DVD Reviews

Animal House - Blu-ray Review

By Jeff Swindoll Jul 27, 2011, 19:15 GMT

Animal House - Blu-ray Review

Celebrate "seven years of college down the drain". John Landis directs the legendary John Belushi as John "Bluto" Blutarsky in this outrageous spoof of 1960s campus life that follows the adventures of the Delta House fraternity as they take on Dean Wormer (John Vernon), the sanctimonious Omegas, and the entire female student body. Featuring Belushi in the role that rocketed him to fame, this riotous escapade also stars Kevin Bacon, ...more

Bluto tells me that this is the best that Animal House has looked on home video and I have to trust him since he’s pre-med.  The ultimate college party movie finally arrives in high definition so rev up the Deathmobile and go along for the ride. 

In 1962, Faber College freshmen Lawrence Kroger (Thomas Hulce) and Kent Dorfman (Stephen Furst) are looking to pledge to a fraternity. 

The duo visit the big frat on campus Omega Theta Pi, Gregory Marmaland (James Daughton), the Omega president, Douglas C. Neidermeyer (Mark Metcalf), member and psychotic ROTC captain, make Kroger and Dorfman unwelcome in favor of more simpatico pledges like Chip Diller (Kevin Bacon).  Kent’s brother was in Delta Tau Chi, the worst and most rowdy frat on campus and the bane of Dean Vernon Wormer (John Vernon), the head of Faber. 

They arrive at Delta house to discover the party in full swing and the nick-named members, “Bluto” (John Belushi), ladies man “Otter” (Tim Matheson), his right hand man “Boon” (Peter Riegert), gear-head “D-Day” (Bruce McGill), quiet “Stork” (Douglas Kenney), and sedate frat president Robert Hoover (James Widdoes), caught up in the debauchery. 

Larry and Kent join Delta house and are rechristened “Pinto” and “Flounder.”  When “Otter” seduces the drunken Mrs. Wormer (Verna Bloom) it only toughens the Dean’s resolve to thrown Delta off campus and Omega would be happy to help get rid of them because Otter also has eyes for Mandy (Mary Louise Weller), Greg’s girlfriend. 

Animal House only added fuel to John Belushi’s quickly rising star.  What makes the film one that many generations can latch onto, besides the wild parties… that either you attended (probably not remembering much about them), imagined, or hoped that you may have been invited to, are that all of the characters are archetypes representing many college experiences. 

Everybody can find someone similar to any of them from their college days, unless it was themselves who resembled the particular character (many will claim to be a “Bluto” but may be closer to “Flounder” or “Stork”).  What surprises is that Universal needed a name to greenlight the film and it wasn’t until this star attached his name to the project that the film finally got made.  Belushi?  Nope, Donald Sutherland as the lecherous professor.  Ironic, innit? 

It certainly cemented Belushi as a name to watch, but it was Sutherland’s small part that got the ball rolling.  It made names out of much of the cast as they were virtually unknowns (easier to pay them cheaply before they were famous) but would move on to bigger and better things. 

Animal House is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (1.85:1).    Special features, all standard definition, include the 45 minute “The Yearbook” reunion interviews, a 23 minute “Where are they Now?” faux documentary (mildly amusing) that catches up with our alumni, the 27 minute SceneIt? Animal House edition, the 3 minute theatrical trailer, and U-Control has pop-up content with “Scene Companion” recycling the Yearbook interviews and “The Music” that identifies the music in the film.  I guess Animal House does get some “new” content in those U-Control items, but it’s not exactly anything worthwhile.

Animal House certainly gave birth to a genre of collegiate gross out films and several careers to boot.  Universal has provided a nice transfer, but the special features are nothing new.  There’s a college try with the U-Control (Blues Brothers didn’t get such an attempt), but it falls short. 

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