Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: The Big Year DVD

The nice publicity folks sent me a review copy of The Big Year DVD on Blu-Ray. I was so excited about seeing the extra features that I watched them all last night, plus I re-watched the movie with the optional narration by John Cleese rather than the theatrical version mostly narrated by Jack Black.

My overall opinion of the movie after watching it a second time is pretty much unchanged since my original review of the movie. I still like the movie overall, so don't let my criticisms below make you think I didn't like it. I like it and I recommend it to birders and to non-birders alike.

Instead of re-hashing my aforementioned opinions, let's discuss the new Blu-ray features. I do prefer the Jack Black narration as it seems to bond the viewer to Brad and his father more than the John Cleese narration.

I love watching deleted scenes for any movie and asking myself why the scene was cut. Sometimes you come across a scene that you wish had remained in the movie, other times it's obvious why it was cut. Most of the deleted scenes were obvious cuts, but I did like the one showing Bostick trying to figure out who else was doing a Big Year. The deleted scene reveals that the large black man and his little white-guy buddy that showed up in several birding locations were in fact Big Year birders, and both were doctors ignoring their practices. Interesting, but I'm glad they cut it. We don't need young minorities thinking they have to be a doctor to be a birder. There was also an alternate ending that had Kenny Bostick going back to his wife and it looks like things are going to work out between them. Again, I'm glad they cut it from the movie, because it would have deflated his villainy and the profundity of his family loss. A couple scenes that I wish stayed in the movie were those that added substance to how the bond between Stu and Brad formed. Stu distracts a suitor from Ellie giving Brad the chance to talk to her. Brad declines a dinner invitation from Stu, but Stu observes him leave the mini-mart with the pretzels and peanut butter.

I did notice a lot more bird errors, and maybe sometime I'll have to take some time and list them all, but I'm sure a few others out there in the birding blogosphere will beat me to it this weekend. The movie credits show the 455 birds that Kenny supposedly saw, but many of the bird species are shown multiple times, so they didn't have a list of 455 separate species. I can't wait to see someone attack this challenge thoroughly. One big movie error was that Stu's son and daughter-in-law announce on New Year's Eve that they were expecting a baby in mid-May. In the movie, the baby is born after an August date is shown on the screen. I think there were some other scene chronology errors related to mention of a season too.

What did you think of the DVD and special features?

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