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Baz Luhrmann is known by most as the genius behind the modern musical Moulin Rouge. But before that he also helmed two other high quality flicks; Strictly Ballroom and Romeo & Juliet. The former was basically his breakthrough movie, having screened to critical acclaim around the world and practically announced Luhrmann as the next creative mind to come from Down Under. The latter film was a result of Hollywood giving him a go, and Luhrmann certainly didn’t disappoint. We now have the privilege of owning all three films together, packaged in a delightful box set with an extra disc thrown in for good measure. So let’s look behind the Red Curtain...

Films
Included in this box set are Luhrmann’s three major films, all of which tell a fantastic story linked together by universal themes. Click on each title to be taken to the review.

<a href=http://www.dvdanswers.com/index.php?r=0&;s=2&c=543>Strictly Ballroom: Special Edition</a>

<a href=http://www.dvdanswers.com/index.php?r=0&;s=2&c=544>Romeo & Juliet: Special Edition</a>

<a href=http://www.dvdanswers.com/index.php?r=0&;s=2&c=545>Moulin Rouge: Special Edition</a>

The menu for Behind The Red Curtain

Video
The overall video quality over the three films and the extra disc is top notch, headed by the fantastic transfer on the Moulin Rouge disc. Even the fifth disc is of a high standard even though some grainy archival footage is used throughout. These are probably the best transfers you’re going to get for these films. See the reviews for further details.

Audio
Again, the audio can’t really be faulted overall. The surround usage isn’t all that great but it’s the music and effects that make the three movies so powerful. The DTS mix on Moulin Rouge stands out but the other two films sound particularly good also. Even the extra disc uses the surrounds at various stages to belt out more music or whizz some effects around the room. Let your ears enjoy!

Extras
For this box set Fox have included an extra disc entitled Behind The Red Curtain, which basically chronicles the creative journey taken by Luhrmann and his colleagues over the course of his three major films.

The first little piece is on The House Of Iona, home to Luhrmann’s company Bazmark Productions. It’s great to see the environment in which he and his team work and all the different departments. Loosely styled, it is basically a tour of the facility with words from Baz along the way. There are heaps of clips, from the staff to the actors rehearsing to some of the more bizarre parts of the House. It runs for about seven minutes.

Baz, our interactive tour guide

The Red Curtain Cinema is the guts of this disc. It’s an interactive documentary on the whole creative journey over the three films, with Baz being the tour guide once again. When you press play Baz declares, “I’m going to tell you a story”. And that’s basically what happens. It’s a great learning curve for those not in the know about Baz’s conventions and style as well as a further insight into the “Red Curtain” movies and processes for those already familiar with his work. Words appear on screen which, when clicked or entered, take the viewer to other bits of information on that particular topic, whether they be interviews, pictures or more footage. It’s great to see DVD makers thinking more about getting the viewers involved in the whole experience, and one can only hope the interactivity element is explored a whole lot further in years to come. This is a brilliant feature that is a welcome addition to a very well-rounded and worthwhile box set.

Oh yeah, and there’s also a Showbag menu, which is basically the rest of the stuff they couldn’t include into another category. There’s a music video for Now Until The Break Of Day, some DVD-ROM content which includes some weblinks, screensavers and downloadable clips from the website, a One Day I’ll Fly Away remixed video clip, a Strictly Ballroom comic which was used as the storyboard for the film and the final scripts for all three movies, all of them worthwhile additions to the disc.

The Showbag menu

Overall
All three of these films deal with similar issues even though they may seem to be quite different on the surface. True love, of course, is the undercurrent in all three, but they also deal with themes of betrayal, deceit and valour. To be able to provide three distinctly different films but link them through universal themes is testament to the talent of Luhrmann and his dedicated team, most of whom stayed with him for the entire “trilogy”. There’s no doubt you’ll enjoy all of them, it’s just a question of how much. The extra disc will draw you even further into the world of Luhrmann and his team and is great to watch and learn about a quite different filmmaker and how he works. If you enjoy his work you’ll definitely want to pick this set up with all three films getting the right royal treatment on their respective discs and the bundle together just oozing quality overall. Great value for money and one of the best new box sets going around. Brilliant.


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