Release Date: November 8, 2011
Rating: R (language, violence, nudity)
Running Time: 120 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono, French 5.1 DTS
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish, French
Special Features: 50 minutes of never-before-seen lost footage, “Mysteries of Love” documentary, Siskel and Ebert original TV review of the film, Vignettes, Theatrical trailer, TV spots, outtakes
A young man (Kyle MacLachlan) finds a severed ear in a field, and his investigation into the story behind it exposes a seedy underworld in an otherwise idyllic American town.
Written and Directed by: David Lynch
Many consider David Lynch’s 1986 film a masterpiece, and I can understand why. It is expertly shot and well written, and Lynch obviously knows how to draw an audience in and keep them riveted. Dennis Hooper delivers his best performance ever, and Isabella Rossellini is haunting as a nightclub singer with no self respect left to cling to.
I doubt, however, that the film will ever achieve masterpiece status by the mainstream, as the film is far too “David Lynch” for most people. Brilliant though it is, Blue Velvet is also disturbing, and though Lynch loves to wallow in the depravities of the human condition, it can often be difficult to watch and appreciate.
The characters of Blue Velvet, including Dennis Hopper’s Frank, are twisted and broken, and those innocents who cross paths with them (namely, MacLachlan’s Jeffrey and Dern’s Sandy) find themselves dirtied as well.
Blue Velvet is a great film. A masterpiece? That is best left to one’s own tastes. At the end of the film, all the characters want is to move past the ugliness and find happiness. If you can get through this film and still find it an experience you want to enjoy again, good for you. Personally, while I was impressed by the film, I was not moved by it and do not need to see it again.
I know film snobs and most critics sing the praises of Lynch and his films, Blue Velvet first and foremost. I expect my lack of enthusiasm will be met by a chorus of folks who will question by common sense or sanity. I am fine with that, as I feel a film should be judged on how I perceive it, not how others tell me I should. Personally, I don’t mind saying that Lynch is a visionary director, but in Blue Velvet, he wallows in extremes but never transcends it.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The video transfer shows only the slightest grain, and is remarkably sharp considering the age. The image expertly provides both dark and bright scenes with stunning clarity. Colors are vivid, and I marveled at how great the surreal images in this film look in high definition.
The audio is a fantastic 5.1 DTS-HD mix, and it was like Dennis Hopper was sitting in my home theater dropping F-bombs. It sounds that good.
Perhaps the key extra included on this Blu-ray is 50 minutes of newly-discovered footage from the film once thought lost forever. Lynch personally oversaw the restoration and color correction, and fans obsessed with the original film will likely lose their minds over this much new content. The compelling new scenes are reason enough for fans to buy the Blu-ray.
Also included is a standard documentary of the film, some vignettes, outtakes, a trailer, and TV commercials. Also included is the original review of the film by Siskel and Ebert on their show. I was surprised to see one of the two (I won’t ruin it by saying which) was unimpressed by the movie.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?
Overall Grade: A-
Blue Velvet is a disturbing yet brilliant film. Only a director like Lynch can find the dark underside to everyday life, and make it seem like a fantasy land. Fans of the film will enjoy this 25th anniversary release in high definition, with some superb extras, making it a must buy. If you have never seen the film, I do suggest you rent it to see if it fits your liking. Personally, I liked the film, I just did not love it. But to each his own.
Blue Velvet is now available on Blu-ray from MGM/Fox Home Entertainment.