Animation or not? Decide for yourself by picking up the DVD release of WAKING LIFE, one of many notable animation and visual effects related features released this month.
Richard Linklater wrote and directed this film about a young man's encounters with various characters who discuss science, philosophy and the elements of dreaming and waking, while he attempts to discover if he is indeed awake or dreaming. The live-action footage was animated by a team of animators using Bob Sabiston's rotoscoping technology. DVD features include commentary by director Richard Linklater and the 25 animators, Bob Sabiston's animation software tutorial, Sundance Channel special and two short films by Sabiston, "Snack and Drink" and "Willy Wiggins Test." Suggested retail price: DVD $29.98.
Richard Linklater's film has caused quite a stir in the animation community. Is it really animated? Why is it "animated?" Is this just what the animated feature world needs or a sneaky imposter?
FROM HELL (2-disc)
An opium-smoking, possibly clairvoyant police detective (Johnny Depp) is brought in to investigate the murder of prostitutes by notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper in late 19th century London. Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. DVD features include commentary by directors Albert and Allen Hughes, four making of featurettes, 23 deleted scenes with optional alternate ending, interactive documentary, image gallery, storyboard comparisons, a mini-documentary and more. Suggested retail price: Special Edition 2-disc DVD $29.98.
OLIVER & COMPANY
Inspired by Charles Dickens' novel OLIVER TWIST, this animated version stars orphaned kitten Oliver, who is befriended by street smart mutt Dodger. Music by Billy Joel, Huey Lewis and Bette Midler. DVD features include wide-screen digital high-definition transfer, the making of OLIVER & COMPANY, "Disneys Animated Animals" featurette, "Puss-Cafe" and "Len a Paw" animated shorts, still frame scrapbook, behind-the-scenes production and concept art, publicity materials, sing-along songs and DVD-ROM Web links. Suggested retail price: Special Edition DVD $26.99.
STAN LEE'S MUTANTS, MONSTERS & MARVELS
Stan Lee, the creator of SPIDER-MAN and X-MEN, and director Kevin Smith (CLERKS, JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK) team for this documentary about Lee's career and the history of comic books. DVD features include cast biographies, behind-the-scenes featurette, interview with Stan Lee's wife, Joan, never released FANTASTIC FOUR movies and Stan Lee home movie footage. Suggested retail price: DVD $24.95.
Michael Goldman probes the life and times of Stan Lee, Marvel's exuberant creator of such characters as Spider Man, The X-Men, The Incredible Hulk and many more.
MEN IN BLACK DELUXE EDITION (2-disc)
Just in time for the July 3, 2002 theatrical release of the sequel, a deluxe edition of the previously available MEN IN BLACK is being released on DVD. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones star as J and K, two secret agents fighting aliens on Earth. Visual effects by ILM. DVD features include visual commentary by director Barry Sonnenfeld and actor Tommy Lee Jones, multi-angle scene deconstructions, character animation studies, production stills, storyboards, conceptual art, audio commentary by director Barry Sonnenfeld, Rick Baker and the ILM team, making of featurette, extended and alternate scenes, "Creatures: Concept to Completion" featurette, storyboard-to-film comparison, reproductions of conceptual drawings and a sneak preview of MEN IN BLACK II. Suggested retail price: Deluxe Edition 2-disc DVD $24.95.
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (2-disc)
Based on J.K. Rowling's popular book, the tale follows Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), who for ten years has lived under the stairs of his aunt and uncle's house, until one day a giant invites him to study at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Visual effects by Sony Imageworks. DVD features include never-before-seen footage, a 360-degree self-guided tour of Hogwart's, new interviews with director Chris Columbus and producer David Heyman, plus many interactive features and DVD-Rom Web links. Suggested retail price: Special Edition 2-disc DVD $26.99; VHS $24.99.
A young boy is transformed into an animated character and is sent on a journey through literary history. This Turner Feature Animation film combines live-action with animated sequences. DVD features include theatrical trailers and a making of featurette. Suggested retail price: DVD $19.98.
HOLLOW MAN (Superbit Deluxe Collection)
Dr. Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) transforms himself into an invisible man via visual effects from Sony Imageworks. DVD features include "Anatomy of a Thriller," a making of featurette, three deleted scenes, trailers, filmographies, behind-the-scenes featurettes and VFX picture-in-picture comparisons. Suggested retail price: Superbit Deluxe Collection 2-disc DVD $28.95.