Plot: What’s it about?
Kevin Smith is eithe on your “A” list or he’s not. He’s not new to the word controversy and his latest movie proves it. The mastermind behind such hits as “Chasing Amy”, “Clerks” and “Mallrats”, Smith takes on the big cheese in his latest film. Kevin Smith, who is known for his down to earth, yet very conversational, scripts is at it again with his new film entitled Dogma. It’s no understatement to say that Dogma has enough religous imagery to make the Catholic church mad (and it did), but if taken in with a grain of salt, it’s one of the funniest movies that I’ve ever seen! Smith gathers his “stock” cast consisting of Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jason Mewes (Jay), Jason Lee and even manages to add a few high profile, well-seasoned actors to his latest endeavor. Alan Rickman stars as the literal voice of God, Selma Hayek, Chris Rock and Linda Fiorentino round out the all star cast as either angels or mere humans trying to do his (her?) work…
Dogma is the basic tale of two angels, Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) who are trying to get back into heaven. Loki, better know as the God of Mischief was once the servant of God and carried out all of his missions that required Loki’s “skill”. Friend of Loki, Bartleby in a drunken rage convinces Loki to throw down his fiery sword and stop doing God’s work. As a result, no angels can no longer consume alcohol (you’ll see) and Loki and Bartleby are banned to Earth, and more specifically Wisconsin, as long as man exists. That is, you see, until they discover a loophole about how to get back into heaven (which they consider home). They will lose their angelic status, but Heaven is Heaven…right? It’s up to a mortal, Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) to make the voyage to New Jersey and stop Loki and Bartleby from getting into heaven. And the long and short of it is…that’s it. What makes the movie so grand is the cast of supporting characters. Jason Lee, who has beena favorite of mine since his performance in “Mallrats” is quite good as Azrael. Azrael is a bit of a mischief maker in his own right and carries around a trio of “hockey punks from hell” to carry out his dirty work. Chris Rock and Selma Hayek are also good in their respective parts as well.
What’s so funny about Dogma is the fact that Smith has associated these literal Biblical giants to people that we know as everyday actors and people. I mean, Charleton Heston as Moses–yeah, I can buy that, but Chris Rock as an angel..it just doesn’t make sense. Still, Dogma is a very enjoyable movie, but I must warn you that it does contain Smiths’ trademark language. So if you’re a devout Christian (more specifically a Catholic) or are easily offended, you might want to steer clear. All in all, it’s a very entertaining movie, but it runs a bit too long in my book, and I think it will be more remembered for the controversy it caused rather than the movie it was. Still, it’s a keeper.
Video: How does it look?
Dogma is presented in a full screen version and an anamorphic 2.35:1 version. Both sides look great, but there is no substitute for the anamorphic version. Colors are bright and vivid and there is very little artifacting to be seen. It’s sure a change from the days of “Clerks” when Smith was shooting on a 16MM camera, that’s for sure! Still, Columbia Tristar has done a great job with this film and it shows…literally.
Audio: How does it sound?
While mostly relying on dialogue, there are a number of scenes when the sub kicks in or the split surrounds are used, and with great effectiveness. One I can think of is when Alan Rickman’s character first appears in a burst of fire (surprise, surprise). The sound literally shook my room. The dialogue is clean and well-centered and if you’re trying to find a fault with this movie, it isn’t in this department.
Supplements: What are the extras?
It’s a well-known fact that there is a full-fledged special edition of this movie coming out later this year. If you’re like me, though, you have to have this now. We are treated to a trailer and some cast bios, along with the choice between full frame and widescreen verisons of the film. Not bad, considering a few studios would consider this a full release and be done with it. Obviously, if you’re a Kevin Smith fan then you’ll want the special edition, but this will have to do until then…