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Blue Velvet (Blu-ray Review)

I am a big David Lynch fan, but I have never seen Blue Velvet before which makes reviewing the Blu-ray that much more exciting. The Blu-ray is being marketed as a “25th Anniversary” edition, but what seems to be sealing the deal is that it contains nearly an hour of deleted scenes that were thought to be lost forever. These scenes have been remastered in high definition, but warned, David Lynch’s final cut of the film is what you have already seen, so don’t hold your breath for a three hour cut, because that will never happen. With that out of the way let’s sample the “fabric” that is Blue Velvet. 

 

 

Film 

Lynch fans all over the world rejoice, as what some may consider Lynch’s best film of his career, has finally hit the Blu-ray format. Blue Velvet is the story of young Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) who lives in a seemingly quiet town where nothing really happens. It’s a kind of a Mayberry utopia. Booooooring! That is, until he finds a human ear in a backwoods lot behind some of the neighborhoods. All of sudden Mayberry isn’t quite what it used to be. Let the games begin!

When he turns over the ear to the police and notices that they really aren’t going to turn up the heat and fast track the investigation, he takes matters into his own hands by investigating the crime himself. He recruits Sandy (Laura Dern), the girl that he likes, who also just happens to be the daughter of the police detective that is leading the investigation. Drama! I’ve always dug Laura Dern, I find her very sexy, but in this role I could not really get past her “wholesome” look. It was weird, but not a turnoff.  She tags along as Jeffrey searches for clues as to who the ear may have belonged to.

Along the way, Jeffrey encounters a mysterious nightclub singer who isn’t all that alright. She has a little bit too much fruit in her cake, if you get my meaning. Of course, Jeffrey falls for her, but what he didn’t count on was Frank (a bat-shit insane Dennis Hopper) to come in and break up the party. Wow, is Dennis Hopper a freight train that has come off the rails in this or what?! He is ruthless, vicious, brutal, funny, and a bunch of other words. In fact, most of what he says or does has been copied or parodied for the past twenty five years and I’m only now starting to catch on. It was trippy, because I kept saying to myself, “that’s where that line is from!” I had several of these moments throughout Blue Velvet.

Blue Velvet is shot in a “neo noir” fashion which suits the film just fine. In fact, I love the look of the film, and this style would later be used in Twin Peaks, and so forth. There are also elements of voyeurism that reminded me of Brian De Palma’s early works, but these are clearly David Lynch’s. With the exception of a few scenes of what may be construed as fantasy or surrealism, Blue Velvet is a pretty straight-forward mystery thriller. Yes, it does make sense, but just because it makes sense, doesn’t mean that you are not going to ask a question or two. Does that make sense? 😉

I could not give Blue Velvet a higher grade on the film itself, because as good as it was, upon this first viewing, it didn’t floor me into a five-star film review. I’ll probably need to let it sink in a bit, and watch it again soon in order for me to really appreciate it. I know it’s a beloved classic with the hipster nation and Pabst Blue Ribbon faithful, but I will be needing some extra time to absorb the world of Blue Velvet. I really miss Dennis Hopper, though. 🙁

I hope more of the studios take note and give us  more of David Lynch’s films on Blu-ray in the future. If my ratings down below are any indication of the possibilities the Blu-ray format can offer, then we really are in for a treat.

David Lynch + Blu-ray = Twisted Bliss!

Video 

Blue Velvet is presented in 1080p, 2.35:1, widescreen. From the colorful first frames until the finished dark ones, Blue Velvet looks as smooth as velvet. I wanted to give it an even higher score, but had to stop myself. Fair is fair and I’ll tell you why. It’s a David Lynch movie, therefore, you have to watch the film as if it were a dream. This translates over to the print. Why? It looks like a “dream.” We sometimes talk about steady levels of grain throughout the film, etc., well this one had a steady layer of softness all the way through. It wasn’t distracting since it was most likely director’s intent, but did bring the actual image quality down a notch. What was spectacular was the color separation. Wow, did the colors ever pop! Blacks were deep and inky, and contrast ran steady. Grain was also present, but didn’t make the picture look bad or anything. Flesh tones looked natural and unnatural. Wink.

Audio 

Blue Velvet is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1. Blue Velvet is not a reference track nor does it pretend to be. The lossless soundtrack does make everything better, though. Music has depth and ambiance and dialogue levels never sound restraint. Especially when Dennis Hopper is talking or yelling. Scenes outside and at the various clubs all sound realistic as do the songs used for the film. When violence irrupts it sounds even and not harsh. It’s a twenty five year old film, but in listening to film, you would notice this. There are no signs of cheap and canned effects. It’s a very nice and fitting soundtrack for such a stranger little film.

Special Features 

For some strange reason I was almost ready to write these special features off. Good thing I didn’t, because they’re actually pretty damn good and there’s a most welcome revelation. As I mentioned before at the beginning of the article – Blue Velvet on Blu-ray contains nearly one hour of deleted scenes REMASTERED IN HIGH DEFINITION. You can actually watch them and they play as a little movie of its own. I mean, if you were to watch them that way, they do. It’s a really cool bonus that propels the Blu-ray upward. The rest of the special features are presented in SD and are ports from the DVD, but the documentary included is really cool and sheds light (maybe) on the production of the film.

  • Newly Discovered Lost Footage (HD)
  • Mysteries of Love Documentary
  • Original Siskel & Ebert Review
  • Vignettes
  • Trailer/TV Spots
  • A Few Outtakes

Final Thoughts 

It’s like I’m working back in time, because I’ve only seen David Lynch’s most recent films and not his earlier stuff (Dune, I’ve seen), but when it comes to his work and the Blu-ray format – WE win! Blue Velvet is a terrific movie and looks and sounds great and features a pretty damn  good supplemental package. Even if you’re on the fence about getting this disc I’d say that it’s a pretty accessible little film. If you’re gonna do it then do it right with this Blu-ray.

 

 

 

 

Order Blue Velvet on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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