The 6th Day: Special Edition

The 6th Day: Special Edition (2000)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Rapaport
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Animatics, Storyboard Compariosns, RePet Infomercial and TV Spot, Trailers and more

After first releasing a bare-bones version of the film on DVD in March of last year – please see our review of the disc here – Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is finally delivering the DVD that should have been in the first place – a 2-disc Special Edition with a few extras. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest sci-fi action outing, "The 6th Day." Highly reminiscent of "Total Recall" in many places – right down to the original poster artwork – the film tells the story of a man who has been entirely replicated without his won knowledge.

The transfer is essentially the same as on the previous release. Clean and clear, it is without flaws or blemishes. The colors are vivid and strong without ever being over-saturated. Sharply delineated, the film contains a high level of detail and the good contrast allows the image to faithfully render everything from the deepest blacks to the brightest highlights. The compression is also free of artifacts, making it a very good presentation.

This release has added a few audio track to the previous version, now featuring also French, Spanish and Portuguese language tracks, all presented in rich <$DS,Dolby Surround> mixes. The English language <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> track still stands out however, with its great fidelity and impressive dynamic range. It is well-balanced never allowing dialogue to be drowned out. Surrounds are very active and aggressive to create some furious effects, yet at the same time manages to remain subtle and restrained when needed to create a realistic, immersive sound field.

The disc contains an audio <$commentary,commentary track> by composer Trevor Rabin as he talks about the movie’s score. It is the same commentary that was part of the previous release. Sadly the <$commentary,commentary track> has been edited quite crudely, oftentimes cutting off the ambiance of the voice recording. Rabin is not overly talkative and most of the time on the track is spent with only the isolated score. When talking about the score Rabin is trying to explain his approach without becoming too technical in musical terms, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Somehow this commentary, while not all bad, doesn’t completely satisfy and one with director Roger Spottiswoode would have been of much more value.

On the second disc of the set viewers will find a great selection of featurettes and other bonus materials.

"The Future Is Coming" is a Showtime Special promotional featurette about the film. Comprised of mostly of footage from the movie, a few minutes of behind-the-scenes material and intercut with some talking heads interview footage, the featurette is shallow and a bit sensational promo fluff. Anyone who had hoped to see an in-depth production featurette here will be disappointed as all the topics are scratched only on the surface to make room for an exciting sell of the movie.

"On The 6th Day" fares much better. It is a section of nine featurettes covering various aspects of the film. Although still very brief, at least they stay focused on one subject at the time as the making of the film is explored with footage from the film, interviews and set footage. Each one of them gives the viewer a basic understanding as to how each of the sequences was ultimately achieved and what some of the production obstacles were that needed to be overcome.

The disc also contains three storyboard to film comparisons for the "Car Chase," the "Whisper Crash" and the "Cloning Tanks" sequences. Using a split screen, the segments show the storyboard art at the top of the screen while the final film footage is simultaneously displayed at the bottom. It gives viewers a good opportunity to see how ideas and concepts have been realized and put on celluloid in the final film. I always find it fascinating to see how close some shots always remain to the concept and how others end up being broken up or framed very differently than originally envisioned. Especially in the car chase scene, the storyboards resemble the end result almost shot by shot while the others work with the concepts more loosely.

The RePet infomercial from the movie as well as the RePet TV Spot are also included on this version, as they were on the previous release.

The "Animatics" section on the disc gives viewers the chance to see even more visualizing concept material form the film. Animatics are very early versions of scenes that are prepared to determine pacing, framing, shot sequence and more before the costly shoot gets under way. They help pre-visualize finicky sequences from the production and also help the director block out shots for insertion of special effects later. Here we get a chance to see the animatics for "Snowy Mountain" and "Rooftop." The first one uses computer-generated imagery to previsualize the scene while the second one relies more on hand-drawn storyboards combined with computer-generated shots.

The disc is rounded out by cast and crew filmographies – interestingly without any for Michael Rooker – as well as a number of trailers, including the teaser for Sam Raimi’s upcoming "Spider-Man."

Although this 2-disc Special Edition is not filled to the brim – the second disc is a regular DVD-5 – it contains some interesting additional features that complete the experience that is "The 6th Day." Owners of the previous release will have to ask themselves how important this additional look behind the scenes is to them but overall, "The 6th Day" is highly entertaining action flick that certainly delivers the goods.