The Truman Show: Special Edition Peter Weir

In 1998, reality television didn't exist — Survivor was an unknown concept, Big Brother existed only in Scandinavian countries and the idea that watching someone live a perfectly bland, mundane life might make a hit TV show was patently absurd. It is in this context that The Truman Show arrived; Peter Weir created a world in which one man (played by Jim Carrey, in his breakout dramatic role) would unknowingly live his entire life in front of television cameras. It's bright and smart and, looking back now, more than a little eerie that The Truman Show, less than a decade later, looks so much like what's currently on television. As this cash-grab "special edition" highlights, what the film has — Weir worked on it for a year from a script by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) — is a cheerful sense of affection for Truman, unlike much humiliation-based "reality" television. In a couple of featurettes and a handful of deleted scenes the story of creating this unusual film gets told; we find that due to financing delays, Weir had the time to iron out all the kinks in Niccol's vision, and the result is a remarkably tight internal logic that plugs any holes that might be revealed upon repeat watching. Looking at it today, the marvel of The Truman Show is less its concept — that's too common now to have the same revelatory impact — but its brilliant execution, and the performance of Carrey, a then untested dramatic actor. Plus: visual effects featurette, trailers, photo gallery. (Paramount)