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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas [Blu-ray]
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When a writing assignment lands journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and sidekick Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) in Las Vegas, they decide to make it the ultimate business trip. But before long, business is forgotten and trip has become the key word. Fueled by a suitcase full of mind-bending pharmaceuticals, Duke and Gonzo set off on a fast and furious ride through nonstop neon, surreal surroundings and a crew of the craziest characters ever (including cameo appearances by Cameron Diaz, Christina Ricci, Gary Busey and many others). But no matter where misadventure leads them, Duke and Gonzo discover that sometimes going too far is the only way to go. Capturing the insane madness of Hunter S. Thompson's literary classic was the challenge that director Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys) openly embraced. Critics hailed it as: "Mindblowing. Bizarre. Outrageous. Wild." Buy the ticket. Take the ride!
- Aspect Ratio : 2.35:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medR R (Restricted)
- Product Dimensions : 6.75 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 2.08 Ounces
- Item model number : MCABR61112001
- Director : Terry Gilliam
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Run time : 1 hour and 59 minutes
- Release date : February 2, 2010
- Actors : Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Ellen Barkin, Craig Bierko, Gary Busey
- Dubbed: : French
- Subtitles: : Danish, Finnish, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish
- Producers : Laila Nabulsi, Patrick Cassavetti, Stephen Nemeth
- Language : English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (DTS 5.1)
- Studio : Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
- ASIN : B002YOKVU4
- Writers : Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni, Tod Davies, Alex Cox
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,247 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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Aside from the changes, my main complaint is the pace. In my opinion, many of the scenes should have been tightened up... too much monotony. I do recommend it, but just barely.
And, boy, is it ever a druggy flick. I don't think the protagonists have been in a natural state for decades when it opens, and they certainly aren't in one at any time during the film.
But is this Gilliam's fault? He appears to be filming an article written as a result of this "trip" (a word of many meanings in this case) and may well, for all I know, have done so with great accuracy.
So, if you like druggies acting like druggies, this is the film for you!
If you don't, I would suggest giving it a pass. Unless you are required to see it for Film School or something.
The journey itself is a chaotic, miserable mess, that long overstays it's welcome, but that is kind of the point, I suspect.
Throughout most of the film, all I could think was how and when are they going to wrap this up? The characters lost my sympathy very early and their antics become stale at the same rate. It sort of reminded me of Catcher in the Rye in that sense. There is no one to firmly root for and seemingly no goal to drive the plot forward.
By the end, I felt like I had experienced something important and insightful, but couldn't confidently put my finger on what exactly that insight is. The story really left me thinking, which I appreciate. If nothing else, it exemplifies the mindset of a culture and era.
One thing that surprises me is how many people interpret this movie as a comedy. I saw it as an absolute horror show, a realistic journey through some of the darkest, most terrifying parts of the human psych. What could be worse? To each their own, I guess.
Highly recommend, but brace yourself. You'll be in for one hell of a movie. For me it was hell to watch, but for others it's a hell of a good time, so if that doesn't peek your interest, then I don't know what will.
The two obvious movie reference points are Bill Murray’s “Where the Buffalo Roam” and Cheech &Chong movies. The Bill Murray movie was about 90% old school gonzo journalism with Nixon, Dolphins vs. Cowboys, a Bloody Mary and hotel room mischief revolving around football roughhousing.
Fear & Loathing is more like 10% gonzo journalism and 90% Cheech & Chong drug-related humor. It has it’s funny moments such as a bar full of lizards but the hardcore drug effects in their hotel room turns the movie into a Howard Hughes’ian dark psychedelia inviting the viewer to reflect on the disillusionment of the love generation. At times more of a horror flick than dark comedy. Sans the Ice Station Zebra.
Top reviews from other countries
So there are now TWO indispensable editions of F & L IN LAS Vegas: this blu-ray, and the old American Criterion double DVD with the great animated Menu design that blu-rays just don't do anymore.
(Why did the great tradition of DVD Menus animated in the spirit of the featured film stop with the introduction of blu-rays?)
The old Criterion double-DVD had unbeatable, prolific Extras, mostly supplemental to HST's writing career (including a HST audio commentary, if you can translate what he's mumbling - - not ported over to Arrow's release). Arrow's extras lean toward Steadman's half of the Faustian bargain.
Quite a few new Arrow Extras and some ported older ones here. All new Extras are worth watching more than once.
Benico Del Toro is so intelligent in his interview, I wish there were more footage, so insightful about HST's writing, with his own thoughts instead of the usual cliches, that I thought, 'My God, he should write a Book about the work of HST!' On Criterion's disc release, HST in commentary objected to the way Depp disdainfully treated a midget hotel waiter as something he would never do; HST liked the film but not that scene. That HST commentary isn't the one on Arrow's release. But in an Arrow extra, Benito Del Toro recalls asking HST about the Vegas book, 'Why were you so mean to the working classes?' Now that is a brilliant question no scholar has ever thought to ask, and you can find out what HST replied in this interview.
Terry Gilliam's new audio commentary is a hoot, of course, and well mediated by a moderator who keeps low key to feature Gilliam. Gilliam sounds older now; he's cogent, and recalls a lot, but one or two memory lapses have me worried.
The 2nd disc is the definitive documentary feature about Ralph Steadman, made with Steadman's extensive input, FOR NO GOOD REASON - - already available elsewhere on DVD but this Arrow release has an extra Extra, a short film adaptation of Steadman's work. Johnny Depp shows up a lot in the film and on the soundtrack and reads some HST writing - - always a good thing. Depp is to HST what Richard Burton was to Dylan Thomas: the best narrator of the author's writing on record.
The interview with producer Laila Nabulsi clues you in on what a major contribution she made to the film, and, likewise, the less-than-20-minutes could have been twice that and well worth the extra time.
Four rare interviews bundled together, with the costume designer and cinematographer and editor and production designer, add insight and history to the project that you will not have heard before.
The 2006 feature documentary BUY THE TICKET TAKE THE RIDE has been available on DVD for years, so it feels like no Extra at all on this disc if you already have it - - but if you don't, it's one of the additions that makes this release a genuine bargain even without a sales price.
The small book has some old writing that HST aficionados will already have in full, and some new writing that isn't worth reading - - par for the course as DVD booklets go. The art card photos are garish and as I see it worthless. The double-sided poster is nothing special. This release is all about the 2 discs, and there;s no good reason to pay extra for the paperwork if you can get the discs separately.
The film and the book are about an insurmountable culture clash between the radical underground and the Silent Majority, a generation gap between conservative Americana and youth dissenters: a double-edged Culture Shock where Thompson and his attorney were AT LEAST as appalled by regular people as they were of these creative post-Beat Generation highly creative acid heads.
One more thing. There are many reasons why HST's journalism is vital and his writing right out of the 20th century's top drawer,. HST aficionados have been starved of new writing BY HST ever since he died in 2006, which isn't as paradoxical as it sounds...
The project HST completed before he died, a last volume of collected letters, is still stalled in mysterious limbo all these years later, as if his own wishes and efforts to prepare that book counted for nothing as far as the HST Estate is concerned.
And HST's legendary 1968 20,000-word piece on his ambivalence about the NRA and gun ownership, written after the assassination of RFK has still to see print with no hope in sight - - though Johnny Depp says it's as good as anything HST ever wrote.
And excised chapters of F & L IN LAS VEGAS - - that Depp has read and rates as highly as the rest of the book - -have still never been published.
Which makes you wonder what the HST Estate thinks its function actually IS, other than collecting royalties on existing publications. As I see it, Doug Brinkley and HST's widow ought to have their heads banged together by the ghost of Hunter Thompson and their feet nailed to a perch until they get the job done. Either that, or kicked off the team to let someone else handle the estate who has more respect for HST's literary achievement than to delay important publications for So Long that HST's generation - - the folk who read his works hot off the press and can most deeply relate to his life and times - - are dying off without the opportunity of reading his last works.
Shame on the HST estate: No Excuse.
So we are tempted to grab at anything HST-related by even two-bit scholars who rehash what we already know just to channel the great writing. But this time the merchandise is worthwhile. It was a fabulous film in 1998 and it's a fabulous 4K transfer in 2019 with some very interesting new Extras.
I would recommend reading the book first. There are quotes all over the net if you want to get a flavour before deciding if you want to buy or not.
The audio is superior to the old video I had, but the delivery of several lines were difficult to pick out at times. In a strange way it was probably quite accurate when you got into the sort of state those guys were in.
I would say that there are moments of pure genius within this film, I did wonder how anyone could make the film after reading the book but I doubt for its age that anyone else could have managed it at the time. On the negative side there are lines in the film which are just thrown away in poor deliver. However, as the actors looked genuinely off their trolleys at times if you have read the book then it lets you go with the flow.
There is little point in debating about the subject of drugs, to do that here is to miss the point about the film and its characters. Compared to what seems to be 'normal' in Las Vagas these guys didn't seem to be overtly extreme.
For me the ending to this film is always quite sad and reminds me of how I felt at the end of 'Leaving Las Vagas', but it probably portrays the genuine come down after the ridiculous highs throughout the picture, and ultimately it is a metaphor for the progression of the drug culture of the time. Of course those drugs have simply been replaced by the 'drugs' of today, some of the present day ones are not even drugs!
The cameo parts are great, at times the set pieces border on the edge of being masterpieces in their own right.
If you like 'Brazil' and 'Twelve Monkeys' you may just find a place for this one too. (Now I'm left wishing I'd bought the Blu Ray version with audio commentary - but hey at this price I got the DVD free).
This film is realty not worth the time to write it all again,
This film is so rubbish, I feel that I have wasted 2 hours of my life on it.
No tangible plot, no substance, no sense.
complete rubbish... AVOID!