Top positive review
One person found this helpful
UK Blu(e) Velvet...
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.