7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2011
David Lynch's Blue Velvet is a fantastic film and I recommend it highly. Thematically, the film concerns itself with desire, fantasy and violence. It is directed with thought and skill. The plot concerns a young man, Jeffrey Beaumont, who discovers a severed ear. This leads him, partly through his own unstoppable curiosity, to discover a dark underworld that coexists with his innocent and friendly town. Along the way he is assisted by the local detective's daughter Sandy, he discovers a strange young woman named Dorothy, and encounters a sinister and perverted individual named Frank Booth. Throughout the film, Jeffrey attempts to understand the meaning of the detached ear, and its connection to both Dorothy and Frank. But by pursuing this mystery, Jeffrey discovers a number of terrible truths and is himself caught up in this dark underworld.
Lynch's film depicts two worlds: on the one hand, there is the all-too-perfect world of Lumberton, with its white picket-fences and smiling firemen; on the other hand, there is the dark underworld of Frank Booth and his associates. Lynch stylistically separates these worlds through several contrasts: Lumberton is mostly presented in daylight and in reassuring places such as the family home or the school; whereas the underworld is presented at night and in places such as a nightclub and a seedy home belonging to one of Frank's associates. Each world, though, is structured according to fantasy: Lumberton's fantasies revolve around family life, education and dating, whilst Frank's world centres on intoxication, adrenaline, and sex.
Whilst it is tempting to see Lynch's world in terms of a good place and a corrupt underworld, this would leave out Dorothy and the mini-world of her apartment. It would also be hard to maintain such an interpretation in light of the fairly obvious satirical elements. Lumberton is depicted with heavy doses of irony: the smiling, waving fireman and his dog aboard the fire engine; the too-perfect red roses; and the billboard depicting the friendly town of Lumberton. But Dorothy and her apartment represent the biggest problem of interpretation here. Her space is dark, disturbing and the scene of two very different sexual encounters: Frank's and Jeffrey's. This world sits uneasily between Lumberton and Frank's underworld. It is neither too-perfect nor typically (and thus reassuringly) dark. It is a mini-world, a liminial space, a void. It is the place not of fantasy, but of pure desire. It is for this reason that it haunts Jeffrey and Frank, and by extension us.
Although both Frank and Jeffrey are made anxious by Dorothy and her apartment, each responds in a different way. Frank's fantasised sexual encounters with her are a means of violently repressing her sexual otherness (embodied in his repression of her gazing at him), whilst Jeffrey tries to place himself in the role of saviour, rescuing her from Frank and returning her son to her. However, despite both attempts, Dorothy still troubles both Frank and Jeffrey. There is a particularly poignent moment in the film when Dorothy breaks from her liminal space of pure desire and invades Sandy's innocent home. At this moment, desire invades Sandy's fantasy space and she cannot control herself, breaking into tears.
This is one of Lynch's great gifts to cinema (which he has repeated a number of times, albeit with differences): his stylistic and thematic choice of presenting the worlds of desire and fantasy separately. Unlike other films by Lynch, such as Lost Highway or Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet ends on a quasi-happy note (though with plenty of irony still). Jeffrey vanquishes his enemy Frank, Dorothy's son is returned to her, and Jeffrey and Sandy live happily ever after. However, those ironic elements have the last say in the film: the fireman, the roses and that ludicrous robin almost smiling at Jeffrey and Sandy, and by extension us. The film is thus disturbingly hilarious and I found myself laughing at the end on some occassions, though with a sinister feeling too.
A note on the DVD: I strongly warn people not to buy the version published by Prism Leisure. This version is by far the worst available. It is watchable, but if possible I recommend getting a different copy. The version released by Sanctuary Visual Entertainment, which is a 2-disc edition and region free, is an excellent version of the film. It has both stereo and 5.1 surround sound options, two documentaries and a nice 16 page booklet.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2012
David Lynch's Blue Velvet is a masterpiece. For those who haven't seen the film, be prepared for a cinematic experience that you rarely come across nowadays. For those who have seen the film, be prepared for a fantastic restoration in this Blu-Ray. It looks stunning.
Blue Velvet follows Jeffrey Beaumont, who after finding a severed human ear, stumbles upon a horrific underworld lying beneath his idyllic suburban home town.
When diving into a David Lynch film, you have to be prepared to roll with whatever is presented to you. I remember after the first time I saw Blue Velvet I was just stunned, I couldn't quite work out what I was feeling. It stirred me in a way that I couldn't put into words. The film is mesmerizing. It completely absorbs the viewer with the story, the direction, the cinematography, the acting, you will not be able to look away.
Isabella Rossellini is fantastic as the fragile and broken Dorothy Vallens. Also a mention to Dennis Hopper as the terrifying Frank Booth.
The Blu-Ray is great. The film comes alive in a completely new way with the HD transfer. I felt like I was watching it for the first time again. The special features are good, not in HD, but very interesting content.
For those who haven't seen the film, please give it go.
Everyone who loves the film already, don't hesitate to buy this fantastic Blu-Ray.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2002
Not meaning to contradict other reviewers, but I thought I'd lend my opinion about the controversy surrounding this DVD release. Basically, I put off buying this for so long simply because of many of the reviews on here complaining about the picture and quality on the region 2 version. The other day however, I DID buy it and was pleasantly surprised.
I own the 4Front video release and this DVD just trashes it in terms of picture quality and sound... in the video you can't see what's going on half the time because it's too dark, the colour is over-saturated and the sound is too low.
Sure, it hasn't been remastered or anything, much like the Castle release of 'Dune' but it IS a good transfer. MUCH better than the video, which really spoilt my enjoyment of the film.
On to the film itself. 'Blue Velvet' is probably David Lynch's defining moment and masterpiece. Where as 'Eraserhead' and 'Twin Peaks' are strong cult films [and TV series], 'Blue Velvet' was a heavy blip on the timeline of American cinema. Certainly without it such films as 'American Beauty' wouldn't have come about, although that's not to say that this film is anything like that... Lynch's vision of the darkness beneath suburban USA and the human psyche is much darker and explicit.
It all starts with the discovery of a severed human ear in a field and spirals downward from there into a psychosexual thriller involving some of the best characterization I've ever seen, especially by Denis Hopper who is FANTASTIC as the evil Frank Booth. Simply put, this is a film you will NOT forget and will haunt your thoughts long afterwards. It's dark, it's elaborate, it's Lynch.
127 of 143 people found the following review helpful
I should start by saying that I've never paid much attention to talk of good and bad 'prints' of movies, and always regarded it as a bit of movie snobbery. Until now, I've never purchased a DVD that left me seriously unhappy with the quality of the image.
I'm afraid this DVD (by Prism Leisure Corporation) changed all that. Quite simply, it's dreadful. Ok, it's a budget DVD, but frankly, if someone offers you this DVD for *free* you should politely decline.
Blue Velvet is one of my favourite movies. I bought this DVD as an upgrade from my aging VHS version. But after 20 minutes of trying to watch the DVD, I ejected it and went back to my old VHS.
In this version, the colours are washed out and muddy; the contrast is terrible; the image is far from sharp. In the dark scenes (and there are a lot of them) you'll frequently find yourself staring at a black screen. In short, watching this DVD is like seeing the movie on a seriously sick TV.
Really, you should give this a miss. Watch it on tape, or on the (much more expensive) special edition DVD (which I've now discovered is much much better and does the movie justice).
I can't believe that I'm writing a 1-star review of Blue Velvet!!
For the movie, five stars, easily. But because of the quality of this DVD, I'm knocking off four of them (and would knock off all five if I could). The movie is stunning, powerful, harrowing. This DVD is just harrowing. Avoid it like the plague.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 25 December 2011
This isn't a review as such, as I imagine that most movie buffs will have already made up their mind whether or not they like Blue Velvet and want to spring for a blu-ray. But praise to this 25th Anniversary edition for a splendid transfer of the film itself and some truly eye-opening extras, not least almost a full hour of deleted scenes. And bear in mind that these aren't a bunch of scrappy outtakes made up of grainy workprint footage - we're talking fully-formed sequences that have been edited and scored.
No, my main reason for writing this review is just to forewarn anyone buying the disc that it has a very peculiar design. There is no main menu and when you play the disc it just jumps straight into the movie. If you then press the menu button, it says there isn't one. Took me a good 15 minutes of fumbling around to figure out how to access the extras. Basically, you let the film start playing, then press the 'Up' arrow on your handset and a pop-up menu appears that asks if you want to continue watching the film or go to the extras, then you use the other arrows to navigate through the extras while the film continues to play under the pop-up menu. Once you've selected an extra by pressing 'Enter', the movie stops and you jump to your selection.
I've never come across a menu selection quite as weird as this - in fact, for a while I was convinced the disc was defective! So full marks for the movie and extras, points lost for the baffling disc design.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 2002
I remember my parents watching Twin Peaks when I was little and we had the soundtrack, a haunting, melodious collection of music that had me spellbound when I first heard it. However it wasn't till I was older and saw Blue Velvet that David Lynch began to take over my mind. . .
If you've never seen David Lynch this is a good place to start as it has a combination of his trademark obscurity (seen perhaps best in Eraserhead, Lost Highway and Twin Peaks FWWM) and a reasonably linear structure (though not as coherent as The Straight Story), so incorporating some of the finest techniques of his work. The plot is bizarre, complex and perverse leaving unanswered questions and disturbing imagery firmly impressioned on the mind. Blue Velvet creates a remarkably hokey smalltown American town and explores the sinister mechanics behind the seemingly placid facade. No one else can combine tacky diners, convenience stores, picket fences and tweeting robins with the sadomasochistic underworld quite like Lynch can.
Watch it and you'll never forget it. Watch any more of his films and you'll never think about cinema the same again!!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2005
Certainly David Lynch's best film and one of the best films ever made.
I'm not sure that it is best seen on DVD - it works best in the cinema but failing that a very dark room. This is a film that you need to engage with; it is not one to watch in bits and pieces or with interruptions.
It is a beautiful film - full of amazing imagery and fantastic cinematography - it is also very dark and disturbing film but laced with humour and many funny moments.
Dennis Hopper steals the show as Frank but he is well supported by Isabella Rossellini and Dean Stockwell. The two main characters Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern are wooden but this is strangely effective.
Not for the faint hearted but recommended to all those brave enough.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2014
The film is shocking, brilliant, twisted, nightmarish! But, you'll probably already be a fan anyway. This review, is really to warn everyone about Amazon's "Exclusive" Blu-Ray release, which is a nightmare for all the wrong reasons.
As others have already pointed-out, firstly this is absolutely NOT a Director's Cut, nor a Special Edition of the film in any way, shape or form! What you actually get is:
Disc 1 - The standard, much-loved 121 minute Theatrical Version of the film, in a nice, but nothing special 16:9 format, in the original 2.35:1 ratio, with a DTS HD Master Audio audio track in either 5.1 or 2.0. You also get about 2 hours of extras, which I have to admit, are pretty good. There's a 71-minute making-of documentary, plus a 45 minute interview with Dennis Hopper, some Outtakes and a featurette lasting less than a couple of minutes, of Roger Ebert's fairly scathing review of the film.
Disc 2 - This is the misleading part. Here you get the 52 minutes of "lost" material. They're not put into the film. They've not been contextualised in any way. And they're not in any particular order either. The Outtakes featurette is duplicated on here as well, for some odd reason, too.
If you don't own BLUE VELVET on Blu-Ray, then this edition IS worth purchasing. However, it's been horrifyingly misrepresented and missold by Amazon.co.uk, as being something it absolutely is not. And that is why I, and many others, have returned their copies in anger and frustration.
There's one more thing: Disc 1 is a measly 25gb-sized disc. This means that more than four hours of content have been crammed onto a Single Layered Blu-Ray disc. Whilst the film looks fairly good, it's not perfect. If Amazon, Scanbox and High Fliers Films had gotten their act together, and presented this film properly, with both the Theatrical Cut and Director's Cut's (including all the "lost" footage re-inserted back into the film in its proper order and place), and put the films on 50gb discs, along with all of the extras, then I think most people would be raving about this disc.
Sadly, it's a real pig's ear of a release, (no pun intended!), and Amazon really do need to pull this release immediately, or at least stop advertising it as something it definitely is not!
ADDENDUM: It seems that Amazon are now trying to "hide" this release from public sight. If you do a normal search for "Blue Velvet" on Blu-Ray, you will NOT find this new release come-up! The only way to access it now, is by using the following weblink...
I wonder why it's gone into hiding? Maybe we should call in Agent Cooper for that answer! ;)
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2004
The term post modernism is used so loosely these days, David Lynch however secures the winning title of a post modern piece of film.
A mixture of narcotic fuelled sex and violence, drugs and alcohol abuse contrasted with the aesthetics of a 1940/1950`s exterior. The stranger would think nothing of this little town within America but look through the voyeuristic eyes of Jeffrey and you will be sucked into a world not even you could imagine.
This film isn`t for the faint hearted but is a genuine masterpiece from the movie genius that is David Lynch.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2013
I waited around some time before buying the Lynch UK Blu-ray releases from Universal, because there were infamously initial problems with some of the discs which prompted drastic revisions to what had been released. Anyway, having picked up the four films I was interested in recently (Lost Highway, Twin Peaks, Eraserhead, and this one, Blue Velvet - yes, I could have bought the boxed set but I like the individual packaging and couldn't face Dune again...) I'm on the whole pretty pleased.
Blue Velvet does not need much introduction, suffice it to say it's a fairly disturbing, at times darkly humorous, tale of murder, voyeurism, degradation, and love. Maybe a few other things too - there's a lot going on in here, which makes it ripe for repeat viewings. Dennis Hopper's screwed up performance is one of the things most people remember, and as far as David Lynch's 'weird' films are concerned, this is probably one of his most accessible, where the weirdness is kept in check, just about within the realms of acceptability as far as most film fans are concerned I would imagine. Pretty much buried on release in the mid-eighties, it's since gone on to accumulate quite a bit of respect and cult love.
The Blu-ray presents the film with a full HD image (running at 24 frames per second thankfully) at approximately 2.39:1 widescreen. At first I thought the dark scenes were too dark, but comparison with the DVDs that have gone before it reveals that they all seem to be about the same, suggesting creative choice at source rather than transfer issues. I've heard that the US Blu-ray contains marginally better resolution of the darker scenes but haven't seen this to verify it myself. The lighter scenes (particularly exterior) are where the HD shines and outclasses the DVDs, with a fair bit more detail, depth, and colour fidelity. The largely front-based audio mix is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 (as is the US Blu), sounding very good with the nicely selected range of music and typically grim Lynchian soundscape. Vocals are limited by the recording technology of the era, naturally, but probably come across as good as they ever can here.
The extras are very nice, with an interesting difference between the UK and US Blu-rays (possibly down to territorial rights issues?). Firstly, and most importantly, there is an excellent feature length documentary (Mysteries of Love, in SD) which contains wonderful snippets of interview footage with Lynch, as well as many of the other people involved in the production of course. I find Isabella Rossellini fascinating to watch - aside from being strangely attractive she is uncannily reminiscent of her mother, Ingrid Bergman. This runs to about 70 minutes. Then there is a couple of minutes of Siskel and Ebert arguing about the film, again on both discs. We get a few minutes of Lynch 'vignettes', which I'm not sure about the point of, plus a couple of minutes of outtakes, and a few trailers. Finally, and the significant difference between the two discs that could sway a purchase one way or the other: the US disc has a 51 minute outtake/lost footage section (mastered in HD) which the UK does not - this is a great shame and something that I would think pretty much anyone into this film would want to see. There is some compensation, however. The UK Blu has included a 50 minute talking head interview with Dennis Hopper (filmed in 2000 I believe) where he talks for about 10-15 minutes about Blue Velvet before moving on to his other films and endeavours. It's a good watch with Hopper coming across as a fairly non-arrogant chap with lots of fine stories to tell. This one isn't on the US disc. I suppose given the choice I'd rather have the lost footage, but the price of the UK disc along with the Hopper interview sweetens the deal somewhat.
Overall I think this is a fine service to the film, the Blu-ray (UK or US) being the best way to watch it, backed up by a substantial set of extras whichever one you go for.