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Virgin Records presents
The Smashing Pumpkins: 1991-2000 Greatest Hits Video Collection (1991-2000)

"So far I still know who you are, but now I wonder who I was."
- The Smashing Pumpkins, from Perfect

Review By: Kevin Clemons  
Published: December 07, 2001

Stars: The Smashing Pumpkins
Director: Dom and Nic, Bart Lipton, Jonas Akerlund, Kevin Kerslake, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Billy Corgan, Yelena Yemchuk, Jake Scott, Angela Conway

Manufacturer: IFPI
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, violence, disturbing images)
Run Time: 01h:06m:55s
Release Date: November 20, 2001
UPC: 724347791291
Genre: music


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- AB+B A-

DVD Review

From their beginnings at Chicago's famous The Double Door to sold out arena and festival performances, it would be hard to dispute that The Smashing Pumpkins are among the founders of modern rock music. Formed in the early 1990s, The Smashing Pumpkins came full circle in 2000 as they announced the break up of a band that seemed to be near the pinnacle of their success.

From their wonderful sophomore album Siamese Dream to their daring double disc opus, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, The Smashing Pumpkins rank in my mind as one of a handful of bands that continually evolved from record to record, a rarity in music today.

As a fitting farewell, The Smashing Pumpkins have released Rotten Apples, a greatest hits retrospective that encompasses their entire career as well as several unreleased tracks. As a companion, Virgin has blessed Pumpkins fans with The Smashing Pumpkins: Greatest Hits Video Collection 1991-2000, a massive DVD that includes over twenty music videos by Billy Corgan and company.

Siva: directed by Angela Conway

The first video released off of the CD Gish features the Pumpkins in a psychedelic setting. Shot on Super 8 film, it was low budget ($30,000) and it shows. The song is fine, though weird imagery that seems to have nothing to do with the song and Billy looking very much like a born again Jim Morrison influence the final rating. A good debut but a poorly realized concept for the video earns Siva 3.5 out of 5 pumpkins.





Rhinoceros: directed by Angela Conway

For their second video the Pumpkins once again enlisted director Angela Conway for a video that Corgan calls "a complete disaster". Filmed in London's beautiful Hyde Park, Rhinoceros feels like a video without a purpose. With the long six-minute running length, the video has the feeling of a concept stretched thin and never goes anywhere. Those looking for a funny goof take a look at performance scenes of the Pumpkins and you will notice that Corgan is singing in the live performance, but no lyrics can be heard in the video. Poor direction and shoddy production values earn Rhinoceros only 3 out of 5 pumpkins.





Cherub Rock: directed by Kevin Kerslake

As the first single released off of the breakthrough Siamese Dream album, Cherub Rock should have been destined for greatness. The song ranks as one of the best ever recorded by the group, but the video seems like a mess. Despised by fans and members of the band alike, Cherub Rock is a video that has no real point. Director Kevin Kerslake chose to shoot the video outside of San Francisco in a forest, though one would never know because due to a film altering technique employed by the director, the video is hard to see. Psychedelic colours are numerous and several shots of the band seem bleached out by the process. A great song that deserves a better video, Cherub Rock rates 2.5 out of 5 pumpkins.





Today: directed by Stephane Sednaoui

After the disappointing video for Cherub Rock, it looked as though things were only getting worse for The Smashing Pumpkins. Luckily, the band came out swinging with Today, and from this release forward it was nothing but terrific videos. Featuring Billy as an ice cream truck driver, this marks a huge leap forward for the Pumpkins, using plot to drive the video instead of strange visuals and god knows what else. It gives a sense of forgetting things in your past and looking only toward the future, something evident in the lyrics of the song. A classic that is still played on MTV some five years later, this video rates 4.5 out of 5 pumpkins.





Disarm: directed by Jake Scott

Filmed in beautiful black & white, Disarm ranks as one of the most technologically proficient made by the band. As the song plays, the group floats above the houses in a village as a small boy (later in the video, an older man) watches from the ground. The narrative is a bit complex as we never know if the young boy is supposed to be Billy or if the later version of him is simply remembering the events. Regardless of questions over the plot, this is a terrific song and a nice video that rates 4 out of 5 pumpkins.





Rocket: directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

As the first of what would become many videos for the Pumpkins directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Rocket is silly and easily the lightest in tone of any video the band had made yet. Set in a seemingly perfect suburban neighborhood, the clip focuses on a young group of children who build a rocket to visit another planet from which they have been receiving transmissions of a performance by The Smashing Pumpkins. A good but not great video for a mediocre song, Rocket earns 3.5 out of 5 pumpkins.





Bullet with Butterfly Wings: directed by Samuel Bayer

The first single released off of the overly ambitious Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness disc, the video for Bullet falls victim to being nearly identical to other rock videos of the time. Filmed in blues and grays, it takes place at a coal mine with the band performing in the middle of thousands of dirtied workers who move all around them. The plot deals with a small child who struggles to protect a colorful butterfly in the midst of violence and anger. One of the best songs by the group is realized in a mediocre video with little originality. Bayer, who also directed Smells Like Teen Spirit for Nirvana, fails to capture a great video for a great song as Bullet earns 4 out of 5 pumpkins.




1979: directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

The teaming of directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris once again pays off greatly as this video (winner of an MTV award for best alternative video) would become legendary for its images. Imagined as a day in the life of a group of Los Angeles teens, the video acts as a showcase of teenage angst. From a late night party to the trashing of a convenience store, this video sparkles with originality. 1979 earns 4.5 out of 5 pumpkins.





Zero: directed by Yelena Yemchuk

As rare a video as you can find, Zero was a pet project for Corgan, who fought with the record company in order to be able to make the clip. Originally intended to be only a radio single (Virgin felt the song was not MTV-friendly) Corgan got his wish if he made the video for only forty thousand dollars, and the result is a performance-based, Felliniesque piece. Director Yelena Yemchuk felt the band should be playing amongst the freaks, and this simple concept makes for an interesting video that earns 3.5 out of 5 pumpkins.





Tonight, Tonight: directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Easily their best and most popular video, Tonight, Tonight ranks among the best videos ever made. Made to look like an old movie (flickering lights, etc.), it is an homage to George Méli è s' 1902 film A Trip to the Moon, one of the first films ever to use optical trickery. Winning seven MTV awards as well as numerous other accolades, Tonight, Tonight is continually amongst the top in countdowns concerning the best videos ever made. A true masterpiece. Earns 5 out of 5 pumpkins.





Thirty-Three: directed by Billy Corgan and Yelena Yemchuk

Easily the most beautiful song ever done by the Smashing Pumpkins, Thirty-Three also happens to be the most beautiful video. Using stop motion photography, the video has a strong visual style that is helped by the fact that each shot is a reflection on what the band thinks the lyric that is being sung reflects. Made in a difficult time for the band, this video represents a nice change to more simplistic video making that would soon be gone. Thirty-Three is a great song and a beautiful video that rates 4.5 out of 5 pumpkins.





Ava Adore: directed by Dom and Nic

Conceived as a one shot video, Ava Adore ranks as their most elaborate video. As Billy Corgan walks through the video, he is introduced to new environments and characters. Visually extreme, the technique of speeding up the film and slowing it down to create a jerky movement by Corgan makes this among the creepiest in the entire Pumpkins catalogue. Though I am not a big fan of the song, I do enjoy the video, if just for the look and feel. 4.5 out of 5 pumpkins.





Perfect: directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

A sequel to 1979 in many ways, Perfect reunites the cast of the previous video and shows them several years later. As the original followed them around together, this one showcases their lives individually, though somehow they all still remain connected. Wonderful cinematography and even better editing make Perfect one of the best Pumpkins videos ever. It also doesn't hurt that this is my favorite song by the group. Perfect earns 4.5 out of 5 pumpkins.




The Everlasting Gaze: directed by Jonas Akerlund

A throwback to performance based videos made famous in the 1980s, The Everlasting Gaze is straightforward, or as straightforward as the Pumpkins can be. Filmed in a large room with bright green floors, the colors in the video are perfectly contrasted by the black and white of the costumes. In true performance video style, the clip ends with the destruction of the instruments by the band. The Everlasting Gaze earns 3.5 out of 5 pumpkins.





Stand Inside Your Love: directed by The Wiz

An homage to Oscar Wilde's Salome, Stand Inside You Love is a visually striking video that gives the feel of silent film era productions. Known more for the style of the video (as well as the fact that the entire band is costumed in giant black dresses) than for the merits of the song, Stand Inside Your Love earns 4 out of 5 pumpkins.




Try, Try, Try: directed by Jonas Akerlund

Available for download at their official site, Try, Try, Try follows the lives of a couple living on the street. As the final video ever by The Smashing Pumpkins, it offers a sobering look at drug addled teens on the streets of Stockholm. Violence and uncomfortable images abound as Akerlund provides an unflinching look at lives of despair. A video with a strong message, it is among the best by the Pumpkins and is a fitting finale that earns 5 out of 5 pumpkins.




Two live performances for Geek USA and An Ode to No One are also included on the disc. An ode To No One is particularly special as it showcases the final performance by the band at the Metro in Chicago.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: A wide variety of aspect ratios are presented, though the majority are 1.33:1 full frame presentations (only Zero sports roughly a 1.78:1 aspect ratio). Several videos suffer from excessive grain, but it should be said that this flaw is present only in several early videos. Later clips, including Adore, have grain and distortion due to directors intent, but for the most part each video comes off looking pretty great. Colors are fine and sharpness and detail are also of high quality in the later entries. Though it is difficult to judge quality as a whole for the disc, overall the set looks as good as it can.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Presented in Dolby Surround 2.0, The Smashing Pumpkins: Greatest Hits Video Collection 1991-2000 has some minor flaws, though none to get upset about. Without the benefit of a dedicated .1 LFE track, the low end cuts out a bit as is evident in the video for Bullet, but in other clips it is fine with tightly-defined bass. Corgan's voice flows cleanly from the center speaker, with the distorted guitars sounding nice in the left and right speakers. Surround use is limited to only a few videos, but when it is used it helps to add to the experience. Like the video, the audio varies from clip to clip, so quality as a whole is only average.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 18 cues and remote access
17 Multiple Angles with remote access
17 Featurette(s)
18 Feature/Episode commentaries by directors Dom and Nic, Bart Lipton, Jonas Akerlund, Kevin Kerslake, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Billy Corgan, Yelena Yemchuk, Jake Scott, Angela Conway, guitarist James Iha and former drummer Jimmy Chamberlin
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Outtakes
  2. Try short film
  3. I Am One concert video
Extras Review: Not content with releasing only the videos (i.e. Green Day), Virgin is sure to please even the most die-hard Pumpkins fan with this new DVD.

Most notable are eighteen audio commentary tracks by directors' Dom and Nic, Bart Lipton, Jonas Akerlund, Kevin Kerslake, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Billy Corgan, Yelena Yemchuk, Jake Scott, Angela Conway, as well as guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. Each participant seems to have been recorded separately, with the exception of Dayton and Faris. The directors talk mainly about working with the band and how involved (and demanding) Billy can be, while the musicians tell anecdotes about the videos and what they mean to them. The best tracks come courtesy of Dayton and Faris (Tonight, Tonight, 1979, Perfect). Their track for Tonight, Tonight is particularly interesting as they explain the video from concept to creation.

Each member of the band (with the exception of bassist D'Arcy who left after the Adore CD) is present, but it is Corgan who is consistently involved on the tracks for each video. Corgan gives a sense of being impressed or disappointed in each director, and his emotions are not always subtle. It is worth a listen to hear some verbal jabs, even at a former band member, on several tracks.

Next up are several outtakes. Each feature a documentary about the making of the video, while Rocket and 1979 feature an optional performance cut and lost tapes option, respectively. Each of the outtakes is available as a multiple angle feature and does not have dedicated audio. Several of the outtakes are very interesting, including those for the early videos by the band. The documentaries are simply behind-the-scenes clips set to the music of the video with only 1979 featuring dedicated commentary.

Two clips are also available under the extra features section of the menu. The first is a performance clip for I Am One that looks to have been done at The Metro, though with the constantly moving camera and distorted images it is hard to tell for sure. The next is a fifteen-minute short film titled Try by Jonas Akerlund. An extension of the sequences from the Try, Try, Try music video, this follows the drug-addicted couple through a day and is more sobering than many "after school specials," thanks to its haunting narration.

Finally, a hidden video can be unlocked by searching around the main menu, and it is worth looking for as it is a great song.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

As complete a package as could possibly be assembled, The Smashing Pumpkins: Greatest Hits Video Collection 1991-2000 is sure to please even the smallest fan of the band. Highly recommended.

 


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