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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio Commentary by Terry Gilliam

Brazil

Single Disc Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist, Jim Broadbent, Barbara Hicks, Charles McKeown
| Minutes | Licensor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #51
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: September 5, 2006
Review Date: December 16, 2012

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SYNOPSIS

Pitting the imagination of common man Sam Lowry (the brilliantly befuddled Jonathan Pryce) against the oppressive storm troopers of the Ministry of Information, Terry Gilliam's Brazil has come to be regarded as an anti-totalitarianism cautionary tale equal to the works of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Gathering footage from both the European and American versions of this masterpiece, Gilliam has assembled the ultimate, 142-minute director's cut of his most celebrated film.

Forum members rate this film 7.7/10

 

Discuss the film and DVD here   


PICTURE

Criterion had released Terry Gilliamís Brazil on DVD back in 1999 in an impressive 3-disc set, but featured a non-anamorphic transfer. In 2006 Criterion reissued that edition with a new anamorphic transfer of the film. For those that already owned the old 3-disc set and didnít feel like shelling out the cash for it again to get the new presentation, Criterion released a single-disc edition that simply presented the film with the new transfer, which is what is being reviewed here. This new edition of Brazil presents the film in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1 on a dual-layer disc. The image has now been enhanced for widescreen televisions.

Criterionís non-anamorphic edition didnít look too bad for what it was but on a widescreen television it does look fairly heinous, littered with compression noise and jagged edges. This transfer resolves most of that and delivers a much cleaner look. The image is a bit sharper overall with some more obvious details present, like the elaborate work on the samurai outfit that appears in the film. Colours are better saturated and the yellowish tint in the flesh tones are now gone. Black levels donít crush as much as they did and are a little deeper, too. Compression is still noticeable but its light and nowhere near as heavy as whatís present when one would zoom in on the old DVD.

The print has also been cleaned up a bit more. The previous DVD was decent but it still contained plenty of marks and scratches, which are now removed. All that really remains are a few scratches and some dirt in grit in some of the optical effect sequences.

In all itís a marked improvement over the previous DVD edition, delivering a far better and cleaner video presentation.

8/10

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AUDIO

The Dolby 2.0 Surround track also delivers a bit of an improvement. Michael Kamenís score sounds quite thrilling in this one and dialogue manages to come through a bit clearer. But having said that I still find the dialogue a bit flat, and effects are still a little hollow. But dialogue is at least still easy to hear, even if it gets drowned out a little bit.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

This single-disc edition, aimed as an economy release of sorts, strips out everything on the last two discs of the 3-disc set. All that is included is an audio commentary by director Terry Gilliam, which was recorded for the original 1996 Laserdisc edition. The director, wired up as usual, talks in great detail about his development of the film from story to screen, covering all of the ideas he had including what ultimately didnít make it. He recalls various anecdotes about the production, how he was able to get certain actors into the film (specifically De Niro) and talks about how the film has grown with audiences. He talks a little about the troubles that came up surrounding its American release but he seems to save most of that for the documentary that is included on the 3-disc sets. Gilliam covers a lot of material and he certainly keeps the track lively, never slowing down, which makes it a very entertaining track well worth a listen.

The DVD also comes with a booklet featuring the same essay on the film by Jack Mathews.

And thatís it. But again thatís beside the point for this release. For those looking for features and never picked up the 1999 DVD edition I would direct them to the new 3-disc set that uses the new transfer. Again this one is aimed for those that own the older 3-disc edition, or even for those that are looking to just own the film on DVD and donít care about the features.

3/10

CLOSING

This edition of course strips out all but one of the supplements found on the deluxe Criterion editions but thatís beside the point. This release, which is delivered on a single disc, is aimed more for those that bought the previous 3-disc DVD and want this new transfer without having to rebuy the expensive reissued set. On that basis this release, which can be found fairly cheap, comes with a high-recommendation since the new transfer offers a significant improvement over the previous non-anamorphic DVD. For those wanting the new transfer but also want the set I would direct them to the reissued 3-disc set.


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