Judge Adam Arseneau typed the phrase "Buy this box set!" so many times while writing this review, he broke a nail.
A collection of music videos, short films, documentaries, and stories…times three!
If you haven't bought any of the Director's Series DVDs, odds are you simply haven't discovered them yet. Most people who hear about them, buy them, and with good reason. Three of the most esoteric and delightful releases last year, the Director's Series offers a hodgepodge cross-section of videos, short films, photographs, interviews, and art from three of the most cutting-edge and daring music video auteurs of our day: Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham, and Michel Gondry. Simply put, these are fantastic DVDs, representing an unprecedented blend of value, style, and substance, and could probably beat up your dad to boot.
All three discs have been previously reviewed in great detail here at DVD Verdict, and since these reviews are still fresh, dope and/or fly, they shan't be covered in detail again. Please go read the previous reviews for more info:
• The Work of Director Spike
Jonze (reviewed by Judge Adam Arseneau)
Now released together, the Director's Label Series Boxed Set—The Works of Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham, and Michel Gondry gives us a box set packaging the previous three released discs, with a poster and bonus DVD tossed in for good measure. Time for some basic math: Considering that for the same price as buying all three discs separately, you can get the box set (plus extras) for roughly the same price, this DVD is an absolute no-brainer for anyone who has not purchased one or more of the series. You would have to have an axe stuck vertically out of your head to pass up on this purchase. Even then, you'd probably be thinking long and hard about it, idly scratching your axe hole in consternation.
Of course, if you have purchased one or more of these fine DVDs (as I have), then you are probably reading this review eagerly, trying to cobble together some sort of paltry justification for trading in your discs for the fancy-pants box set upgrade. Aren't you? Admit it. It feels good to come clean.
Well, I'm here to give you the straight skinny on that, my friend: Don't bother. As cool as the idea of this box set might be, in terms of a double-dip or upgrade, you would be wasting your time and money.
Let me run down what the bonus DVD entails. First, a ten-minute Q&A session with the three directors at a Virgin Megastore, which is cute and entertaining, but frustrating as heck since they manage to deke out of answering a single question seriously. You get "Ossamuch!—Kishu & Co.," a short film by Michel Gondry that is stylish and amusing, but neither groundbreaking nor cutting-edge considering the plethora of material previous available by the director. You also get a whimsical segment by Spike Jonze shot for a skate video called "Invisible Boards," of which the title is completely self-explanatory. To round off this "well-padded" bonus DVD, we get three more music videos: "Island In The Sun" by Weezer, the unedited director's cut of "Y Control" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (both directed by Jonze), and one video directed by Gondry, "I Wonder" by the Willowz.
Add it all up, and you've got 20 minutes, maybe 25 if you're feeling generous. Cool, sure; but this is hardly worth frothing at the bit over, and not under any circumstances worth spending extra money on. And as far as the poster goes…well, theoretically, you also get a poster with the box set. I say "theoretically" because this reviewer is unable to comment on such lavish extravagances, since the studio neglected to send us one for perusal. Oh well.
So to all your die-hard Director's Series fans out there who already own the discs, take a deep breath, dry your quivering eyes, and walk away. There is nothing here worth double-dipping over, unfortunately—but do take solace in the fact that you are not missing out on much, since the bonus disc kind of sucks compared to the depth and substance of the individual volumes.
But for everyone who has not had the pleasure, you now have a one-shop stopping purchase to make the next time you find yourself with a few twenty-dollar bills burning a hole in your pocket. The Director's Label Series Boxed Set will be one of the finest DVD purchases you are likely to make this year. And if you see it sitting all alone on a shelf, gathering dust? You take out your wallet and you take it home.
Trust me on this one. This is as close to perfection as DVD purchases can get.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Palm Pictures
• Three Music Videos: "Island In The Sun" by Weezer; "Y Control" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Unedited Director's Cut); "I Wonder" by The Willowz
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