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Clerks (Blu-ray Review)

9 Nov, 2009 By: John Latchem


Street 11/17/09
$39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ extensive use of extremely explicit sex-related dialogue.
Stars Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonhauer, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith.


Kevin Smith’s 1994 debut film Clerks isn’t exactly a bastion of picture quality. Shot for less than $30,000, with most of that going to music rights, the film has gained a following not for its visual style, but for its dialogue and characters. With its grainy, black-and-white image, Clerks seemed like a less-than-ideal candidate for a Blu-ray transfer.

For the 2004 Clerks 10th Anniversary set, Smith cracked wise about how bad Clerks looks on simple DVD. In extras on the Blu-ray, he jokes about Clerks being a waste of the technology, saying that if Blu-ray is Superman then Clerks is its Lex Luthor.

Well, it is what it is. The end result is perhaps the best that could be expected. Given the grain, the Blu-ray doesn’t look that much different from an upconverted DVD.

The 15th anniversary Blu-ray edition of Clerks includes all the extras from the Clerks X three-DVD set, all squeezed onto one BD disc. Unfortunately, the trivia track hasn’t been updated.

Two versions of the film are included: the theatrical cut and the longer rough cut that played at early festivals before Miramax bought the film. Only the theatrical cut is offered in HD.

Smith’s fans will like having the rough cut for comparison, but I would have preferred the deleted scenes also offered separately, as they were on the original DVD from 1999. The rough cut, of course, offers the alternate ending that kills off a main character. Without the scene, the film spawned Smith’s View Askewniverse franchise covering five additional films, including 2006’s Clerks II.

The only new extra is Oh What a Lovely Tea Party, an 87-minute documentary by Smith’s wife about the making of 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Smith says he insisted on including it so fans wouldn’t feel ripped off by the Blu-ray, but its inclusion is doubly ironic since the 2006 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Blu-ray is pretty devoid of bonus content.

Note: Clerks and Chasing Amy are also available with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back as part of The Kevin Smith Collection on Blu-ray Disc for $89.99.



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