Brazil, Blu-ray (1985/2011)

by | Jul 9, 2011 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Brazil, Blu-ray (1985/2011)

Director: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent
Studio: Universal 62115281 [7/12/11]
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS Surround 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: My scenes, BD Live!, Pocket Blu, D-BOX
Length: 2 hours 12 minutes
Rating: *****

I should fess up front that this is my favorite film – a remarkable and unique work of art which has influenced all sorts of other films.  True, Roger Ebert hated it, and you may either hate it or love it.  It’s that different. Brazil has been compared with Kafka’s The Trial, Chaplin’s Modern Times, Orwell’s 1984, and the TV series The Prisoner. Gilliam was the only American member of Monty Python and is responsible for several unique films, but this is his pitch-black satirical masterpiece.

I reviewed the Criterion single-DVD version of Brazil back in 2006 and I suggest you go there for most of my review. They also did a 3-DVD version at the same time, which contained the many extras for which I saved my original Criterion laserdisc set of five discs: It included The Production Notebook, Production Design, Storyboards for the Fantasy Sequences, Script Development, the featurette “What Is Brazil?,” the video history “The Battle of Brazil” (on the controversy over the U.S. release of the film), and the 94-minute studio recut version of the film which was shown on TV and substitutes an unbelievable happy ending.

The Criterion digital remaster for their DVD was so good that the studio Blu-ray doesn’t appear to be that much better.  Yes, there is more detail but if you have the 3-disc DVD set you’re probably ahead of the game. What seems odd about the Blu-ray is that it really offers no extras at all – not even Gilliam’s excellent commentary track – and there doesn’t seem to be a Blu-ray 3-disc or 2-disc version. Probably most of the extras would have fit on a single 50 GB Blu-ray.

— John Sunier

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