..

THE 6TH DAY: SPECIAL EDITION

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Rapaport, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rooker, Sarah Wynter, Robert Duvall
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French, Spanish & Portuguese Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 124 Minutes
Release Date: January 22, 2002

“I’m just picking up where God left off.”

“If you believe that, then you should really clone yourself while you’re still alive.”

“Why? So I could understand your unique perspective?”

“No, so that you could go f**k yourself.”

Film ***1/2

Film critic Roger Ebert once said that when science fiction has an idea, it should stick with that idea instead of turning into a special effects show. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new action outing, The 6th Day is such a movie. The film is a very well crafted, glorious spectacle of the not-so-distant future, complete with dazzling visual effects and a grand production design, but the most surprising element of the movie is the thought provoking story that presents itself in such a movie where I wasn’t really expecting one.

The idea that presented here is that of human cloning, which over the years has become a very controversial issue. The result is a dazzling piece of movie entertainment, and one of the absolute best films of Schwarzenegger’s career, though many argued that the movie was sort of clone, itself, of another Schwarzenegger classic, Total Recall.

The movie opens with by listing numerous headlines involving the history of cloning, from the cloning of Dolly the sheep to the cracking of the human genetic code. Then cut to a futuristic football game, where a famous all-star quarterback suffers a brain dead injury, though it is kept from the public. It turns out Johnny is a client of a top secret cloning facility, which is run by a rich tycoon named Drucker (Tony Goldwyn), and the actual cloning is done by Dr. Weir (Robert Duvall). Soon, he’ll be back out on the football field as if nothing ever happened.

We are then introduced to the hero of the movie, Adam Gibson (Schwarzenegger). Gibson is a helicopter pilot who specializes in transporting wealthy skiers to the high slopes, with the help of his friend Hank (Michael Rapaport). Adam has a wonderful life and a wonderful family. The only current flaw in Adam’s life is that the family dog, Oliver, has to be put to sleep. Then he ponders the possibility of having the dog cloned at RePet, a mall-chain store where dead pets can be cloned and look good as new. Pets have been given the green light for cloning. Human cloning, on the other hand, has been outlawed. Later that night, he returns home, about to celebrate his birthday, but once he arrives he notices something extremely unusual. He sees a man in his house that looks a whole lot like him. That’s right, it turns out Adam is the first living human who has been cloned. That of course, deems the real Adam too dangerous, and soon enough, agents working for Drucker are chasing him down, determined to get rid of him.

The 6th Day is one of those movies that loves its look and feel. One particular scene where Adam and Hank transport a group of skiers to the top of a mountain in futuristic helicopters, known as Double X Charters, is visually stunning. The movie also has fun with the numerous toys of the future. Consider one scene where the bad guys chasing Adam have to put up with a chatty girl doll that looks like the real thing, spattering out phrases such as, “Will you be my mommy?” Another interesting aspect of the bad guys is that even if Adam ends up killing one of them, the lead villain immediately has them cloned again, although spending millions of dollars in doing so. There are many more surprises along the way, which I’ll will leave for you to discover. There are even a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming by a long shot.

I was let down by the fact that this movie was a bust at the box office. The main thing that killed it was the fact that it opened the same weekend that The Grinch did. You will note that the Jim Carrey vehicle went on to gross $260 million, so its understandable why any film would get lost in the competition. Many critics speculated, judging from the film’s performance, that Schwarzenegger may be past his prime, which I certainly don’t think is true. Both this and his last film, End of Days, busted at the box office, and he hasn’t really had a big hit since 1996’s Eraser, but Ah-nuld certainly hasn’t displayed any sign of slowing down, and he is as energetic as ever in The 6th Day, which is truly one of the actor’s best movies to date.

Video ****

Columbia Tri Star’s original release of The 6th Day, released nearly a year ago, had already featured one of their most outstanding transfers to date, and the performance on this new Special Edition release is equal in every single aspect. Futuristic movies always turn out best on DVD, and CTS has had an outstanding track list in this area with such releases as Starship Troopers, Final Fantasy, and especially the new ‘Superbit’ edition of The Fifth Element. Watching The 6th Day on DVD is one to be remembered, as the video transfer enhances the visual effects and knockout set pieces to an even greater extent. One such moment is the stunning effects sequence of the Double X Charters, which is guaranteed to blow you away, both in look and sound. Colors in this presentation are a ‘WOW’, too, and are as vibrant as it can get. If you have not yet seen this movie, this is truly the ONLY way to experience it.

Audio ****

Once again, perfect equalization of the original DVD release, which is nothing short of tremendous stellar quality. Columbia Tri Star supplies a thunderous 5.1 Dolby Digital track that, from what I gathered, managed to capture every single distinct sound to absolute perfection. From the power of futuristic weaponry, to the roar of the larger than life Double X’s, to the blazing score by one of my favorite composers, Trevor Rabin, this is one audio presentation that is sure to amaze.

The only minor difference between this edition and the original is that CTS has subtracted the English 2.0 track, and added tracks in Spanish and Portuguese, which are both in 2.0 Dolby Surround.

Features ***1/2

This was by far the one area in original disc that needed a quick changing, or modified cloning, if you will. Columbia Tri Star has upgraded the supplemental section into a neat 2 disc set. Featured on Disc 1, direct from the original release, is an isolated music only track with commentary by Trevor Rabin It’s intriguing to experience especially if you admire his work.

Disc 2 contains the hot new added features, including “On The 6th Day”, a compilation nine behind-the-scenes featurettes, each of which are informative and insightful. Also featured is the Showtime Special, titled “The Future is Coming”, which lasts for about 15 minutes, but still manages to capture the moviemaking process very nicely. Included also are storyboard comparisons and animatics, an infomercial for the Re-Pet company as seen in the movie, trailers for this film, as well as The One, Final Fantasy, and the upcoming release of Spiderman, filmographies, and a DVD-Rom link to the official movie website.

A nice feat of extras for a DVD release that was sorely in need of an upgrade.

Summary:

I am still stunned, to this day, that this action packed thrill ride missed its’ audience in theaters. Thankfully, though, this futuristic stunner, which I consider one of Ah-nuld’s best flicks, can be enjoyed in the proper format, with some nicely added bonus material.