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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-Ray a little better than previous editions, January 26, 2009
This review is from: Groundhog Day (15th Anniversary Special Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I might be making a bold claim saying this is the best Bill Murray film of them all. Many people would call me on that with films that showcase his sophomoric hijinks like Stripes or Ghostbusters. Some may look at his more slightly more refined character works like What About Bob? and Scrooged as their hits. To me Groundhog Day tops them all. This is because not only do you have Bill Murray doing a perfect performance, but also because the content itself (and the writing behind it) takes this movie to the next level.

Groundhog Day is a morality piece done in the vein of a classic Rod Serling's Twilight Zone episode. I kind of "what if...?" sort of tale that puts a generally successful and selfish man (played by Murray) into a hopeless situation of never being able to escape a single day in a small town. On the surface the story it looks like a situation comedy with Murray's character living the same Groundhog Day over and over. However the further you go into the movie you get some true and believable character development. The fact Bill pulls it off convincingly as well as with his classic entertaining wit is what makes the movie shine.

Don't think of the movie as just some lesson to learn and take with you. While it does have that they don't preach it to you. You figure the lessons out along with Phil (Murray), and that makes for a rather deep experience. The movie at its core is a comedy, and it's such a good comedy it's rating among the top comedies of all time by various film associations. It's not just a comedy either as it also has a healthy dose of romance in it. So much romance that it can pass off as a "chick flick" for those who are into that. So I guess you can say Groundhog Day is a romantic comedy/Twilight-Zonesque/morality play.

The other actors do great as well, including co-star Andie MacDowell, supporting actors Chris Elliot (as the cameraman), Brian Doyle-Murray (mayor of the city) Stephen Tobolowsky (old high school associate) and others. The movie was directed by Murray's cohort in Ghostbusters and Stripes Harold Ramis, which makes me wonder if the role was made for Bill. Production itself is very solid. You won't find it winning awards for costumes, sets or special effects. At the same time you won't find any production values detracting from the story; they only serve to enhance it.

This 15th Anniversary Blu-Ray Edition is a step up in the visual department from the latest DVD release, but don't expect any night and day differences. Some scenes are still a bit grainy and the color isn't as sharp as you find with newer movies on Blu-Ray. Then again this is a 15 year old movie. The Dolby 5.1 audio is the same as the previous 15th Anniversary DVD release. Then again the movie really wasn't meant to test your sound system. You get a lot of the same features as previous DVDs along with some new stuff. Here's a rundown:

- Needle Nose Ned's Picture-in-Picture Track: Old Ned the insurance dude pops up in the movie from time to time with either some tidbits about the movie or asking you questions about the movie. This feature is a Blu-Ray exclusive.

- Commentary by director Harold Ramis: It's the same one as the other DVDs. Informative in most places and a bit dull in others.

- The Study of Groundhogs A Real Life Look at Marmots: It's virtually a mini-National Geographic special on groundhogs.

- A Different Day: An Interview with Harold Ramis: This featurette has tons more information about the movie. Plus it's faster to sit through than the commentary.

- Weight of Time documentary: Making of documentary with interviews of the cast and crew as well as some funny outtakes by Murray.

- Deleted scenes: Six scenes that total out to about 5 1/2 minutes of footage. Most of the deleted scenes would have been nice to see on an extended mix. Although one 16 second deleted scene I am glad they did without.

- BDLive: For those of you who actually care about this function. It's just a way for you to send content over to friends and stuff about the movie.

This movie is a must have. Any Bill Murray fan should be required to see this movie. The Blu-Ray treatment is only a minor improvement to the previous 15th Anniversary DVD release, but it is a noticeable difference visually. Too bad they are still using the same butt-ugly airbrushed looking cover on the Blu-Ray disk. If you already have the 15th Anniversary DVD that was released earlier this year I don't know if the improvements are enough for the double (or triple) dip. If you have any version prior to that I would strongly recommend taking the plunge and go for the Blu-Ray (provided you have the high definition hardware for it).
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 3, 2009 2:41:15 AM PDT
Thanks Zoom-ster!!! Finally, someone who got down to brass tacks about the BluRay vs. 15th Anniversary DVD!!!! Not that Amazon's stupid way of lumping reviews from all editions together helps very much, but I wish more people would use the BluRay page to do what you just did so well!!! Not sure this is a BluRay "Gotta Have". I think the 15th Anniversary DVD on my BluRay player would do just fine.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2010 1:40:36 PM PST
Yah, why the hell wouldn't Amazon separate reviews between different versions or at least give you the option to manually filter reviews by edition or let you sort by edition or some easier way to read the reviews for that version than having to scroll through all of them looking for them??? Is that REALLY that hard to do??? Anyway, thanks for the review, just convinced me to get this blu-ray instead of the DVD special edition.
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