Correction: Colorist Steven Nakamura takes us step by step through the process of correcting the colors for a specific scene in "Seven", frame-by-frame. He talks about the steps that he is doing and we see the differences, which are quite remarkable, as he goes along. It's amazing to see what a director can do to make the film look exactly the way that he or she wants through this process.

Telecine Gallery: This is definitely the coolest part of the section, where the viewer can, for both the audio and the video, see the differences between the original release and the new release. Three scenes ("Coda", "Inside Gluttony" and "Outside Gluttony") are included for viewing (and listening). The audio button allows the viewer to go back and forth between the new and old audio, and the angle button allows the viewer to go between the new and old video.

Exploring The Opening Title Sequence: "Seven"'s title sequence stands out to a lot of people as one of the most unique and haunting title sequences in recent films, and one that other films have sometimes seemed to try and duplicate, but never quite get as close to the eerie nature that "Seven"'s does. This particular section allows us to explore the different stages of the title sequence, as well as offer different audio (...and commentaries!).

In terms of the angles, we can choose to see either the early storyboards for the sequence, the rough version of the opening sequence or the final version of the opening sequence. You can go back and forth between the three versions by using the angle button on your remote control. In terms of audio, using the audio button allows the viewer to listen to the title sequence in Dolby Digital EX, DTS ES, Stereo Surround Sound or 24bit/96k stereo.

The first commentary is from audio engineers Brant Biles and Robert Margouleff , who also provided the commentary for the audio portion of "Mastering For The Home Theater". Again, the two talk further about the work that they had to do to optimize the film's audio for the home. The second audio commentary is from concept designer Kyle Cooper, who talks about the technical details of what it took to film the opening credits, and the ideas that were talked about before the final idea came into being.

Deleted Scenes: With the exception of a different opening sequence that is included here, the other sequences included here are extensions of existing scenes. These are interesting to watch, but I think that the film works better without these extensions. These scenes can be viewed with an optional commentary by director David Fincher. Also included here is an animated storyboard sequence for an original opening with a train scene. All-in-all there are 6 extended takes and the original opening sequence w/additional storyboards.

Alternate Ending: With optional commentary from director David Fincher, viewers can watch either an alternate ending, or an animated set of storyboards for an ending that was not filmed.

Production Designs: With commentary from the film's production designer, we are taken through a series of concept art images that were made to begin to create the visual look of the picture. This section lasts a little under nine minutes.

Still Photographs: Four Galleries of photos are included; John Doe's Photographs, Victor's Decomposition, Production Photos and Police Crime Scene photos.

The Notebooks: The art designer for the film and the designer for the notebooks used by the John Doe character in the film talk about the way that they went about creating the look of the books in this 8 minute featurette.

Promotional Materials: The original Electronic Press Kit as well as the theatrical trailer (Dolby Digital 5.1) are included in this section. The electronic press kit is a little bit better than the usual one of these that are usually offered. Certainly a "promotional" item, this still has a bit of a more personal feel as there is a bit of on-set footage. Still, there's a narration that sort of cancels that out as it goes on in a bit overly excited tone about the story details. Interviews with Freeman, Pitt and others are also included as we find out that they were shown the accurate ways to do what they do by real detectives who served as advisors on the movie. Maybe not something that you will watch more than once, but better than the usual promotional documentary, and occasionally interesting. The EPK runs about 6 1/2 minutes.

Also: Filmographies, DVD-Rom weblink - including additional information about the seven sins and more.

Final Thoughts: For most of the year, I thought that the DVD release of David Fincher's "Fight Club" would be the most impressive DVD edition that we'd see. Who knew that the DVD release to equal it would be an edition of...another David Fincher film? But, to be honest, the work that David Fincher has done here, in everything from optimizing the presentation to contributing to the four commentary tracks at some level makes it quite evident that Fincher is definitely one of, if not the biggest director when it comes to creating stunning special editions for his films. The amount of information available in the commentary tracks alone is simply marvelous; the four tracks split up the information perfectly and those involved are both entertaining and informative in what they offer. That's not even getting to the second disc, which provides an additional load of material to look through. The "Mastering For Home Theater" edition is a particularly amazing supplement that really is very cool to see, how New Line worked and worked to bring this film to it's best in terms of audio and video.
As for the film, yes, I think that "Seven" is certainly not a film for everyone, but the following for the picture is certainly quite a major one, and they will be extremely happy with the work that the studio has done in creating one of the most impressive releases that I've seen on the DVD format. Personally, I think it's a well-done movie, but after spending hours watching it, I think I need to watch a comedy next. There are hours and hours worth of stuff to look through here, and New Line has really given us their very best work. The fact that they are releasing this two-dvd special edition for $29.99 provides excellent value for the money, as well. From a studio who has done some amazing things in the past, that's saying quite a lot. The new "special edition" of "Seven" is definitely recommended.
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