Brazil (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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The good news is that unlike the previous edition,"Brazil" has been digitally remastered with special attention paid to cleaning up the film so we don't have all the bits of dirt and debris that occasionally marred the original DVD transfer (which was essentially a DVD transfer of the original laserdisc version).
If you purchased the three disc set and want to upgrade you could just pick up this single disc edition as the extras are exactly the same as the previous edition (unless you want the remastered "Love Conquers All" 92 minute edit done by Universal to make it more commercial). Be aware though that the single disc edition doesn't have any of the material from the third disc of the boxed set. That disc documented the insanity that surrounded the film when Universal deemed it not commercial enough.
Why it took Criterion so long to get this new improved version to market is anyone's guess (and why it took them so long to adopt anamorphic transfers as well). This really is the way it should have been released in the first place. Either way this edition looks and sounds great. It has a terrific commentary track by director Gilliam, an essay but no other extras.
The 3-DVD box set of "Brazil" starts off with the "final final" director's cut of the film, topping out at 142 minutes. (There are eight minutes of footage added to this release.) The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 dimensions. Fact is, the transfer of the movie is so-so.
For all the Criterion hoopla, the print here is flawed. The notes pay tribute to a few digital scratch removers, but I was truly surprised by the amount of garbage in the print (dirt, empty spots, and such) that litter the frames. One of Sam's initial dream flights has considerable gunk inhabiting the lower left corner, and any frame by frame analysis will reveal an endless parade of bits of stuff inhabiting every shot. To be honest, I expected a lot more here and if there is any criticism of this collection, it lies with this fault primarily. They could have cleaned everything up considerably more than they did. And that's a shame at this price.
Colors and contrast in the print look good, though, and the sound is fabulous. They pulled out a full stereo soundtrack and made it sing, so kudos there, too. The sound is clean and vibrant.
The booklet detailing the film is good, but not the best I've seen, even for a lesser boxset. The content listings for the other two DVDs are little more than a single overview sheets.
Director Terry Gilliam's commentary track on the first disc is priceless and fascinating, almost worthy of the cost for the set alone. As a film geek, I personally find all director commentaries to be interesting, so I may not be the best judge.Read more ›
If you buy the Criterion Collection Version, you get two movies, neither of which is 2 hours, 11 minutes long! The first disc is the International Release from 1985, as distributed by Fox, which is 2 hours, 22 minutes long. The other disc is the 94 minute cut (abomination, what have you) created by Sid Sheinberg and Universal Studios.
Again, even the standard release of the Brazil DVD is a product of Universal butchering, which, while it allows for a dark ending, cuts a couple of scenes at the end that help to tie the film together. If you have not seen all 142 minutes (2 hours, 11 minutes) of Brazil, you have not been to Brazil...
Universal has continued to disappoint me with sub-standard DVD releases (the Jerk and The Sting, both full screen and poor digital transfers, Dune in its shortened domestic release, and many more), which brings me to my original point, which is that Criterion, who's special edition DVDs are consistently wonderful, should do all of Universal's DVDs, and put us out of our misery.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Have just now assembled the ultimate 'Brazil' set (well, imho anyway!). To wit: purchased "like new" Criterion copies of the '99 3-disc set ($3. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Jrum C.
The best, the only true version of this film. This has the real original ending. The disputed "Hollywood" version ending is such a "Disney-like" feel- good... Read morePublished 2 months ago by ronald e. koehn
Terry Gilliam's 1985 film is a surrealist nightmare of a low-level bureaucrat in a dismal world of the near future.
Brazil(released Feb/85)stars,among others,Jonathan Pryce,Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond,Ian Holm,Bob Hoskins and Michael Palin. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Robert Badgley