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Note that the 2-disc Moulin Rouge included in the Red Curtain box is exactly the same as the original release from 2001.  

The brilliance of Luhrmann’s films seems to increase with each production, so it comes as no surprise that the Moulin Rouge film (and DVD) is by far the finest. Again dealing with the fate of two lovers, the film uses some outstanding production values and extravagant musical numbers to bring about an amazing overall movie, helping once again to create interest in the musical genre hardly touched since the days of Grease.

The story is a classic tale of a class courtesan being chased by a lowly young writer, with Nicole Kidman perfect for the role of Satine and Ewan McGregor surprising us all with his turn as Christian. Satine is being used by the owner of a club called the Moulin Rouge to attract her suitor, the rich duke, and make a hit out of an upcoming play being made by a group called the Bohemians. This is where Christian comes in, writing the play and trying ever so desperately to star alongside his true love.

Of course, the best part about this film is the way familiar and popular songs from the past thirty-odd years have been tied in with the story. And there are some classic adaptations for your ears to listen to; Madonna’s Like A Virgin is delightfully bizarre, Roxanne has never sounded so powerful and the reworking of songs from other artists such as Elton John go down an absolute treat. And each and every one of them are used effectively to push the story along.

Moulin Rouge: Special Edition

Moulin Rouge is one of the most visually stunning films for quite some time, due largely to its unorthodox style and myriad of colours. This is easily Luhrmann’s best work, so his future projects will be highly anticipated if they promise to be better than this one. Brilliant work that hopefully revives the musical genre and gives us plenty more in years to come.

There’s not a lot to say about this 2.35:1, 16:9 enhanced transfer, basically because it’s flawless. Even with the very detailed sets and costumes the visuals come up a treat, adding to the wonder created by the design of the film. All the brilliant colours and deep shadows are rendered perfectly, with everything razor sharp and incredibly clear. You won’t want to stop watching because this is the best you’ll get.

This release wouldn’t be complete without a wonderful DTS soundtrack, which has thankfully been included on the Region 4 disc. There is also a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack included, but the DTS mix is slightly clearer and fuller overall. However, don’t be fooled by the slight increase in volume on the DTS track.

Surround usage is quite good on the whole, especially during those brilliant musical sequences. There aren’t all that many booms and whizzes flying around the rears but for the most part it’s not really necessary. All the dialogue is perfectly clear and the music never strays over the top of the vocals, so this soundtrack is a joy to listen to.

This 2-disc edition is jam packed with extras, all of which add to the enjoyment of the film as a whole. The first disc includes 2 audio commentaries, one with Baz Luhrmann, (costume designer) Catherine Martin and (director of photography) Don McAlpine and the other with Luhrmann and (co-writer) Craig Pearce. These tracks are great to listen to, with the first one being particularly enjoyable as all three have some great information to impart on the making of the film. The second track focuses more on the story and characters, going into great detail about both. Well worth a listen.

Moulin Rouge: Special Edition

The other extra on disc one is entitled behind the red curtain and features a little fairy who, in Matrix-style fashion, pops up every now and then to take the viewer over to an extra snippet about that particular part of the movie. One press of the enter button will take you to eight different pieces, making it a pretty worthwhile little feature.

On to disc two, and first up we have a pretty light documentary on the making of the movie. There’s the obligatory interviews, clips and behind the scenes footage, so it’s a familiar sort of path taken here.

A piece called The Stars talks to most of the main cast members briefly about the production, their characters and Baz Luhrmann, among other things. They might be a little short but these clips are certainly worth a look.

We then move on to This Story Is About a section that includes a short interview with Luhrmann and Pearce about the script, another interview with Pearce where he divulges some amusing information about an early draft and four image-based scripts to look through, including the final version and three previous revisions. Die-hard fans will probably enjoy this the most.

Inside the sub-menu called The Dance we are treated to the full versions of the four main dance sequences from the film; the Tango, Can Can, Coup Detat and the Hindi. The best part about it is they have been given the multi angle treatment, where the user can pick one of four angles, chopping and changing during the whole sequence. Probably the best use of the multi-angle feature yet. Luhrmann also gives us a brief introduction. Then there’s an interview with choreographer John O’Connell and some rehearsal footage, which rounds out this section very well.

Next up is a section entitled The Cutting Room Floor. After a brief interview with editor Jill Bilcock and Baz Luhrmann we are treated to some pre-visualisation tapes Baz put together and an abandoned edits section featuring some footage that was cut during preview screenings as well as other cut material, which runs just over 13 minutes. This is a great little section that is well worth a look.

Moulin Rouge: Special Edition

In The Music section we are given an interview with Fatboy Slim’s Norman Cook, who created the amazing Can Can mix as well as a short piece entitled The Musical Journey where we meet those behind the brilliant musical numbers in the film. This then leads to a section on The Lady Marmalade Phenomenon, with the original music video and an MTV special performance included as well as the music video for Come What May. Phew!

Still going strong, there’s also a Design section which begins with a short interview featuring production designer Catherine Martin and moves on to a set of stills dealing with the set design. There are also photos, sketches and early drafts of the costume designs as well as a nifty little rolling featurette of some of the designs of the Moulin Rouge.

We then move into a place called Smoke & Mirrors, where there are a couple of pieces on the evolution of the introduction to the movie (one of the highlights of the film itself) and how the concept of the green fairy (played by Australia’s own Kylie Minogue!) came about.

On the final stretch of the extras is a section entitled Marketing where all the promotional schlock as well as some advertising gems are kept. There’s the Sizzle Reel, a conglomeration of various bits and pieces pertaining to the movie designed to whet your appetite, a picture book version of the story in photos, another five photo galleries, some theatrical posters, the original trailer, a Japanese trailer, a trailer for this very box set (remember this disc was created a while back with a view to being included in the box set later on), a promotional trailer for the Romeo & Juliet Special Edition disc and a promotional piece for the soundtrack. I am officially out of breath (OK, words).

Moulin Rouge: Special Edition

You couldn’t get a more comprehensive DVD package than this one. Arguably one of the most daringly brilliant films of recent times, Moulin Rouge has been given great treatment with a reference quality transfer, a thumping DTS and Dolby Digital soundtrack and an extras section that covers everything you’ll ever want to know about the movie. Easily the standout in the Red Curtain Box Set.