Saturday, January 03, 2009

[DVD] The Days (歲月) (2008)

If you've missed the theatrical run of Boi Kwong's The Days in September last year, you might be glad to know that it's now released on DVD chock full of extras, available at any good DVD outlet islandwide.

You can read my review of The Days here.

The DVD published by Scorpio East is presented in its original Chinese and Hokkien track, and English and Chinese subtitles are available. In all honesty, I think our local movies seriously need to be transferred on an anamorphic widescreen format rather than a matted letterbox format, which is the case here. Almost all the extras here are presented on the former format, but alas the feature film itself is not. But that's just a personal gripe.

The extras included made it more than worthwhile to pick this DVD up, not only to re-watch the film again, but also to appreciate the tremendous effort to really make this modestly budgeted indie feature provide that bang for your buck. The whole spectrum from making of documentaries, promotional material, and also music videos were created for this film, and all collected nicely as part of the special features in the DVD.

The only out of place "bonus" (if you can call it that) would be the trailer for Red Cliff II which autoplays when the DVD is popped into the player. Otherwise you should steer clear of the Scene Selection, which is split into 12 chapters + end credits, because an image used for one of the chapters (no 7) could server as spoilers.

This is one of the rare DVDs of local films that comes with a filmmakers' Commentary. Director Boi Kwong and Producer Randy Ang provide the joint commentary (not only the director, as stated per the menu) in English and Mandarin, which comes with accompanying on-the-fly translation to English of course. The duo are extremely chatty and provide plenty of information behind the characters, the sets, the composition of scenes, costumes, etc. There are a couple of nuggets within the commentary (even a contest for the listeners, so hurry!), and they also answer some of the queries that might be one of the burning questions you might have, such as what a "555 Notebook" is for, though I think they might have left out the Callzone explanation for the uninitiated out there! There's a slight audio interruption at the 1:22:34 mark, but nothing to mar the quality of the commentary content.

As mentioned earlier, most of the Special Features here are presented in anamorphic widescreen format, unless otherwise stated. The Trailers section contains quite a bit, with the Theatrical Trailer (1:30), a Handphone Teaser (0:53) that you might have already seen in cinemas, and an unused Demo Teaser that ran over 3 minutes containing the entire playground scene. Also included in this section are the Promo Clips, some of which were extracted from the making of. You have some behind the scenes clips from the movie as well as interviews with the director and the boys in the First (3:06) clip, the Second (3:23) with the belles, and the Third one with the boys Cockroach, Tau Per, Dog, Little Boss, and the villain everyone loves to hate, Rat. Wrapping up this section is Jeremy's Dictionary presented in letterbox format running almost 2 minutes which explains in jest what some of the slogans used in the movie meant.

Three Music Videos were also shot for this film, and they include the main theme My Freedom by the band Blackforest (4:45), as well as solos by Justin Chan with Crossroad (4:06) and Adele Wong with Knowing (3:15)

For those who would like a glimpse Behind The Scenes into the making of The Days, then you have this 40 minute documentary to thank, which is the standard making-of containing cast and crew interviews in addition to those in the promo clips, and for those wondering what are the "real life" elements used in the film, then director Boi Kwong is at hand to share more on the background of the story, since it's based on his real life.

A Gala Premiere featurette (3:25) doesn't contain anything much other than some video clips of the gala event at Vivocity on 3 September, which is mostly the stroll down the red carpet. And wrapping the extras up are a series of Deleted Scenes which unfortunately doesn't come with a commentary on why these were removed, and no "play-all" option. Also, it's presented in letterbox format without any subtitles, so if you can't understand Mandarin/Hokkien, then get someone to translate it for you!

A total of seven deleted / extended scenes are included here, and they are
1. Kids Hospital Scene (1:23) which actually seemed like an extended take instead
2. Arcade (Extended) (0:26) that doesn't seem extended to me given its run time here (a mix-up with the previous perhaps?)
3. Dr. Martens (1:36) which follows the boys shoe-shopping
4. Baby's Birthday (1:06) at McDonald's, one which I would've thought to be removed because it does seem out of place
5. Dancing Thru' The Night (1:18) which I felt had no harm being included into the final cut because it does show that famous 555 book in action, and allows the character of Jeremy Tan to showcase an expansion to his vocabulary,
6. A raw audio version of the Character Intro (Footage Version) (1:22), which is without the stylish graphics included in the final film (which is way much better),
and 7. Paying Respect (Extended) (2:10)

All in all this is still a nifty DVD package with nice content for the features, so for those who haven't seen the movie, and for the fans, this is your chance to own a copy of one of the highlights of local films last year. Overseas readers can purchase an online copy here.

Buy Original, Or Get Whacked!

1 comment:

xia0crab said...

where yo buy it from singapore?

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