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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Thelma and Louise: 20th Anniversary Edition



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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted February 12 2011 - 04:36 PM

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Thelma and Louise: 20th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: Available now
Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-ray "ECO-BOX"
Year: 1991
Rating: R
Running Time: 2:09:36
MSRP: $19.99

  THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES
Video 1080p high definition 16x9 2.35:1 Standard definition
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: Spanish 5.1, Portuguese 5.1 / DTS: French 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1 Stereo
Subtitles English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, German, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Chinese Variable

The Feature: 4.5/5

With an undeniable jerk for a husband, no one blames Thelma (Geena Davis) for wanting to get away for a couple days. Joining her best friend Louise (Susan Sarandon) on a two-day trip to the woods, the pair make a stop at a bar along the way, but can't seem to avoid the worst the male gender has to offer. One local barfly almost rapes Thelma, and though Louise arrives in time to stop him, one step too far pushes her to shoot him in cold blood. Now on the run from the police - with Detective Hal Slocumb (Harvey Keitel) leading the chase - the pair really don't have many options. They could surrender, but it's unlikely they could claim self defense, and the further along they get - which includes adding armed robbery to their resumé - the less viable cooperating with the police becomes. Even though Slocumb seems to be sympathetic to their circumstances, ultimately the pair can only depend on each other and decide for themselves how their journey will end.

Well known for its feminist themes, "Thelma and Louise" would probably be offensive to men if not for its moments of humor and charm, and two ultimately compelling main characters. And let's be honest, it was probably about time a movie turned the tables, making men the sex objects, fools and source of all bad luck for a change. Though some may still take issue with the film's broad strokes of male depiction and sometimes didactic qualities, the truth behind the story remains - women aren't treated as equals to men. Of course no one should look to the film for any practical steps to female empowerment, but as a motivator, thought-provoking metaphor, and even a manifesto, it certainly doesn't go wrong.


Video Quality: 4.5/5

The film is accurately framed at 2.35:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. Overall I was impressed by the film-like quality of the transfer, thanks in large part to its consistent color rendition, strong black levels and fine detail. While some of the darkest scenes go a little flat because of limited depth of blacks, contrast otherwise looks accurate with no signs of compression. The somewhat muted color palette also shows good depth and range, giving the cinematography a strong realistic - but no less dramatic - quality. There's also great detail in both close ups and wide desert vistas, the healthy grain structure throughout suggesting minimal use of noise reduction or digital sharpening tools.

Audio Quality: 4/5
Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is consistently clear and intelligible. Surround activity is minimal, with only some very light support for the film score and some selective effects. Low end frequencies never quite reach LFE status - even with one notable explosion - but the track has sufficient depth and fullness, along with some very good detail in the upper frequencies.


Special Features: 4.5/5
The extras include all the disc-based items from the 2003 special edition DVD, and offer a fine look behind the scenes of the production. Without any new content, however, the "20th Anniversary" label seems somewhat incidental, though one could argue the quality of the high definition presentation is all the release needs to justify the subtitle.


Audio Commentaries

  • Director Ridley Scott: Scott provides a consistently engaging track that covers the gamut from his motivation for taking on the project - in light of his career at that point in time - to technical details of the shoot. Scott also talks a good deal about his working style and filmmaking philosophy.
  • Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis and Screenwriter Callie Khouri: The three provide a more casual commentary track with more gaps of silence, but provide some terrific insights into the movie's character and themes, along with some entertaining anecdotes from production.
Thelma and Louise: The Last Journey (59:43, SD): Retrospective documentary produced in 2002 by Charles Lauzirika is divided into three parts and covers the film's concept and casting, production and performance experiences, and public and critical reception. Plentiful interviews with the cast and crew make the piece highly interesting and thorough.


Original Theatrical Featurette (5:23, SD): Electronic press kit covers the film's basic characters, plot and themes. Includes the option to turn off the (largely annoying) promotional voice over track.


Deleted and Extended Scenes (40:19, SD): Sixteen scenes trimmed for pacing and time. Look for Catherine Keener as Detective Slocumb's wife, in a scene that shows how Slocumb came to sympathize with the main characters' situation. Though it certainly would have killed the film's momentum, I rather appreciated the tender moment between the two as Slocumb is gently educated about what would bring a woman to take another life.


Extended Ending (3:42, SD): Longer ending presents a more final look at the fate of the main characters, which was deemed too much of a downer. Includes optional commentary by Ridley Scott.


Multi-Angle Storyboards: The Final Chase (4:38, SD): A side-by-side comparison of the storyboards and the actual footage for the final chase. Also includes the option to view the storyboards independently.


"Part of You, Part of Me" Music Video by Glenn Frey (4:28, SD): Conventional music video has the former member of the Eagles performing the song, intercut with scenes from the film.


Trailer and TV Spots (11:03, SD)

  • Original Theatrical Trailer (2:01)
  • "Wanted" TV Spot (1:02)
  • "Call of the Wild" TV Spot (:33)
  • TV Promo Spot (:32)
  • Home Video Preview (6:52): Marketed to home video rental store owners, the piece works really hard to persuade them to add the movie to their shelves, citing the film's box office returns and critical praise.
Recap
The Feature: 4.5/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4.5/5

MGM Home Entertainment turns in an excellent technical presentation for a movie known for its strong female empowerment message. The special features remain the same as those on the 2003 special edition DVD, which - while well-produced and interesting - don't provide anything new for this 20th anniversary release. For those who own the DVD, the quality of the high definition audio and video presentation may justify a double dip. For those who have yet to own the film, the Blu-ray release is the obvious choice.



#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Ransom Stoddard

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Posted February 13 2011 - 01:48 AM

I thought it looks generally excellent but like Cobra the colour tinting makes blue jeans look aqua/turquoise.