Young Frankenstein (Blu-ray)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Liam Dunn, Cloris Leachman
Directed by Mel Brooks
Distributed by Fox Home Entertainment
Now this ... this is what a Blu-ray special edition is all about. We're talking a stellar transfer of the film, a good new sound mix, and enough special features (some new and in high definition) to keep you busy for hours and hours. Does it get any better? No. Not even close.
If you've never heard of Mel Brooks' classic take on the old Frankenstein flicks of yesteryear, Young Frankenstein, then I've got nothing for you, man. You should be ashamed of yourself. Simply put, this is required cinema viewing for fans of all genres and of any age. Instead of rehashing the plot, let's just dive into what you can expect bells and whistles wise.
Let's start with the film's transfer. Though the film looks great, the added clarity comes at a price. The advent of high definition has not exactly been kind to it visual effects wise. I speak mainly of the look of Boyle's monster. Every seam of his make-up is plainly visible, and I can't ever recall seeing them so blatantly before. You have to keep in mind this movie was never intended to be seen in HD, but wow ... it's kind of startling. I guess some would argue that the now visible below par make-up adds to the film's charm. Maybe so.
Don't expect the audio to deliver your home theatre system much of a workout either. Other than a few bits of stereophonic movement, your center channel is going to remain the star of this show. Again, this was not a flick made with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 in mind, so things are pretty forgivable. It should also be noted for the purists out there that the original mono track is present as well.
Now let's talk supplemental goodness! Where to start? How about the Blu-ray exclusives? The first bit, Inside the Lab, can be watched two ways ... either as picture-in-picture segments or as a near half-hour long featurette. This is basically your standard making-of that features insight from fans of the film in addition to new interviews with Brooks, Garr, and Leachman. Hell, even the cast from the new musical show up to give their take. Seriously good stuff here! Next up is the It's Alive: Creating a Monster Classic featurette, which clocks in at over a half-hour long and is comprised of Brooks talking about the genesis of the production and the overall mania it continues to enjoy along with more interviews with others associated with the musical, etc.
Transylvania Lullaby: the Music of John Morris is a ten-minute look at the film's score (there's also an option to watch the movie with an isolated score feature), a subtitled trivia track called The Franken-Track, and the highly coveted Blucher Button that when pressed lets out a quick horse whinny. Genius! And hey! Remember the deleted scenes from the DVD special edition? They're all back, but along with them come seventeen(!) new bits of excised hilarity! We're talking nearly forty-five minutes of outtakes, folks! That's a pretty impressive haul of exclusives, no?
Once you're done with all of that, you'll find that every one of the standard definition extras from the DVD release can be found here as well. These include a truly funny commentary with Brooks; the Making Frankensense of Young Frankenstein forty-one minute behind-the-scenes featurette, which focuses mainly on Wilder; interviews with Marty Feldman, Gene Wilder, and Cloris Leachman; a blooper reel; nine TV spots; five theatrical trailers; and photo galleries. What more could you possibly want?
This release is up there with my picks for the best Blu-rays on the market. It's fun and exhaustive. If you're a fan of the film, this is the mother lode, baby! The secret of life eternal! Well, maybe not that but it's damned close! Get this like yesterday!
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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