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on 8 April 2010
You could say that I had high hopes when buying the blu ray version of Extras-The Special, as I'd previously sold my dvd copy upon hearing about its release. I wasn't disappointed in doing so.

The film was placed into the player and I was greeted with a wonderful high-def menu of Ricky wrapped in christmas lights (the same image used on the american DVD release I believe) a sternly looking Ricky illuminating seemingly in time to the now famous theme song of Cat Stephens- Tea for Tillerman.

It's really difficult to fault the story in any way, as usual Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant deliver line after line of comedic originality that's what's so sought after from the two. It's important also to note that they wrote and directed the film too.

The story follows Andy (Ricky Gervais) as he yearns for a genuine route to becoming a successful actor though is again and again plundered through the mundane routine of cheesy catchphrases and cheap and easy television that attracts in his eyes, the wrong type of followers. Stupid people. Garnering little respect and much humiliation to himself.

Though the story focuses mainly on Andy, other characters play major roles; we are treated to the quirky shenanigans of Andy's agent, Darren Lamb (Stephen Merchant) and his affectionately unintelligent assistant Barry (Shaun Williamson) who provide a lot of the more slapstick jokes throughout the story (note: the jacket incident in which Darren's struggling to get his head out of the jacket with little help from Barry who's just making matters worse by pulling more.)

The film is not entirely about the comedy as Maggie Jacobs (Ashley Jenson) plays the more sombre roles (downgrading apartments,working undesirable jobs, general depression, more tension in her friendship with Andy, etc) which creates more of a well rounded drama like aspect to the film encouraging the viewer to take it a little more seriously. Quite a moving scene was Rickys tearful performance towards the end, his final breakdown so to speak. It was a wonderful insight into the dynamics of his character and lends much more credibility to himself as an actor and shows what he's really capable of in terms of performance.

Of course, like any other Extras episode, we are treated to the usual celebrity appearances. A few that stick out in mind are Gordon Ramsey (the verbal assault between himself and Andy was truly phenomenal!) and George Michael, who's seen in the gay area of the park smoking a spliff and finishing his kebab before chucking into the park bin. Gervais and Merchant's marvellous idea of celebrities playing into their own stereotypes always earns a good laugh.

It's blu ray transformation is remarkable. The 1080p HD quality is definitely noticeable and is what makes the whole purchase seem so necessary. The Extra features are of course, bountiful in true Gervais tradition featuring:

Commentary with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant

Extras: Your questions answered

The real Extras with Karl Pilkington

Deleted Big Brother scenes

and outtakes

It's disappointing that there's no new features that's exclusive to the blu ray.

Any fan of Gervais and Merchant will appreciate this latest addition into their collection. Recommended.
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on 6 October 2009
Closer to a full length movie than another episode of a highly successful TV series, "Extras - The Special" is a funny, superbly acted and, in the end, genuinely thought provoking exploration of what TV fame is all about.

As in the two preceding series Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Ashley Jensen and the wonderful "Barry" are a brilliantly effective comic combination but, unlike many other "specials" which simply re-tread what's gone before, they take their roles and their stories to much deeper levels that provide real insights into how the successes & failures of what's served up on our TVs each night impact on those involved. Bitingly critical of the whole celebrity bandwagon and, probably, closer to the truth than we'd like to believe, the trick - which they pull-off wholly successfully - is to make us laugh at its excesses while making us question the sanity of what's going on in a business where "fame" has become an end in itself, where people will do anything to get it & keep it, and where broken dreams litter the floor.

And, as in the previous episodes but in this case even more pointedly, the celebrities they wheel in for their cameo turns seem oblivious to the self-parody of their roles - witness Lionel Blair's and George Michael's appearances which beg the question whether they're so desperate to get exposure in a high ratings show such as "Extras" that they're prepared to allow themselves to be degraded in this manner... which, of course, is exactly the point that Gervais & Merchant are making.

Black comedy doesn't get any better than this and, in addition to being a superb way to end an already excellent series, "The Special" is, on its own, a highly effective and very funny insight into people's aspirations & motivations in a very strange world that, thankfully or not, most of us will never experience.
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on 3 November 2008
I couldn't wait to get my hands on this Blu-ray. Content-wise, pure brilliance. It's a really great show, and this TV film in particular shows off both Ricky & Steve's talents as writers & actors.

My only drawback from it, while it says on the cover "Video: 1080p", it is actually mastered in 1080i. Quite unfortunate as the movement isn't too great because of this.

Other than that, fantastic.

Adam
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on 14 November 2008
This is a brilliant, funny special from Christmas 2007, my player states it is 1080P but I can't find the DTS-HD sound only standard DD5.1, also had some playback issues on the Samsung BD-P1500, it would freeze my player after the Universal logo.

Managed to get round this by pressing stop twice and then disc menu, I had the same problem on two discs.

5/5 for the comedy, 3/5 for the disc it's self the cover doesn't appear to be telling the truth.
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on 6 June 2010
The quality of the picture is pretty impressive. Considering that the DVD is only 99p less, I would say this is definately worth the money.

As for the show, it was brilliant. I remember watching it on telly and being quite touched.
This was just as true on my second watching of the special, maybe even more so.
There are some really bitter-sweet moments in this.

Something that took me back was Ricky Gervais's performance. He is obviously quite a talented peformer but before this, some may have questioned his range. This should no longer be the case. He pulls a really believable character from Andy Milman. It isnt just Ricky Gervais in a cameo.
The Celebs they picked to end the show were perfect. (with George Michael giving a great parody of himself)
Overall, a real bargain and great purchase.
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on 20 December 2008
As already stated in a previous review, playback would freeze after the Universal logo. When frozen, pressing the stop button twice, then the disc menu button resolved this. As this problem is not just isolated to me, then it's 3 stars for the product - but five stars to the reviewer who helped give me a workaround!!
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on 7 March 2016
Just very funny. That is all!
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on 1 May 2016
Perfect.
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on 2 April 2009
Extra's the special. I am a big fan of Ricky and absolutly loved Extra's the series. It is positively brilliant. This special is even more so. The idea of letting celebrity's act in the show is amazing. Even if you are not a big follower you would have a blast watching the show. I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. But then again it could be just me because i love British comedy and Gervais is one of the leading personality's in tv land these day"s.
Well done Ricky "are you aving a laf" Gervais.
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