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Clerks III (Blu-ray Review)

Kevin Smith’s Clerks series has appeared to be his most personal of the bunch. This third one coming now 16 years after the previous film (12 years between the first two). While Smith opts for a smaller theatrical run via his roadshow and the Fathom Event route, he’s still keen on Blu-ray releases. Clerks III arrived on December 6th. It features a pair of feature length documentaries on it, a commentary and some deleted scenes. As per any Askewniverse property, its loaded, in other words. Order now using the paid Amazon Associates link at the bottom of this review to get yourself a copy today

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Film

Following a massive heart attack, Randal enlists his friends and fellow clerks Dante, Elias, Jay, and Silent Bob to make a movie immortalizing his life at the convenience store that started it all.

The Clerks series of film have checked in with writer/director Kevin Smith at different crossroads in his life. One that certainly informed where he had been and where he may be going. With the original, he obviously had big eyes, big ideas, but stuck in a small space which then loudly echoed into him doing those things. In the closing of the second film, he pretty much alluded to just staying in his comfort zone and doing what he knows best and being at peace with that. And eventually, he geared focus of his filmmaking to playing for his fans through the films and a massive focus on podcasting. And here we are now with Clerks III, unlike the others not getting a theatrical release and vying for his roadshow model he’s done the past 11 years.

Pretty obviously, the third Clerks has Smith sharing with us his experience of the last few years of the heart attack that changed his life in many ways. Its also clear that there are some losses in life that have affected the filmmaker as well. These subjects and themes are quite bluntly put in over the course of the film and he tells it in his own funny way that also strives to “hit you in the feels” when it needs to count. Like the second film, I didn’t quite expect the film’s third act to really hit emotionally and remind us of the better work Smith always shows signs of being able to pull off.

Its not pretty and perfect, as to be expected by Smith currently as he gets to be the sole driving force of his own creations nowadays, but it gets enough right. For one, the idea behind this movie is a strong one. It focuses on a near death event having one trying to instantly do more with their life and at the same time waxing nostalgic for their better days. And to Smith’s credit, he doesn’t sit and harp on those “better days” a lot in the third Clerks film, but focuses on how that is evolving around our two protagonists. Sure, there are a couple sequences/montage moments they are very “Hey, remember this?”. And unlike his previous film, Smith doesn’t overload it with “For the hardcore fans material”, either. (For Smith) This is much more restrained, tighter and focused than much of what he’s done in the last decade. Arguably his best technical work as a director since Red State.

After the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, I was hesitant to return to the Askewniverse, but Clerks III brought a lot of relief. Of all the Smith properties and characters, this is the one that seems to always work every time out. Perhaps its because its the most personal to him and he takes more time and care to it. I felt roughly the same when Clerks II came out 16 years ago and found it being maybe Smith’s best film. The third entries doesn’t quite hit that high or notch with his previous top efforts, but its the closest to being there in quite a long time.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.90:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Clerks III, should be noted, is also available in a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray version that is only at Best Buy for the time being. This standard Blu-ray looks best you could ask for, sharp, good color saturation and plenty of easy to see details, patterns and textures.

Depth:  Depth of field is pretty rock solid and above average. The film does a good job with scale and has moments looking big and like a movie. Movement is natural and smooth.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep and just a hint of a slight gray. No real issues with information lost and they honestly look best they can be considering the format. No issues with crushing abound from my view.

Color Reproduction: Colors flash pretty well, and despite the misgivings in the film about the aesthetics of the Quick Stop, it does have loads of colors that pop quite well. Purples, yellows, reds, greens all make a nice jump and overall its well saturated.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Facial features and textures are discernible from any reasonable distance from the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: None

Audio

Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, French 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Clerks III goes for it and has a Dolby Atmos track. The movie sounds nice and airy, though the format might be excessive for the story. Nonetheless it has good space and clarity with terrific balance, layering and depth.

Height: From above there is some extra ambiance, music and a few natural things like the hockey game on the roof among other moments.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer hits the bass and drum in the music in the film as does well by door slamming, punches and more thumping noises in the mix.

Surround Sound Presentation: This one accurately displays every location with good ambiance and thoughtfulness in a 360 degree realm of travel and things being off screen.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp

Extras

Clerks III comes with a redeemable digital code.

Audio Commentary

  • with Writer/Director Kevin Smith, Actors Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Trevor Fehrman and Austin Zajur

Introduction By Kevin Smith (HD, 2:14) – Thanking you for buying physical media, citing it a big reason this movie was greenlit and providing a look ahead as to what is on the disc.

The Clerks III Documentary (HD, 1:36:12) – A full on feature length film documenting the journey of making the film with your usual insightful and often times funny interviews and on-set footage.

We’re Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today: 3 Decades of Clerks (HD, 1:15:15) – More on this film but also looking at the legacy of this staple piece of the Kevin Smith universe of films (Askewniverse).

Deleted And Alternate Scenes (HD, 29:30)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:56)

Summary

Well, color me surprised, I liked Clerks III. It arrives on standard Blu-ray (A 4K Ultra-HD version is exclusive to Best Buy) with a more than sufficient presentation. In true Kevin Smith fashion, the thing is overloaded with lengthy extras both detailed and messing around. This is a disc worth every penny a fan is gonna spend on it and its nice to see a filmmaker value the format every time out.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a 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. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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