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The ‘Burbs: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

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The ensemble cast saves “The ‘Burbs.”

What do an old man (Walter), a family of three (Ray, Carol and Dave), a gun toting food lover (Art), a war vet (Mark) and his wife (Bonnie), and a rock loving young man (Ricky) have in common? They’re all neighbors. Strike that. They’re all nosy neighbors that are suspicious of their eccentric new neighbors the Klopeks. Are their collective imaginations running wild or are the Klopeks really up to something disturbing? That is the question.

Directed by Joe Dante (best known for “Gremlins”), the 1989 “The ‘Burbs” has become a bit of a quirky comedic cult classic over the years. It’s easy to see the appeal given the cast involved (I’ll get to that in a bit), but the script by Dana Olsen isn’t anything to get excited about. For the most part, it’s a pretty one note “Rear Window” esque comedy about suburbia, paranoia, and local legends. It establishes what it is early on and it never strays from it. There’s not much depth or indeed many surprises here, but what the film does have is humor. Not all of the jokes may land, but there’s bound to be something here to make you laugh whether the neighbors are acting like children or a dog is receiving a dramatic close-up.

What really makes “The ‘Burbs” memorable is the ensemble cast which elevates the material. Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, Carrie Fisher, Corey Feldman, Courtney Gains, Wendy Schaal, Henry Gibson, and Rick Ducommun all have memorable characters. One would think that legends like Hanks or Dern would steal the screen here, but it’s the late Rick Ducommun as the fast talking Art who has the film’s funniest and best moments.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? A generally impressive transfer.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The track is a little soft at times, but it comes alive when it needs to (especially when Jerry Goldsmith’s underrated score pops up).

Extras: Theatrical trailer, behind-the-scenes and poster still galleries, an alternate ending, 3 separate interviews with director Joe Dante, photographer John Hora and editor Marshall Harvey, a fun 66 minute featurette titled “There Goes The Neighborhood: The Making of The ‘Burbs” that contains interviews, stories about all manners of the production, film clips and more, a bland commentary by Dana Olsen and Calum Waddell, and last but not least the original workprint of the film.

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March 11, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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