Beastie Boys Video Anthology
Spike Jonze and others
Adam Yauch (MCA)
Mike Diamond (Mike D)
Adam Horowitz (Ad-Rock)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Most music critics have foul mouthed rapper Eminem pegged as the next Great White Hope in the rap industry while others see him following in the doomed footsteps of one Vanilla Ice (Remember him?). What they fail to realize is that one trio has continually crossed color barriers, earned widespread acclaim and quietly built a legendary hip-hop reputation. Who, you ask? None other than the Beastie Boys, 3 MCs from Brooklyn who continue to release albums of the most ill proportions. Theyíve recently been featured in a jam packed double DVD set from the folks over at Criterion, chronicling most of their music videos.
While this isnít a movie, itís 18 of the Beastie Boysí music videos. Included are Intergalactic, Shake Your Rump, Gratitude, Somethingís Got to Give, Sure Shot, Hey Ladies, Looking Down The Barrel of a Gun, Body Moviní, So WhatíCha Want, Sabotage, Shadrach, Three MCs and One DJ, Rickyís Theme, Pass The Mic, Holy Snappers, Root Down, Nettyís Girl and Alive.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Iíve long been a fan of the group because theyíve always managed to redefine "coolness" with their distinct musical style and often groundbreaking videos. While they originally started as a hardcore punk group, itís their hip hop work that made them so widely respected. Most people donít realize that Spike Jonze (of BEING JOHN MALKOVICH fame) directed Sabotage, widely considered to be one of the best videos ever made. Itís an old school police production with Starsky and Hutch-esque car chases that has a kitschy low budget vibe to it.
Intergalactic, from their most recent album Hello Nasty, takes jabs at the Godzilla and space monster movies of yesteryear. We watch as the group uses a gigantic funky robot to protect a downtown cityscape from a rampaging sea creature. Root Down highlights an ode to New York and B-Boy culture with clips from old school breakdancing competitions. Body Moviní features a James Bond / spy theme which again, proves that you donít need a lot of money to create a kick ass video. Three MCs and One DJ borrows from the Dogme 95 school of filmmaking using several cameras shooting simultaneously from different angles. It makes for a really cool video of an impromptu live performance. With that having been said, I can honestly say that all 18 videos definitely deserve a look.
Holy freaking crap! I have yet to experience a DVD which managed to squeeze in this much supplemental material, itís absolutely unreal. The first section "Videos in Sequence" allows the songs to be played consecutively, which is a great option for people who donít like fumbling with the remote to watch all of the videos. From this option, you can select commentary tracks from the band or the directors. Fans of the Beasties will also be happy to learn that theyíve also thrown in complete subtitle options for all the videos, so you can follow the lyrics for every single track. The second section, "Videos with Supplements" allows each video to be played individually with the added options of alternate angles and audio options. This is where things get a little bit complicated.
For most tracks (practically all of them), you can switch angles on the fly and choose a different audio version for the each song. Some videos, like "Intergalactic", include 9 different angles and 6 audio remixes! Many of the remixes were released as separate singles and their addition is a real treat for fans. Artists like Peanut Butter Wolf, Moby, Fatboy Slim and the Soul Assassins, among many others, contribute their takes on many of the Beastiesí tracks. The sheer volume of material they put on the disc is insane, it has to be seen and heard to be believed. Iím no math expert but given what theyíve included, there are literally hundreds of angle and audio combinations that you can select for the videos. The menus replicate the 6 screen monitor set up from their "In the Round" tour from their last album Hello Nasty. All of them feature full animation and instrumental tracks from their various albums.
This is without question, one of the most impressive DVD releases Iíve had the pleasure of viewing, in terms of added bonus features. As the viewer, weíre the DJ and can select and switch between the countless options for the videos and songs. Criterion has basically set the benchmark for other studios to follow, effectively showing how to maximize the DVD medium to its full potential. A definite must have for fans of the group and absolutely worth the money.