Thelma & Louise: Special Edition/Gold Edition (1991)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Audio Commentary-Ridley Scott (Director)
Audio Commentary-Geena Davis (Act), Susan Sarandon (Act) & Callie Khouri (Wr)
Featurette-The Last Journey
Featurette-Original Promotional EPK
Multiple Angles-Storyboard Sequence - The Final Chase (1 x 2)
Featurette-Home Video Preview
Music Video-Part Of Me, Part Of You
|Year Of Production||1991|
|Running Time||124:11 (Case: 116)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (104:13)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Ridley Scott|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Thelma and Louise was originally released on DVD way back in early 1999. This disc suffered from many problems, in particular extreme aliasing resulting in many scenes being almost unwatchable. For those interested, you can read the original review here. It's worth noting that this original disc currently still resides in the Hall Of Shame as a result of those problems. This is a completely new release, complete with a stack of extras befitting a Special Edition. Hopefully, the problems with the video transfer were sorted out before the extras were worried about.
Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon star as the title characters in the roles that really put them on the acting A-list, female co-leads in a film that attracted a great deal of controversy and comment when released in 1991. Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) decide to take a weekend away from their mundane lives and head off in their convertible for the country. Life for housewife Thelma is ruled by her overpowering yet totally incompetent husband, while Louise has only a loser boyfriend to worry about. When the gals stop in a bar along the way for a quick pit stop and a drink or two, they attract the attention of local cowboy Harland. Now Harland only thinks with one thing (and it ain't his brain) and when he gets a little amorous with Thelma and attempts to rape her in the car park, Louise steps in and after a few hurled insults, shoots the bugger dead. The girls decide that they probably don't want to get caught for this act, despite their innocence and proceed to leg it. So begins the ultimate road-trip-cum-buddy-movie, only this time round we have girls in the lead roles. With a local detective (Hal Slocumb played by Harvey Keitel), hot on the case and the girl's tails, they decide to head straight towards Mexico (the natural destination for all American fugitives). Along the way they encounter a young hitchhiker called JD (Brad Pitt) with whom Thelma is smitten, and have several run-ins with a crass truckie and a highway patrolman. Slowly but surely the noose is tightened as the police and other law enforcement bodies close in. The girls must make some rather major decisions to avoid getting caught. For those that haven't seen this film, and the somewhat unusual climax, I won't spoil it.
Thelma & Louise is a story of how seemingly normal, innocent women can escape the mundane nature of their lives and make decisions under extreme pressure that will have a lasting and permanent effect on them. Sure, some of the men are portrayed as rather pathetic and stupid, but there are also some relatively normal ones too, just like in real life. As Ridley Scott describes in his commentary, the male characters all represent a different aspect of 'maleness'. To proclaim this as a male-bashing exercise as some critics did at the time was just a little wide of the mark and surely short-sighted. This is certainly worth another look (especially now in its proper aspect ratio) for those of you that haven't seen it in over ten years.
I really wish I could say that I was impressed by the video transfer here, for what is an important film, but I wasn't, so I can't. It lacked a certain something and apart from the obvious problems that I'll mention in a moment, I felt like I was watching the film through a tinted window. It just seemed a little dull overall - sort of like being outside when an eclipse of the sun is occurring.
Presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the transfer is also 16x9 enhanced. This is the first time I have seen the film presented in its proper aspect ratio, and I must say that it was a revelation to see some of the wide angle shots in all their glory. Some of the desert scenes are really quite spectacular.
This is a reasonably sharp and detailed transfer that contains solid blacks and shadow detail that does not cross the boundary in terms of clarity. There isn't any edge enhancement. The amount of grain is also somewhat less than I was expecting and rarely becomes a bother. There is no low level noise.
As I noted above, the colours on offer were remarkably dull. It may have been intentional in an effort to portray the harshness of the desert country where much of the action takes place, but for me it was just a bit lacklustre. There are no problems with oversaturation or bleeding.
No MPEG artefacts were noticed, but I wish I could say the same about the film-to-video artefacts, in particular aliasing. From what I can gather, they are not as bad as the original release, but they are still very distracting. Check out the worst examples at 2:23-2:32 on some Venetians, 4:06 on a kitchen hotplate, 6:21 on some car chrome, 30:02 on the sun lounges, 32:21 on some more Venetians, at 41:24 there's a real bad case on some large crop sprinklers, at 65:49 on some more blinds, 69:50 on a power line, and finally at 75:46 on the roof of a shack. Overall, this was the most disappointing aspect of the transfer, and one that I had hoped would have been rectified from the original release. More pleasingly, film artefacts were kept to an absolute minimum and were certainly not obtrusive.
Lots of subtitles are on offer. The two English varieties were sampled extensively and found to be accurate and well presented.
This disc is RSDL formatted. The layer change is remarkably late at 104:13, positioned this far into the film due to the large quantity of extras present on the DVD.
There are three audio tracks on this disc. We get a Dolby Digital 5.1 track at the lower bit-rate of 384 Kb/s. There are also two English audio commentary tracks. I listened to all three tracks in total. The main film track may be remastered from an original Dolby Surround track, but it still betrays its origins on many occasions.
Dialogue is pretty prominent in the overall soundtrack, with no apparent audio sync problems. There are some really badly mixed effects at 36:29. The audio from a television is split over two speakers, with the crowd noise from the ball game coming from the right speaker and the commentary coming from the centre. It sounds very strange.
Hans Zimmer was responsible for the soundtrack. It is very distinctive, but coming from the early nineties with its line-dancing feel and synthesised beat, it is quite dated (you sort of keep expecting Billy Ray Cyrus to suddenly appear). The soundtrack includes the main theme song from ex-Eagle Glen Frey, Part Of Me, Part Of You. There are also numbers from Toni Childs, BB King and Charlie Sexton among others, with the latter scoring a cameo in the early bar scene.
The surround channels receive minimal use, with a few fill-in type sounds. Nothing over-the-top that attracts much attention.
The sub sees a little action. A big explosion or two is well supported, but otherwise musical support is about the limit.
|Surround Channel Use|
A whole swag of extras have been crammed on this disc (perhaps just a little too tightly it would appear), and as a result it certainly earns the title of Special Edition.
Several scenes from the film, presented in a sepia-toned style tint, complete with the aliasing problems that are evident throughout the film. Cropped to produce a narrower picture than the 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the film. It is also not 16x9 enhanced. Quite stylish, though just a little too long when having to watch it for the fifth time.
Same scene as above is repeated, with additional full colour scenes presented in two Polaroid-style windows. Hans Zimmer's theme plays in the background.
Same as above, with each scene in a Polaroid-style window.
The first audio commentary is by director Ridley Scott and is a recycled effort from the original laserdisc issued in 1991. As a result, it is somewhat dated (he refers to his recently finished project, the Demi Moore feature, GI Jane). Not screen-specific all the time, as he discusses his own methods of filmmaking and he rattles of his resume early on and completely ignores the screen action for long periods. He does delve into a great deal of detail about the filmmaking process and certainly for a student of the craft this style of commentary is invaluable.
This is a more light-hearted effort from the two lead actors and screenwriter Callie Khouri. Recorded with Susan Sarandon coming from the left speaker, Geena Davis from the centre, and Callie Khouri from the right. Makes things easier to follow at least, though they each have quite distinctive voices. More screen-specific and obviously recorded recently as there is a heavy dose of nostalgia (or the 'oh yeah I remember this scene' syndrome) pervading the whole commentary. There are few, if any silent spots.
A fairly meaty documentary running for a total of 59:37 minutes. Made in 2001 to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the film, it features numerous interviews with all the main players such as Ridley Scott, Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, Brad Pitt, Callie Khouri, and Hans Zimmer. Areas covered include the Conception, Casting, Production, Performance, Reaction, and Resonance. A substantial and worthy inclusion that highlights just how much effort MGM puts into their special editions by commissioning a documentary such as this. Well worth a look if you are a fan of the film.
The original promotional piece running for 5:21 minutes and presented full screen for both behind the scenes and film snippets. Much of the focus is on the tanker explosion near the climax of the film and as a result shows very little of the real behind-the-scenes action.
Eight deleted scenes running for between 25 seconds and 6:07 minutes. Total running time is over fifteen minutes. Fairly obvious why they were removed as they tend to drag a little, apart from the extended six minute sequence of Thelma and JD rolling around in the motel. The quality is fairly ordinary, though they are at least presented in the proper aspect ratio of 2.35:1.
A multiple angle featurette that runs for 4:25 minutes and shows the final chase scene (without the audio track which has been replaced by music). Angle one shows the rough storyboard drawings, while angle two shows the storyboard juxtaposed against the actual finished scene.
Now this is a real gem. Running for 3:31 minutes, it is available with or without commentary from Ridley Scott. The first minute or so is pretty much the same as the original closing scenes, but then it plays out with a more graphic and visual ending. Presented in the same aspect ratio as the film (2.35:1) it is also 16x9 enhanced. Quality is pretty awful with possibly the largest number and size of film artefacts that I have ever seen. Still a worth a look.
A somewhat cheesy promo for the home video release. Aimed at the video rental business, it shows just what they can expect when they place an order for five or more copies of the VHS tape. Running for 6:33 minutes it also contains a 30 second TV spot at the end. If anything, it just shows how far we've come in a little over ten years in terms of promotional material.
Ex-Eagle Glen Frey and his theme song for the film. It's one of those songs that gains frequent radio airplay while the film is in the cinema and then vanishes jut as quickly as it came. As a result, it has quite some nostalgia value and I always like listening to songs that immediately take me back to the time they were around. Presented in letterboxed 2.35:1 (no 16x9 enhancement), it is catchy and worth a listen. The audio is provided by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.
Clocking in at 1:55 minutes this is the original theatrical trailer. It is presented in an aspect of 1.85:1 with 16x9 enhancement.
Three TV spots, with the first running for 1:01 minutes, and the other two for 31 seconds. All are presented in an aspect of 1.33:1 naturally enough and are very similar to the theatrical trailer.
50 shots that range from behind-the-scenes to action shots, and even some promotional poster material. Runs automatically and takes around 3:18 minutes to get through the lot.
I am unable to find any reference to this Special Edition being released in Region 1. If it is released there I would imagine that the contents would be very similar. For now, I'll obviously recommend the local disc as the preferred version.
Somewhat dated at times, Thelma & Louise is still a film that deserves a revisit if you haven't seen it since its original run at the cinema or release on VHS, and even more so if you have never seen it before at all. Quite original and certainly very very well made.
The video is not without problems. The aliasing in particular is quite disruptive. Overall, I was not overly impressed.
The audio is certainly no modern Dolby Digital 5.1 track, but it does the job and has some excellent songs in the soundtrack.
The extras are substantial, of very high quality and make the overall package well worth the asking price.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|