Tuesday, December 29, 2009
"9" DVD and Blu-Ray Available Now
You can now purchase the post-apocalyptic animated thriller 9 on DVD and Blu-ray. Click the previous links to buy the film at Amazon.com.
According to DVDTalk.com, DVD extras include:
Feature-length commentary track with director Shane Acker, animation director Joe Ksander, head of story Ryan O'Loughlin, and editor Nick Kenway.
This picture-in-picture interactive feature takes recorded footage, some mentioned below in the special features and others recorded/taken at the same time, and pairs them within a green box at the lower-right portion of the screen. Interviews with Shane Acker, Tim Burton, Elijah Wood, Pamela Pettler, and others elucidate the process, while a sizable chunk of the dialogue recording footage mixes within raw concepts and behind-the-scenes footage.
9 -- The Long and Short of It (16:28, HD):
This feature discusses Shane Acker's process of assembling the short, and how it's adapted to the big screen. Discussion pops up about Acker's process of building the film as his college thesis, along with how earning an Oscar changed his life. It then shifts over into how the short film fell over into Tim Burton's hands as a producer. Then, Acker and screenwriter Pamela Pettler (Corpse Bride) guide us through the process of bridging that gap between his short to the feature length, as well as whether they wanted to include dialog or not in telling the story. Interview time crops up with Acker, Burton, Pettler, as well as with Elijah Wood and other members of the cast, taken from both original interviews and archive footage.
On Tour with Shane Acker (5:36, HD):
Shane Acker takes us through the Starz Animation workhouse for the construction of 9, illustrating each depart in great detail. He talks about editorials, the art department, modeling, animation, layout, effects work in "the dungeon", and lighting. Hearing discussion about the film itself is great, but the behind-the-scenes shots of the computer imaging and the concept sketches are the real draws to this featurette.
The Look of 9 (13:12, HD):
Composing the visual look for 9 falls into focus here, as Shane Acker and others discuss the time placement of the story. They discuss the "caution tale" elements of the film, as well as the Industrial Revolution look about the picture that slaps it in the middle between World War I and II. It also discusses the low-angle construction of the film, and how it allows for a lot of great up-glancing shots. They also discuss the beauty used behind the rust, garbage, and industrial grunge appeal to the film, and how the feel of the film reflects on its influences.
Acting Out (4:54, HD):
To round out the featurettes, this piece covers how the animators become actors themselves as they construct the burlap dolls in the film. It discusses how they have mirrors at their desk to see facial expressions, and the dual uses behind having the recorded dialogue footage of the actors for both lip sync and emotion purposes.
9 -- The Original Short (10:33, Letterbox 4x3 HD):
As a very special treat, Universal have also included Shane Acker's original short on the disc -- with a commentary featuring Shane Acker and animator Joe Ksander. The commentary is very dense, as they discuss the differences between the two features -- where elements of the short went into the feature, the dynamics between the two puppets, the lack of dialogue, etc. -- and the entire "guerilla" feel to the camera movement. What's a shame is that it's a letterbox HD version of the short; and, since it's in 1080p, most Blu-ray players and internal zoom televisions can't zoom in on it. Still, the simple inclusion of the piece itself is absolutely wonderful.
Also included on this disc are five Deleted Scenes (7:24, 16x9 SD), available in striking storyboard illustrations. This Blu-ray Disc has also been activated in order to hop onto Universal's online framework, as well as containing pocketBLU interactivity. However, the online functions weren't active yet as of this testing. It's also been incorporated with Chapter / Bookmarking of "favorite scenes", like all of Universal's other discs, and activated with D-BOX motion control.