Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
I guess you could say this is a classic action cover. I mean, it is from the mid 90’s! What did they know? It’s got what any blockbuster needs, big stars and the implication of bad-assness. The menu is standard Blu-ray fare with some prison sounds. Clever.
- Director Commentary – Michael Bay is a Hollywood schmoozer type, but he seems to be pretty excitable about the movies he makes so when he talks about the process. Unfortunately for longtime fans of The Rock this commentary is the original, nothing added in the 21st century to jazz things up.
- The Rock World Premiere – A movie set on Alcatraz and they had the world premiere on ALCATRAZ island…quite a feat to undertake on a hunk of rock with little to no electricity, running water, or easy accessibility. It’s pretty cool to see how hard it was to get all the right equipment in place, but then again, it’s a wee bit indulgent. It is Jerry Bruckheimer though, which explains a lot.
- Navy Seals On The Range – More 90’s fun with a somewhat outdated but charming little extra featuring the shooting training for the cast of the movie. Oh, those clothes, are they just a tad leftover from the late 80’s? Oh, that’s not important, I know, but all of these extras are left over from the original DVD’s so it’s kind of hilarious to think such a huge money making flick didn’t warrant more of a budget for new extras.
- Hollywood: Humphries & Teague – This is a supplement to the Navy Seals on The Range, two dudes show us some gun moves and how real life doesn’t always match up to movie action. One guy is introduced as a big action star, unfortunately I didn’t recognize him.
- Special Effects For Dive – Wow, all that trouble for about 10 seconds of film time. Who would have thought those guys were little models and not real? Pretty impressive for early days of big special effects.
- Action Effects Movie Magic – How do they blow stuff up, do stunts, and give he illusion of high energy action? This is a TV like little extra that’s basically a promotional video for the movie, not the kind of behind the scenes we are used to these days.
- Outtakes – Not a lot of giggling here. What we learn is that Ed Harris is highly strung and that phone props are pretty darn sturdy even after being slammed repeatedly on a table due to an actor’s inability to get his lines just right.
- Secrets Of Alcatraz – This is my favorite extra. It’s got a host guy who’s pretty much a Hasselhoff rip-off, but still pretty good. It takes us through the history of Alcatraz from the Native Americans through it’s new life as a tourist attraction. I was into it. I just wish they had done something to add a little something from this century.
- Jerry Bruckheimer Interview – This is another good extra. Yes, it’s old too, but I hadn’t seen it so it was kind of cool to see Bruckheimer talk about his career to date. He’s another Hollywood big dude, but they have a place in the popcorn flick arena.
- Theatrical Trailers – Yeah, whatever.
- TV Spots – More whatever. This is not an extra, except for the historical value..haha
The Movie: 7/10
The Rock has a special place in my movie watching heart. No, it’s not a great intellectual achievement. No it’s nothing more than an over the top action smorgasbord. Yes it’s got flaws and corniness. Hmmm so am I trying to say here? I do love the movie, so why do I feel compelled to point out the faults? I guess because even when I saw it the first time I immediately put my eyerolling on hold and just enjoyed it.
The Alcatraz setting, Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, and many other excellent actors, the big action, the almost videogame like scenes, and the classic threat of destruction to a large metropolitan area, it was all there on a plate ready to take in. Kind of like fast food. It’s not good for ya, we all know it, but it’s so damn tasty at that moment the lack of sustenance is forgivable. That’s actually a great way to think of movies like The Rock. While it’s got is place in Hollywood movie making history, being one of the first in a new generation of Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer offerings and having a bazillion dollars sucked in from movie goers, it’s still empty calories. That’s fine with me.
The things I like about the movie are all pretty basic, admittedly. I am a fan of Sean Connery (his movies not his personality in real life), Ed Harris, and even the attempt at high drama. It seems corny, I know, but I can suspend my believe for a while to get into the idea of a whole city being threatened by a noble but misguided ex-general with a whole lot of fire power at his ready. The Bruckheimer style is in-your-face non-stop, guy type action. I even like that about The Rock.
Sometimes it’s good to let your snooty attitude about what movies should be sit quietly in the corner while you have a good time. The Rock is dated, as most movies are, by some of the technology and wardrobe, but since we are only 12 years out, it’s not much of a shock. Even with that certain late 20th century big box office flair it’s still entertaining and compares to a lot of other movies that are made today. For better or worse, movies like The Rock set a lot of standards for movie making, so we will be seeing the ripples for many years to come.
So, if you have seen it before and liked it, you will still like it. If you have never seen it and you have a dislike of explosions, car chases, etc. you might want to go for something more subtle, but that’s no fun!!!
Video & Audio: (By Ascully): 9/10
The Rock is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio that the older Criterion DVD release also shared, it’s is a definite step up from the Criterion release in terms of sharpness and detail. Another upgrade is in the black levels, the film has not looked this good on a home format before. Audio is impressive with a full uncompressed soundtrack and the standard Dolby Digital soundtrack from the DVD included. I love this movie and as I said in the Podcast I own more than one copy of it, the Blu-Ray version is the best of the bunch in terms of presentation and technical specs but the Criterion DVD comes in a pretty close second. What is really funny though is the Blu-Ray release is actually cheaper than the Criterion edition, which has the exact same content but in a lower resolution, its strange how things work sometimes.
We are talking about a fun movie that’s 12 years old with some great picture and sound, but the DVD extras are poo really when you consider they have a endless stream of cash to do what they want. They could have at least done a new commentary or had interviews with the cast looking back. All we get is a great HD version of the movie with old regurgitated extras. That does not justify the $23 price tag. NO I do not think HD is worth the extra cash. Argue all you want, but for me the value of a DVD is more about content. If the movie were a brilliant meaningful film that resonated through my soul, well, I might be willing to spend more on it, but as it is, it’s THE ROCK!!
Overall Score 6/10