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The Blues Brothers (SE)
DVD disk
08.31.2005 By: Scott Weinberg
The Blues Brothers (SE) order
Director:
John Landis

Actors:
John Belushi
Dan Aykroyd
Cab Calloway

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
It's about two (apparently) superhuman brothers, a half-dozen brilliant musical numbers, more car chases (and wrecks) than a demolition derby, and 2+ hours of comedic chaos of the coolest kind.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This one's a bona-fide modern comedy classic, and it's a flick I've been madly in love with since I was about 12 years old. Although The Blues Brothers runs well over two hours, the "plot stuff" couldn't be simpler: Jake and Elwood will do literally anything to raise the $5,000 needed to save their old orphanage from foreclosure. Their plan is to reunite the old blues band, mount one swanky concert, and pay off the back taxes on the orphanage.

To say that things don't exactly go as planned ... would be an understatement.

It take all of a few minutes before Jake & Elwood have incurred the wrath of the Chicago State Police, a clueless detective, a gang of "Illinois Nazis," a pissed-off country-western band, and a mysterious femme fatale who has a knack for assassination-overkill. It's all very over-the-top and crazy.

But what The Blues Brothers has going for it is a decidedly dry and sarcastic sense of humor, several outrageous car chases, tons of random destruction, and loads of beautiful blues music from stem to stern. This is an energetic and aggressively entertaining old-school comedy, and it's really great to finally add the original theatrical cut* of The Blues Brothers to my DVD collection. (*The previous DVD release offered only the longer "Director's Cut," and not the theatrical version, whereas this 25th Anniversary Edition delivers both versions!)

THE EXTRAS
Ported over from the original DVD is the rather excellent 56-minute featurette called Stories Behind the Making of The Blues Brothers, which features war stories, memories, and anecdotes from Dan Aykroyd, director John Landis, producer Robert Weiss, executive producer Sean Daniel, editor George Folsey, cinematographer Stephen Katz, and most of the "Blue Brothers" band members. Fun stuff here, especially for you old-school BB fanatics, like me.

You'll also get a rather pointless 20-second introduction by Dan Aykroyd, a 7-minute snippet of Aykroyd / JIM Belushi House of Blues performance called Going Rounds: A Day on the Blues Brothers Tour, the 15-minute featurette Transposing the Music, which offers another retrospective look back on the flick and the tunes, a 9-minute Remembering John Belushi tribute in which several old friends share some stories, some text-based production notes, and the original Blues Brothers theatrical trailer. (Whew!)

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Truly the one DVD you'll ever need if you're a big fan of The Blues Brothers, this Anniversary Edition is a big, fat gift to all the BB geeks of the world. The only (minor) complaint is that it's a double-sided disc, when a 2-platter release would have been highly appreciated. Still, you get two separate versions in one place, plus a healthy handful of great goodies.
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