Customer Reviews: Le Grand Blue: The Big Blue (Director's Cut)
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on July 8, 2000
I first saw this movie in France and absolutely fell in love with it. I live in the states and when I rented it in the U.S. I could not understand why Eric Serra's soundtrak was not used and why they cut out so many scenes and changed the ending (what a bad call! ). I strongly recommend to all Americans who saw the American version to do yourselves a favor and buy the DVD Director's Cut(Version Longue). It's a completely different movie (so to speak). This is definitely my all time favorite movie, and am ecstatic to have it on DVD. Yeahhh! Thanks to Amazon the Americans will finally have their chance to own a phenominal movie!
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on August 20, 2000
i have been waiting for this picture on dvd for a long long time! and to finally get it, with additional footage, no less! this was the first besson picture i ever saw. i was immediately taken with his style & feel for subject. the american version was good, only, unbeknownst to me at the time, it felt somewhat incomplete-- now i know why. this director's cut fills in so many gaps, answers so many unspoken questions. it rounds out the romance between jacques & joanna as well as gives more depth to the friendship/competition between jacques & enzo. the "drinking in the diving bell" scene is a riot, mimicking the drinkng in the pool scene. in my opinion the film needs those extra "director's" minutes to evove from a good picture with potential to an awesome picture, period. i am so much happier seeing this movie with those formerly "lost" european additions. Mr. Reno is worth his weight in gold, a great job by Mr. Barr, and Ms. Arquette provides a nice american counterpoint to these euro stars. interesting to see arquette & griffin dunne together again (from "after hours-- m. scorcese"). a great "new" ending... you'll see when you compare it to the version americané.
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on January 7, 2002
I first read about Le Grand Bleu in one of my textbooks when I started lessons at the Alliance Francais. There it was described along the lines of a massive cult movie that had charmed (and completely depressed) a whole generation of french teenagers. Being fifteen at the time, I got hold of a very beat up copy and it has since remained my favorite film of all times.
Jacques, the main character, is a solitary free diver who longs for nothing else than to be at home with his family (i.e. swimming in the sea with dolphnins). That is, until he meets Johanna (Arquette), and soon the story develops and reaches its climax as Jacques is torn between the woman he loves and his quest for the eternal and watery bliss he finds in the depths. The photography is simply perfect, and the transfer to digital media has only enhanced the fact, so definitely get the DVD. Reno is at his finest (and funniest) and Barr stands out as the perfect homo delphinus.
I have seen the US version, which is a moldy disgrace. The omission of Eric Serra's music is utter blasphemy, since the soundtrack is a jewel on its own. The change in ending is also nonsense, so if you have only seen that piece of editing, know that the Director's Cut is entirely different.
Oh, and don't forget. Dolphins, dolphins and more dolphins! What could beat that? I cry every time I see this film. Perhaps this is only because of my weird self, but, what do you think really happens to Jacques in the end?
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on June 16, 2000
Bring me the Frenchman ...! Why have we had to wait so long for what is undeniably one of the most visually and aurally intoxicating films of all times? This film which pays homage to the world-famous free diver, Enzo Majorca, deals with a subject matter that few could find scintillating. However, Serra's score is both haunting and beautiful while the photography is some of the best use of light and shadow in a colour film. Whilst this all sounds rather "arty", there is a considerable amount of humour and interaction between the main protagonists of Reno, Barr and Arquette (not to mention a dolphin or two!). Many will think that the Director's cut is too long but the short version leaves you unsatisfied. Best watched with ALL the lights turned off and the bigger the screen the better (irrespective of damage to one's eyes! ). Few films today can succeed without graphic sex or violence of which this film has none. The worst crime was releasing this film to the US market with a different ending which misses the whole point of the film. Thankfully the Director's cut stays true to the original version. A cult film it may be - but it stands at the number 1 position on my top films of the past twenty years. It appeals to both sexes and is a must for anyone's library. I have seen it more times than most people could stand, why? - because it does not depend on any one element to keep you hooked.
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on April 8, 2003
This is my favorite movie but Why to be careful ? just because there are two versions: the european version and the US version. The European version is just a jewel but (I don't know why) in the US version the wonderful Eric Serra's music was replaced by Eric Contì's very comercial soundtrack and the producers added a happy ending (??!!) so they distroyed the whole concept.
If you are looking for the french version be sure you buy the Director's cut edition.
Barcelona, Spain
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on August 22, 2000
I can never forget when I saw this movie in Tokyo with 70mm print. It was beautiful, magnificent and very personal film about sea. It was unsucssesfull in box office, thou, the audience didn't forget the beauty of this film. When the movie was re-released as "Le Grand Blue" in director's cut with French Language (Original language is English, by the way)in 1992, it became the instant classic in Japan. Now thanks to the Columbia Trister, the American audience can experience this unseen classic. The quality of the picture and sound are much better than any other version, including expencive Japanese Laser Disc. It does remind my first experience of seeing this one of the best movie in 80's. If you love movie of Luc Besson, this is must-buy DVD.
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on May 30, 2000
"The Big Blue" is a splendid film that tells a story of love, desire and the endurance of the human spirit. The story line is simple enough. A young man, Jacques has a strange affiliation with the ocean. He grows up to love the sea and all her teaming life, and like his father before him he becomes a professional diver. However he is drawn into the competitive world of deep sea diving, a world where men go as deep as they can without the aid of oxygen. Jacques is able to go deeper than most men and it this ability that sets off a chain of events that will lead to tragedy, heartbreak and finally redemption. Jacques childhood friend Enzo is also his rival, where as Jacques dives for the love of the sea, Enzo dives because it will bring him glory and power. This film is about their friendship/rivalry, as they use the ocean to fulfil their respective dreams. Jacques falls in love with an American girl Joanne (played by Rosanna Arquette) who realizes that the man she loves has a destiny beneath the waves, for Jacques is more dolphin than he is man; more at home in the sea than on land. This is a dream of film, the music score is glorious, the filming slow and languid. The characters are wonderful, even the minor ones, Enzo's mother is a treat as she watches proudly over her sons and feeds them mountains of spaghetti. This is a very eclectic film with something for everyone. There are many haunting moments too, one taking place in Jacques bedroom when he dreams that the sea is above him and he can reach up and touch it. "THE BIG BLUE - VERSION LONGUE" is the best buy if you can get it as it includes many scenes that were deleted from the shorter version on offer. Hopefully the DVD version will include these as a bonus. Well worth including in your video/dvd library for future reference.
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on January 28, 2002
I saw The Big Blue three times on the big screen as a 17 year old. I walked a mile each direction from my dad's office where I was working part time that summer. I wanted to become an oceanographer because of this film, despite my irrational fear of water. (I later changed majors, to business.)
Flash-forward 13 years later - I heard there was a "Director's Cut" on DVD and ran out and bought it. And was awed. So many questions were answered, particularly about the relationship between Jacques and Rosanna. I always thought it was ridiculous when Arquette kneeled on the edge of a dock in the pitch black night, screaming pathetically at Barr "I'm here, I'm real," and then begging for acknowledgment of her confessed love for him. **NOW** I understand why she had grounds for being so desperate to stop him from disappearing into the deep dark sea. And the music? I bought the original soundtrack when I first saw the movie and thought it was great music, but had trouble picturing the scenes with the music in my minds eye. When they imported that film and removed the original musical intentions they castrated it. Now it's whole and can stand on its own two feet. Thank you, Besson! The world is a more beautiful place because of you.
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on September 24, 2011
Before actually reviewing this movie, I would just note that, in order to make sure that I got the correct English language version of this Blu-ray disc, I ordered my copy from the site (I will post a link to that webpage in the comments section). The website lists the French language-only Blu-ray separately. At the time of this writing, this Blu-ray is also cheaper when ordered on, even with the extra shipping costs.

It should be noted that most of the dialogue for this movie was filmed and recorded in English, not French. Jean-Marc Barr and Jean Reno and most of the other actors were bilingual/multilingual and spoke in English during filming (or, in the Italian scenes, in Italian). Barr is French-American and partly grew up in the US, attending UCLA even, thus his unaccented American English in this film.

And so the French soundtrack version of this movie is the dubbed version.

This is a poetically beautiful movie, and it works on several levels, with the love story between Johana Baker (Rosanna Arquette) and Jacques Mayol (Jean-Marc Barr) anchoring the magical and mysterious ending of the original version of this movie.

After watching this movie and being just thrilled by its poetry and beauty, I found a Youtube post of the ending of the American theatrical version, with the pasted-on Hollywood "happy ending" (Barr returns to the surface with the dolphin and the Bill Conti score cuts into the original Eric Serra soundtrack, blaring its insane happiness in the background). What to say except that I was appalled by this utterly crass, brainless, and incongruous "happy ending" version.

There are many other parts to this extended version - the beginning black and white scenes showing Jacques and Enzo as children, the beginnings of the rivalry for the deep free-diving records between the adult Enzo and Jacques, Jacques's work with the physiologist/physician Dr. Laurence, and Johana's mundane, boring life in America as an insurance adjustor.

This is the extended version, the Director's Cut - comments from the site indicate that most people who have seen all the different versions (the American version, the shorter European theatrical version) think that this is the best, most complete and fleshed out version of this wonderful movie. I remember the ads for this movie back in 1988, but this is the first time I have ever seen it. The movie was the most successful movie of French cinema during the 1980's but struggled in the U.S., and I am glad that I never saw the US theatrical release.

The story is a fictionalized version of the real-life story of the competition for the free-diving record from the mid-1960's to the early 1980's between the real Jacques Mayol and Enzo Maiorca (changed to Enzo Molinari for this movie). It is sad to know that Mayol committed suicide in 2003, alone and depressed. Would that he had a real-life Johana and their child as companions in his old age.

As an aside, I stumbled on this movie one night after re-watching the movie "The Name of the Rose". I was curious what had happened to the mysterious and pretty peasant girl saved from burning at the stake in that movie (in the book, the girl burns). Well, Valentina Vargas survived to play a small part in "The Big Blue" as Enzo's girlfriend.

This is a wonderful, poetic movie, driven by a certain languid and Zen-like pace and philosophy.

Go...go and see...
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on May 11, 2000
One of the early films by filmmaker Luc Besson (the Fifth Element, The Professional (a.k.a. Leon), Subway, La Femme Nikita, Joan D'Arc, producer of Taxi and Taxi 2, etc.). Who likes Luc Besson's Style will ove this movie starring Jean Reno. It's the story of two free divers (without equipment) and reaching their limits, becoming one with nature. Magnific underwater pictures. A must to be seen!
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