I received my copy of the Vicarious DVD one Tuesday, and after watching all the of the various parts of it, I felt it was about time to share my opinion with you all. If any of you want to share your thoughts on the DVD, feel free to comment below. I may well put a poll up at some point in the next few days too.

The Vicarious DVD comes in a package much the same as the 10,000 Days CD, with the two lenses designed to view the stereoscopic images within. The images supplied are all stills from the Vicarious video, and look quite nice when viewed properly. The lenses attached to my DVD seemed quite blurry though, and I got much better results with the 10,000 Days set, or by just doing the cross-eyes thing.

The first thing I watched off the DVD was the Vicarious video. As previously reported, it’s fully CGI and features significant work from Alex Grey, particular during the Net of Being sequences. I’m not going to really speculate on the themes behind the videos, but the “plot” seems to involve a strange human-like being (referred to as X in the documentary) interacting with an unusual world full of insects, dust and hovering tentacled eye balls, all of which may or may not have some kind of symbiotic link. Eventually, this being somehow looks into itself and sees the Net of Being. All par for the course on a Tool video guess. Personally I’m usually more interested in the effects than the actual story.

The CGI work is generally pretty good, though my inital thoughts were that it was a little inconsistent throughout. Some parts of the video seem quite detailed and smooth, while others seem a little jerky, and just not a well animated as the rest. The jerkiness is explained away in the documentary are part of Adam’s concept, but I can’t help but think that what were looking at is some of the old animation that Adam was rumoured to be unhappy with, with the newer work done by Hydraulx. For example the parts where the glass blocks shatter seem quite low quality. Perhaps it’s meant to be like this. I not sure, but it detracted from the video somewhat for me.

The music itself is extended as advertised, but merely with some ambient noise produced by Lustmord. Don’t expect to hear another Vicarious verse at all!

Next up was the commentry. I loved the commentry on the Schism and Parabola DVD’s. They cracked me up the first time, and I still get a laugh out of them whenever I happen to watch it. David Cross is a comedian I know very little about, and unfortunately this commentry gives me no reason to bother finding out more. I fought the urge to skip both tracks about 2 minutes in, but listened to the whole thing just for the benefit of the review. It didn’t get much better. Someone please direct me to something good by this guy, cause the commentry doesn’t do it for me. I also disliked the fact that the musical track was completely muted. I would have like to have heard the music faintly in the background while David commented.

The Documentary on the video was actually the part of the DVD I looked forward to the most. This 40 minute film features comments from many key members of the Vicarious video team, including Alex Grey, Chet Zar, Kevin Willis and many members of the Hydraulx team. It was quite interesting to hear them talk about what went into the video, and in some cases what has gone into past ones. The documentary features photos from not only the Vicarious development, but also that of previous videos. I quite enjoyed watching it, but felt that it would have benefited from Adam talking about it as well, but I guess that’s not really the way Tool operate.

Also included is a short COSM tour. Only running for about 6 minutes, it shows some of the interior of the complex while Alex Grey talks about what goes on there, as well as some of the impact of the Tool fans that visit.

Finally a set of story boards from both Alex and Adam, outlining some of the inital plans for the video. This is pretty short and sweet and there’s not really much more I can say about that part.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the package. The video itself I’d rate as one of the better Tool videos, but not as good as Parabola or Aenima. For the price of the DVD, I thought it was pretty good value for money, much better than the frustratingly seperate Schism/Parabola DVDs. Here’s hoping a future DVD (The Pot perhaps) has similarly good features, and hopefully some better commentry.