Posted by:on March 27th, 2006
Love it or hate it, there can be no denying the legacy of the Search for Animal Chin. Some kids thought it was the best, while a lot of crews thought the skating was rad but the storyline and acting stunk up your VCR like last year’s Rectors. A few years back Powell rush released the their old videos in a series of bare bones DVDs that had decent video transfers but were lacking any bonus features. They were overpriced generic releases, especially considering Vision’s bare bones re-releases. At least Vision featured multiple videos on one disc even if the quality level of the originals was admittedly not the same. The Search for Animal Chin Special Edition DVD is the first in a series of proper re-issues that features more bang for your buck. If you don’t want to read the critical review, the bottom line is that the voiceover alone makes the Special Edition a no-brainer for anyone considering between the two Chin versions that are still available for purchase.
The Animal Chin Special Edition is a two disc set packaged in a standard hard case with the now classic “Have you seen him?” poster on a sticker inserted. The first Disc is the orignal vid clocking in at 65 minutes, as well as the optional voiceover with Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Mike McGill, Tommy Guerrero, Tony Hawk, and Stacy Peralta. The second disc contains a 44 minute documentary on the making of Animal Chin, about 15 minutes of outtakes, a walk through of the Powell museum that was temporarily set up at a trade show, A surprise celebration recognizing Cab’s 25 years on Powell from the same trade show, trailers for the first two Bones Brigade videos, an extended Skate One commercial, and some web links to Skate One companies.
The video is well… you know it already, so you’ll probably want to watch it with the commentary on. They managed to get almost everyone together for this. The big question was whether or not Stacy would have the desire or the time to be involved in this project now that he’s a Hollywood-type. Thankfully, he did manage to slum it for the sake of nostalgia. About the only other person M.I.A. would be Craig Steyck, since he seemed to be involved in the project somewhat. It might also have been funny to hear Rodeny Mullen’s thoughts on having a starring roll in the previous Bones Brigade video and then being demoted to a mere a mere cameo in Animal Chin.
The commentary is pretty entertaining in general. Of course Lance is in full Lance effect, which is what the Chin viewing public wants. Guerrero manages to be embarrassed by what he calls “cornography” in the dialog. There is a faint undercurrent of Stacy (still) trying to be a coach to these guys in the voiceover. He is very self effacing about what he deems the amateurish nature of the finished project. Predictably present is the goofing on the clothed and fashions, Jimmy Z’s, and painters hats. The guys crack up at how they were bad street skaters and marvel at the current level of skating. Other key topics are trying to learn street ollies. Gleaming the Cube, some funny continuity errors, Lance’s famous decapitation scene, eBay jibes, and ribbing over some of the girlfriends that show up on screen. Then there is the ever popular and mysterious origins of Johnny Rad. You’ll also learn that Animal Chin was originally named Animal Lopez, and some of the footage from the bails is from Police academy. Most importantly, there is news of an impending Surf Punks reunion! The voiceover is what makes this DVD essential for anyone who’s ever seen it, so much so that you can then go back and watch the original with cringing all the time or turning the volume down.
The documentary is the meat of this disc. It’s about 45 minutes long and starts with a little bit of history on the company. Some of the people speaking on camera include the cast, Miki Vuckovich, Reggie Barnes, Sean Mortimer, Jake Phelps, George Powell, Stacy Peralta, Pat Darrin the DP, J Grant Brittain, Little bit of Bryce Kanights, plus Orb aka the maps to the skaters homes guy. Dennis Dragon talks about Johny Rad, but they really should have tracked down Raddy Daddy himself. Apparently the Brigade almost revolted a few times, and Stacy walked off the shoot at lest once as well. Lance and McGill got on each other’s nerves during construction of the Chin ramp. Speaking of, there is some ramp building footage with Tim Payne. Ironically the construction footage takes more time than the ramp actually appears in the video. Tony landed a bunch of tricks for the first time ever on the short days the ramp existed, including his first 720. Amazingly, the ramp was built renegade style on someone else’s private property. They spent a buttload of money on it. Someone should have asked why they didn’t build it in a permanent spot. I guess the plot device was more important. Man what a loss, but it certainly contributes to the mythic status. What else? Lance now has huge zip-code-sized eyebrows and Salba looked like Prince (Dirty Mind era) at the original premier of the video. The documentary avoids the trap of showing too much of the same footage from the video and out takes like so many VH1 style “documentaries” that recycle the same footage over and over. It’s a good watch, but It does tend to revere the subject a little too much. It overstates the importance of the original but does give interesting insight to the thought process at the time as well as the general efforts involved in making Chin.
The out takes are about 1/3 skate footage and the rest “acting” out takes and goofing around on the set. You’ll get to watch bails, film set drudgery, saying lines over and over, bloopers, and the setup for Lance’s decapitation shot. There’s a little bit of Stacy bitching at everyone. Let’s not forget the homo-erotically charged and awkward long shot of way too much girlish giggling in a hotel room. About 15 minutes of footage altogether.
The other extra features are sort of marginally interesting. The Museum tour will whet your appetite to see more than the DVD can provide. Steve Caballero’s surprise celebration of his 25th anniversary is interesting if you are a fan (and who isn’t) but runs a little long and probably won’t be watched more than once. There is a DVD interface for listening to the soundtrack songs from the first three Bones Brigade videos. That’s kind of a surprise since they also offer them as a separate audio CD. The trailers and web links appear to be mandatory inclusions on DVD’s that don’t add much value.
Animal Chin is now a classic which is funny considering is was kind of a goof at the time it came out. Now you can hear old grizzled skaters talking about it like it was Don Quixote or something. The myth is now bigger than the reality. The video is actually more watchable now than it was when it first came out. The Special Edition version finally makes it worth buying, although the price still seems a little steep. Regardless, you or someone in your crew should buy it because it’s highly entertaining even if you aren’t from the era. Skate One is working on extended re-releases of the first two videos as well, including the type of boxed set that leaves room for a previously released DVD like the Chin Special Edition. Hopefully the box set will make up for the lack of printed insert or booklet. Peralta is not heading up the project but is reportedly still involved in at least a marginal capacity, which is good. It will be interesting to see what kind of extras they will come up with for the first two videos that are arguably more influential if only because they set the stage and created the demand for Chin.
UPDATE: Easter Eggs in the DVD. The first one is a special scene with Johnny Rad, the second is additional tunes from some of our other titles.
On the Scene Selection menu, go to the bottom right corner of the menu and click on the bottom corner. A white square should appear, click again. It will take you to an extra scene that was edited out of the original movie.
On the main menu, select Bones Brigade Video Tunes. Once you are at the song menu scroll to the last song and click down one more time. It should take you to the far right bottom corner of the menu. Once there click start and you will get 10 extra songs.
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