Amelie Special Edition Review
We already have three reviews for the wonderful Amelie on DVDTimes so I have decided to concentrate this review solely on the second disc of extra features that this new Special Edition release contains. For the record the Amelie Special Edition release features the exact same first disc as the standard release which features a gorgeous 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer, French DTS and DD5.1 Soundtracks with optional English Subtitles and an English Audio Commentary from Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. What makes the Special Edition 'special' is this second disc that contains several interesting extra features that I will explore below.
Firstly though, anyone looking for a review of the film and the quality of disc one of this two disc set would do well to read Alex Larmans' review of Amelie, while you can find further thoughts on the film in the following reviews...
Amelie French SE review by Mark Boydell
Theatrical Review by Alex Larman.
Now on to the Extra Features found on the second disc of this Special Edition DVD...
To begin with I have to mention the superb Menu design that presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and Stereo sound features subtle animated menus that are relatively speedy to navigate and feature choice snippets from the captivating soundtrack. From the main menu screen you have the choice of three Special Features areas and a section where you can enable/disable the optional English subtitles (which are necessary for every special feature found on this disc unless you are fluent in the French language).
Moving into the first area then, The Cafe, you will find yourself presented with the following special features.
Audrey Tatou's Funny Faces - This is a 2-minute compilation of outtake footage that for the most part focuses on Audrey Tatou and the various faces she pulls when a mistake is made, hence the title. As ever with outtakes some are humorous, others are not, fortunately everything found here is and it makes for an enjoyable if brief extra feature.
Multi Angle Script to Screen - Here you will find 2 one-minute sequences from the film presented onscreen with the original storyboards above so you can see exactly how close to the original concept the final feature is. This makes the title a little misleading but this is a moot point, as what we have here is undoubtedly interesting but sadly far too short-lived. The sequences in question are 'Joseph and Georgette' and 'Ghost Train'.
Behind the Scenes Stills - Fifteen actual behind-the-scenes photographs are presented as part of the menu system which is actually a huge drawback as the pictures are certainly interesting but far too small when limited to the confines of the borders imposed on them.
Now we move into the second area of extra features which is The Canal and here you will find a selection of more in-depth extras.
Q&A With Director & Cast - This 6-minute featurette sees Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet joined by cast members Audrey Tatou (Amelie), Matthieu Kassovitz (Nino), and Jamel Debbouze (Lucien) at what presumably is a Theatrical Screening of Amelie where they have come onstage before or after the film for a brief Q&A session. Looking extremely uncomfortable on their chairs we see the three men speak the most with the actors joking about how precise their director was during production while Jean-Pierre Jeunet himself speaks about the films lead, Audrey Tatou, who herself is mostly very quiet, but does have a few things to say. This is an interesting featurette but sadly very much of the 'watch-once' variety.
Interview with Director - This is an excellent 20-minute interview with Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet who speaks at length on many subjects from how the film was originally written with British Actress Emily Watson in mind (to the extent that they even drafted an English script) to obtaining the financial backing they needed. Jeunet also speaks about his lead actress (Audrey Tatou), why the film was never screened at Cannes and about the success it obtained and what pleasures that brought to both Jeunet and Montmartre, where the film was made. Jeunet is obviously very enthusiastic about his work and this engaging characteristic is brought out further due to the fact that he is a fellow DVD collector and says so at the beginning of this interview, which he sat down to give both for the fans and for himself when he comes back to the film on DVD over the years.
Screen Tests - As the title suggests this featurette contains footage (6minutes) from the screen tests conducted and sees Audrey Tatou (Amelie), Urbain Cancelier (Collignon, The Grocer) and Yolande Moreau (Madelaine Wallace) at work. The footage featuring Audrey Tatou and Urbain Cancelier is very entertaining and in the case of the latter, very humorous, but sadly the final 4-minutes of this featurette focuses on Yolande Moreau who while very good (both here and in the film) is not that much fun to watch outside of the films context.
Making of Home Video - This is a 12-minute making of that rather than being professionally produced and featuring endless interviews with the cast and crew that we have already seen is instead made up of actual footage taken while researching the film, while on set and for the finale, a series of bizarre self-portraits by the films crew. From seeing Audrey Tatou have her hair cut to Jean-Pierre Jeunet working out camera angles, to enjoyable montages of the passport photo books creation and the orgasm sequences filming this is a very well made behind-the-scenes featurette that both informs and entertains.
On to the final area of this disc then The Station provides you with access to five Teaser Trailers and the Theatrical Trailer all of which are presented in 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen and DD2.0 Stereo sound while you will also find an Easter Egg in this section of the disc that allows you to view 8 Polaroid's from the Gnomes travels in the film.
For anyone who does not own Amelie on DVD then this Special Edition release from Momentum Pictures is definitely the way to go as it offers the perfect presentation of the film and features a healthy selection of extra features for you to explore all for a minor increase in cost (if you shop online). What many people would like to know however is should you upgrade to this SE release if you already own the single disc version? Well, quite simply the answer is no. The second disc of extra features will keep you occupied for around an hour and very little of what is here falls under the category of 'repeated viewing is a must'. Instead the contents of the second disc are something that really should have been their in the first place as an added bonus to the already fine single disc releases' content and as such will never really be missed by anyone but the most ardent of collectors.