Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Feb 2, 2010, 15:29 GMT
When a writing assignment lands journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and sidekick Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) in Las Vegas, they decide to make it the ultimate business trip. But before long, business is forgotten and trip has become the key word. Fueled by a suitcase full of mind-bending pharmaceuticals, Duke and Gonzo set off on a fast and furious ride through nonstop neon, surreal surroundings and a crew of ...more
“Perhaps, if I explained things, he'd rest easy.”
What goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless you’re a pair of drug addled loonies then wherever you go madness follows. Hunter S. Thompson’s novel has been attempted to be made into a film since it was published. It would take the divine madman Terry Gilliam to finally make it.
Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his Samoan lawyer Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) have rented a red Chevy Impala convertible and are on their way to Las Vegas. The duo is speeding through the Nevada desert when they’re attacked by bat-like creatures or at least Duke is.
Well, at least the copious amounts of narcotics that both have consumed have Duke seeing bats. They’re on their way for Duke to report on the Mint 400 motorcycle race, but their real purpose is to do as much drugs as they can get their hands on and have a good time on the magazine’s dime.
Hunter S. Thompson’s novel has been itching to be made into a film pretty much ever since the novel was published. Many attempts fell apart, one with Jack Nicholson as Duke and Marlon Brando as Dr. Gonzo sounds like the results would’ve been mythical, but Terry Gilliam would finally succeed in bringing the mad vision to the screen in 1998.
The results are certainly an acquired taste, but if you’re a fan of Gilliam’s brand of lunacy then you’re in for a trip to Vegas that you’re not soon to forget. I’m not familiar with Thompson’s novel, but with what little I know about him I can imagine that it’s as trippy as the film itself.
Johnny Depp actually spent a great deal of time with Thompson to get down his idiosyncrasies as Raoul Duke stands in for the eccentric author (be sure to watch out for the late Thompson, who committed suicide in 2005, in a cameo). Depp portrays a literate, eccentric anti-hero whose onscreen rants and dialogue are extremely quotable.
Do you want to get into a Chevy Impala with him and cruise through the desert? Hell no. Del Toro is perhaps the more sinister force. The duo has some dark comedy (very dark) adventures in the city that never sleeps. These adventures really lead nowhere but Depp’s mad ramblings are somehow fascinating, if you’re into his over-the-top performance.
Terry Gilliam’s dark vision seems well suited to enter into Thompson’s world but the movie doesn’t seem to go anywhere. However, watching Depp and Del Toro get to nowhere is part of the loony fun. If any of that description is not your cup of tea then you’ll probably end up hating the film, but Gilliam fans will consider it nirvana – especially after you’ve taken your “Sunshine Acid” tab before watching.
What may disappoint is that the lion’s share of special features is on the Criterion DVD release of years ago. You get very little in that regard, but I’m not sure that someday Criterion might do a Blu-ray. When the do the visuals look spectacular and fans might want to pick up this version until the day that Criterion gets to it again.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (2.35:1). Special features are in standard definition and include 11 minutes of deleted scenes and the 10 minute “Spotlight on Location.” You disc also has the “My Scenes” bookmarking function, D-Box enhancement, and is BD-Live enhanced. If you’re looking for special features then you’ll have to hold on to that Criterion DVD release.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is an acquired taste. I’d be interested to see what Johnny Depp fans who stumble onto it because of their love for him in Pirates of the Caribbean. I’d imagine they’ll be shocked. However, if you’re a fan of the film then this Blu-ray looks fantastic. Unfortunately, the special features are a bit of a letdown.
Visit the DVD database for more information.
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CBenicio Del Toro Biography -
Benicio Del Toro Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesEllen Barkin Biography -
Ellen Barkin Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesJohnny Depp Biography -
Johnny Depp Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesTobey Maguire Biography -
Tobey Maguire Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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