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 September 6, 2003


DVD Of Light, Part II
Purple_Dave: In this part, we're going to cover the first screen of DVD bonus features.

THE MAKING OF "BIONICLE: MASK OF LIGHT"
This is probably the best of the bunch when it comes to bonus features that don't require watching the movie at the same time. They cover lots of the how and why of the CGI redesign, the script-writing process, the "2-minute mixup" between JALLER and TAKUA, the visualization of the movie island, and the advantage of having your animation studio halfway around the world. Commentary in this feature is provided by Bob Thompson (Co-Executive Producer), Janice Ross and Sue Shakespeare (Producers), Henry Gilroy (Writer), David Molina and Terry Shakespeare (Directors), and Michael Rose (Art Director). You also get a chance to see some of the voice talent in this 9-1/2 minute documentary.


MATA NUI EXPLORER
This feature could have been a little more fleshed out than it was. Basically, you can select one of the six villages or KINI-NUI and hear TAKUA describe them in his own words. Each village has characters from the movie (big fans of the Earth, Air, and Ice characters are out of luck this time) which can be selected to hear TAKUA's commentary on them:

TA-KORO: TAHU, JALLER, TAKUA
ONU-KORO: ONUA
PO-KORO: POHATU, ONEWA
GA-KORO: GALI, NOKAMA, HAHLI
LE-KORO: LEWA
KO-KORO: KOPAKA
KINI-NUI: TURAHK, PANRAHK, LERAHK

I'm not sure why, but VAKAMA and MACKU are skipped in this, even though they feature in the movie (VAKAMA more than some of the TOA, even).

When browsing the village menus, there are three icons in the lower right corner. The island icon takes you back to the main island menu, the MATA NUI "X" takes you back to the previous menu (from character to village to island to Bonus Features), and the C-shaped arrow replays the village or island intro commentary.


WALL OF HISTORY:
This is a feature that works with the movie itself, even if you're listening to the commentary track. Basically what it does is it pops up a few text blurbs about various characters, locations, and artifacts in the movie. If I wasn't already so well-versed in the various aspects of the BIONICLE backstory, I'd probably have enjoyed this more, and if I didn't have to keep my eyes glued to the screen to catch every tidbit, I could have posted this article about an hour earlier. As it stands, there are only a handful of notes tossed out throughout the movie, and mostly all they do is identify stuff presumedly for people who are just being introduced to the rich setting of the BIONICLE universe. If you really want to see this bonus feature, I'd almost suggest watching the movie like this during your first viewing...if I didn't think that taking the time to read well-known backstory wouldn't distract the viewer from the amazing visuals of the movie itself. Fortunately, they are nicely tucked into the top or bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, it's built in as the second subtitle track, so if you're hearing impaired, you have to choose one or the other (um, go with the movie dialogue). The one advantage to this is that if you decide you don't want to watch them, you can cycle through the subtitle tracks to turn them off (the first blurb is posted during the opening sequence before the main title is shown).

I think this feature tends to fall flat for the experienced fan, but I think it could be tweaked into an excellent feature for the next movie. The three things that I'd most like to see done with it are more comments (there probably aren't more than 20 all told, and most of them are in the earlier parts of the movie), better in-story comments (basically story info that's not fairly common knowledge), and maybe some out-of-story comments (think visual form of an audio commentary, but allowing a wide variety of the cast/crew to add insight into the movie's design). Without some tweaks to make it more enjoyable to the existing fans, I'd just as soon see it dropped from the next DVD.


FILMMAKER COMMENTARY:
I heartily recommend watching this at least once, though I'd suggest doing it as a second viewing, possibly right after watching the basic movie. I've experience some great commentary tracks and some lousy ones, and while this one does have a few comment-free gaps, the information shared during the rest of the track will give you a greater appreciation for just what it took to bring this movie to your living room.


SNEAK PEEK INTO THE NEXT STORYLINE:
Those of you who are waiting for lots of images of the 2004 characters and storyline will be disappointed. This is a 42-second clip of Bob Thompson giving out only the vaguest of hints as to what the next year holds in store for us, mostly referring back to the setup at the end of the MoL movie, and maybe clarifying a few points that you may or may not have caught. As for what those points are, you'll have to wait until you either watch the movie or at least read the book. Either way, I suggest holding off on this bonus feature until you've watched the movie at least once. You'll regret it otherwise...

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BIONICLE: MASK OF LIGHT DVD

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