PANIC ROOM is a brillant movie that harkens back to the days of thrillers made by Alfred Hitchcock. PANIC
ROOM is the vision of an autuer that had a very exact vision of what PANIC ROOM would be. The movie wouldn't have been as
good (or the same) if there was anyone else directing this movie other than David Fincher. PANIC ROOM is the result of a man
wanting perfection and viewing what he sees in his mind's eye on how the movie looks down to every single detail.
THE PLOT: Meg (Jodie Foster) moves into a new four story town house with her 11 year old daughter. Three criminals
break into the house on the first night expecting that no one has moved in yet. Meg and her daughter flee to the Panic Room,
but the big problem is that the criminals want what is hidden inside of the Panic Room.
ANALYSIS: Movie analysis is coming tomorrow.
The movie is presented in a moody 2.40:1 widescreen transfer that shows the moods that David Fincher wants
to present throughout the movie. The audio is great and helps present the overall mood of the movie. You can hear the movie
in English (Spanish and French too) 5.1 Dolby Digital with English, French, and Spanish subtitle options.
There are three commentary tracks for the movie. David Fincher's director commentary is interesting to listen
to where he drops some tidbits of the studio wanting to change the ending and the original ending scne had to be reshot because
some people thought two apartment towers in the background were the World Trade Towers.
However the writer's commentary track for David Koepp and special guest William Goldman has to be the most
interesting commentary track of the three. You get insights on how the movie could have ended if the ending of the first draft
made it to the final draft of the script and William Goldman's comments on wanting a Gigli Special Edition DVD that would
explain why the movie was a flop. The other commentary track features Jodi Foster, Forrest Whitaker, and Dwight Yokam.
In Pre-Production, you get 6 featurettes on the prep and testing phase. In the Testing featurette, you get
to see camera tests with changes in lighting and filters to get the right look for the movie, and video footage documenting
testing of some of the physical effects in the movie including the testing of an exploding propane tank. Another featurette
is a Safe Cracking School featurette where the director and other people are talking with a sfae cracking expert as they huddle
around a floor safe.
Lots of Previsualization went into this movie. The Creating Previs featurette is about 10 minutes long and
shows david Fincher talking with the Previs team on how he want this and that adjusted in the previs. David Fincher used lots
of Previs to get the type of camera shots he wanted for the movie and what parts of the house set would have to be tweaked
to allow for some of the camera shots that David Fincher wanted. There is a Previs Demo showing how the camera dolly would
move through the house set.
Rounding out the Previsualization part of Pre-Production is a 38-39 minute multi-angle featurette where you
can compare the storyboards and previs shots to the final shots in the movie side by side. The storyboards reflects Nocle
Kidman's look when you see Meg in the storyboards. You can listen to the production audio, finished audio, commentary from
Peter Ramsey (the storyboard artist), or commentary from Colin Green, founder of Pixel Liberation Front (who provided the
previs for Panic Room). No other movie had used as much previs as PANIC ROOM. David Fincher wanted previs to show his crew
what he wanted to accomplish. He has high expectations and wants to push people to do their best.
In Production, there are two featurettes. The first one is the 52 minute featurette called Shooting Panic
room. There is a wealth of behind the scenes footage from the location scouts finding the right locations for the opening
and ending scenes of Panic Room to the house and outside street for the movie being constructed for Panic Room (one person
even goes to say the 4 story house set is built like a battleship) to footage showing the movie being shot and stuff in between
takes (including a little kidding around from Jared Leto with David Fincher standing behind him all the time).
About 22 minutes into Shooting Panic Room, you get a few seconds of footage from Nicole Kidman's three week
stint (before she had to bow out for medical reasons due to the injury she sustained during the filming of Moulin Rouge) that
changes into the same shot with Jodie Foster as Meg. Torwards the end of the featurette, you are treated to footage from the
original ending that was reshot months later. You can tell Jodi Foster is very pregnant in the original ending despite the
attempts of a red jacket to mask it.
The other featurette is a nine minute make-up featurette with Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. They talk
about the fingers they created and teh broken collarbone effect. They talk about how the original rubber fingers were nicknamed
Cheetos and tehre are some moments of humor including a moment that they say won't end up in the featurette (when it does).
On Sound Design features a interview David Prior did with the Ren Kylce and there are demostrations of what
different sounds went into the sound design of the movie.
Scoring is a multi-angle look at the scoring sessions for four sequences in the movie. You can look at the
scoring sessions themselves or see them in the same screen with the scenes being scored.
The Visual Effects section of Disc Three has Visual effects Supervisor Keving hung and Visual Effects Coordinator
Leslie McMinn take the viewr through in-depth examinations of Panic Room's effects sequences through 20 Visual Effects Featurettes
that sometime branch off into other featurettes if you press your Enter key (on the DVD remote) at selected times during the
featurettes. It's very interesting to see how much special effects work went into this movie including some camera shots that
had to be created through special effects.
Sequence Breakdowns allow you to view the script, storyboards, B-Roll, dalies, and lighting (and visual effects)
tests for four scenes in PANIC ROOM. The B-Roll offers some interesting beind-the-scenes footage while the dalies allow you
to see each of the four scenes from all camera angles used by the multiple cameras used to shoot this movie (at least two
cameras were used to shoot any given scene in the movie). Too bad the dalies don't have a multi-angle fature that allows you
to switch betwen different camera shots in the scene. The script part of sequence breakdowns sadly lacks the ability for one
to flip to the next scirpt page at your own pace.
Digital Intermediate features Peter Mauromates (Post-Production supervisor), Conrad W. Hall (Director of Photography)
and Stephen Nakamura (Digital Color Timer) as they show and explain that PANIC ROOM was color timed (to correct lighting differences)
and how some shots were reframed.
Also included on disc three is a Super 35 Technical Explanation article. The article goes on to explainthe
different film formats, widescreen formats, and how Fincher has developed a way to frame shots to allow for the movie to be
seen in a way where pan and scan won't affect the movie as much if it is presented in that format.
MENUS- The menus have to bee some of the best I have ever seen. The menus appear as blueprints for the unfinished
house set on a soundstage. The navigation moves like a camera is being taken to different parts in the house.
PACKAGE DESIGN- The digipak design is a fold-out design where you can flip through the three discs like
pages in a book.The artwork on the digipak and discs have images from the movie presented in the colors of organge, yellow,
black, and green. The black slipcase is a little tight when you slip the digipak in and out. You do have to be careful getting
the discs out since they are hard to get out of the disc trays.
FINAL VERIDCT- The special features are top notch and provides hours of viewing material that you can
watch and watch again. The bonus discs are for film buffs and people who want a crash course in how a movie is made.
The one minor disappointment about the Special Features is that there isn't a Multi-Angle featurette that
compares Kidman's performance on Meg (from her three weeks of filming) to Foster's performance, or a featurette
that showed more of the Nicole Kidman footage other than the few seconds seen in SHOOTING PANIC ROOM.
The PANIC ROOM SPECIAL EDITION has to be one of the best DVD sets of 2004. It will be a tough act to beat
or match. It is one of the most extensive sets covering the making of a movie. You have to thank DVD Producer David Prior
for making this great set and David Fincher's insistence that everything gets documented in every phase of the movie's production.
Highly recommended for film buffs, fans of David Fincher, and people who want to make movies.
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