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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Brazil Criterion Collection
Brazil Criterion Collection
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Review by Jeff Field | posted January 15, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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Features:
Disc 1: New Widescreen 142 Minute Director's Cut, Audio Commentary by Terry Gilliam, English Subtitles, Dolby Surround.
Disc 2: What is Brazil? 30 Minute on-set Documentary, The Battle of Brazil, a 60 Minute Video History, Featurettes with the Writers, Production designers, and costume designers, Story Boards for Gilliam's original Dream sequences, Michael Kamen on his score for Brazil, a Study of the Effects, including unfinished effects, Theatrical Trailers and publicity stills.
Disc 3: 94 Minute "Love Conquers All" version done by the studio with all the changes Gilliam refused, from a different beginning to a happy ending. Commentary by Gilliam expert David Morgan.

The Movie: Brazil is Terry Gilliam's Orwellian tale about Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a worker in the Ministry of Information. He inadvertently discovers a clerical error that has caused an innocent man (Mr. Buttle) to be executed instead of the man who was supposed to be, Harry Tuttle (Robert De Niro), a renegade heating and cooling engineer. Lowry gets involved with Tuttle while he pursues the woman of his dreams, Jill Layton (Kim Greist), who was also wanted for "terrorism". In the end Sam's quest pits him against his best friend, Jack Lint (Michael Palin).

Picture and Sound:
The transfer of Brazil is really good, keeping the dark tone of the picture while keeping the picture clear. The sound was also transferred into Dolby Surround extremely well. The picture and sound of the "Love Conquers All" version on disc 3 are the same as the Love Conquers All version of Brazil itself - horrible. However, that hardly matters as I doubt anyone will want to watch the "Love Conquers All" version more than once, and only then with something else to occupy you.

The Extras:
The extras are an interesting insight into the controversial production of Brazil. With a large amount of really interesting extras, this set is the most impressive I've seen so far. The "Love Conquers All" version of the movie that is included on the third disc is one of the more interesting extras, as it shows you what kind of horrible things can be done to a movie when the director isn't there to stop people. Also extremely interesting is the "Battle for Brazil" video that documents the Battle Gilliam fought to get his version of his movie out.

Conclusion:
The Brazil Criterion Collection is a very interesting set, and one of the more impressive Criterion Collection entries to date. For anyone who is a Gilliam fan, it shows perhaps his most impressive piece of work, and how it was almost ruined. For the collector, it's size and depth are also impressive. As for the average viewer, you get a really excellent movie, with great commentary and wonderful extras.

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