'Blue Velvet' Blu-ray Review: Great HD Presentation With a Bounty of Special Features

'Blue Velvet' Blu-ray Review: Great HD Presentation With a Bounty of Special Features

Nov 15, 2011

How's the movie?

David Lynch is the type of filmmaker that just isn't for everyone, but not all of his films are inaccessible and experimental. So if you happen to have never seen Blue Velvet, don't write this off as another one of his "weird" movies.  Blue Velvet is arguably one of the finest films ever made about the unpredictable side of life in suburban America. It's subversive both in its content, which is uncomfortably plausible and yet still fantastic, and its narrative, which is like watching white picket fences given a slow chemical peel until all the enamel is stripped away.

It's a digestible, fascinating exploration of the secrets in people's closets and what Joe America, in this case Kyle MacLachlan, might discover if he's brazen enough to step out of his comfort zone.

IMDB: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 92% Fresh with Critics, 88% with audiences
Box Office: $8.5 million


What are the vitals on the disc?

Studio: MGM
Release Date: November 8th, 2011
Edition: 25th Anniversary Edition
Number of Discs: 1
Digital Copy: No

Runtime: 120 Minutes
Video: 1080p, 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish


How does it look and sound?

It's always welcome to read in press notes that a director has personally supervised both the HD transfer and the color correction of their film for Blu-ray, especially when it's a film of this vintage. The video quality here is striking. The cherry reds of roses and fire trucks, the deep blue of velvet curtains, Isabella Rossellini's pale skin-- all the gorgeous colors with which Lynch paints small town America stand out wonderfully. There are a few scenes that come across as dim instead of pure black, but they're not particularly bothersome and often don't even stand out thanks to the overall dreamy cinematography employed.

On the sound side, one could recommend this disc just to hear the pristine presentation of Angelo Badalamenti's brilliant score, but there's also a surprising amount of nuance to the sound editing here that I never noticed on past DVD issues of the film. The aggressive roar of car engines, the creepy-crawly sound of ants on flesh, the clink of spoons in diners. It's a really interest mix that just pulls you even deeper into Jeffrey's world.

What about special features?

There's a lot of good material here and it is all strictly for intense fans of the film. There's not an ounce of press kit fluff anywhere in sight. Unfortunately, the presentation on some of these does leave something to be desired, but at least there's plenty here.

Newly Discovered Lost Footage (52 minutes, HD) - Yep, you read that right. There are a whopping 52 minutes of lost footage here and all of it has been restored and offered in high def. Unfortunately none of these clips have explanations or introductions from David Lynch,  and I'm admittedly not a Blue Velvet devotee, so it was a little hard for me to make sense of everything I was seeing, but if you already know the film like the back of your hand, you'll know exactly where the scenes would have fit had they originally stayed in the film. 

Mysteries of Love (71 minutes, SD) - This is a lengthy documentary that was put together years ago. It's a pretty rough package presentation-wise, but it's got a lot of interesting interviews with the cast and crew.

Siskel and Ebert At the Movies (90 seconds, SD) - This is a super short clip, but it's worth watching just to hear Ebert's borderline disgusted take on the film.


Final thoughts?

If you've never seen Blue Velvet, you should make obtaining this disc a top priority. If you have seen it and are a fan of David Lynch's wicked brew of a progressively disturbed suburbia, then checking it on Blu-ray is practically an imperative. Not only has the film never looked or sounded better, but there's a treasure trove of deleted scenes here as well as a healthy dose of making-of materials. Ideally one would want those deleted scenes to be discussed and not just presented like an afterthought (despite it being the clear selling point of this disc), but, then again, it isn't exactly atypical for Lynch to put the burden of understanding his films squarely on the audience's shoulders.

Categories: Features, At Home, Reviews
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