When a movie bombs at the box office, a studio’s last hope is for solid home video and DVD sales. Luckily for Artisan Entertainment, an immediate cult following ensued after the original release of their critical and box office flop “Belly.”
With the release of the ” Belly: Special Edition DVD & CD,” the tale of trafficking has a loyal fan base to please. However, the collection falls short of the glory that the original release garnered.
The two-disc set comes with the film and an audio CD. The CD is filled with tracks, including “Story to Tell” by Ja Rule and “Sometimes” by Noreaga and Maze. However, the CD treads no new ground and only rehashes songs that were released during “Belly’s” first theatrical release in 1998. Each song fits the film, but most buyers will already have the songs in their personal music collection.
Beyond the lack luster audio CD, the DVD still offers promise with a few innovative special features.
The special features section of the DVD begins with a solitary deleted scene entitled “The Tunnel.” This deleted scene may be the largest waste of space ever released on a disc. The scene features a group of people dancing in slow motion at a strip club. When the time comes for the strippers to bare it all, there are censor blurs where there should be fully exposed breasts. In a film with strong violence and heavy drug trafficking, showing a little skin in the special features would not have cut into the film’s integrity.
Beyond the completely pointless single deleted scene added to the features section, there are basic DVD extras. These include film trailers, a music video for the DMX, Method Man, Nas and Ja Rule song “Grand Finale” and the obligatory director’s commentary.
The commentary entails director Hype Williams waxing about the professionalism of the cast – which was made up of mostly hip hop artists- and discussing which scenes appealed to him. The best moments in the commentary are when Williams tears apart some of his own directorial flaws and the poor choices of crew members selected to set the mood.
By the time viewers reach the “Spoken Word” section of the special features, they are ready for the fresh air that this section provides. The “Spoken Word” section displays the talents of various poets as they interpret scenes from “Belly” into spoken word pieces that highlight the presence of the seven deadly sins in the film. Unfortunately, the Spoken Word section is infiltrated by pointless tap dancing and beat boxing entries that have no apparent connection to the film.
Artisan Home Entertainment may want to go back to the drawing board with the “Belly: Special Edition DVD & CD” because it is simply not special enough to pick up if you already have the “Belly” DVD in your collection.
Contact Jason E. Hutchins at je_hutchins @hotmail.com