BASIC INSTINCT (ULTIMATE EDITION)
Reviewed by: Rees Savidis
What's it about
It’s pretty much all about Sharon Stone’s beaver - or more specifically - the now infamous interrogation room leg-crossing that popped a million boners fourteen-years ago and caused a nation of movie-goers to question the moral fabric of that current time. Truthfully though, it’s a gleefully hyper-violent, in-your-face, neo-noir thriller cut from the same silk wrist-tie cloth as ‘Fatal Attraction’.
Is it good movie?
Indeed it is. In fact, I’d go so far as to say ‘Basic Instinct’ is damn good! Fourteen years on, this filthy little slice of mega-budget smut sill holds up fantastically. With the arrival of ‘Fatal Attraction’ in ’87, it seemed that America had reached its limits as far as acceptable levels of gratuitous sex and innuendo depicted in mainstream cinema were concerned. But, five short years later, those same limits paled in comparison to what ‘Basic Instinct’ got away with. While not emerging completely unscathed – it received an NC-17 rating seven times as it passed through the MPAA – the film played in theatres the world over with the hardest allowable ‘R’ rating and rung up boffo box-office to the tune of over $350 million dollars in ticket sales. Not bad for what is, in essence, a very accomplished, highly-polished blue-movie.
Written by A-list sleaze-peddler (and personal deity) Joe Eszterhas and directed by notorious (to the MPAA at least) Amsterdam-bred bad-ass Paul Verhoeven, ‘Basic Instinct’ is an incredibly well put together film. As the third film in Verhoeven’s holy trinity of ultra-violent, gluttons for controversy – ‘Robocop’ and ‘Total Recall’ being his two others – ‘Basic Instinct’ truly represents a high-water mark in the directors’ career. Everything from the performances by Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone, to the gorgeous cinematography by Director of photography-turned-Director of movies, Jan de Bont are wonderfully first rate. Topped off with a memorable score from legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith and by-God, we have a winner. And as if wern't enough, we now have bestowed upon us, the “unrated” version of the film wherein we bear witness to all manner of extended bits concerning splatter and ass. There's more ice-pick ventilation in the opening murder, more ice-pick folly in the elevator attack and heaps more ass – albeit it's Michael Douglas’s ass – as well as a nice glimpse of the old cunnilingus long before Paul Walker gave his wife face onboard a washing machine in 'Running Scared'. One thing remains certain, 'Basic Instinct' was definitely ahead of it's time.
Video / Audio
VIDEO: Presented in glorious 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, you would be hard-pressed to find a better looking edition of ‘Basic Instinct’ out there.
AUDIO: Healthy doses of boobs and gore always sound better in ice-chippin’ 5.1 Dolby Digital. I know what I just said doesn’t make a lick of sense but just roll with it.
This “Ultimate Edition – Unrated Director’s Cut” DVD of ‘Basic Instinct’ packs a fairly decent punch in the extras department. Here’s a look at what’s included:
Sharon Stone DVD Introduction: I’ll save you the trouble; Sharon Stone says welcome to the DVD of ‘Basic Instinct’. Seriously, that’s it?
A Conversation with Sharon Stone: Sharon talks about the risk of making ‘Basic Instinct’ that no actor in Hollywood was willing to take. Lucky for her career, she did. Sharon also equates ‘Basic Instinct’ to the films of Orson Wells and Edward G. Robinson. She’s a nice girl, but she’s a little nuts. Listen as she also refers to Director Paul Verhoeven as a “genius”. Albert Einstein was a genius, honey; Paul Verhoeven is a talented filmmaker. Again, she’s a nice girl…
Commentary with Director Paul Verhoeven and Cinematographer Jan de Bont: It’s always a hoot to listen to a Verhoeven commentary. Very informative and quite candid, it’s glaringly obvious the man loves what he does.
Blonde Poison – The Making of Basic Instinct: This is a decent little mini-doc that, by-and-large, deals with the struggles those involved with the production faced in bringing such a controversial picture to the big-screen. This feature is unfortunately marred by the fact that there is no Eszterhas anywhere to be found. Blasphemy I say!
Cleaning-up Basic Instinct: We are treated to some truly awful examples of the voice editing performed for broadcast television. Side-by-side comparisons are shown, replacing words like; f**k, f**ked, f**king and f**ker with a more TV friendly vocabulary by some really shitty voice-artists.
Screen Tests: See Sharon Stone and Jeanne Tripplehorn try out for their respective rolls. Stone’s launched her career; Tripplehorn’s later landed her in ‘Waterworld’ – ‘nuff said. It might have been fun to see clips from some of the other daring actresses who auditioned for the parts, but alas, no dice.
The rest of the disc is rounded out by three storyboard-to-film comparisons and trailers for ‘American Psycho’, ‘Swimming with Sharks’ and ‘Fierce People’. Oddly enough, a trailer for ‘Basic Instinct’ is nowhere to be found.
Bust out the ice-pick and grab the lube! ‘Basic Instinct’ is back and ready to infect your eyes all over again. Think of it as porn you don’t need to hide under the bed. This bad-boy cums highly recommended.