Tartans top selling Asia Extreme title gets the deluxe treatment with this ultimate collectors set. Oh Dae-su is an ordinary Seoul businessman with a wife and little daughter. After who, after a drunken night on the town, he is locked up in a strange, private "prison" for 15 years until he is unexpectedly freed. Hes determined to discover the mysterious enemy who had him locked up.
For the legion of Asian cinema fans who found Oldboy
to be one of the best DVD releases of 2006, this elegant tin boxed, three-disc package will be a must-have, thoroughly engaging presentation of a modern classic of the genre for nearly everyone else. Disc one contains a stunning transfer of the film with 6.1 DTS surround and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in Korean with English subtitles, as well as a dubbed English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. There are a trio of commentary tracks, one with director Chanwook Park alone, another accompanied by the cinematographer, and a third with him joined by star Choi Min-sik and other cast members. They are all thorough and erudite (subtitled in English), covering the entire production. Disc two may be the most interesting (and most akin to the comprehensive style of documentary material included on the Lord of the Rings
extended editions) for their depth and insight regarding all the production departments. There are eight long featurettes that cover making the film in general, the production design, the musical score, the CGI components, deleted scenes (with commentary), a video notebook of the production company's trip to Cannes, verbatim interviews (unlike the "Access Hollywood"-style standard tripe, as well as a cast and crew Q&A session from members of the Oldboy
online fan club. Don't worry, all your favorite scenes get plenty of explanation, including the hallway fight, and all those poor octopi who gave their lives for Oldboy
's art. Disc three, titled "The Autobiography of Oldboy
" is a single, lengthy (three-and-a-half-hour) production diary that is transfixing not only for the craft that was explored every day, but also for the similarities and differences a film crew goes about its business on location and in studio compared to a Hollywood A-list production. It unfolds in chronological order with no commentary or explanation, just a voyeur's view of how the film was crafted and sometimes improvised. The day of the octopi gets more screen time here for everyone who regard that scene as a defining moment and important metaphor for the entire film. Along with the three individually packaged DVDs, the box also includes a limited edition 35mm frame of the film and a copy of the first volume of the graphic novel that inspired the film. Tartan has outdone itself with the attention to detail and aesthetic conception of both the physical and metaphysical importance Oldboy
will hold for generations. --Ted Fry