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Criterion Collection: Brazil [Blu-ray] [1985] [US Import]

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: Collector's Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009D004X6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,007 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
If, like me, you're a big fan of Terry Gilliams' Brazil then do yourself a favour and avoid the UK Blu ray editions of this magnificent film and pick up the US Criterion version. It is, head and shoulders, the best edition out there at this time.

I like to think of Brazil as Terry Gilliams' take on George Orwells' 1984. Certainly more humorous than the magnificently bleak 1984 it is a definite study of the insanity of bureaucracy and totalitarian states. Boasting incredible production design, beautiful sets, a great cast including De Niro and Ian Holm and a quite wonderful score from Michael Kamen, Brazil is a modern(ish) classic.

While the transfers of the movie are apparently, almost, if not entirely identical (and the film does look as good as I've seen it) it's the extras on offer on the Criterion release that win the day.

First up a brilliant, as always, commentary from Gilliam, a half hour documentary entitled What Is Brazil?, The Production Notebook, which is a collection of discussions, visual essays and unfilmed storyboards and the 'Love Conquers All' version which was edited for syndicated TV and is interesting but clearly a watered down version. BUT.....best of all we have The Battle For Brazil documentary which is just a fascinating look at the troubles the film had in getting a release. Thankfully Brazil was released. And for me, it's Gilliams' masterpiece. Thank you Criterion for such an exhaustive package covering a brilliant film which is still influencing directors today.
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Format: DVD
i saw this film or rather both version s on the criterion three disc set and its weird but very enjoyable especially kim griest dont buy the one disc version get the criterion one two diffrent versions plus the third disc has special features each film has a informative commentary on it especialy the edited version by a film historian well worth getting
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By A Customer on 15 Nov. 2003
Format: DVD
Terry Gilliam is one of my all-time-favourite directors. From a contemporary stand-point at least, the Python films were his least ambitious adventures, even though they were perhaps his funniest. It was after he left the fold of that inimitable crew that he really came into his own, not just as 'the-guy-who-did-those-funny-British-pictures', but as one of the greatest film maestros to ever walk the face of the earth.
Brazil is one of his crowning achievements, from a contemporary stand-point or otherwise. The story encapsulates every pessamistic idea ever dreamt up by the world's grumpiest old men, Orwell's '1984' being the most obvious. What Gilliam brings to this tried and tested form is not the usual straight-laced satirist tendancies, but instead the creation of a somewhat opaque and entirely interpretable cinematic world simply derived, rather than copied from works such as Orwell's.
The protagonist, Sam Lowry, is unhappy for sure; trapped even. But he never displays the same reactionary zeal that Smith develops in '1984'. There is a certain resignation to Lowry's character; a symptom of the society that he was born into, but also it seems, a symptom of his own unshakably sheepish nature. Jonathan Pryce, as usual, never falls short of the director's vision, persistantly surprising us with just how cowardly he can be, whilst at the same time seeming to constantly ask, "well, what would you do?".
Robert DeNiro is tremendously funny as Harry Tuttle; a superbly realised character, classified in my mind as a 'guerilla heating engineer'. This fellow is the epitome of a rebel in an oppressive world; lots of thumbs-up and 'cheer up, champ' kind of behaviour. Fantastic.
The film meets, at it's ending, with it's originators.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
A great job on re-releasing the best film ever .This is the one to buy.Fab, fab, fab
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 314 reviews
166 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gilliam classic remastered worth picking up (this review is for the single disc edition DVD) 15 Sept. 2006
By Wayne Klein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Terry Gilliam's classic satire returns to DVD in a spiffed up edition from Criterion. Featuring a high definition anamorphic remaster the picture looks great (and it has been enhanced for 16x9 TVs so it will fill the screen)the sound has been remastered as well. Is it worth picking up again? Absolutely if you're a fan of the film. The single disc edition is basically the same as the first disc in the three disc set--it includes Gilliam's commentary track as part of the package as well as the "Final Cut" version of the film that runs 142 minutes (vs. 131 for the regular DVD release).

The good news is that unlike the previous edition,"Brazil" has been digitally remastered with special attention paid to cleaning up the film so we don't have all the bits of dirt and debris that occasionally marred the original DVD transfer (which was essentially a DVD transfer of the original laserdisc version).

If you purchased the three disc set and want to upgrade you could just pick up this single disc edition as the extras are exactly the same as the previous edition (unless you want the remastered "Love Conquers All" 92 minute edit done by Universal to make it more commercial). Be aware though that the single disc edition doesn't have any of the material from the third disc of the boxed set. That disc documented the insanity that surrounded the film when Universal deemed it not commercial enough.

Why it took Criterion so long to get this new improved version to market is anyone's guess (and why it took them so long to adopt anamorphic transfers as well). This really is the way it should have been released in the first place. Either way this edition looks and sounds great. It has a terrific commentary track by director Gilliam, an essay but no other extras.
222 of 247 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the reason DVD was invented 27 Nov. 1999
By John DiBello - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Three discs? *Three* discs? That's what you're probably thinking if you're looking at this and *not* a fan of one of the finest films of our time. But this exquisite three-disc treatment is probably the best argument for DVD (and thankfully, for Criterion) that I can give you: Watch these discs, listen to the extensive audio commentary, compare Gilliam's brilliant vision with the Hollywood Studio "Love Conquers All" bastardization, er, sorry, recutting (how many directors would include a admittedly contradictory vision of his film on a DVD set just to *show* how Hollywood can drastically reshape a vision?), watch the documentary...you'll come away from this boxed set experience understanding more about film and directing, and sadly, studio politics, than you'll ever get from reading "Variety" (certainly more than I got from filmmaking college courses!) At the heart of it all, though, the many extras and made-with-care package would add up to nothing if the original film itself weren't so bloody brilliant. There's very few modern *directors* who will pull me into the box office just to see a new film...Gilliam is one of them. Even his flops or misfires are more interesting than most. But when he hits on all cylinders (excuse the mixed metaphor) as in "Brazil"...the result is purely sublime. Bravo to Gilliam; bravo to Criterion for giving us the definitive home version of the film(s)--a version impossible on VHS. I love my DVD player!
371 of 417 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but what about this Criterion box set itself? 7 Jan. 2004
By Daniel L Edelen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
There are a million different takes on the actual movie "Brazil," but what I hope to do in this review is actually rate the collection put together by Criterion.
The 3-DVD box set of "Brazil" starts off with the "final final" director's cut of the film, topping out at 142 minutes. (There are eight minutes of footage added to this release.) The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 dimensions. Fact is, the transfer of the movie is so-so.
For all the Criterion hoopla, the print here is flawed. The notes pay tribute to a few digital scratch removers, but I was truly surprised by the amount of garbage in the print (dirt, empty spots, and such) that litter the frames. One of Sam's initial dream flights has considerable gunk inhabiting the lower left corner, and any frame by frame analysis will reveal an endless parade of bits of stuff inhabiting every shot. To be honest, I expected a lot more here and if there is any criticism of this collection, it lies with this fault primarily. They could have cleaned everything up considerably more than they did. And that's a shame at this price.
Colors and contrast in the print look good, though, and the sound is fabulous. They pulled out a full stereo soundtrack and made it sing, so kudos there, too. The sound is clean and vibrant.
The booklet detailing the film is good, but not the best I've seen, even for a lesser boxset. The content listings for the other two DVDs are little more than a single overview sheets.
Director Terry Gilliam's commentary track on the first disc is priceless and fascinating, almost worthy of the cost for the set alone. As a film geek, I personally find all director commentaries to be interesting, so I may not be the best judge. In this case, though, Gilliam gives us a rich look at the film that stands up to the best of other directors's commentaries I've heard.
Criterion's skimping on the booklets is made up for in the second disc, which contains all the background of the film. "The Battle of Brazil" is the high point as Gilliam and some of the Universal Studios execs discuss the crazy backstory that almost led to the demise of the film as we know it. The film's handlers and financiers all fretted that they had an arthouse piece that would go nowhere, but Gilliam refused to make the desired cuts or to swerve from the darkness of the ending. It wasn't until he managed to sneak a final edit of the movie to the Los Angeles Film Critics organization that he was able to outduel the execs. When the critics lauded the film and lavished their prizes on it, the naysayer's bluff was called and the film was released, albeit to only modest box-office that barely made back its money. Film critic Jack Matthews hosts this slightly more than an hour examination of the battle between the creative forces and the forces of pragmatism.
The second DVD also includes "What is Brazil?" - a mostly throwaway behind the scenes look at the making of the film that features the cast and some of the writers. I didn't find it particularly illuminating.
The big disappointment in the second DVD is that many of the production notes covering the design, special effects, score, and more are not filmed, but simply text. I wanted more than that. Somewhat disappointing. There are some good insights into the flying effects in the dream sequences, though. That much of it was model work is simply amazing.
The last DVD features the bowdlerized, 94 minute TV syndication release of the film dubbed "Love Conquers All." This happy ending version was done apart from Gilliam and probably represents what the studio heads had hoped would be the released version. "Execrable" is too kind a word to use to describe this version. Critic David Morgan's commentary notes all that was left out, and a few scenes that were added back in. While this version isn't worth your time, it is worthy of inclusion in the set, fleshing out the madness that almost killed the movie entirely.
I have always considered "Brazil" to be genius, frankly. As a dystopia, the world it portrays out-Orwells them all. If you hate bureaucracy--and who but bureaucrats doesn't--then this is the film for you. And only Gilliam would be daring enough to make a renegade HVAC repairman a mythically heroic addition to that world.
Plenty of people don't get this movie and I don't know why. Roger Ebert loved "Dark City," but passed on "Brazil," inexplicably, so even critics aren't perfect. Many of today's films owe much to "Brazil" and that alone makes it important.
In the end, three stars for the package and five for the film itself. The lack of a more pristine print subtracts two full stars from what would have otherwise been a perfect review, however. Criterion's boxset, though flawed, is still the best way to experience the film, so if you are a fan of "Brazil" or Gilliam's work, this is the only way to fly.
52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Should Do All Universal DVDs 17 Mar. 2000
By dontask01@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Just a warning, but if you buy the non-Criterion Collection version of Brazil, you are getting the 2 hour, 11 minute American release, which is what people got in theatres in America in 1985, in other words, the Universal Studios domestic release.
If you buy the Criterion Collection Version, you get two movies, neither of which is 2 hours, 11 minutes long! The first disc is the International Release from 1985, as distributed by Fox, which is 2 hours, 22 minutes long. The other disc is the 94 minute cut (abomination, what have you) created by Sid Sheinberg and Universal Studios.
Again, even the standard release of the Brazil DVD is a product of Universal butchering, which, while it allows for a dark ending, cuts a couple of scenes at the end that help to tie the film together. If you have not seen all 142 minutes (2 hours, 11 minutes) of Brazil, you have not been to Brazil...
Universal has continued to disappoint me with sub-standard DVD releases (the Jerk and The Sting, both full screen and poor digital transfers, Dune in its shortened domestic release, and many more), which brings me to my original point, which is that Criterion, who's special edition DVDs are consistently wonderful, should do all of Universal's DVDs, and put us out of our misery.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coffee with your toast? 17 Sept. 2006
By Michael Valdivielso - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Brazil is about a future. A future which is full of shiny machines that don't work. Smart houses that don't get power. A bright future that can't reach the goals set for it. Food ordered by the number and lifts that get stuck. Numbers for names, shoe hats, cameras that look like eyeballs and volley ball games all mixed together. We don't even know where the story is really placed. While Tuttle was wanted it was Buttle who was arrested. The government isn't evil as much as it is just bureaucratic and paranoid. They want to do what is right, what is practical, to protect everybody but it seems to turn out all wrong and everybody ends up being hurt.

The totalitarian state in the film is under attack from both outside forces in the form of terrorism and from inside forcees in the form of its own incompetence and tons of red tape. Ugly, twisted, clean and bright all at the same time. I liked the nice computers and the offices that reminded me of MiniTruth from 1984. The movie was directed by Terry Gilliam and much of the feeling and landscape is based on the early the 20th Century's ideas of what the future was to look like, such as Fritz Lang's vision in Metropolis, mixed with the influences of witch trials, Victorian architecture, and IRA bombings.

The point of view is mostly from Sam, a geek, a nobody, a cog in the machine, who is just trying to survive. Jonathan Pryce's character goes from happy to unhappy, from unhappy to insane, from insane to happy. Starring along side Mr. Pryce is also Michael Palin and Robert De Niro. While made in 1985 it holds up pretty well. The commentary by Terry Gilliam is from 1996 and very detailed while also wonderful to listen to.
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