Perhaps the very definition of overhyped, Napoleon Dynamite was one of those films that got more word of mouth than it did critical praise. Granted it shot star Jon Heder into stardom (though he hasn’t since done much with it) and created landfills of “Vote Pedro” merchandise, but since the film’s release in 2004, the film really hasn’t been talked about since. Still, the sub half-million budget that this film was made on (it went on to gross $46 million worldwide) proved more than enough to reach the mainstream audience.
Finally! Gosh! The best flippin’ comedy in recent memory that reached a cult-like phenomenon is even more outrageous on Blu-ray Disc! Napoleon Dynamite is a “little movie with a lot of heart and a lot of laughs” (New York Post), that won over audiences and critics alike in 2004 and continues to build a loyal following amongst fans, taking home three “MTV Movie Awards” and four “Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards” in 2005. Watch as Napoleon finally has his day, dealing with his brother Kip’s online chat sessions with babes, his Uncle Rico’s obsession with time travel, helping his friend Pedro win the school election and even showing his romantic side by offering up a delicious bass.
Yeah, I was a bit harsh on the film in the intro. Truth is I really did enjoy this film a lot, but anyone who doesn’t deny that it didn’t get a bit out of hand is only fooling themselves. I mean it got to the point where McFarlane Toys made action figures of the cast of the film. I mean… action figures? Really? It was funny and all, but even making up t-shirts seems like it perhaps went a bit too far. But that’s just the type of film this became—a quick cult classic that has since dropped off the radar (although I recall seeing “Re-Elect Pedro” shirts floating around the time of the 2008 election).
But no matter how over-hyped it was, the film was worth seeing. It was highly entertaining from start to finish and the little jokes such as made up animals or the physical comedy of it all just made it an effortlessly entertaining affair. It’s easy to see how it got popular, but the problem with the film was the jokes wore thin if they were repeated too much; sure, exasperated and socially awkward dialogue was funny, but only the first twenty times you heard it.
So yeah, Napoleon Dynamite is a fine film and one well worth seeing as it’s smartly written and acted wonderfully. What’s sad about the hype the film received was that it alienated those who never saw it or, worse yet, those who did see it were less than impressed. You can put me in the latter camp, as I was surrounded individuals who were singing its praises and by the time I finally saw it I wasn’t exactly in tears. Funny, yes…but not anywhere near as funny as I’d been lead to believe.
Still, Napoleon Dynamite is a solid film all around. The terrific interaction between characters and Heder’s performance will no doubt go down in history as one of the best comedic characters, so in that regard alone Napoleon Dynamite is still worth checking out. If you’re one of the few who haven’t seen it for whatever reason, go ahead and give it a look—at this point everyone’s done making Pedro jokes anyway (I hope). Recommended.
Fox has released Napoleon Dynamite in a single disc release without any notices other than a firmware upgrade and disc art that mimics the cover. No slipcover is included and the menus for the film are simple and easy to navigate. If there were such a thing as a barebones Blu-ray, then this would be it in terms of appearance. Oddly enough while the recent Office Space was tagged with the “With Flair!” monicker still, this release of Napoleon Dynamite does not include the “Like, The Best Special Edition Ever!” line from the 2006 DVD release, despite containing all of the extras from both releases.
The film sports and AVC encoded 1080p transfer that is really only adequate. Fox did their usual fantastic job in the transfer department, of course, but the film itself only ever looked “just ok” so it’s hard to elevate that just by adding some more hair follicles and sweater textures. Still, it’s a decent looking film that is backed up by a strong enough DTS-HD Master Audio track that is predominately focused in the front due to the films leaning towards the dialogue side of things. Music had a pretty decent spread, however, so the surrounds were worth that much at least. French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Surround as well as English, French and Spanish Subtitles are included as well.
Extras for this release include:
Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Jared Hess, Actor Jon Heder and Producer Jeremy Coon
Cast Commentary by Aaron Ruell, Efren Ramirez, Jon Gries and Tina Majorino
World Premier Jared Hess
On Location: Napoleon Dynamite
4 Deleted and Extended Scenes
4 Extended/Alternate Scenes
3 More Sweet Outtakes
Casting Napoleon Dynamite- An Interview with Jory Weitz
Peluca- The 2002 short film by Jared Hess which inspired Napoleon Dynamite
Utah State Fair Ads, TV Spots
The Wedding Of the Century!
MTV On-Air Promos
As you can see all of the goodies from the “Like, The Best Special Edition Ever!” release are included. Nothing new here, however, so we’re led down a similar road: is your love of the film worth upgrading to the Blu-ray release for? The video transfer really isn’t worth the price, considering you can get the two-disc 2006 DVD release for pretty cheap now (and possibly still with the motion slipcover if retailers didn’t chuck them all out). In any case unless you love this film enough to own the action figures, this release is easily Skipped.
Napoleon Dynamite is now available on Blu-ray.