With most of Kevin Smith’s films already receiving the Blu-ray treatment from the various studios he’s partnered with over the years it seemed inevitable that Buena Vista/Miramax would eventually unleash what films of his they owned on the format as well. Rather than drag them out, however, Buena Vista has opted for a trilogy pack of Smith’s films. While it’s an odd mixture to be sure, they all fit nicely with one another without issue and watching these classic Smith outings once again reminds me just why I like his works so much in the first place.
If you like your comedy hip, smart and “Blu,” get ready for these Kevin Smith classics as you’ve never seen them before as Miramax Films presents The Kevin Smith Collection: Clerks, Chasing Amy and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, available November 17, 2009. This must own Blu-ray box set includes new Blu-ray transfers of the 90’s comedy classics Clerks and Chasing Amy, along with the more recent laugh-filled favorite Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. Experience each film’s hilariously shocking visuals and whip smart dialogue, now with truly immersive high definition picture and sound. Plus, each film comes loaded with hours of outrageous bonus features. Whether you’re just starting your Bluray library or expanding it, your collection isn’t complete without these three laugh riots!
I’ve seen all of these films repeatedly (well, two of them I have—this was only my second viewing of Chasing Amy), so watching them again on Blu-ray was no real big trip. But I’ve never been one to turn down a viewing of a Kevin Smith film (except maybe Mallrats…I just couldn’t get into that one), so settling in for each of these films again was a welcome distraction from the other various piles of work I had to do.
Clerks remains the quintessential Smith film, as it was him in his most unadulterated and unsuccessful form. I’m not saying that his other films didn’t measure up (in fact, Dogma is my favorite by far), but Clerks just has a little piece of everything that make Smith’s films so great. There’s copious amounts of comedy (some gross out, some heartfelt), some romance, some dire situations, and just an overall package of superb writing and characters to inhabit the View Askew world that he created. Smith films have always excelled when they focus on the dialogue and that’s all this film is…just lots and lots of dialogue between friends. Not to mention the earliest appearance of Jay and Silent Bob is still one of their best (aside from their movie, anyway).
For Chasing Amy…well, this was a film that certainly changed things up. It was a lot more serious and almost depressing at times with the way it was constructed. Still undeniably hilarious, sure, but the film just took on a much more relationship focused plotline than any film that came before it. It’s almost kind of the “odd duck” of the View Askew films as it feels the most out of place (to me at least) with its seriousness. Hell the film is curiously titled and it’s not until Silent Bob breaks his silence does the title even make sense. But it was honestly that story and setting in the film in which Bob spills all that really stands out most to me.
And then the “final” (at the time) View Askew film…Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. This was just a giant fan boy delight, with unrelenting cameos, geeky dialogue, spontaneous settings, buxom babes and even an homage to the 1989 Batman film. The number of f-bombs and the overall explicit nature of this film just made for one of the most disturbing times to have with a film and more than the film itself I seem to remember the advertising that this film had, with frequent censored blasts of dialogue and no real sense of what the plot was to be about.
This is a strange batch of films to pack together, but it’s more about what Buena Vista had the rights to release than anything. Overall this is a solid pack of films that comes Recommended if you’ve never seen them previously.
The three films themselves come in standard Elite Blu-ray cases which are housed inside of a cardboard box. Nothing fancy about the presentation here…they’re all basic cases and discs. Menus for the films are quick and easy to navigate and, from what I can tell, all the extras from the previous releases are carried over. It’s been awhile since I’ve delved into the Clerks X set, however, so I’m not entirely sure if everything made it over or not, but it looks like it has.
First off we have the video transfers. All sport AVC encoded 1080p transfers with varying levels of success. Smith’s films have never been all that “exciting” in terms of direction and camera angles…it was all more about the dialogue and characters more than anything. Having said that the newer the film the better the transfer is, obviously, and Jay and Silent Bob is the “winner” of the pack just in terms of clarity. Chasing Amy isn’t bad, if a bit soft, but Clerks is…really uneven. That should go without saying as this film is fifteen years old now, but the black and white nature of the transfer mixed with grain and general video noise just makes for a very mixed transfer. It’s not bad, but I doubt you’ll get much more out of this one than you did out of the 10th Anniversary set. An additional note on the Clerks transfer: Kevin Smith even chimes in about it, lamenting the fact that the film is even on Blu-ray. It’s kind of hard to even be mad at the transfer when it’s creator even asks “what the hell?”
In terms of audio we get a DTS-HD 5.1 and Uncompressed tracks for Clerks, DTS-HD 5.1 for Chasing Amy and DTS-HD and PCM for Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Strike Back is the only one of the three that really makes any splash in the surround and LFE department, as the other two are strictly dialogue based films for the most part with very little in terms of surround output.
• Classic Commentary
• Enhanced Playback Track
• Intro To The First Cut 2004 Commentary
• 2004 Commentary (with New Authoring)
• Clerks Lost Scene – Animated Short
• The Flying Car
• MTV Spots With Jay & Silent Bob
• Theatrical Trailer
• Soul Asylum “Can’t Even Tell” Music Video
• Clerks Restoration
• Original Auditions
• Snowball Effect
• Outtakes From Snowball Effect
• Mae Day: The Crumbling Of A Documentary With Intro By Kevin Smith And Scott Mosier
• 10th Anniversary Q & A
All New Bonus Features!
• “Tracing Amy: The Chasing Amy Doc”
• “Was It Something I Said?” – A Conversation With Kevin & Joey
• 10 Years later Q & A
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Actor Kevin Smith and Producer Scott Mosier
• Deleted Scenes
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
All New Bonus Features!
• “Oh, What a Lovely Tea Party: The Making of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back”
• Audio Commentary – Director Kevin Smith, Producer Scott Mosier & Jason Mewes
• Deleted Scenes with Intros by Kevin Smith and Guests
• The Secret Stash with Intro
• Gag Reel with Intro
• Internet Trailers with Intro
• TV Spots
• Stills Galleries
• Behind the Scene featurette
• Morris Day and the Time “Learnin’ the Moves”
• Music video Afroman “I Get High”
• Music video Stroke 9 “Kick Some Ass”
• Comedy Central’s Reel Comedy: Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back
• Cast and Crew Filmographies
• Guide to Morris Day and The Time (Still Frames)
Clerks gets nothing new but it’s packed anyway, so no real need. Chasing Amy gets a much needed boost in the extras department with a new commentary, new makings-of and a solid retrospective piece. Jay and Silent Bob was already pretty stacked but the new making-of is a nice addition as well.
Quite frankly they could’ve just slapped the last DVD release into this set and boosted the A/V transfer and called it a day. However they at least took the time to upgrade and add some new extras, so those who are looking to trade their old discs in will at least have some new extras to take in. Highly Recommended for newcomers, but those who are fans of Smith and already own the discs will likely find this a Recommended set to pick up. The new extras aren’t amazing but in Chasing Amy’s case, it definitely fills the massive void the old release(s) left.
The Kevin Smith Collection: Clerks, Chasing Amy and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back arrives on Blu-ray on November 17th.