Blue Velvet appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A new 4K transfer, the movie looked great.
Sharpness was solid. Any softness resulted from the original photography, and those moments remained rare. The majority of the film boasted tight, well-defined elements.
Jagged edges and moiré effects caused no concerns, and I saw no signs of edge enhancement or noise reduction. In addition, print flaws failed to materialize.
Colors appeared very good, which was important for a film with such a wide and bright palette such as this. From the bright reds of the roses at the start to the blues of the titular velvet, all the hues looked rich and vivid.
Black levels felt deep and dense, while low-light shots displayed nice clarity and smoothness. I felt very pleased with this top-notch presentation.
I though the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio provided a good forward soundfield. The soundscape seemed fairly broad and engaging, with nice stereo imaging for music and a reasonably wide range of effects elements. These showed accurate localization and moved around the room well.
The surrounds seemed fairly passive, as they contributed moderate ambience and music but didn’t have a ton to do. That was fine, as this wasn’t a movie that required active surrounds; they added some reinforcement in a satisfying manner.
Audio quality seemed positive, as dialogue sounded distinct and reasonably natural. Some iffy looping occurred, but most of the lines integrated fine.
Music appeared clear and rich, and effects offered fairly good clarity and accuracy. This wasn’t a killer soundtrack, but it worked fine for the material.
How did the Criterion Blu-Ray compare with the 2011 MGM release? Audio felt identical, as I didn’t discern any notable variations from the prior 5.1 remix.
Visuals demonstrated clear improvements, though. The Criterion disc looked cleaner and tighter, and it provided deeper blacks and more dynamic colors. The Criterion release offered a substantial upgrade over its predecessor in the visual domain.
This Criterion release mixes old and new supplements, and we start with a documentary entitled Mysteries of Love. In addition to 1987 clips from director David Lynch and sound designer Alan Splet - who died in 1994 - we find more recent comments from producer Fred Caruso, cinematographer Frederick Elmes, editor Dwayne Dunham, composer Angelo Badalamenti, and actors Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern, Isabella Rossellini, and Dennis Hopper.
The one-hour, 10-minute, 45-second show covers a terrific amount of information. We learn about the movie’s roots and how the actors were cast and then move through Lynch’s early influences and education, what it’s like to work with the director, anecdotes from the set, the real Lumberton, set design, character development, creating the music, reactions to the flick, and much more.
I think the documentary provides too many movie snippets, and the footage from the set isn’t terribly useful, but the interviews seem uniformly excellent, even without new participation from Lynch. “Mysteries of Love” is a fine piece of work.
Under The Lost Footage, we see 53 minutes, 16 seconds of material. Most of the 13 deleted scenes are fairly brief, but we get three extended sequences.
One lets us see Jeffrey at college before he returns home to Lumberton, and it also shows him with his family prior to his introduction in the final film. Another long segment shows Jeffrey and Sandy at the club where Dorothy performs; we watch the acts the precede her. The third extended piece provides Jeffrey’s dinner with Sandy’s family and her boyfriend Mike.
While I’m sure fans will be delighted to check out this material, they shouldn’t expect greatness. These sequences were cut for a reason: they’re slow and usually pointless.
Oh, it’s vaguely interesting to see more of Jeffrey’s life outside Lumberton – especially since the scene hints at his kinkier side – but it goes on far too long with far too little payoff. That’s even more true for the other two long clips, as they do virtually nothing to advance the narrative, and they’re usually pretty dull, though I do kind of like the dog who eats food to the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Maybe someone will find lost gold in this footage, but I think it’s all pretty weak.
With Blue Velvet Revisited, we find a one-hour, 28-minute, 54-second documentary. Shot by filmmaker Peter Braatz on the film’s set, we get a mix of Super 8 footage along with photos and audio recordings by which we get some comments from Lynch, MacLachlan, Splet, Rossellini, Hopper, actors Jack Nance and Brad Dourif and stand-in Christian Dallner.
Called “a meditation on a movie”, this becomes a pretty free-form documentary, one that doesn’t follow an especially concise through-line. We get some good elements along the way, but the show’s looseness can cause frustration.
Room to Dream offers an 18-minute, 17-second audio recording of Lynch. He reads excerpts from the book of that title he co-wrote with Kristine McKenna. Though the notes don’t emerge in an especially logical manner, Lynch covers a mix of domains connected to Velvet in this informative piece.
Two segments appear under Interviews. “Angelo Badalamenti” brings a 15-minute, 41-second chat with the composer.
He discusses aspects of his career and his work on Velvet. Badalamenti brings us a nice collection of memories.
Via It’s a Strange World, we get a 15-minute, 57-second reel that features Peter Braatz, makeup supervisor Jeff Goodwin, on-set props Shaw Burney, 2nd AD Ian Woolf, extras/additional casting Mark Fincannon, Steadicam operator Dan Kneece and actor Fred Pickler.
“World” looks at props, effects, locations, and supporting performances. It touches on domains not typically examined and becomes a satisfying program.
A Test Chart goes for one minute, 16 seconds. It offers a montage of gray barsnexst to the heads – and other body parts of cast and crew. It’s goofy and almost more of a blooper reel.
The package ends with a booklet. It mixes credits, photos and more from McKenna’s writing in Room to Dream. The booklet completes matters well.
Many regard Blue Velvet as a perverse and unsettling classic. I do not, largely because little in it seemed genuinely creepy or scary to me. The Blu-ray delivers excellent visuals as well as very good audio and bonus materials. Although I doubt I’ll ever embrace the film, this Criterion release becomes the best version to date.
To rate this film visit the review of the Special Edition DVD.