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Part of Universal Studios "100th Anniversary" celebrations - there are 15 UK-released titles in this 23 April 2012 BLU RAY and DVD series - and "The Blues Brothers" is one of them - an "Augmented Reality" issue.

So what is "Augmented Reality"? It's a 3D mini-show that's built into the front sleeve of each release. You download the free "Universal 100 App" from their website to your Smartphone or Tablet (iPhone 3GS or above, iPad 2, Android and other high-end devices) - you open the download and hold your phone/tablet over the front sleeve. It wirelessly loads and then begins playing a 3D display that lasts about 20 seconds - in this case you're looking down on both the suited boys dancing on the cover. That's it I'm afraid. The "Jurassic Park" one has a Velocaraptor attacking a Tyrannosaurus Rex while the Rex lets out that distinctive roar. Pretty silly stuff and over as soon as its begun.

As you can imagine this is essentially a 'gimmick' primarily only available to iPhone users and the novelty wears off pretty quickly. Worse - some marketing bright spark has also stuck a lengthy "Lifetime Of Memories" Universal sticker right across the back of each release advertising holidays and prizes you can win - except that it completely covers that part of the back-cover which tells you what BONUSES on the disc. In other words you cannot visually tell what's actually on this release - even as you hold it in your hand! It's a simple mistake - but a staggeringly stupid one - and I'd argue sabotages sales of otherwise excellent titles. For instance this "Blues Brothers" issue has BOTH the Theatrical Release and the Extended Version - a superbly restored print and comprehensive extras - but the packaging doesn't tell you that because it's busy selling you competitions and 3D gimmick packaging that few will see let alone want.

Better however is the 'price' - this is the first time Universal has reissued BLU RAY retailing at less than ten pounds - these singular discs are eight quid in most places - the DVDs two for a tenner. The blue "100th Anniversary" packaging is generic to all 15 titles and the artwork on the disc under the card wrap reflects this also. So what do you get on this BLU RAY?

Despite some grain and bad picture quality as the credits role - when you get to the following sequence where Jake is being paroled from Chicago's Joliet Prison - suddenly both the picture and sound kick in to extraordinary effect. It's really clean and pretty much stays that way for most of the movie. And while the print is beautifully restored in most places - I cannot emphasize enough how good the remastered soundtrack is. When the Henry Mancini "Peter Gunn" guitar riff comes at you as the boys go into the Plymouth Hotel by the overhead rail tracks - or when the Blues Brothers theme plays as they wreck the shopping mall in their 'cop car with cop shocks' - it's just brill - full of power and clarity.

The Extras for "The Blues Brothers" are the same as the Special Edition: "Stories Behind The Making Of The Blues Brothers" from 1998 runs to a pleasing star-filled 55-minutes and is broken down into 14 parts. Second up is a 14-minute "Transposing The Music" featurette that has interviews with Howard Shore (who gave them the name) and keyboardist Paul Schaffer (now with "The Jay Leno Show"). And finally a tribute to John Belushi called "Remembering John" that features his wife Judy and film-star brother James Belushi. It's properly comprehensive stuff and none of it is padded out with excessive film-clip duplication.

I had to double take when I looked at the date on "The Blues Brothers" - 1980? Is it really thirty-two years ago - Jeez Louise! I remember seeing it at the cinema with my mates and being absolutely blown away. Audacious, funny and hip - it had property destruction on an industrial scale, car chases to make your nose bleed, cool black outfits and shades, the cartwheels, the running dance, both Aykroyd and Belushi gelling together so beautifully - and better than anything - the totally killer music that seemed to fill every scene with life and joy.

In fact "The Blues Brothers" literally set off a global phenomenon - the resurgence of interest in old Blues and Soul - and is beloved for it by fans of both to this day. And like "The Big Lebowski" or "Withnail And I" - you know you're in the presence of a cult classic when dialogue- quotes from it pepper the Internet... Kathleen Freeman as the fearsome nun Sister Mary Stigmata nicknamed The Penguin - whacking the boys with a wooden ruler every time they curse "...You come back here with foul mouths and bad attitudes!", the lady at the house when the boys enquire after former members of their band "Are you from the Police? No Mam! We're musicians!" John Belushi in the high-class Chez Paul restaurant asking a snob customer to sell his wife and daughter to him for sex "How much for the little one? I want to buy your women!" When they get into the Bluesmobile (BDR 529) with all manner of State Police after them - "It's 106 miles to Chicago. We've got a full tank of gas, half a packet of cigarettes and we're wearing sunglasses. Hit it!" And of course best of all - the quote that titles this review...their mantra throughout the film for getting the band back together to pay off $5000 worth of debt on the convent they grew up in - "We're on a mission from God..."

Written with aplomb and affection by DAN AYKROYD and Director JOHN LANDIS - and played out by the greatly-missed-madcap JOHN BELUSHI (who had an incredible singing voice as the "I'm A King Bee" extra shows) scene after scene is filled with their love of the Blues in all its forms. The Decca 78" of Louis Jordan's "Let The Good Times Roll" in their tiny Plymouth Hotel room - the picture of the wonderful Atlantic Records star Big Joe Turner on the wall - all great touches.

You also forget about the incredible number of cameos - Frank Oz of The Muppets as the Parole Officer in Joliet Prison reading out the contents of Jake's worldly possessions ("One unused prophylactic - one soiled..."), Carey Fisher of "Star Wars" fame with a rocket-launcher intent on killing Jake for running out on her three years earlier, Twiggy as a Chic Lady, Pee Wee Herman's Paul Reubens as a waiter in Mr. Fabulous' restaurant, pint-sized Henry Gibson from "Saturday Night Live" as a hysterically funny neo-Nazi (the American Socialist White People's Party), Mr. T from the A-Team in the crowd - and you even get Steven Spielberg as a clerk with a sandwich in his mouth in the Cook County Assessor's Office at the end of the movie.

But the film belongs to the music and the superstars of that music - James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker and Cab Calloway - many of who had their fading careers revived by the public's rekindled love affair with Blues, R'n'B and Soul. There's Cab Calloway as Curtis the Janitor in the convent counselling the orphan boys on what to do next ("You get wise! You get to church!"), James Brown as the all-singing all-dancing revivalist preacher Reverend Cleophus ("Have you seen the light!"), Aretha Franklin as the mouthy owner of the 'Soul Food Cafe' in Chicago's Maxwell Street ("There's two honkies out there dressed like Hasidic diamond merchants!"), Ray Charles as the blind proprietor of a pawn shop who shoots two bullet holes in the wall as a street urchin tries to steal a guitar ("Breaks my heart to see those kids go bad..."), John Lee Hooker singing "Boom Boom" and shouting "How! How!" in the street-market and then getting into a row about who wrote it. The backing band Murph and The Magic Tones turn out to be Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Willie Hall, Murphy Dunne and Tom Malone - the guts of Booker T and The MG's - the backing band at Stax. There's harmonica legends Walter "Shakey" Horton and Pinetop Perkins, guitarist Joe Walsh as a prisoner, soul legend Chaka Khan in the Choir, singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop as a chatty State Trooper...and on it goes...

In the end - a movie like "The Blues Brothers" defies description. But like a good secondhand record shop that you stumble on in the city - you're so glad it's still there after all these years - still surviving - still bringing pleasure - still doing the business...

Gimmick packaging or not - dive in on this BLU RAY. (Pun intended) - you'll be 'Soul' glad you did.

BLU RAY Specifications:
VIDEO: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
AUDIO: English DTS 5.1
SUBTITLES: English SDH, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish

1, Both Theatrical and Extended versions of the Film
2. Stories Behind The Making Of The Blues Brothers (14 parts, 55 minutes)
3. Transposing The Music (14 minutes)
4. Remembering John (9 minutes)

PS: for details on Universal's "100th Anniversary" Series in general (both UK and USA) - see the 'comment' section attached to this review...
11 comment| 86 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 August 2011
What can I say about The Blues Brothers... a classic action-comedy-musical and showcase of some classic blues tunes and top-notch musicians, the likes of which would struggle to get made today. This review is for the long-overdue blu-ray release. The packaging doesn't make clear that this includes an extended version of the film, with additional footage only recently discovered. This release suffers from the same problem as The Wicker Man (although to a much lesser extent) in that the additional footage doesn't match the quality of the original theatrical cut. The theatrical footage bears up very well in HD, given the age of the material. However the additional footage was apparently taken from a projection print, and every time the film branches to the additional scenes, there is a noticeable increase in contrast. It's not that noticeable and won't spoil your enjoyment of the film - and the additional scenes are well worth having, particularly the extended John Lee Hooker with JLH arguing with his band at the end of the song :)

Audio-wise, the blu-ray has a standard DVD-quality (i.e. compressed) DTS 5.1 track, which is a little disappointing, given that the packaging advertises a lossless DTS-HD track. However it still sounds damn good - the bass kicking in on She Caught The Katy is just great. The songs are punchy and crystal clear. The DTS engineers have done such a good job on their original DTS codec that you wonder how much better DTS-HD actually is when compared side-by-side.

Overall a great release of a classic film, and a must for any blu-ray collection.
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on 28 January 2006
Firstly, a quick overview of what you get in this 4-disc set.
Disc 1 - The Blues Brothers (as previously released).
Disc 2 - Blues Brothers 2000 (as previously released).
Disc 3 - The Best of the Blues Brothers (as previously released).
Disc 4 - The Blues Brothers: Anniversary Edition (previously unreleased).
I'll be honest, I bought this set simply for the films. The first one is excellent in my opinion, with great comedy, wit, writing, and amazing music. The second is more of a guilty pleasure. Not being as well-made as the first, the songs and comedy are all of the same excellent standard, the songs in particular being very enjoyable, as all the musicians from the original (and then some!!!) are back. The musical talent on display in these first two discs is incredible for those who appreciate music.
Discs 3 and 4, I didn't really know what I was getting here. I was pleasantly surprised with both though, especially disc 3. This features original live concert footage of the band performing when it was just an act on 'Saturday Night Live' back in the late '70s. Soul Man in particular is brilliant, and I'm told it went on to become a number 1. You can see why the Hollywood execs gave them backing for a film off the strength of the performances here!
Disc 4 is just a special edition of The Blues Brothers, but has a nice set of extra features unavailable on the original release (disc 1). Among these are an informative tribute to John Belushi, which really help appreciate more what kind of man he was and the close off-screen relationship he developed with Aykroyd. Also included is a fantastic song-selection feature, which I use a lot!
Highly recommended package, and the price is a bargain for what you get!
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on 27 October 2006
This is a classic movie. Who can resist a musical comedy starring Dan Akroyd and John Belushi? This DVD belongs in your collection alongside all the other classic comedies.

This particular package is a good one. On disc 1 you get the theatrical version of the movie along with a making of bonus feature. On disc 2 you get the extended version of the movie and some bonus features. The features include an introduction to the movie by Dan Akroyd, and a few other features that you'll enjoy.

I recommend that everybody buys this DVD. You'll watch it many many times.
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on 16 September 2006
Disc 1: The Blues Brothers (1980)

The film begins with Jake Blues (John Belushi) being released from federal prison, waiting for him is his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd.) Their first stop is the orphanage they grew up in run by a group of nuns. They are informed that the church has stopped donating funds to run the orphanage, and unless they can pay up $5000 in 11 days it will be closed down. Jake comes up with an idea to raise the money - put the band together. As the band didn't split up on the best of terms and all went their separate ways its up to Jake and Elwood to find and reunite the greatest rhythm and blues band of all time: The Blues Brothers.

This is possibly one of the funniest movies of all time and almost certainly the greatest and most original musical of all time. The comedy is hilarious and rarely do any of the jokes miss their target, this is mainly down to the comedy duo of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, two of the most likeable characters you could possibly watch. The highlight of this movie has to be the songs themselves, coupled with some fantastic choreography and the charisma of the brothers themselves I guarantee each song will have you jumping up and down, singing and dancing along. The list of guest stars is an amazing feat in itself: Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Frank Oz, Steven Spielberg and James Brown to name a few. This movie also managed to break the world record for total number of cars crashed in one of the most over-the-top comedy scenes in the history of cinema only beaten by its sequel Blues Brothers 2000.

It's fair to say this could be the best feel-good movie of all time. It will have you laughing out loud as well as singing along to each and every song. Of course this being a DVD you can simply skip to the next musical number, but why would you want to do that? It's an almost impossible thing to do, one look at those legendary black suits and hats will make watch this movie from start to finish: the comedy moments are fantastic and the car chases superb and stunning musical numbers. If it wasn't for the language I'd recommend this movie to every one of all ages.

Disc 2: The Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)

The sequel begins very similarly to the first one (which to honest can be said for most aspects of this movie) but this time it's Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) who is released from prison, but this time no one is waiting. He is informed that his brother Jake died while in prison. Just like in the first, Sister Mary needs his help, but this time to raise money for a children's hospital. And yes, you guessed it, to raise the money he attempts to put the band together, but this time he has his sight set on the big prize at a battle of the bands contest. To help him on his quest he enlists the help of soulful bartender, Mighty Mac (John Goodman) who is more than willing to come along for the ride.

To say "all the elements of the first film are here" is a bit of understatement, this movie is almost exactly the same as the first, with about seven scenes being exact copies but with a far less compelling storyline and unfunny comedy. This movie feels empty without the charisma and comedy talent of John Belushi: John Goodman is little consolation with only a fraction of Belushi's wit and charm. The only real redeeming feature of this movie is the songs, still not as good as the original, but the songs themselves do give relief from the otherwise dire screenplay.

Fans of the original will most likely hate this movie, but it is still worth a watch. The sequel is definitely more family-orientated with a PG certificate, but if you honestly had to choose one of the films to watch the first would win every time.

Disc 3: The Best of the Blues Brothers (1993)

A documentary on how a Saturday Night Live sketch leads to the creation of possibly the greatest blues band of all time, presented by Dan Aykroyd. It includes the rare footage of John Belushi performing his sketch on SNL that inspired the whole idea of the band as well as some of their many fantastic on-stage performances. Sadly the death of John Belushi is pushed aside in the documentary, it would have been nice to hear more about his life and give you something to remember him by. The documentary itself is quite dull, the musical numbers being the main redeeming feature, but it's worth a watch nevertheless.

If you're looking for any music by the band I recommend purchasing The Definitive Blues Brothers Collection, a fantastic CD with all the songs from the first movie plus many more. If you are ever in bad mood, stick this CD on and I guarantee you'll cheer up as you sing along to the many blues classics.

I'd recommend this set to any lovers of comedy, blues music, John Belushi or Dan Aykroyd, its certainly great value for money with the quality (of the first movie mainly) and the rare documentary on the third disc.

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on 26 July 2007
I love this movie but have only given it 4 stars for one reason. There are extra scenes included, which you get no option over, adding 14 minutes to the movie. Thing is they add nothing and some of them actually ruin the pace. You can understand why they were originally cut. Alas there is no mention of this on the cover, so just be warned.
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on 7 May 2012
I'll keep it short as the other reviewer has done a superb job. This looks and sounds fantastic. Its an absolute joy and a pleasure to watch it again and again. The picture quality is sharp and the colours are vibrant and the sound is better than ever! A classic film just got even better. The extended version is also included here and and though the differences are subtle its great to see them included. What a bargain, well worth it.
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on 24 April 2013
As other reviews have stated, the Blu Ray contains both the original release and the extended "Roadshow" release with additional footage.

The picture and sound quality are very good, fairly surprising because the best audio offered is DTS 5.1. There is no lossless Dolby TRUEHD or DTS-HD MA (despite it saying DTS-HD MA on the cardboard sleeve).

If you're a fan of the film, then this is definitely the version to get, as it offers a significant improvement in picture and sound over the DVD versions.

It's just a shame that Universal didn't include a lossless audio track also, hence me docking 1 star from one of my favourite films.
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on 24 August 2011
Runtime: 148' (Dir. Cut) + 133' (Theatrical).
Region A, B, C.
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p. (Disc size: 48, 3 GB)
AR: OAR 1.84:1
Languages: English only (DTS 5.1).
Subs: English (HoH), Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic.

# Stories Behind the Making of The Blues Brothers (56')
# Transposing the Music (15')
# Remembering John (10')
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on 25 July 2006
I agree with what the other reviewer said about this. However I feel I should point out that I ordered this edition and turned out it was 3 discs- the blues brothers films and the best of. The anniversary edition disc was not included.

It doesn't matter that much but I think that probably comes in the set released in june 2006.

But as movies go the blues brothers is a classic film and had the four disc version not been released you would probably not miss it. I don't think it's worth chasing up the four disc set with the amount of things on the 3 discs
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