The Truman Show Special Edition

Cover Art: 8/10
I loved the movie poster for The Truman Show (which is what they used for the DVD cover) when it came out. It’s different from most posters because it does draw you in for a closer look with the dozens of individual images making up Jim Carrey’s face. However, for the DVD cover I would liked to have seen something more in tune with the visual style of the film. Some of the interesting camera angles from the insides of objects make great images that hint more at the story of  a man unaware of being watched 24/7. With the invasion of “reality” TV since The Truman Show hit the big screen, we need a reminder that this was one of the forefathers of this often annoying but always intriguing genre of entertainment. Hidden cameras tell more about the story than the composite photo that kind of reeks of innocence and sappiness. While this movie has some of that, it’s got a darker more contemporary side that should be reflected now eight years after it came out.

Features: 9/10

  • “How’s It Going To End?” The Making Of The Truman Show – Interviews with the cast and director reveal a lot about how this film came to life. The writer had a much darker vision of the story, but Peter Weir saw it a different way. He wanted to make sure the whole thing was plausible, not just fantasy. The story went from being set in New York City (imagine that!) to being in the all fake world of SeaHaven. In this extra you find out that each character has a back story written by either the director or by the cast themselves. It was a project these folks took very seriously, which shows when you watch the film. Laura Linney is a real actressy type. When she refers to anyone she loves to say how lovely they are and how they are all geniuses..hahaha it’s kind of a love fest now and then, but a great glimpse behind the scenes of one my all time favorite films.
  • “Faux Finishing” The Visual Effects Of The Truman Show– This extra shows how they found the real life town that is the backdrop for Truman’s fake reality. A community of snobby rich folks living in a picture perfect town in Florida barely gave the filmmakers the right to film there. They even had the nerve to ask for $5,000,000.00 to get the job done…I’m sure they got a big fat laugh in their faces from the studio. I’m not sure how it got done, but in the end the whole town you see Truman knocking around in is a real place, not a set on a Hollywood back lot. This came as a shock to me for sure!
  • 8 Deleted Scenes – These are some wonderful tid bits that didn’t make it into the final cut of the film, but are well worth watching if you are a fan of the story. They highlight more of the concept that Truman is a springboard for selling products and making an impact on the culture of people out in the real world. You get more of a hint that his “wife” is a money grubbing little actress making deals right and left outside the confines of her job as Mrs. Burbank.
  • Photo Gallery – Need I describe this to you?
  • Theatrical Trailers/TV Spots – These are actually kind of fun to watch after all these years and remember how intrigued I was when they started appearing.

The Movie: 10/10:
First thing I have to say is that Jim Carrey is brilliant and makes this movie what it is. I’m not delusional and I’m not a starry eyed little girly fan. I’m a movie freak from way back and I know a genuinely talented performer when I see one. I will defend that man anytime, so if you have anything nasty to say about him bring it on!

Ok, I got that out of my system.

Good morning to you…(or whatever time of day it is) It’s been a while since I have seen The Truman Show and as it began I had the exact same thought in my head, “This is gonna be good!”. I was right. Honestly, I’m not sure what it is about this story that draws me to it so profoundly. The idea of a man living in a faux world created to be his life and is broadcast to the whole world on TV is on the surface, and that’s enough to make it interesting. However, beyond that is a deeper look at life in general. I actually get the same feelings from The Truman Show as I do when I watch The Matrix. Strange, but true.

The story is about a man who’s entire life has been a television show, unbeknownst to him. He has been watched from before he was born, every moment, every nuance of his behavior, every choice controlled by his constructed reality. An elaborate project that is governed by sponsors, fans, corporations, and it’s creator, Cristof, a strangely driven man whose interest in Truman goes beyond making him the subject of this project, but that’s another review all together. Cristof has made a perfect world, no crime, no grunge, no real dangers for it’s star. He’s got a good job, best friend, and lovely wife. It’s always sunny and clean and predictable.

The questions is, why has Truman always felt the need to explore, to get away, to escape this prison he doesn’t even know he’s trapped inside? That’s the interesting human side of this story. In Truman’s world everyone is an actor. Every thing they say and do is to either direct him toward a product placement, or control the story to please the viewing public, but as he says, “You never had a camera in my head.” You can construct someone’s world completely and even make it a dream life with the best of everything but in the end, our very powerful need to live our own lives, make our own choices, be who we are without the constraints of someone else’s expectations, cannot be controlled. Well, in our real world many of us go along with life as it comes and don’t ever follow our own dreams, our own desires because it’s impractical or too much work, or we are just too flipping lazy. That’s just us accepting a certain constructed reality. For those people it’s enough. For Truman it’s not.

You can look at the big philosophical side of this story and have an amazing experience, even inspired, or say to hell with all that mumbo jumbo and just see it for what it is on the surface. It’s a great looking film with wonderful dialogue, excellent performances by everyone with the bonus of an altered perfect world thrown back to the innocence of the 50’s. The fun look through objects where hidden cameras watch Truman’s every move adds a certain comedic style, while reminding us that he is never his own person, but always being watched, but it never seems malicious or creepy.

There is a love interest woven into the story, beyond his manufactured wife. This adds to Truman’s motivation to break free from his life, to see the world, and ultimately to discover that it’s all been a lie. I guess in life all of us are driven by love whether we admit it or not. It’s that much more romantic, more necessary for Truman to be allowed to have the genuine and real experience of being loved, not just as part of a script. Anything, even heartbreak is better than the neutrality of his life as it is. Even if, once he discovers the truth and ventures outside his life, everything is raw and dangerous and uncertain, it’s still something. We all know the feeling of discovering our lives are a bit stale, bland, profoundly uneventful. Truman represents that side of us that could be brave enough to chuck it all and try to find something better….even if it’s not better. I admire that quality in this character. He’s a hero of sorts, fearless though he’s got everything to be afraid of in the real world.

In fact, I write a review every single week, sit at this computer doing the same things day after day….I think I’ll end this review and go do some exploring of my own. If I don’t see you, good afternoon, good evening, and good night……

Value: 9/10
Just buy it! If it’s $5 or $25 get it and add it to your collection, it’s worth it. I’ve been able to find it as cheap as $11, so there are bargains to be found. The DVD offers a classic treasure of a film plus enough extras to keep the most rabid fan happy. (that would be me)

Overall Score 9/10