Review: ‘The Big Lebowski’ Limited Edition Blu-ray

I remember going to a midnight screening of REPO!: The Genetic Opera a couple of years back. The theater had accidentally double booked two midnight screenings that evening. One for REPO! and another for The Big Lebowski. The Juxtaposition of goths mixed with long haired ‘Dudes’ wearing bath robes and sunglasses was a truly surreal sight. What shocked me most though was the huge turn out The Big Lebowski had. After thirteen years this movie has developed a cult following that few films before, and after, it has managed to achieve. The Dude finally makes his way to High Definition Blu-ray, but does it really tie the room together?

THE MOVIE

When The Coen Brothers directed this I doubt they, or anyone else, realized how much it would flourish over the years. If you have never seen The Big Lebowski (What the hell is wrong with you?) then you have come to the right place. It is an extraordinary story about a less than ordinary man. A case of mistaken identity leading the oblivious and unsuspecting ‘Dude’ on the adventure of a lifetime.

Our protagonist is Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), or as he likes to call himself “The Dude”. Lazy, unmotivated, and having zero ambition for anything besides bowling, he leads a rather lackluster existence. That is until two men attack him in his home demanding money his wife owes. The only problem being they got the wrong Lebowski, ‘The Dude’ is not even married. They leave but not until after taking a piss on his rug. Later on he goes bowling with his friends, the Vietnam war veteran Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) and the coy Donny (Steve Buscemi) who advise him that he should find the other Lebowski and demand compensation.

This is what plunges ‘The Dude’ head first into a bizarre sequence of events. From meeting the strange artist Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore), to being attacked by a ferret in a bathtub, ‘The Dude’ is just having one hell of a day and it is impossible to not enjoy it every step of the way.

This film looks good on blu-ray but you will still see some film grain as well as dust scratches which can’t be helped since it was filmed in 1998. This is as good as it could possibly look but if you already own it on DVD I wouldn’t jump the gun on getting this since there is not that big of a difference in quality. The most iconic scene from the film being the “Dream Sequence”, will look better than ever though.

The greatest dream sequence in cinematic history? You bet your ass.

The Big Lebowski is the prime example of what the Coens do best, characters. Each and every single character in this film is rich and fascinating. Even characters who had minimal screen time and no part to play in the “plot” like The Jesus (John Tutorro). He is possibly one of the film’s most memorable characters yet he doesn’t even have more then a couple of minutes on screen. The story is a series of random events with the protagonist tripping from one scenario to the next. Usually this would cause a film to fail, yet the masterly crafted world is filled with vibrant and interesting characters you would not soon forget and keep you interested in the film.

What the Coens do best

THE EXTRA FEATURES

The extra features are very insightful into the making of the film as well as how it has flourished over the past decade. The only problem being most of these look as if they were pulled from the dvd versions of the film (which they probably were) due to their low quality.

The hardcover booklet is a nice collector item containing dozens of facts as well as behind the scenes photos and quotes from the Directors and actors. For example did you know the F-word was used 285 times in the film? Even more than the word “Dude” which was used 162 times. My only complaint is the lack of a dvd copy of the film. The digital copy is nice but an extra dvd would have been awesome.

THE FINAL VERDICT

This Limited Edition, hardcover booklet, set is certainly a must buy for those who either have not seen the film or do not own it yet. However given that this HD version is nothing too spectacular, if you already own the DVD I would recommend just sticking to that.


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