Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - Two-Disc Collector's Edition

Genre(s): Drama / Mystery / Romance
DreamWorks, Universal || R - 108 minutes - $29.98 || September 28, 2004
Reviewer: Elyusha Vafaeisefat || Posted On: 2005-01-03


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Michel Gondry
Writer(s): Charlie Kaufman (story) & Michel Gondry (story) & Pierre Bismuth (story), Charlie Kaufman (screenplay)
Cast: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Tom Wilkinson


Theatrical Release Date: March 19, 2004


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:

    Disc 1:
  • Director & Writer Commentary
  • A Look Inside Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • A Conversation with Jim Carrey and writer Charlie Kaufman
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Music Video
  • Lacuna Infomercial


  • Disc 2:
  • Inside the Mind of Michel Gondry
  • Anatomy of a Scene: Saratoga Avenue
  • A Conversation with Michel Gondry and Kate Winslet
  • 7 Deleted/Extended Scenes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

I>Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is definitely one of the most unique films I have ever seen. I don't remember seeing a film in recent memory that incorporated such amazing visual style so effortlessly without being distracting at the same time. The film itself is directed by French director Michel Gondry, who was well known as one of the best and most innovative music video directors. However, his work in feature filmmaking is a rather short list. The only other major Hollywood film he has made was "Human Nature" back in 2001. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is written by Charlie Kaufman, who has made a name for himself writing these "off the wall" types of films (see Adaptation, Being John Malkovich and the aforementioned Human Nature).

The film itself is a fascinating "what if?" idea. What if you could erase a loved one from your memory completely? This is the idea that is explored very well in this film. Joel (Jim Carrey) decides to have Clementine (Kate Winslet) erased from his memory after finding out she did the same to him. The film then goes into the mind of Joel and his many memories of Clementine. The visual style of these “memories” is done extremely well. Gondry discusses several of the techniques he used to give the perception of a memory or a dream-like state in the commentary and other extras in the DVD. The acting from the entire cast is great. Jim Carrey gives a very good quiet performance as Joel. Carrey is much more subtle and less over the top than he usually is. Although there are scenes where he does go a little over the top, but for the most part, he does a very good job. I would say that this is Carrey’s best performance since The Truman Show back in 1998. Kate Winslet gives an equally impressive performance. Instead of Carrey being the eccentric one, Winslet takes over and does a nice job as Clementine. Hopefully she and Carrey will get some sort of recognition this awards season for their work on this film. Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst and Elijah Wood all turn in great supporting performances as well. They all help carry the film very well when Carrey and Winslet are off screen.

Overall, it is an incredible film to watch for all the impressive editing and visual effects techniques used in the film. The story is also one of the most original I have seen in a long time. However, I was not able to connect with all the characters as much as I wanted to (similar to what The Movieman said in his review), but the film is still a great experience to watch. If you are a fan of Charlie Kaufman's previous works or Michel Gondry's visual style, then I would highly recommend this film to you.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

he first disc of the DVD contains everything that was already in the first release of the DVD a few months back. I'll just give a brief review of what each extra contains. You can check out Movieman's DVD review of the original release as well.

The commentary with Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman is very interesting to listen to. Kaufman kind of takes a backseat, but when he does give some insight, it's very fascinating to listen to. Though I do wish Kaufman would have taken a more active role in the commentary. He seems to be like a reporter who is interviewing Gondry for most of the commentary. By that I mean that Kaufman will ask questions about some scenes and Gondry will answer them. I was hoping that they would be more of a free flowing conversation in their commentary, but overall it is interesting to listen to. Kaufman talks a little bit about the background of the story and Gondry mostly talks about the various visual techniques he used throughout the film.

A Look Inside Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 12 minute making of extra that is standard for the most part. It talks briefly about the directing, writing, cast and other basic aspects of the film. It's similar to a "making of" that one would see on HBO or any other movie channel.

A Conversation with Jim Carrey and Director Michel Gondry. is pretty much what the title says. Carrey and Gondry reminisce about various things that happened during the filming of Eternal Sunshine. Carrey even discusses a moment during the film where he almost wanted to punch out Gondry. Carrey also discusses his rehearsals with Winslet along with how Carrey even added ideas from his own life into the film. Gondry and Carrey also discuss how they rushed to get shots for the film during a real life elephant parade down the streets.

The deleted scenes aren't really anything great. There is one scene that shows more of the relationship between Joel and his ex-girlfriend. The rest of the deleted scenes are mostly just more shots of Joel and Clementine together. Again, none of the scenes are anything particularly amazing, but they are still enjoyable to watch.

Rounding out the special features of the first disc is Polyphonic Spree's music video for “Light & Day.” It is a very attention-grabbing music video to watch because like the film, it too uses some nice visual techniques. The last extra is just a short "commercial" for Lacuna, which is the company that does the memory erasing in the film.

The second disc's extras are all brand new and were not included in the first release of the DVD.

The first extra is Inside the Mind of Michel Gondry, which discusses Gondry directing process along with the cast and crew sharing their experiences working with Gondry. This featurette discusses how Gondry is not a fan of "special effects" and green screens. He says how he likes to do as much as he can in front of the camera with the actors as opposed to adding it all in after the film is done. They also show the optical techniques Gondry and his crew used to get certain shots look the way that they do. It is a very interesting extra to watch because you get to see how Gondry got the film to look the way it did. Gondry also discusses a particular scene which he says he did all in one shot, which is remarkable to me because I thought it was something done in editing later on.

The next featurette is Anatomy of a Scene: Saratoga Avenue, which is definitely my favorite extra on the DVD. The cast and crew discuss in great detail this short 2-3 minute scene involving Joel and Clementine walking down a street. They go into detail about the score, visual effects used, cinematography, directing, editing, acting as well as several other aspects that went into this short scene. It is fun to see the different ideas they had for the scene and ultimately what ended up making it in the final cut.

A Conversation with Kate Winslet and Director Michel Gondry is basically the same as the conversation between Carrey and Gondry in the first disc. Though it isn't as interesting to watch, it still is fun to listen to the different stories from the set between Winslet and Gondry. It works more like a reunion of two friends rather than a discussion of the film, but it still does have some interesting insight into the process of making the film.

Finally, the DVD includes seven more deleted and extended scenes. These scenes are much more interesting than the 4 deleted scenes included in the first disc. It is very interesting to see that they had filmed an entire sub-plot between Joel's character and his ex-girlfriend. The scenes are intriguing to watch, but ultimately they would have slowed the film down greatly had they been placed in the film. The bulk of the 19 minutes of deleted scenes is a sequence between Joel and Clementine which lasts about 11-12 minutes. It basically reinforces what we already know in terms of the relationship between Joel and Clementine, but again it is still enjoyable to watch.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The sound and picture quality are both very good. I don't think they did any re-mastering of the sound or video quality compared to the original 1 Disc DVD release a few months back. The film looks very sharp and the many colors in the film come off very well. The sound is also done very well. Again, I don't believe they did re-mastering of the sound, but overall, it is a nice sound mix.



.::OVERALL::.

Overall, Universal has put together a nice set. The film itself is very unique, well made and in my opinion unforgettable for its impressive visual style. The extras are very good for the most part and the sound and video qualities are both done very well. This set also comes with a little booklet which contains excerpts from critic’s reviews of the film, portions of the script as well as some thoughts from regular movie-goers who discuss how this film affected them personally. If you don't already own the 1 Disc release, I would highly recommend this 2 Disc Collectors Set. If you do happen to own the 1 Disc set, I would only buy this set if you are a hardcore fan of the film. It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to shell out another $20 for 1 more disc of extras. In the end, I do think the big fans of the film will be satisfied with this 2 Disc set.