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Micmacs DVD Review

Micmacs (Mic Macs à Tire-Larigot) movie poster Micmacs (Mic Macs à Tire-Larigot)

US Theatrical Release: May 28, 2010 / Running Time: 104 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet / Writers: Jean-Pierre Jeunet (screenplay); Guillaume Laurant (screenplay & dialogue)

Cast: Dany Boon (Bazil), Andre Dussollier (Nicolas Thibault De Fenouillet), Yolande Moreau (Mama Chow), Dominique Pinon (Buster), Marie Julie Baup (Calculator), Michel Cremades (Tiny Pete), Nicolas Marié (François Marconi), Julie Ferrier (Elastic Girl), Omar Sy (Remington), Jean-Pierre Marielle (Slammer)

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After helming what is considered the weakest entry in the Alien franchise (excluding the Predators crossovers), French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet secured a place in film's history books with 2001's almost universally beloved Amélie
(Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain in France). Micmacs (Mic Macs à tire-larigot in its native country), his second film since then, returns him to distinctive comedy with visual flair.

Micmacs tells the story of Bazil (Dany Boon), a quiet man in his thirties. Late one night while working at a video rental store, Bazil is struck in his forehead by a wayward bullet from a street disturbance. Fearing they could do brain damage, doctors opt not to remove the bullet, which does not seriously impair Bazil aside from the fact that he could die at any moment. As the result of his absence, Bazil loses his job and his home. When he is given the shell from the bullet, he takes note of the insignia on it and remembers the one from his youth that adorned the land mine that killed his father. It becomes Bazil's mission to take down these two weapons manufacturers.

Gunshot-wounded Bazil (Dany Boon) explains his condition to spared ex-con Slammer, who refers him to a potential adoptive family. 1970s world record human cannonball Buster (Dominique Pinon) makes a rooftop wire connection while Calculator (Marie Julie Baup) and Bazil (Dany Boon) look on.

Joining him in this operation is a group of scrap-refashioning eccentrics who welcome him into their ranks. These include a man still hung up on his human cannonball world record from the 1970s (Dominique Pinon), a female contortionist (Julie Ferrier), an African man who talks in clichés and mixed metaphors (Omar Sy), a young woman who's always calculating things (Marie-Julie Baup), a silent man who constructs mechanical puppets (Michel Crémadès), an old ex-con (Jean-Pierre Marielle), and the group's traditional mother (Yolande Moreau). These odd misfits use their talents to assist Bazil in his efforts to undo the arms plants, zeroing in on their corrupt executives (Andre Dussollier, Nicolas Marie).

Jeunet displays ambition and vision comparable to only a handful of filmmakers working today. Like Wes Anderson, he doesn't just tell a story, but creates the only universe in which the story can be told. Jeunet's Micmacs offers a sharp and amusing world, one of characters endearingly built upon heightened but human quirks. The film constructs an imaginative hyperreality where we enjoy nearly every moment spent. The humor is not of the gut-busting variety, but a more idiosyncratic type that puts a smile on your face that lingers.

Spunky contortionist Elastic Girl (Julie Ferrier) becomes both a side thorn and love interest to Bazil (Dany Boon). The more old-fashioned of the two reprehensible arms company executives targeted (Andre Dussollier) prizes his collection of body parts from famous dead people.

That feelings of good will can pervade the viewing experience here is particularly noteworthy, since Micmacs does not tell a particularly intriguing story. Its dynamics and atmospheres do a lot more than its tale of targeting underhanded warmongers. Even when the plot veers into a political territory, as the final act unabashedly does, there is enough wit and whimsy to make up for its ideology being less than investable.

Micmacs isn't a great film, but it loads enough charm, style, grace, and uniqueness to enjoy almost as much as if it were. Over a year after its highly unprofitable French debut and six months after its limited US theatrical release, Micmacs comes to DVD and Blu-ray this week from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Micmacs U.S. DVD cover art -- click to buy DVD from Amazon.com DVD Details

2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (French)
Subtitles: English; Most Extras Not Subtitled
Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: December 14, 2010
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $28.95
Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on Blu-ray Disc ($38.96 SRP)


Micmacs boasts excellent picture quality in its DVD's mildly pillarboxed 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The film cost $42 million, so it ought to look good and it does. The warm, stylish visuals impress with nary a concern. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack also provides above average quality, with the active mix immersing in satisfying ways.

Should we blame Audrey Tautou's visit or the Street Devil with fiery ribbons for the sign of The Moulin Rouge's neighbor catching fire, captured in "The Making of 'Micmacs'." Writer/director Jean-Pierre Jeunet answers a few questions about the movie at the Tribeca Film Festival.


A strong supply of bonus features begins with an audio commentary by writer/director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Though he has a fairly strong accent, his English is easy to understand, making the lack of commentary subtitles acceptable.
Jeunet talks consistently throughout the picture, describing the movie's filming conditions, pointing out Amélie actors and the easily spotted Micmacs ads within the film, and revealing a bit about himself (like why he turned down Harry Potter) and his processes.

Despite its ordinary title, "The Making of Micmacs" (47:20) is about as good as DVD documentaries get. It covers the film's creation completely, beginning with filming on location (where Amélie's Audrey Tautou shows up and a sign catches on fire next to the Moulin Rouge) and on soundstage (where the actors joke with one another). After many a detail is sweated and many a challenging effect executed, we come to aspects of filmmaking rarely touched upon in test screenings, looping, and actors' on-stage introductions at the premiere. It leaves nothing to be desired and spares us the usual lip service praise. The entire thing is in French with English subtitles.

A "Q & A with Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Actress Julie Ferrier" (10:35) derives from the movie's Tribeca Film Festival premiere in New York. Jeunet gives a short speech and answers the majority of audience questions. It's clearly edited to feature only interesting Qs and As on everything from flies to violence.

The animated historical deaths of Bazil's blackout are deconstructed in a brief bonus feature. The DVD main menu doesn't appear to have been one of the countless details given thought; it's just this simple static screen.

"Animations: Absurd Deaths" (2:12) takes us briefly through the stages of creating the brief forgettable historical death cartoons seen in the film.

The US theatrical trailer for Micmacs (2:12) is preserved here.

The DVD opens with a Blu-ray promo, trailers for Animal Kingdom, Lebanon, and Please Give, and a short spot for Get Low. All but the first are individually accessible from a Previews menu, where they're joined by looks at Mother and Child, A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, Inside Job, The Bridge on the River Kwai Blu-ray, Tamara Drewe, and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.

For all the film's visual imagination, the DVD opts for static, silent menu screens. An in-case insert promotes Sony's make.believe philosophy and a Micmacs-inspired French getaway sweepstakes.

The band of scrap refashioners known as the Micmacs huddle around Remington (Omar Sy) as he makes a phone call in character, relying heavily on his old standby metaphors.


You definitely won't mistake Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Micmacs for an American film. It's different and while that doesn't make it great, it does make it a welcome departure from ordinary fare. Those open to broadening their cinematic horizons and those who are fans of Amélie would do well to give this one a look. The DVD's excellent making-of documentary adds value to a disc delivering a knockout feature presentation.

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Reviewed December 12, 2010.

Text copyright 2010 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2009 Sony Pictures Classics, Epithete Films, Tapioca Films, Warner Bros. Entertainment France, and 2010 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
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