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Blu-ray (4.5 stars): Would have loved new special features for this 25th anniversary release but still a must-buy!
on December 16, 2011
There is no denying that writer/filmmaker David Lynch has always shown a consistency in creating films of ecstatic creepiness. But its his venture to the surreal, dark and ominous settings that separate him from other filmmakers.
From his debut in 1977 with his surrealist film "Eraserhead" which has become a cult classic, to the sci-fi film "Dune" (1984) which paired him with actor Kyle MacLachlan for the first time, the director would reach recognition for his TV series "Twin Peaks" (1990-1991). And since "Twin Peaks", David Lynch has done quite well for himself, especially establishing him as one of the most notable filmmakers and screenwriters in American cinema.
But if there is one film that fans of David Lynch have looked as a masterpiece in his oeuvre is the 1986 film "Blue Velvet".
A film that probably is best not explaining but more of experiencing for its dark, ambiguous yet astonishing nature. Unpredictable and surreal, "Blue Velvet" shows us a terrifying look at America in which characters may be normal during the day, but at night...Lynch unleashes paranoia and challenge your sensibility and quite literally... freak you out!
"Blue Velvet" is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1). The film actually was supervised and color corrected by David Lynch, so what you get is a definitive look via HD of what David Lynch wanted. Detail is amazing especially the use of the darker colors. Cinematographer Frederick Elmes does a great job in capturing the surreal outlook of the film and for the most part, the darker hues look fantastic, detail on the clothing is noticeable and black levels are nice and deep. I didn't notice any banding or artifacts, if anything, picture quality for this 1986 film doesn't look soft at all (I'm typically vocal about how many '80s films tend to look on Blu-ray), but "Blue Velvet" looks fantastic!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Blue Velvet" is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish Mono, French 5.1 DTS. The lossless soundtrack lends to the eeriness of the film. Dialogue is crystal clear as is the score by Angelo Badalamenti but the scene where you will hear immersive sound coming from the surround channels is during the Snow Club sequences. Also, a few moments where LFE is used.
Overall, this creepy soundtrack definitely comes to life via lossless!
Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish and French.
"Blue Velvet" comes with the following special feature:
Newly Discovered Lost Footage - (51:42) New to this Blu-ray release is the lost footage that was found (ie. full frontal nudity). All presented in HD.
Mysteries of Love - (1:10:45) The original making-of featurette presented in standard definition. Interviews with David Lynch and the cast of "Blue Velvet".
Siskel & Ebert "At the Movies" Review - (1:30) A excerpt of George Siskel and Roger Ebert's review of "Blue Velvet" back in 1986.
Vignettes - Featuring four vignettes (under one minute) "I Like Coffee Shops", "The Chicken Walk", "The Robin" and "Sita" with David Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini and more.
Theatrical Trailer - (1:33:1)The original theatrical trailer for "Blue Velvet" in HD.
TV Spots - Featuring two TV commercials for "Blue Velvet" (both are about 30 seconds long).
"Blue Velvet" is a magnificent, dark and seedy mystery film that showcases David Lynch's ability to take normalcy and twist it it around until it becomes weird or corrupt. A film that resonates strongly with viewers especially at the time because compared to what American cinema was capable of at the time, "Blue Velvet" lacked the banality of typical American cinema.
It was American cinema that showcased surrealism with wonderful efficacy and a storyline that literally creeps the viewer out with its fine performance by Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rosellini and most importantly, Dennis Hopper. Suffice to say, this film was what reignited Hopper's career and earned the actor various film awards (Los Angeles Film Critics Association and National Society of Film Critics) for "Best Supporting Actor".
But as I look back at the experience of "Blue Velvet" than and now, it was one of those films that had these flawed characters that could easily be involved in this seedy underworld. Not only was the nightlife dark and ominous, just the scene as Frank is having sex with Dorothy is shocking. But also to see Jeffrey being taken to that world where he also experiences pleasure and rage when he ends up in bed with Dorothy. We witness an innocent man's corruption, where most viewers would expect the protagonist to become sort of hero to save the day, David Lynch is not the type of filmmaker to spoon-feed the viewer with what you would expect from cinema but to deliver the unexpected. The sense of ambiguous characters in which you literally don't know the film will end.
And it would be the style that he would carry on later for television and his films later on. And as "Eraserhead" was an intriguing debut for David Lynch, "Blue Velvet" is the film that welcomed viewers to David Lynch's world of darkness, strange humor and unsettling surrealness.
The Blu-ray release definitely delivers with its inclusion of the newly discovered lost footage and for those who enjoyed the film, could you imagine if any of these extra scenes did make it to the final cut of the film? And as picture and audio quality are magnificent, I can easily say that this is the definitive version of "Blue Velvet" to date!
David Lynch films are not for the squeamish, nor are they for those who expect traditional Hollywood cinema. This film shocked viewers in 1986 and if you have never seen this film before, I wouldn't be surprised if it shocked you today. It's a film that holds up quite well 25-years-later and is definitely a film for the true cineaste who love Lynch's work that they will find worth owning.