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The Bottom Shelf by Adam Jahnke

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Blue Velvet: 25th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

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Blue Velvet: 25th Anniversary Edition
1986 (2011) - MGM/Fox

Since the release of Inland Empire in 2006, David Lynch has been busy pursuing pretty much everything except feature filmmaking. He's been an advocate for transcendental meditation, developed an active online presence, introduced his own signature blend of coffee, and most recently, released his first solo album as a musician, Crazy Clown Time.

For his entire career, Lynch has done basically whatever he's wanted to do and clearly that's never going to stop. If he wants to write, sing and record a CD of experimental synth-pop tunes, he'll do just that. But whether you love or hate Lynch's recent pursuits, it's hard not to wish that he'd get behind a camera again, especially after revisiting his 1986 breakthrough film, Blue Velvet.

I wrote extensively about Blue Velvet back in 2002 in my review of the special edition DVD, so if you're interested in my thoughts on the movie itself, they're just a click away. Fans will be happy to know that Lynch was heavily involved with this new 25th Anniversary Blu-ray release, personally supervising the new 1080p transfer. The results are absolutely stunning. The colors are gorgeous and vivid, while the fine details are extraordinary. You feel like you could reach out and touch the blue velvet curtains that sway beneath the opening and closing credits. The audio, presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, is immersive without losing any of its subtlety. I don't think "In Dreams" has ever sounded as good.

Most of the special features from the previous DVD release have been brought over to the Blu-ray, albeit in standard definition. Key among them is the outstanding 70-minute documentary Mysteries Of Love. Other holdovers include the Siskel and Ebert review, the trailer and two TV spots, and brief interview snippets previously hidden as Easter eggs, now collected under the title Vignettes. The DVD also included a photo gallery and that has not been included on the Blu-ray.

But the big news is the inclusion of almost an hour of recently discovered lost footage. The DVD's "deleted scenes" were reconstructed through still photographs, as the actual footage couldn't be found. Now we finally get to see the real deal (in HD, no less) and it's fascinating. Most of the scenes flesh out the back story of Kyle MacLachlan's character, Jeffrey. We see him at school getting the news about his father's health and learn about his rocky relationship with his girlfriend (played by Megan Mullally!). Lynch did the right thing by cutting these scenes, not because they're bad but simply because they aren't necessary. Still, it's great to finally see them. Also new to the Blu-ray are some brief outtakes, nothing earth-shattering but still fun to see. One odd thing about the disc, which seems to be common among MGM catalog titles: there is no main menu. The movie just starts and plays again afterwards on an endless loop. You need to use a pop-up menu to access the controls.

With a noticeable improvement in video and audio and the inclusion of the lost footage, Lynch fans shouldn't hesitate in upgrading Blue Velvet to Blu-ray. Watching it again, I understood a bit more why Lynch walked away from filmmaking. Sad to say, there isn't a place for his unique sensibility in today's market. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to make Blue Velvet today. His voice is sorely missed and I hope that someday, it will come back. If David Lynch wants to make a movie, nobody should be able to tell him he can't.

Film Rating: A-
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): 17/18/A

Dr. Adam Jahnke

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