Beastie Boys DVD Anthology: The Criterion Collection

Beastie Boys (Criterion/Grand Royal/Capitol)

With the rising popularity of DVD, a format that allows recordings to be heard in 5.1 surround sound and offers features such as separate audio tracks and alternate viewing angles, it was just a matter of time before a musical act did something that used DVD's full potential. Beastie Boys DVD Anthology, a two-disc set that features 18 videos, interviews with the band and its various directors, storyboards and remixes from artists such as Fatboy Slim, Moby, Bentley Rhythm Ace and Peanut Butter Wolf, is a watermark in terms of its creativity and comprehensiveness. While some of it is excessive -- we don't really need to watch the videos for "Intergalactic" and "Alive" from nine different angles -- the anthology presents a mind-boggling amount of information that makes for rewarding viewing and listening, even though it takes more than one sitting to sift through.

There are essentially two ways to view the DVD: You can either watch the 18 videos straight through (with the option of listening to the mindless narrative provided by the band, which indulges in inside jokes and stating the obvious as it searches for things to say about the individual videos), or you can view the videos with supplements, which include variables such as different mixes (some tracks are even available as a cappella versions) and camera angles. "So Watcha Want," for example, can be seen through a thermal cam, which casts the band into solarized forms, and "Alive" can be seen from a camera attached to the minibikes that the Beastie Boys ride through Manhattan. The item billed as one of its biggest selling points -- a Nathaniel Hornblower-directed video called "The Robot vs. the Octopus Monster Saga" -- is an "Intergalactic" spin-off that pales next to the original, but its irrelevance doesn't detract from the overall significance of this release.

 
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