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Napoleon Dynamite – 10th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Napoleon-Dynamite-10-YearIt’s really been ten years since Napoleon Dynamite came out and we all had a Jamiroquai song stuck in our heads?  Ten years since people were quoting and accenting Jon Heder as Napoleon like kids in the 90s were “Yeah, Baby” and quoting Mike Myers’ Austin Powers character?  Dang, ten years ago I was in college with a ton of adventures in life ahead of me.  But, hey, that’s where we are.  Happy 10th birthday, Napoleon Dynamite.  This phenomenon even had a short lived cartoon series on television that regrouped everyone involved in the film a couple years ago.  Fox is celebrating that landmark with a new edition of your famous film.  Well, lets take a look and see how exactly “new” this is.  It does have sweet new liger-skinned packaging though, that’s for sure!

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Film 

Welcome to Preston, Idaho.  Home to Napoleon Dynamite, his brother Kip, his uncle Rico, friends Deb and Pedro, the super popular Summer and Rex Kwon Do.  The film really has a loose narrative but follows a primary line of Napoleon helping his friend Pedro run for class president while his uncle Rico and Kip try and make money while their grandma is in the hospital recovering from an ATV accident in the sand dunes.  While its loose and many random occurrences, a lot of it does pay off, but this style really kind of works for the film.  Everybody has seen this movie and knows it up and down, so this review is gonna be my personal experience with the film rather than a review of a movie everybody knows by heart.

Confession time.  I saw this movie three times in the theater.  It was kinda unplanned.  My friend Cameron and I went and saw a movie called Saved! the summer before Napoleon Dynamite came out and saw a trailer for it.  It was immediately on our radar.  The weekend it opened for us at Ball State we saw it the first showing that Friday.  The next day, I had two friends who had graduated visiting and asked them if they’d seen it.  I had to show it to them, so I went again.  The following weekend, my sister was down to visit and we were going to go see Garden State, but she said Napoleon Dynamite wasn’t playing back home, so there I went again.

Every time I went to see the movie, though, it kept getting funnier and funnier.  I was already enamored with it the first time, but it kept building and growing.  And if you had a conversation with someone that saw it, holy crap, the movie was even funnier to talk about and quote.  Strange thing though, every time I saw it was to an almost empty theater.  I kept telling people about it, I felt like I had to do my part.  But to no avail.  The movie was  big hit theatrically, but apparently in my neck of the woods, nobody knew of it or cared.

Then it came on DVD.  Every damn body saw it.  I got what I wished for.  It was all over campus.  Its all people wanted to watch.  Every word out of any drunkards mouth was a Napoleon Dynamite quote or reference.  You couldn’t escape it.  It got annoying.  I became a Napoleon Dynamite hipster because I liked it before it was “cool” and now I couldn’t stand it.  It was a shame, because I really loved this little movie that made me laugh so much.

Well, time passed, the fad went away and I revisited it (a few years ago and for this review).  And whew, I enjoy it again.  Some time removed was good.  This is a really funny, weird movie.  And the thing I think goes very unnoticed about it (and its phenomenon) is that its a clean-humored movie.  That kind of thing doesn’t happen very much anymore.  Its PG-13 but packs as many laughs as any raunchy R comedy.  Also, the movie has a really kicking 80s centric soundtrack that I completely adore.  I’m happy to say I still love you Napoleon Dynamite, you’re one of my favorite comedies of the 2000s!

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1:85.1

Clarity/Detail:  For what this little indie film is, this has a spectacular little transfer, albeit the same one that’s already been available before.  Its got a nice fine level of grain to it, and some very impressive detail.

Depth:  While not a flat film, its indie nature makes it a little difficult to be wildly 3 dimensional. But, there are instances where there’s a nice sense of space and scale in shots.

Black Levels: Blacks are solid, this movie takes place strictly in daylight so too much darkness covering up detail is never an issue.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are solid and pretty bold throughout.  The palette isn’t full of your typical striking colors and more full of oranges and whites, but they all still turn out strong.

Flesh Tones: Consistent and plenty of detail on character’s faces.

Noise/Artifacts:  This one is clean.

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Audio 

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

Subtitles: English, Latin Spanish, Latin Spanish Text, French Canadian Text, Brazilian Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese Text, Italian, Italian Text, Italian Commentary #1, Italian Commentary #2

Dynamics:  This isn’t too exciting of a track.  It has some moments, but does nothing spectacular.  That said, the film still sounds rather nice.  They probably could have gotten away with a stereo track for this and been just fine honestly.

Low Frequency Extension: The sub is adequately used, especially in the scene with Grandma on the 4 wheeler.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Not really a whole lot going on here.  Some ambience and low end scoring, but rather unremarkable.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is the highlight.  Every little thing coming out of the character’s mouths is captured and replicated with good volume clearly and crisp.

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Extras 

Holy…crap, there’s a lot.  In addition to some specialty packaging, this comes with the original flip disc (one side widescreen/one side full frame) DVD version of the film.  I’m pretty sure this is the exact same bonus features available on the previous Blu-ray and DVD editions of the film.

Audio Commentary – Director/Co-writer Jared Hess, Actor Jon Heder and Producer Jeremy Coon

Cast Commentary – Aaron Ruell, Efren Ramirez, Jon Gries and Tina Majorino

Documentaries

  • World Premiere Jared Hess (SD, 43:29) 
  • On Location: Napoleon Dynamite (SD, 41:36)

Deleted And Extended Scenes (With Optional Commentary)

  • Deleted Scenes (SD, 8:04) – 4 scenes
  • Extended Alternate Scenes (SD, 5:05) – 4 scenes
  • More Sweet Outtakes (SD, 5:35) – 3 scenes

Casting Napoleon Dynamite: An Interview With Jory Weitz (SD, 13:05) – An interview with the film’s casting director about taking the job and seeing it through keeping with a relatively small name cast.

Audition Videos

  • Tina Majorino – Deb (SD, 2:29)
  • Efren Ramirez – Pedro (SD, 2:23)
  • Haylie Duff – Summer (SD, :46)

Peluca – The 2002 Short Film By Jared Hess Which Inspired Napoleon Dynamite (SD, 8:46) – The black and white short comes with optional commentary.

Napoleon Sightings – And Pedro 

  • Clips From TRL, Courtesy MTV (SD, 5:00)
  • “Tankman Begins” Clip From 2005 MTV Movie Awards (SD, 5:56)
  • Opening Of SNL With Jon Heder (SD, 3:57)
  • 2004 Teen Choice Awards – Napoleon Dynamite & Nicole Richie Play Tetherball (SD, 1:26)
  • 2005 Teen Choice Awards – Hissy Fit Award (SD, 1:04)
  • Spelling Bee (SD, :59)

Utah State Fair Ads/TV Spots

  • “Horses” (SD, :34)
  • “Wild West” (SD, :35)
  • “Worst Ride Ever!” (SD, :34)

The Wedding Of The Century! (SD, 3:46) – Behind the scenes of the film’s post credits scene that was added for the wide release.

Napoleon Goes To Hollywood Spots (SD, 3:09) – These 6 little spots “might” be what’s new on this release.  Its just the cast in character going to some thuggish clubs in LA.

Still Gallery – 43 stills from behind the scenes of the film.

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Summary 

If you’ve never owned Napoleon Dynamite on Blu-ray, this is the version to pick up.  If you already have it, hang on to what you have because I’m pretty sure this is the exact same thing (or just ever so SLIGHTLY different) with a new package.  As I said in my review, I’ve gone through the gamut with this movie, but as I stand now, I still enjoy it quite a bit and it is easily one of the best comedies of the previous decade.

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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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