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"Thelma and Louise: 20th Anniversary Edition" - {Blu-ray}
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: MGM
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
2/8/11
Special Features:

Commentary tracks, three part documentary, EPK , Storyboards, Alternate ending, Deleted scenes (all ported from previous edition) Rated:R

Review:

20 years on Ridley Scott's "Thelma and Louise" works well as a female buddy movie but, more importantly, Scott's film took the template of George Roy Hill and William Goldman's "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" turning it on its head. It's one of Scott's and writer Callie Khouri's perfect films and because it didn't run into any studio interference (or minimal) compared to Scott's film "Blade Runner" and some of Scott's other compromised projects, it stands as one of his most insightful. Part of this is due to the strong script by Khouri who turned out to be a perfect collaborator for Scott; if anything "Thelma and Louise" is as much HER film as it is HIS and that fact is often overlooked. ***

Writer Khouri ("Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood") takes Thelma (Susan Sarandon) and her best friend Louise (Gena Davis) on a wild ride that would shame Mr. Toad; the duo end up becoming criminals when both decide to run out on their unappreciative husbands for a girl's night out. When Thelma stops an attempted rape by killing the man (the marvelous character actor Timothy Carhart who plays the scumbag to perfection) who tries to rape Louise, the duo find themselves on a downward spiral into a life of crime where, with each crime, the women become more empowered all the while realizing that they will face a bad end as they are pursued by an increasingly sympathetic FBI agent (Harvey Keitel). ***

Khouri looks at the double standard often applied to women if they are assertive and or attempt to realize their potential. That also applies to taking the law into their own hands--men take care of their business women, on the other hand, should be seen and not heard. My take on the film is, of course, an oversimplification of a much more thematically complex film that is filled with subtle and nuanced portrayals of the title characters. If the film has a flaw it's the simplified portrayal of most of the male characters which is really, again, an interesting inversion of the male buddy movie where women are often little more than rough sketches. The one male character that has some complexity played by Keitel recognizes the intoxification of the freedom the women suddenly experience and also recognizes that both are dangerously close to overdosing on it in a male dominated world where women have to pay the consequences for being "true" to themselves. In many respects, the result of the film with Thelma and Louise cornered plays almost like a male morality tale about good women turned bad--except these women take control of their own fate at the end which, again, plays with the expectations established at the beginning of the film and inverts films like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". --

Image & Sound:

"Thelma and Louise" looks marvelous with a sharp transfer that doesn't betray the look of the original film. Scott's color scheme is perfectly rendered here and you'll see a subtle shift as Thelma and Louise take control of their lives and, again, a shift to a darker look once the women find their lives spiraling out of control. The only flaw I can see is edge enhancement and while it's there, it's not terribly distracting. I suspect that we're seeing the same high def transfer here that was prepared for the original 2003 Speical Edition DVD. ***

Audio sounds quite good with a nice 5.1 lossless presentation although the mix sounds a bit odd at times. ---

Special Features:

They have all been ported over from the two disc edition from 2003 and are presented in SD here.

By - (David Litton)

Commentary:

The movie side of the disc carries over the original Ridley Scott commentary from the previous edition, and as always, Scott is a master at guiding us through the process of making movies. His discussions are almost always technical in tone, focusing on the production design, script, cast, what went on behind the cameras, recollecting everything he can think of for a listening experience that is both informative and intelligently presented. Or, you can choose the newly-recorded commentary with cast members Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, and writer Callie Khouri. Their conversation proves to be equally engaging, especially once they begin discussing their own takes on the themes and ideals the film presents. In essence, both of these tracks are akin to the movie in that whether or not you may agree with the ideas brought forth, they certainly work to get you thinking.

The disc is divided into two sides, one for the film and some goodies, the other for the major brunt of the bonus stuff. So let's get started. ***

Accompanying the commentaries on the movie side of the disc is the alternate ending, with optional commentary from Scott; how you take this approach as opposed to that of the final cut is your own choice, but I must say, this version tends to tie in better with the overall tragic feel of the film. Somewhat less than you'd expect are the 16 deleted scenes, which aren't really completely cut sequences, but rather insertions of original dialogue and small snippets mashed into those that made it into the finished version. Choosing "Extension Markers" signifies onscreen what was cut. ***

Turning the disc over brings you to the three-part featurette "Thelma and Louise: The Last Journey," broken down into "Conception & Casting," "Production & Performance," and "Reaction & Resonance." Far from the typical public relations fluff that dominates the accompanying press kit featurette, this newly-produced look at the film, its making, and its impact, features all-new interviews with Scott, Khouri, producer Mimi Polk Gitlin, composer Hans Zimmer, and many of the film's primary and secondary stars. Through these interviews, the behind-the-scenes controveries, as well as those that came upon the theatrical release, are brought to light. Fans will delight in this piece, without a doubt. ***

Closing out the disc is a split-screen comparison which allows you to watch the final chase sequence play along to the original Sherman Labby storyboards. This is followed by a still gallery of more than 100 images, a music video by Glenn Frey, and the original theatrical trailer and TV spots. Fans, both casual and ardent, will not be disappointed.

Final Words:

Scott ahd Khouri's "Thelma and Louise" receives a nice looking tranfers (although a bit flawed) and all the special features ported over from the previous 2003 SE.

 

 
 
 
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