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The Rock (1996)

NOTE: This commentary is only available on the Criterion Collection release of The Rock.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Michael Bay, actors Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris, technical advisor Harry Humphries, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer Rating:8.4/10 (29 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by sirgawayn on October 13th, 2005:Find all reviews by sirgawayn
This is another well-edited Criterion commentary, with the various participants telling the story of production in a manner that is both scene-specific and chronological, beginning with the creation of the project and ending with the movie's public reception. However, I do not think "The Rock" is as strong a movie as others for which Criterion has done edited commentaries. This made the commentary less interesting for me, since I'm not as convinced of the movie's success as its makers are.

The most interesting speaker is Nicolas Cage, who goes into great detail about his acting decisions and techniques. He talks about how he used his body and dialogue delivery as tools, and how he approached creating an action movie character.
Reviewed by pat00139 on December 17th, 2007:Find all reviews by pat00139
Like most Criterion commentaries, the participants are impressive, but also like others, the track is edited together. There is, however, some kind of structure. The commentary isn't as fragmented as it might seem. The comments are very good. Once Mr. Bay says that shooting in San Francisco was the biggest cluster-something of his career, he isn't scared to swear. He mostly sticks to shooting and what he wanted to do with the movie. (They had two blocks to shoot that chase in San Francisco.) The two actors talk, not surprisingly, about their characters and their inspirations. (Mr. Cage thinks of acting in terms of music and the musicality of the dialogue. Look at his speech when he's stuck in prison for a good example his speech inflections and body movements.) On the other side of things, almost treating Mr. Cage like an idiot in terms of musicality and body movements, Mr. Harris talks about his character building and shooting on the whole. He doesn't concentrate on tiny body movements, but on the big picture. Mr. Humphries talks about the military stuff, and it's okay for what it is. The producer talks the least and isn't too interesting. The production stuff is what he concentrates on. It's has equal funny bits and very interesting bits. Of all the spliced commentary tracks, this is probably one of the best. Mr. Bay's story about Don Simpson over the credits is very nice.
Reviewed by Buldrebisk on April 15th, 2009:Find all reviews by Buldrebisk
This was very good. Every singe participant is interesting, which is very rare. My favorite is Nicolas Cage, but all were good. Not really much to add here, this is a very good track. 8/10
Reviewed by frankasu03 on November 15th, 2012:Find all reviews by frankasu03
I can't seem to find the commentary listed on the site, but for more Nic Cage "hilarity," I suggest the track he recorded for "Vampire's Kiss" (1989). He's teamed up with the director Robert Bierman, and it is on the level of Carpenter's tracks with his leading man, Kurt Russell. You get a peek into Nic's Process, how he channels some of his close family members, and also what his favorite classic horror cinema is. Very funny, and the Director Bierman is really thoughful and informative as well.
Reviewed by Bakersfield on August 20th, 2015:Find all reviews by Bakersfield
As expected, a pretty solid commentary. My only wish is more Jerry Bruckheimer, because it's pretty clear the man has many interesting stories to tell, but not enough time.

Mike Bay delivers some cool trivia and even though I was interested in the commentary mainly because of Bay it was Nic Cage who offered the best bits of the group. Such a pleasure to listen to that guy.
Reviewed by TylerMirage on March 4th, 2016:Find all reviews by TylerMirage
Probably one of the better commentaries I've listened to. A good mix of creatives from different departments that offer insight into several areas. It's just a shame that of the five participants, everyone recorded their track separately. Michael Bay and Nic Cage do most of the speaking, followed by Jerry, Ed and then Harry. Actors and crew were encouraged to collaborate on character and story elements.

One thing worth noting is when Michael goes into detail about "a major logic flaw in the movie", which by the time he's done explaining it, turns out to not really be a hole at all. "Why are the boiler room engines still spewing fire? It's no longer an operating prison. My first theory is: screw it, it's entertaining. My second theory is: maybe the park service guys keep the boiler room running?" So it's cool that he points out what he views as a potentially big plot hole, but at the same time, it's funny because it's a hole that's easily patched and that he even explains the answer: Alcatraz is still an operating tourist attraction with facilities, ergo, the boiler room could still be running. I can tell you that I never once thought it was a plot hole until HE brought it up.


-Michael admits to making car sounds when they shoot close-ups of car chases.

-Ed tells a story about how Michael visited James Cameron on the set of "Titanic" and was basically smitten with James. It's like a young boy looking up to his hero. Michael said he wanted to be like James, but Ed, having had a working relationship with James, said "Why would you want to be like Jim? He's a nice guy, but he's an a**hole when he works."
Reviewed by Damon_82 on March 19th, 2017:Find all reviews by Damon_82
Honestly, I'm not really a fan of commentaries with participants who are edited together. Nothing can beat a real interaction between people. However, there are some good exceptions and THE ROCK is definitely one of them /I guess when a commentary is done for the Criterion Collection, it's always a little bit better/. So, as far as this track is concerned, the most interesting speakers for me are definitely Mike Bay and Nic Cage: two artists I really, really admire. There are the ones who provide the most interesting bits of information. Bruckheimer, like in most of his other commentaries, doesn't have enough time, which is a shame, while Harris is mainly focused on his character and some of the main aspects of the shooting.

Can't recall dead air and the track is a very nice companion to the movie. Definitely a good one. Give it a listen : )