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    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Blue Velvet



    Released by: MGM

    Released on: November 8, 2011.

    Director: David Lynch

    Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rosellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Dean Stockwell

    Year: 1986

    Purchase from Amazon


    The Movie:


    A college boy named Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan of Twin Peaks and Dune) finds an ear in a field just outside a small town that hits every cliché of Americana. Though he turns the ear over to the local police, he can’t resist getting involved, and with the police chiefs daughter Sandy (played by Laura Dern of Jurassic Park and Wild At Heart) in tow as his accomplice he lets his inquisitiveness get the better of him. When he links a nightclub singer named Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini of Wild At Heart and Immortal Beloved) to the mysterious crime, he’s quickly pulled into her perverse world and hopes to be able to rescue her from an insane and sexually deviant man named Frank (played by Dennis Hopper of Easy Rider and Apocalypse Now).


    A brief synopsis, to be sure, but to say anything more about the film is a injustice to those few who have yet to see it. Some things are better left to be evaluated and interpreted on their own and like most of David Lynch’s films - Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me - 1986’s Blue Velvet is no exception. At times fiercely satirical, yet horrifying and beautiful, even romantic, at others, Blue Velvet is considered by many to be Lynch’s best film to date, and with good reason. Highlighted by brilliant performances from both Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini, this twisted take on small town secrets remains one of the most influential and original films of the 1980s.


    Though some feel MacLachlan and Dern are at times dull and lifeless in their roles, I feel that they accurately capture the naivety and innocence that Lynch was striving for when he wrote the screenplay, and having seen this film countless times, I couldn’t possibly imagine anyone else playing these parts. It’s Hopper and Rossellini who really stand out here, however. Their twisted relationship is completely unsettling, with Hopper being given the chance to go completely over the top while still managing to stay ‘grounded’ in the world Lynch has created here. Rossellini’s Dorothy is in many ways his opposite, she comes across as fragile and very broken where he exudes ridiculous confidence, but in true Lynch fashion her dark side comes through, especially in her feelings towards Jeffrey.


    Lynch’s trademark use of colors and symbolism perfectly complements his cynical world-view, presenting a world that is oft times familiar, but never what we expect. Blue Velvet was an intensely personal project for Lynch (it’s a fact that he took a large pay cut in order to assure more artistic freedom with the film) and it shows in every frame of the movie. Though not a biographical picture in the literal sense, Lynch fan’s who know a bit about his upbringing and childhood should be able to spot parts in Jeffrey’s character that reflect Lynch’s own life growing up in a small town in Washington, the film’s small town setting of Lumberton a sort of surrogate in that regard.


    A darkly comic look at how twisted humanity can become, it really needs to be seen a few times to fully appreciate how much depth this film has to it. Part film noir, part psychological drama, and part horror film, Blue Velvet is truly a movie that transcends genres and it works on so many levels that it’s really in its own category. Lynch so effectively works perverse sexual kinks and disturbing moments of brutal violence into the framework of the seemingly innocent small town of Lumberton, that even after repeat viewings, Blue Velvet still has the power to shock, disturb, and provoke viewers.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Blue Velvet looks great in this AVC encoded 2.35.1 high definition 1080p widescreen transfer from MGM. The film has always had a certain softness to it so it doesn’t offer quite the same amount of clarity that other films do on the format but it still looks excellent. You’ll really notice the improved texture the first time you see the blue velvet curtain appear on the screen, and this texture and improved depth continues throughout the film. Close up shots show good skin tones and facial detail, and as such, Dean Stockwell has never looked weirder than he does here. Black levels are solid and there are no compression artifacts to note and the image is clean and crisp and sharp without looking overly processed. No noticeable edge enhancement or noise reduction was spotted and the picture is free of compression artifacts.


    The primary audio option on this disc is an excellent English language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The dialogue is consistently clear, making scenes like the ones where Frank inhales through his mask sound disturbingly crisp and detailed, while the music has a lot more depth to it than it ever did on DVD. Alternate DTS 5.1 mixes are provided in French, German, Italian and Spanish with DTS 2.0 tracks in Portuguese and Spanish also available. Subtitles are available in English, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.


    MGM has carried over the extra from the previous special edition DVD release for Blue Velvet’s Blu-ray debut, starting with an extensive photo gallery and the original theatrical trailer, we’re also treated to some nice animated menus, and two TV spots made to promote the film on its original theatrical release back in 1986. The main extras, however, are a documentary entitled ‘Mysteries of Love,’ a photomontage of deleted scenes, and a great (albeit brief) clip of Siskel and Ebert debating the merits and morals of the film. Its slick production values wrap up an informative and thoroughly interesting look at the making of one of the most original films ever made. Although it doesn’t really offer any new footage or interviews with Lynch himself, MGM can be forgiven for this as it’s a well known fact that he likes to keep the more mysterious aspects of his films under wraps (which also explains the absence of a commentary on this and every other David Lynch release in existence). With the exception of Lynch though, all the other key players are given a chance to give their views on the film and on its director. MacLachlan, Rossellini, Hopper, Dern and Badalamenti are interviewed and all have something interesting to add to the production. Also carried over are the Siskel and Ebert Critical Review of the film, four brief vignettes about the making of the movie (I Like Coffee Shops, The Chicken Walk, The Robin, Sita) and ‘A Few Outtakes’ (a minute and a half of unused footage).


    All of those old extras are well and good but to most fans the big allure of this release will be the inclusion of fifty-two minutes of never before seen previously lost footage. While it’s presented with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, in English, the video is in AVC encoded 2.35.1widescreen 1080P HD which is a nice touch. We don’t want to spoil too much about what’s here as it’s a real treat for fans, but there’s a lot more of Blue Velvet’s seedy otherworldly take on Lumberton explored here – not just with Jeffrey, but with Frank and his cohorts, who get up to no good in a pool hall. There’s also a disturbing voyeuristic rape scene and a fairly intense moment with Jeffrey and Dorothy on the roof top of her apartment building. Pop-up menus and chapter selection are also included on the disc.


    The Final Word:


    This release would be completely worth the upgrade for the audio and video improvements on their own – through in the newly discovered footage and this one becomes a no-brainer. The film stills holds up, it’s as mesmerizing as ever, and the Blu-ray presentation is a good one. Pretty much an essential purchase, really.

    Click on the images below for full size Blu-ray screen caps!





























    • Nolando
      #1
      Nolando
      Senior Member
      Nolando commented
      Editing a comment
      First movie I bought on LD. Guess it's time to upgrade?

    • Mark Tolch
      #2
      Mark Tolch
      Senior Member
      Mark Tolch commented
      Editing a comment
      The new blu-ray is really something else. The found footage is cool, but definitely worth it just for the extra footage of Dennis Hopper and co.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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