DOGMA: SPECIAL EDITION
Review by Gordon Justesen
Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Chris Rock
Director: Kevin Smith
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic Transfer
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 128 Minutes
Release Date: June 26, 2001
"I repeat, this is not a drill. This is the Apocalypse. Please exit the hospital in an orderly fashion. Thank you..."
Since his stellar 1994 debut with the indie-smash Clerks, director Kevin Smith has kept a strong
track record, which is now at its highest point now with the directors fourth film, Dogma. It is the directors most daring,
funniest and strongest piece yet. Smith tackles issues in most of his movies that most
directors keep away from. If you exclude his second film, Mallrats, which was more in the John Hughes
tradition, his two other movies included a social commentary on certain issues. With Clerks, Smith made the employees the hero of the
movie, instead of the customer, who is supposed to be the right one. With his 97 release, Chasing Amy, he told a sweet and charming love
story between a straight man and a gay woman. Now with Dogma, which was plagued with controversy months
before it was even released, Smith takes on the most daring of issues: religion, and with
it delivers a one of a kind, grand slam dose of satirical passion.
The film is clearly a comedic-fantasy, and I can assure you, dear
reader, that this level of high praise doesnt normally go to a movie of this kind,
so you could call Dogma a first in that respect.
The film centers around a pair of fallen angels named Bartleby and Loki, played by none
other than Boston favorites Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Currently residing to exile in, of
all areas, Wisconsin, the two receive word that a loophole has been discovered at a church
in Red Bank, New Jersey, and they can be accepted into heaven by way of it. However, if
they are to do so, all existence will be destroyed. Nonetheless, two angels decide to
cleanse the world of a few sinners before returning home.
Enter the heroine of the story, Bethany (Linda Fiorentino), who works at
an abortion clinic, and is ironically, a catholic. She gets a startling visit from
Metatron (Alan Rickman), Gods own personal messenger. He charges her with the task
of getting to Jersey to stop the rebel angels, who by now are purchasing guns and knives
to display Gods wrath upon local sinners. Bethany is sent help by the almighty one
including a pair of prophets by the names of Jay and Silent Bob (ingenious, Mr. Smith!!!)
Also sent to help is Rufus, the 13th apostle (Chris Rock), and a little help on
side is given from a beautiful muse (Salma Hayek), who currently has a case of
Dogma includes some of the
best performances of numerous cast members career. We'll start with Ben Affleck,
excuse me, Mallrats Ben Affleck, who I
think delivers his best work so far. He delivers his well-written dialogue with such
flawless perfection, in what I can easily label as his most wonderful characterization to
date. Damon is equally terrific, and surprisingly provides some of the films
hilarity. When did you ever think youd see Mr. Damon bellowing out a rendition of
Run DMCs "Whose House" after capping
a guy in the head? For all the Jay and Silent Bob fanatics, myself included, they have
their best moments in this New Jersey installment. The caricatures created by Jason Mewes
and Kevin Smith have moments in this film that are likely to have you rolling in the
aisles, or rather, falling of your couch. Such is the case when the heroes are attack by
demon in a strip bar, and Jays encounter with God is a guaranteed classic moment.
At the heart of Dogmas
success is director Smiths ability to spoof religion and make into a larger than
life comedic romp. Smith took a definite chance tackling Roman Catholicism, since he is
Roman Catholic himself. That level of irony shows how clever and sharp Smith is, and Dogma is another winner from Silent Bob,
As I somewhat expected, theres no huge difference in the video quality, as it is equally of pure top caliber as the original Dogma DVD was. The major difference, and a good one, is that Columbia Tri Star thankfully removed the standard version that was included on the original release. Of all of Kevin Smiths films, Dogma without a doubt is the best transfer.
The same can be said for the audio department as well. Again, no distinctive difference, other than the notion that both a 2.0 Dolby Surround in both English and Spanish have been added on. Dogma also has the best audio quality of Smiths films, which makes sense being that this movie was the directors most technically challenging film to date.
Its been a long time coming since the original, feature-less first issue of Dogma came out on DVD. The disc which only featured only two trailers left something to be desired, while the audio and video quality were of pure perfection, and still are on this release. After several release date delays, the Special Edition is finally here, and will result in one of the best all around DVD releases of 2001, as well as by far the best packaged DVD which rivals another release, Unbreakable, which is being released, ironically on the same day and date.
A superb 2-disc set with all nice toppings that Kevin Smith fans have come to appreciate over the last couple of years. Featured on disc one are two commentary tracks, one featuring perhaps the best commentary group ever put together, Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, producer Scott Mosier, and View Askew historian Vincent Pereira. In the commentary, Smith confesses that this will likely be his last time doing a commentary for a DVD, though his reason remains a mystery. The best highlight of the commentary is when Smith begs Affleck to do a Denzel Washington impersonation, which he does do with a quote from Courage Under Fire, and it is simply flawless and absolutely hysterical. And like the commentary track for Mallrats, this one features an optional video caption where you are able to see images of the guys actually commenting on the movie as you are watching it. To use this option, select it from the features menu, and simply wait for the image of the Buddy Christ to pop up, then press enter on your remote control. Also included is a second commentary from a technical standpoint from Smith, Mosier and Pereira.
Disc 2 includes much more goodies, including over an hour and forty minutes worth of deleted scenes, which are really worth checking out, a bloopers reel, a storyboard to film comparison, a trailer, and a hilarious promo with Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes trying super hard to promote their store in Red Bank, NJ, Jay and Silent Bobs Secret Stash.
Dogma is one of 1999s greatest movies, which is worth noting because very rarely does a screwball like fantasy comedy ever make it on to my 10 best lists, but this one does because of its sharp and daring material. It is an ingenious comic fantasy that displays an expert filmmakers ability to challenge the viewers beliefs, or for that matter, share his beliefs with the audience, which is what I was feeling. If you admire Kevin Smith as much as I do, Dogma should be top on your must see list.