on July 31, 2011
Let's get this straight -- this blu-ray contains both the theatrical AND the extended cuts, for the misguided soul here (obviously NOT on a mission from God) who says stick with the 25th Anniversary edition.
And let's get this clear as well -- the quality of the picture is superb, much MUCH better than the DVD. Older films have issues when you transfer them to blu-ray, no question about it, but this image is as good as it can possibly get (don't believe me? Check out Blu-ray.com for a review of it).
On the extended version the extended scenes aren't as good a quality -- the source material there wasn't available and they probably transferred it from the DVD master. But it's not WORSE than the DVD, only not improved.
And on that note, IMHO the theatrical version is the one you want anyway. This is a film that does not get better when the timing gets slower -- and at nearly 2 1/2 hours the extended version just drags. Watch the theatrical version first and if you are still jonesing for some more Brothers you can pop on the extended version (my guess is you will have gotten full -- satiated and satisfied. And if times were different you'd kick back, light one up, pull down your shades down over your eyes and watch the cool, blue smoke drift hazily towards the ceiling and dream about getting the band back together).
Just buy it. If you say no, Elwood and Jake will come to your house for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week.
on July 26, 2011
I've read the reviews on Amazon but wanted the blu-ray upgrade. Amazon's details may not be complete. The blu-ray I purchased has theatrical and extended versions on a single disc. There is a banner at the top front on my cover with says "Includes Theatrical and Extended Versions" and it is also mentioned again on the back cover. The DTS sound is outstanding on my Polk 360 home system and I don't think I am missing anything by not having lossless DTS sound. This movie looks and sounds great on blu-ray and the price is affordable. I found myself enjoying the movie and singing along with the sub-titled songs. I saw it in the theater when it first came out and here it is over 30 years later looking and sounding just as good if not better.
on September 7, 2003
The Blues Brothers is a true classic movie, one of the few SNL movies that is actually a good story. Joliet Jake is recently released from prison and picked up by his brother Elwood. The two discover that the orphanage they grew up in is going to be sold to the Board of Education unless they can raise $5,000 to give to the State Assesors office. The Blues Brothers try to get the money by putting their band back together and doing a few gigs. Along the way, they anger the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Nazi Party, the owner of Bob's Country Bunker, and a band from Nashville, the Good Ole Boys. This movie is great from beginning to end. The musical numbers are all great including Jake's revelation in the church, Ray Charles singing Shake Your Tail Feather, Aretha Franklin singing in her soul food diner, the peformance in Bob's Country Bunker, and finally the concert at the end including two of their best songs. As well, there is action galore from Elwood jumping a bridge with their 1974 Dodge Sedan to their chaotic ride through a crowded mall to the police chase at the end through the streets of Chicago( especially Lower Wacker Drive) and the chase up the staircase to the Assessor's office. The Blues Brothers has something for everybody and should not be missed.
The Blues Brothers are played to perfection by John Belushi as Jake and Dan Aykroyd as Elwood. The two actors are hysterical together throughout as they anger just about everybody in the city of Chicago. There are far too many lines to mention, but it is obvious that they had fun making this movie. There are plenty of musical cameos also including Cab Calloway, James Brown as a preacher, Aretha Franklin as the owner of a Soul Food diner, Ray Charles as the owner of music store, and John Lee Hooker as a street peformer on Maxwell Street. The film also stars Carrie Fisher, John Candy, Kathleen Freeman, Henry Gibson, and many more. Also look out for a very funny cameo by Frank Oz and a short appearance by Steven Spielberg. Also worth mentioning is the Blues Brothers band including Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Murphy Dunne, "Blue Lou" Marini, Tom "Bones" Malone, Steve "The Colonel" Cropper, Alan Rubin, and Willy "Two Bits" Hall. The Collector's Edition DVD offers widescreen presentation, the original theatrical trailer, a making of documentary with interviews with the cast and crew, and footage not seen since the original release in 1980. This is a great movie that all viewers will find something to like in it. Do not miss this classic!
on August 31, 2005
What a let down! The promise of "never before seen footage" turns out to be the same "never before seen footage" from the last DVD. The bonus materials on this disc are a joke (and not in a funny "ha ha" way). The special "Introduction to the film by Dan Aykroyd" is 23 seconds long. The "Day on the Blues Brothers Tour" is nothing more than a lame performance by the current Blues Brothers at the House of Blues. But the real insult is the featurette called "Remembering John: An ultimate portrait of John Belushi." It clocks in at 9 minutes long (including credits). Ultimate?? This is John Belushi, not Garrett Morris!
You might be reading this wondering, "So what was this guy expecting?" Well, how about an audio commentary? Perhaps some outtakes? Bloopers? Maybe concert footage of the REAL Blues Brothers on tour with Steve Martin? Why not include Blues Brothers performance footage from SNL? How about revisiting the locations made famous in the movie (the abandoned mall is still standing and still abandoned)? Instead, they chose to include John performing as the Killer Bee on SNL. Instead of a track listing booklet inside the case, they'd rather you have an ad for other "great" DVD titles available from Universal. Instead of never before seen footage, you get the same documentary, the same production notes/pictures, and the same interviews that were included in the previous release.
It's obvious that this was thrown together with little thought or effort. The Chicago Sun Times did a better tribute piece to the anniversary of the Blues Brothers than Aykroyd did for his own film.
Oh well...only five more years until the 30th Anniversary Edition comes out.
on May 21, 2003
I love The Blues Brothers. This is one of the all-time great comedies; a truly epic comedy. In it's original form, it is flawless from beginning to end. Five Stars easily.
Unfortunately, this "Special Edition" dvd includes 15+ minutes of scenes. Not under a "deleted scenes" section, which would have been appropriate and very welcome, but inserted into the movie itself. To be fair, the extra footage doesn't really hurt the music scenes. But did we really need to see Elwood at his place of employment? Did we really need to see where the Blues-mobile is stored when not being driven? None of the extra footage adds anything to the movie. In fact, it really ruins the perfect pacing of the regular cut.
I truly hope Universal sees the error of their ways and reissues this film on DVD with the original cut. They could even make the added footage viewable within the movie, through seamless branching, but for the love of Pete, give us the option!!!
Why watch a 1980 movie?
* Great music
* Great car chases and crashes
* John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Steve Cropper, Carrie Fisher, John Candy, Twiggy, Frank Oz, Chaka Khan, John Lee Hooker, Steven Spielberg, and many more
* A funny plot as strong as the characters
You've heard about the car chases and pileups? Besides the massive crunching and flying of vehicles, they show you the real Chicago as well as the landmarks. As chases go, I have never seen a better one. It is like "Starsky and Hutch" times 250.
Seeing Cab Calloway is a high point. He was 73 when the movie came out, and told a younger generation that "Minnie the Moocher" was a red hot hoochie-coocher. His fame was mostly in the 1940s but his swagger still remained.
Many of the actors with bit parts are surprising. Steven Spielberg and Chaka Khan sneak in there, as does Frank Oz. Calloway, Belushi, Candy, Hooker are gone from this life, and James Brown's career is stymied by personal troubles. The movie has all of them together.
Everything is about Jake and Elwood's mission from God. That's how they see their goal of raising money for an orphanage. They only know one way of making legit cash, and that's through music. Jake has been incarcerated and so the Blues Brothers band broke up. Jake and Elwood gather up the old member one by one, and finally talk their way into a gig. There are enough police who would see it another way, and other bands, old girlfriends, Nazis and wives getting in the way, and into some of the most fun that ever hit Lower Wacker.
The extras on the DVD are interesting. The documentary is the only real value, considering John Belushi's untimely death. The sound lacks in depth and stereo quality. You can make up for this by buying the soundtrack.
I fully recommend "The Blues Brothers."
The extended version of "The Blues Brothers" (147 minutes) has long been available on DVD, but the theatrical (132 minutes) has never been out there. (Universal, in an odd retro move, put the films on flip sides of the same disc.)
Viewers who are in it just for the comedy probably could do without the extra 15 minutes, whose add-ons include a dubious scene of Elwood Blues quitting his day job and a drawn-out ending. But music lovers strike it rich -- a good chunk of the added time goes to expanding killer performances by James Brown, John Lee Hooker and Cab Calloway.
It gets better: The Dolby Digital 5.1 remix is a monster, about as good as it gets with pre-digital-era movies. Clear and strong vocals, fun surround action and big-bottom bass. (The theatrical version is in stereo.)
Brown's turn as a soul-stirring preacher goes from high to higher, the action stretched out a minute and a half. It's an astonishing sequence, probably the best in the film, as dance and gospel fuse in a spiritual frenzy. Brown's scorching vocals were recorded live. Turn it up and behold.
At full length, John Lee Hooker's street performance of "Boom Boom" will knock you right down. Originally slashed to 1:15, the number gets its due over full 3 minutes. Hooker is joined by Walter Horon and Pinetop Perkins in the film's only authentic blues.
The new version of Cab Calloway's onstage fantasy "Minnie the Moocher" preserves one of the century's best song-and-dance bits, all class and sass. The performance jumps from 2 minutes to 5. Director John Landis recalls that Calloway was "very unhappy" when told he couldn't perform his new disco version of the classic, but finally got into the spirit.
Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles' numbers are the same, with the lip-synching on the sloppy side, but with plenty of soul power. The performances are delightfully juiced by the new audio. Landis says these artists never perform songs the same way, making dubbing a nightmare.
Most of the brand-new extras on the 25th year set aren't much. There's a lousy concert clip of Jim Belushi fronting the band in 2005. Get a load of Dan Aykroyd's 23-second intro to the movie, in which he says exactly nothing. Or the hasty tribute to John Belushi's career, crammed into 10 minutes.
The best DVD extra by far dates back to 1998: the hourlong documentary "Stories Behind the Making of the Blues Brothers." About as definitive as a history of the movie and band is going to get, the docu was ported over from the previous DVD.
The video comes cloaked in muted colors and grain, but the murk fits with the grit of late-century Chicago.
I love The Blues Brothers! I am not ashamed to say I have seen this film more than 50 times since it's release back in 1980 (I am 55) and when the Blu ray release was announced I was very excited! That said, this review will focus mostly on the technical aspects of the Blu Ray release and Video/Audio quality rather than the film itself.
You get both the original theatrical release and the extended release which is accomplished via seamless branching. I prefer the theatrical version myself. The extended footage is not quite as good to look at and seems to not quite match the grain and contrast levels of the rest of the film so you will probably be able to notice whenever it kicks in. It isn't horrible, just not quite up to par with the rest of the footage in terms of overall picture quality.
The Blues Brothers shows up on Blu Ray on a BD50 single disc in an Eco Case. I was surprised at how cheap the media is, the actual disc is thinner than most and looks and feels cheesy and without artwork on the disc, just some el cheapo silk screened single color lettering. No respect at all, as Rodney Dangerfield might say! I was hoping the contents would make up for the crummy and cheap look of the disc itself. Luckily, it did!
So is The Blues Brothers on Blu Ray worth the upgrade from DVD? IN a word, YES and here is why:
PICURE QUALITY: 3 and 3/4 stars out of 5
I must say I was initially worried about the picture quality during the first few minutes of the film which shows excessive grain, mosquito noise and soft focus shots, but once the credits finished rolling and the film settled in things quickly picked up. Although the bit rate for this transfer is on the low side it still looks pretty good.
Colors are VERY good! The color timing looks natural and vibrant. I was impressed! I noticed no obvious compression artifacts, no banding, no overt edge enhancement and hardly any print damage. I DID see some mosquito noise here and there on skies and other large areas of light color. Some might say it is nothing but film grain, but it sure looks like some mosquito noise to me. This only happens perhaps less than 5 times during the show and as such is nothing to worry about, many people wont even notice it. (probably most people)
I LOVE IT that we are treated to what appears to be the Original Aspect Ratio. If you don't use your TV's over-scan you will notice the picture doesn't quite fill the frame at the top and bottom which is how it should be. I always use 1:1 pixel mapping on my LG (just scan) and enjoy the extra little bump in resolution I get from it as well as knowing I am seeing the film framed correctly or close to it.
I can only imagine how good this film would have looked on Blu Ray had Universal got off their lazy cheap butts and actually remastered this film fully and did a decent 4k scan. It is much better than most Universal Blu Ray releases, but still pales in comparison to the visual quality of much older catalog releases made even 30 years earlier. (Ben-Hur , The 10 Commandments and North by Northwest spring to mind)
By the looks of the final result here, the negative appears to be in good shape and could have greatly benefited from a new scan in the 4k range. This appears to my eyes as no more than a 2k and it could have just been the same scan Universal made for the DVD release of a few years ago that included the two versions of this film. I know I might be overly picky, but I really love this movie and had higher hopes for the end result on Blu Ray. Still, it is MUCH BETTER than any previous home video release and easily bests even the HD cable showings, if for no other reason than being in 1080p and without current broadcast compression algorithms applied.
I don't think any fan of this film will be disappointed in the video quality. It is really a huge improvement and that alone makes it worth the cost of the upgrade from DVD.
AUDIO QUALITY: 4 and 1/2 stars out of 5
I admit to being one who was totally dismayed when I read The Blues Brothers was being released with just standard DTS 5.1 sound, forgoing the lossless options available now days. No amount of excuses currently being bandied about can convince me they didn't have room on the disc since both the theatrical and extended version is presented by using seamless branching which uses very little extra disc space.
So how IS the sound anyway? It is GREAT! While it may only be standard DTS the bit rate seems to be much higher and it really cooks. All the musical numbers sound so good I could not imagine them sounding better. Dialogue for the most part is very clear and easy to hear. Much of the sound effects are still in mono and sound flat and lifeless while others have been expanded to give us some special depth. I would have to guess a few things were actually rerecorded for the surround mix such as gun shots and tires screeching in full stereo surround. I am guess this is the case because SOME effects sound crystal clear where most do not and that probably indicates the places the audio mixers inserted some newer stuff to sweeten up the mix. Overall it works very well and I was NEVER disappointed with the sound of The Blues Brothers. I highly doubt DTS HD Master audio would have done much more for this film and I can honestly say it sounds as good or better than it's theatrical release.
YOU get a few special features on this disc, namely a documentary about the making of the film and two shorter featurettes with one being a tribute to John Belushi. You also get the films trailer. All the special features are presented in SD. If you have the special edition DVD set then you have already seem them. I bought this Blu Ray for the uptick in video and audio quality so the special features were not even a selling point for me, although having them is fine.
Much has been said about certain scenes having their audio slightly amended or abridged to accommodate a seamless transition between the theatrical and extended versions. I agree with that assessment. There are numerous small places during the film where audio and musical cues have been slightly changed, making some things longer, other things shorter. This is not totally blatant and only the most rabid fans will even notice it. (I am one of them, hence I noticed it) I also noticed that the final musical number at the very end of the movie (Jail House Rock) is a longer than it should be in the theatrical cut and also that the framing for that final scene is different from anything I am used to. I noticed this when I could not see Matt "Guitar" Murphy's fingers playing his lick while his name was under him in the end credits. Every other version I have seen has shown his fingers go up and down the fretboard of his guitar but here they are slightly cut off. Maybe this is due to the earlier 4:3 versions using open framing and pan and scan, I don't know. Anyway, no big deal but if you've seen this film as many times as I have you will notice a few things here and there that don't seem quite right. None of them are deal breakers for me.
Bottom Line: The Blues Brothers on Blu Ray is really good. Picture is better than any other version I have seen for home video and much of the time it is WAY better, and the sound is also just plain kicking it! This is the BEST The Blues Brothers will ever look until the next big revolution in home video hits. A solid upgrade that no fan will dislike! Heartily recommended!
on October 29, 2005
If you have the Blue Brothers, Collectors Edition that came out in 2000, then you already have the extended edition of the movie that is on this title. The difference being that the extras are different.
If you are a true Blue Brothers fan, then you won't mind getting this edition to add to your collection but if you have the other copy then you might be able to save yourself some $$.
on August 2, 2011
I saw it in the theater over 30 years ago. I bought the VHS. I bought the DVD. Finally the Blu-ray version of the Blues Brothers arrived the other day and I watched the theatrical version of my favorite movie last night on my ten-foot screen with audiophile sound. There is no comparison between the Blu-ray and the previous versions. With the large screen, the deficiencies of the DVD are really apparent. The The Blu-ray picture is so crisp and colorful that one can readily see where the camera was originally slightly out of focus.
There has been lively discussion in these reviews regarding the sound quality, some people being disappointed that the DTS soundtrack is compressed or "lossy". Played through an OPPO BDP-93 on my 7.1 system, the sound was excellent--about as good as one can expect from a 30 year old movie. I can vouch for the fact that it is true stereo and possibly a 4-track original. The surround effect of Carrie Fisher shooting at the escaping car right after the tunnel sequence was spectacular. I've found that the difference in quality between "lossy" and lossless formats is negligable if the sampling rate is reasonably high, especially for non-classical source materials. To my ears, the difference can be most readily heard in complex high-frequency passages involving violins or cymbals, especially on digital radio or satellite radio where low sampling rates prevail.
I haven't had time to view the extended version or any of the other information on the disk, so I can't comment beyond the theatrical version. I don't see how any subsequent version could be significantly improved, either visually or sonically. I highly recommend the Blu-ray Blues Brothers!