Spinal Tap - The CD ROM

Special Report By Andrea Chase

There's only one thing wrong with the rockumentary "This is Spinal Tap," it's only 82 minutes long. Fortunately, for those of us who want, no, need, more, there's a cd-rom from the Voyager Company (http//:www.voyagerco.com) that expands "Tap" consciousness geometrically.

Along with the complete movie, the cd-rom provides not one, but two alternate soundtracks with running commentary on the action, behind the scenes stories, and descriptions of scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor. One track is done by the actors who play Spinal Tap, the other is by the crew, led by director Rob Reiner. Both are fun, but one is a little whiney, while the other is almost as funny as the flick. Learn, for instance, how the pod effect really worked, the Van Halen connection, or more than you want to know about the twisted road of film credit politics.

And o the joys of cd-rom-dom. Watch the movie from beginning to end or skip to favorite moments by clicking on either captioned snapshots of magic moments or locations on the tour map. Keywords are also an option. "Crystal" pulls up Billy's cameo as a mime. "Cucumber" reveals Derek Small's embarrassing run-in with technology. Using keyword 'tongue' with the 'find next' button reveals an unexpected subtext.

Voyager has created a user-friendly cd-rom whose onscreen navigation tools will be self-evident if you've ever used a tape recorder. And in true "Tap" spirit, the designers have thoughtfully provided an eleven on the volume control. The video replay will depend on your system set-up, but never mind that, it's the narration, in dobly, I mean Dolby, that makes this a must-have for tap-heads.

In fact, I could only come up with one, nitpicky, complaint. A keyword search on something non-existent doesn't send up a "not found" message, the cd-rom just keeps on playing. I know, picky, picky, picky.

The package also includes a bonus cd-rom featuring the Tap-meister's first film, a twenty-minute demo made two years before the feature length film. Better, there's footage that was left on the cutting room floor the first time around. And don't forget the special edition "Spinal Tap" guitar pick. It's the best way to play air guitar along with the lads and be one with the band.

© 1997 Andrea Chase Air Date: 6/11/97

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