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Zoolander – The Blue Steelbook (Blu-ray Review)

Zoolander-Blue-SteelEveryone’s favorite male models look even more good looking in high definition when ZOOLANDER hits the runway for the first time on Blu-ray in a new, Limited Edition Gift Set December 1, 2015 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.  Sporting an original design and swathed in a signature “Blue SteelBook,” this season’s must-have gift comes fully accessorized with new special features, a really, really ridiculously good looking headband and a sneak peek at the highly anticipated sequel Zoolander No. 2, which debuts in theaters February 12, 2016.  Available exclusively at Walmart, the ZOOLANDER Limited Edition Blu-ray Gift Set boasts new hilarious footage of Owen Wilson and Justin Theroux rehearsing the epic breakdance fight under the direction of Ben Stiller and an alternate version of the brainwashing sequence told through storyboards.  The Gift Set also includes previously released special features, a collectible Zoolander headband embellished with Derek’s world-famous coif, a look at Zoolander No. 2 and Movie Money worth up to $8.00 towards a ticket to see the new film in theaters.

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Film 

Clear the runway for Derek Zoolander, VH1’s three-time male model of the year.  His face falls when hippie-chic Hansel scooters in to steal this year’s award. The evil fashion guru Mugatu seizes the opportunity to turn Derek into a killing machine.  It’s a well-designed conspiracy and only with the help of Hansel and a few well-chosen accessories like Matilda can Derek make the world safe for male models everywhere.

All right, confession time.  This Blu-ray review marks the firs time I’ve ever seen Zoolander.  The film somehow managed to escape me for the longest time.  When it was released fourteen years ago, I was only kind of mildly interested in it.   I didn’t get to it in theaters and then never rented it on DVD.  Surprisingly too, as I was in college when this movie came out.  I’m actually kind of impressed with myself that I someone did not meet up with this sooner.  Well, many folks love this movie and swear by it, but I just never got to it.  Now, here I am, my Zoolander “magnum” cherry has been popped.

Zoolander is a film that’s a bit too in love with being as stupid as it can per scene.  More often than not, the constant barrage of jokes per second aren’t that funny or even chuckly.  It also took this movie quite a bit to get going for me.  I found it rather pedestrian/ho-hum for its first act, decent for the first part of its second act, and the remainder to be pretty funny.  Maybe this movie isn’t one that’s so much enjoyable when watching the first time, but after discussing and riffing it with friends and then going back to it creates a much more humorous appeal (Similar to a Napoleon Dynamite).

Don’t get me wrong, its not a bad movie.  I merely found it to be “All Right” over all.  The film is full of jokes feel all too expected, tired or just too dumb.  The film also abandons the presence of Owen Wilson for a good stretch, and his presence or he and Ben Stiller’s teamwork are much of the strength of the film.  Will Ferrell is decent here, but not one of his stronger roles.  Christine Taylor is someone I like, and is game for this, but really has a thankless role here.

No, I’m not a huge Zoolander convert, but its nice to know some of the jokes or references I may have crossed paths with over the years (“Cool story, Hansel”).  Am I excited for a sequel?  Well, I have a free ticket to it now thanks to this release.  But, I actually think if the sequel stays away from just being constant call-backs to this movie, it has an easy opportunity to be a better movie.  This one isn’t, bad, but its merely Ok with a bunch of expected humor and jokes.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  I don’t own any previous editions, but I’m willing to wager that this is the same transfer found on the previous Blu-ray releases.  If this was a new one, i’m sure it’d be advertised.  This is just a slick newly packaged rendition of what’s already out there.

Depth:  Solid spacing and looseness with the imaging.  Movements are cinematic and smooth.

Black Levels:  Blacks are solid and rich.  Minimal detail covered on black clothes, surfaces and hair.  No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors ares good and surprisingly keep a good sense of restraint where they could have gone overly vivid with a lot of stylings and bled out.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural.  Detail on facial features is present in close-ups and just in a hint of places does it look like there is some smoothness.

Noise/Artifacts: A nice layer of grain is present.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Dynamics:  This 5.1 mix is the same one that’s already been available before.  Its above average and more than gets the job done.  Its strengths are in taking the songs in the soundtrack and livening them up quite a bit.  Vocals, effects and music feature a good deal of balance in this track.

Low Frequency Extension:  An explosion, kicks and punches, but primarily the bass in music get a beefy thump from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Rear speakers provide some good ambiance and help with the songs.  Movements and sound locations are accurate.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are crisp, clear and plenty audible at all times.

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Extras 

Zoolander – The Blue Steelbook is a Walmart exclusive in steelbook packaging and comes with an UltraViolet digital copy of the film as well as a headband and Movie Money good for Zoolander 2.

Audio Commentary

  • By Ben Stiller and Writers Drake Sather & John Hamburg

A Really, Really, Really Cool Teaser for Zoolander 2 (HD, :58) – An extremely brief little EPK piece with cast member commenting as behind the scenes shots play.

Zoolander’s Closet – This looks to be stuff ported over from previous releases.  Its all in 4×3 Letterbox and encoded AVC but standard definition sourced.

  • Breakdance Fight Rehearsal (HD, 4:29) – Rehearsal footage of preparing for the Zoolander Vs Hansel scene.
  • Alternate Brainwashing Sequence Storyboards (HD, 4:35) 
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary (HD, 7:46) 
  • Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary (HD, 8:00) 
  • Outtakes (HD, 6:34) 
  • VH1 Fashion Awards Skits (HD, 6:42) – Pre-Zoolander sketches from 1996 and 1997.
  • Music Video: “Start The Commotion” by The Wiseguys (HD, 2:48) 
  • PSAs (HD, 2:01) – Promotional stuff that feature parody videos of Zoolander doing PSAs.
  • MTV Cribs (HD, 1:33) – Little promo pieces from MTV that mock the show “Cribs”.
  • Interstitials (HD, 2:49) – Little promotional things with characters and Ben Stiller with Zoolander being interviewed at the same time.
  • Photo Galleries – Derek’s Portfolio, Hansel’s Portfolio, Zoolander Production Stills

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Summary 

I’ve now finally seen Zoolander.  Its an okay movie that I’m not sure why its become the sort of phenomenon it has and getting a sequel after (what will be) fifteen years.  This new Blu-ray features the same transfer and extras you’ve always known, plus a couple news ones.  If you already have the film on Blu-ray, just hold on to that.  Fifty-eight seconds of a preview for the new film is not worth double dipping.  Unless, the steelbook is just that amazing for you and you HAVE to have that headband to wear to Zoolander 2.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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