DVD REVIEW: Brazil

The Criterion Collection
Movie •••• Picture/Sound ••••½ Extras •••
Criterion previously issued Brazil (1985) in a deluxe three-disc set that not only offers the 142-minute director's cut but also the truncated "Love Conquers All" version and a ton of extras. The only problem is that the picture is letter-boxed, so on a widescreen TV you get small images centered in a 4:3 box with black bars above and below. Thankfully, that problem has been remedied here with a new anamorphic transfer that fills the entire screen with sharp and crisp images. All the gadgets and duct pipes that clutter and strangle Terry Gilliam's nightmarish futuristic society are clearly visible. Although colors are often muted, occasionally there are scenes with a stunning variety of bright hues. The remastered Dolby Surround sound-track is full-bodied, with most of the mix placed in the front. When the surround channels do kick in during one of the many explosions or action sequences, they're very effective.

This single-disc release comes with Gilliam's genial and insightful commentary, but that's all. If you already have the old three-disc set, you might want this DVD as an update. But if you don't have it, the anamorphic transfer is also included on a new three-disc set replicating all the extras from the previous edition. [R] English, Dolby Surround; letterboxed (1.78:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.

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