Memoirs of a Geisha / Special Edition : 4 of 5
Even though I enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha at the theater, I probably wouldn't have made an effort to watch it on DVD, but I happened to find it for a bargain bin price several months ago and picked it up for my collection, and just now decided to sit back and enjoy it again. Although I still have problems with some of the film (especially Sayuri's awful blue-light debut dance, which is so un-Japanese they might as well have put a stripper pole on the runway), this time I took notice of the many wonderful visual aspects of the movie. Thinking about the setup required for every scene, all of the angles, complex crane shots, and the amazing subdued color palette used in most of the everyday scenes really made me appreciate the art direction of the film. This DVD set has a second disc of bonus material, which is a series of 15-minute featurettes that are fairly interesting (even though they're a little self important). Since I loved the look of 1930s Japan in the movie, I was amazed to see that the entire town was built as an outdoor set, and then covered with a giant tent to control the sunlight to simulate different seasons! Hearing about some of the locations in Japan (which took over a year of negotiations for permission to film there!) was fascinating, as well as discovering the kimono dyeing scene was shot in the American River of my hometown of Sacramento! Overall, it was nice to enjoy this movie again, so I'm glad I made that impulse buy.