Like all of his movies, Rodriguez fills this UMD with cool extra features. The medium has no effect on this movie's "message."
Too many menus to hop through for a UMD release.
From Dusk Till Dawn is one of those movies that you either love or you hate. I don't think that there is any middle ground with this film. I feel this way because this movie came out at a curious time. Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez were just establishing themselves beyond their initial successes. Pulp Fiction was still on everybody's mind, and I think it says a lot of about Tarantino that this is the movie he chose to follow that up with. Okay, I know that he didn't direct this movie but he wrote it and starred in it, so in many ways From Dusk Till Dawn is a "Quentin Tarantino" film.
This is the kind of movie that is perfect for the UMD format. It is fast, funny and filled with the kind of carnage that a lot of gamers like.
Hollywood Goes to Hell and Deleted Scenes
The Hollywood Goes to Hell segment plays like an electronic press kit. It looks at the overall making of From Dusk Till Dawn, while focusing a lot of it's attention on the Tarantino and Rodriguez friendship. Film geeks (myself included) have been weaned on the lore of these two filmmakers, and as such bonus materials that focus on them are always appreciated. The Deleted Scenes and Alternate Takes come to us with a commentary track by Robert Rodriguez. There are bars all around the picture so this made viewing them a little hard especially because the screen is small to begin with. Some of the scenes examined are Tom Savini breaking a bottle numerous times, George Clooney on the phone and various alternate takes of the carnage in the Titty Twister bar.
On Set and Music Videos
The On Set piece looked at the blowing up of the Titty Twister bar. In a weird way this reminded me of the original ending of Apocalypse Now where they filmed the blowing up of the Kurtz compound. This segment also looked at life on the set and strangely seemed like a truncated version of something that was pulled off the original DVD release. I might be wrong but having seen a lot of the two disc Special Addition From Dusk Till Dawn DVD, probably explains why I feel this way. The music videos on this disc are "After Dark" by Tito & the Tarantulas and "She's Just Killing Me" by ZZ Top. While this music really isn't my thing, I'm not gonna complain about extra footage of Salma Hayek now am I?
Widescreen. I saw From Dusk Till Dawn a number of times in the movie theater. Then I also caught it on VHS and then again a few more times when it came to DVD. This said, I feel that I bring a special eye when screening this movie on the PSP. Amazingly, the smallness of the screen has no effect on this film. It still played really big and I don't think it lost any of it's nuances in this format. Even when the movie became an action bloodbath, I don't think it became hard to follow or unclear in it's presentation at all.
Stereo. I was amazed at how genuinely great the audio was on this disc. I watched this movie both using headphones and not using headphones, and other than a few obvious audio differences the sound really worked well. I am not saying it was the same as being in the theater, but watching the small screen and using the headphones really immersed me in the viewing experience. When you consider the size of the PSP unit this is pretty amazing and bodes well for future releases.
The packaging on this disc features a smaller version of the artwork that has come on other DVD releases. It features Tarantino and Clooney holding guns, with an image of Salma Hayek turning into a very bad woman. The back features a description of the movie, a listing of the "Bonus Features" and some technical specs. Personally, I am a fan of the UMD's approach to packaging. It's solid, minimal and gets right to the point.
I was very impressed with how this movie held up all the way through when I first saw it. There is so much about this movie that seems like it could devolve into easy campyness. Yet, From Dusk Till Dawn never goes in that direction for long. Sure, as soon as the carnage starts things get out of hand, but Rodriguez never allows the actors to get so over the top that they can't come back the the reality of the piece. Eventually this movie even allows itself to get back to some semblance of normalcy, which, if you know anything about From Dusk Till Dawn is no small feat.
Still as quick and shocking as it was back in 1995, From Dusk Till Dawn is a movie that surprisingly stands the test of time. Years from now one can see this film being held up in the same regard as the foreign horror films that inspired it.
From Dusk Till Dawn was released January 19, 1996.