Memento appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture showed a few small concerns, but it generally presented a positive image.
Sharpness seemed fine. Softness created no concerns, as the movie remained distinct and accurate from start to finish. Jagged edges and moirť effects also caused no problems, and I noticed no signs of edge enhancement. As for print flaws, I saw light grain on occasion, and I also witnessed a few bits of grit and some speckles.
Colors varied, but they usually remained natural and accurate. At times, the hues came across as somewhat overblown and excessively warm, however. In general, they stayed reasonably clear and vivid. Black levels were dense and tight, especially during the filmís black and white segments; those demonstrated very solid contrast and definition. Shadow detail looked accurate and nicely opaque. Overall, the image seemed a little iffy at times, but Memento offered a good image as a whole.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks of Memento came across as fairly modest but effective. For the most part, the two mixes seemed largely identical, but the DTS demonstrated enough advantages to merit a slightly higher grade. Iíll first discuss that track and then get into the ways I felt the two versions differed.
Overall, the audio maintained a rather simple soundfield. It strongly emphasized the forward channels, which displayed good imaging. The spare score presented a fine stereo presence, and effects also appeared in natural and clearly delineated locations. Surround activity showed up infrequently. I noticed some sound from the rear when Leonard shot Teddy, but mostly, those channels featured little more than general reinforcement.
Audio quality seemed positive for the most part. Speech displayed minor edginess on a few occasions, but dialogue usually came across as natural and distinct, and I noticed no issues related to intelligibility. Given their low-key presence, effects didnít tax the track, but they seemed accurate and detailed, and they displayed solid bass punch when appropriate. Music sounded clear and lively and also presented nice dynamics.
As I noted, the Dolby Digital and DTS tracks generally seemed identical, but I bumped up my grade for the DTS mix due to a few minor factors. The DTS audio featured moderately stronger bass response and it seemed a little more involving. It also presented somewhat better integration and came across as a bit more distinctive. While both tracks worked well as a whole, I preferred the DTS mix of Memento by a small margin.
This two-DVD special edition release of Memento includes a mix of extras. Most of these appear on the second disc, but DVD One tosses in a few bits. Up first we find an audio commentary from director Christopher Nolan, who offers a running, screen-specific affair. Nolanís dry personality makes the track seem a little slow at times, but he nonetheless offers a lot of solid information about the movie. He usually focuses on the particular challenges created by this unusual production. He includes some nuts and bolts material, but most of the time he chats about interpretation of the film, what he intended to do with various techniques, and the intricacies of the format. Nolan helps explain some issues that can seem confusing, like the alternate use of black and white or color photography, and he generally provides a compelling and useful discussion of the production.
One weird aspect of this commentary: Iíve not tried it myself, but according to the excellent Memento DVD guide Iíll soon reference, apparently Nolanís track branches into one of a few different possible streams at the end of chapter 13. These offer a few contradictory statements about the movie. Very odd, but it seems like it matches the movie itself.
On DVD Two, we encounter a mix of extras, but you may find it difficult to get to them. Thatís become the DVDís producers have encumbered it with a genuinely nightmarish interface. Thereís no simple way to get to these components. Instead, you need to muck around with questions from alleged psychological tests. Itís a clever concept but a serious nuisance to try to navigate.
Happily, someone sat down and created a thorough guide to this stupid disc. Douglas Bailey has his detailed chart posted on his homepage: http://world.std.com/~trystero/Memento_LE.html . Unless you enjoy beating your head against the wall, Iíd recommend it.
One of the more substantial components of DVD Two, Anatomy of a Scene offers a 25-minute and 15-second program originally aired on the Sundance Channel. The show provides a mix of movie clips and interviews with writer/director Christopher Nolan, editor Dody Dorn, composer David Julyan, producer Jennifer Todd, actor Joe Pantoliano, production designer Patti Podesta, and cinematographer Wally Pfister. They cover some general issues like casting and visual design, but they mostly hold true to the programís title as they discuss the movieís opening (or ending, depending on your point of view). We get some very nice details about the production and how they wanted to work things in this interesting little piece.
A text extra, Memento Mori takes us through Jonathan Nolanís original treatment for the story. More text appears in the Shooting Script area. This runs in real-time with the movieís soundtrack, and it also allows you to flip between the script and the movie. Itís an unusual presentation that seems satisfying.
Various collections of stillframe materials also appear. We find a somewhat bland package of 40 Production Stills and Sketches and also 18 examples of International Art. The latter seem a little more creative and intriguing than the former. A more irreverent addition, we also find two frames of bootleg cover art.
With a little work youíll find Leonardís journal from the movie. Handwritten and disjointed, it makes for a cool addition if just because it gives us a closer look at a production element. In a similar vein, we get a set of 24 images of props.
After we get two trailers - one international and domestic Ė we can dig into the much-desired chronological cut of the film. Though anamorphic, it comes only with Dolby 2.0 audio. Iíve not taken the time to sit through the whole thing this way, and I may never do so; Nolan had a good reason for doing it the way he did, so the chronological one remains a cool novelty but nothing more. That said, I suppose curiosity will eventually get to me and Iíll check it out this way. I must admit itís a very fun option to have.
A genuinely unusual and intriguing movie, Memento provides something different for the film noir genre. It never falls back on gimmicks and it seems like a consistently entertaining and compelling effort. The DVD provides good picture and sound along with a fairly nice roster of extras that lose some points due to the packageís absurdly complicated interface. Iíll still recommend this ďlimited editionĒ of Memento, though; itís a terrific film, and this is the best DVD release of the flick.