Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Brazil - Criterion Collection|
Actors: Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cult Movies
If Franz Kafka had been an animator and film director--oh, and a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus--this is the sort of outrageously dystopian satire one could easily imagine him making. However, Brazil was made by Te... more »
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Daniel A. (Daniel) from EUGENE, OR
Reviewed on 2/8/2010...
Bizarre. Amesome original dystopic vision. Very cluttered, but intentional clutter. The end is messy and complicated, but redeemed in the final shot.
Yes, but what about this Criterion box set itself?
Daniel L Edelen | Mt. Orab, OH USA | 01/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There are a million different takes on the actual movie "Brazil," but what I hope to do in this review is actually rate the collection put together by Criterion.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. In this case, though, Gilliam gives us a rich look at the film that stands up to the best of other directors's commentaries I've heard.Criterion's skimping on the booklets is made up for in the second disc, which contains all the background of the film. "The Battle of Brazil" is the high point as Gilliam and some of the Universal Studios execs discuss the crazy backstory that almost led to the demise of the film as we know it. The film's handlers and financiers all fretted that they had an arthouse piece that would go nowhere, but Gilliam refused to make the desired cuts or to swerve from the darkness of the ending. It wasn't until he managed to sneak a final edit of the movie to the Los Angeles Film Critics organization that he was able to outduel the execs. When the critics lauded the film and lavished their prizes on it, the naysayer's bluff was called and the film was released, albeit to only modest box-office that barely made back its money. Film critic Jack Matthews hosts this slightly more than an hour examination of the battle between the creative forces and the forces of pragmatism.The second DVD also includes "What is Brazil?" - a mostly throwaway behind the scenes look at the making of the film that features the cast and some of the writers. I didn't find it particularly illuminating.The big disappointment in the second DVD is that many of the production notes covering the design, special effects, score, and more are not filmed, but simply text. I wanted more than that. Somewhat disappointing. There are some good insights into the flying effects in the dream sequences, though. That much of it was model work is simply amazing.The last DVD features the bowdlerized, 94 minute TV syndication release of the film dubbed "Love Conquers All." This happy ending version was done apart from Gilliam and probably represents what the studio heads had hoped would be the released version. "Execrable" is too kind a word to use to describe this version. Critic David Morgan's commentary notes all that was left out, and a few scenes that were added back in. While this version isn't worth your time, it is worthy of inclusion in the set, fleshing out the madness that almost killed the movie entirely.I have always considered "Brazil" to be genius, frankly. As a dystopia, the world it portrays out-Orwells them all. If you hate bureaucracy--and who but bureaucrats doesn't--then this is the film for you. And only Gilliam would be daring enough to make a renegade HVAC repairman a mythically heroic addition to that world.Plenty of people don't get this movie and I don't know why. Roger Ebert loved "Dark City," but passed on "Brazil," inexplicably, so even critics aren't perfect. Many of today's films owe much to "Brazil" and that alone makes it important.In the end, three stars for the package and five for the film itself. The lack of a more pristine print subtracts two full stars from what would have otherwise been a perfect review, however. Criterion's boxset, though flawed, is still the best way to experience the film, so if you are a fan of "Brazil" or Gilliam's work, this is the only way to fly."
Quite possibly the reason DVD was invented
John DiBello | Brooklyn, NY | 11/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Three discs? *Three* discs? That's what you're probably thinking if you're looking at this and *not* a fan of one of the finest films of our time. But this exquisite three-disc treatment is probably the best argument for DVD (and thankfully, for Criterion) that I can give you: Watch these discs, listen to the extensive audio commentary, compare Gilliam's brilliant vision with the Hollywood Studio "Love Conquers All" bastardization, er, sorry, recutting (how many directors would include a admittedly contradictory vision of his film on a DVD set just to *show* how Hollywood can drastically reshape a vision?), watch the documentary...you'll come away from this boxed set experience understanding more about film and directing, and sadly, studio politics, than you'll ever get from reading "Variety" (certainly more than I got from filmmaking college courses!) At the heart of it all, though, the many extras and made-with-care package would add up to nothing if the original film itself weren't so bloody brilliant. There's very few modern *directors* who will pull me into the box office just to see a new film...Gilliam is one of them. Even his flops or misfires are more interesting than most. But when he hits on all cylinders (excuse the mixed metaphor) as in "Brazil"...the result is purely sublime. Bravo to Gilliam; bravo to Criterion for giving us the definitive home version of the film(s)--a version impossible on VHS. I love my DVD player!"
Gilliam classic remastered worth picking up (this review is
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 09/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Terry Gilliam's classic satire returns to DVD in a spiffed up edition from Criterion. Featuring a high definition anamorphic remaster the picture looks great (and it has been enhanced for 16x9 TVs so it will fill the screen)the sound has been remastered as well. Is it worth picking up again? Absolutely if you're a fan of the film. The single disc edition is basically the same as the first disc in the three disc set--it includes Gilliam's commentary track as part of the package as well as the "Final Cut" version of the film that runs 142 minutes (vs. 131 for the regular DVD release).
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."