Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 7/21/98
Collector's Edition - 1998 (1998) - Universal Studios
review by Bill Hunt,
editor of The Digital Bits
A massively dull and uninteresting sequel to The
Blues Brothers. The original had heart and soul... this
one is just plain DOA. Unfortunate.
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
The video quality is mostly terrific, and the music sounds great.
The extras are there too, but they hold little interest unless you
enjoyed the film.
Overall Rating: C-
Buy this DVD... ONLY if you REALLY liked the movie. Otherwise, save
your money and wait for Universal's upcoming DVD release of the
original Blues Brothers.
124 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:12:17), Amaray
keep case packaging, documentary: The
Making of Blues Brothers 2000, production notes, cast and
crew bios, poster gallery, production photos, theatrical trailer,
film-themed menu screens, scene access (41 chapters), languages:
English and French (DD 5.1), subtitles: Spanish, Close Captioned
All right, here's the story: eighteen years after the events of
The Blues Brothers, Elwood
Blues (Dan Aykroyd) is released from prison, only to find that his
brother Jake has died. So, Elwood returns to the St. Helen of the
Blessed Shroud orphanage (which he and Jake risked all to save in
the first film) and learns he has half-brother (well, sort of). He's
also asked to become a mentor to a troubled kid named Buster (J.
Evan Bonifant). So, in an unbelievably slow and plodding series of
events, Elwood sets out to (what else?) get the band back together.
And along the way, we must endure a series of flatly staged
production numbers, unfunny cameos, obligatory car chases, and
self-important nods to more than a dozen of music's finest
To call this film lackluster and uninspired devalues the meaning of
those two adjectives. I'd heard that this movie languished in
'development hell' for years before the green-light was finally
given. It should have stayed there.
There were several things that made the original Blues
Brothers work so well. The story and jokes were dryly
funny, even twisted. It was moody... gritty. It gave plenty of nods
to its blues music origins, yet these didn't slow the film down.
Instead, the entire film had an unapologetic, take-no-prisoners
attitude. Blues Brothers 2000,
on the other hand, has none of these qualities. The film starts so
slowly, and meanders for so long through so many uninteresting plot
points, that any enthusiasm the audience has is long dead before the
film is even half over. There isn't a single laugh for at least the
first fifteen minutes. Even the film's locations (a Chicago strip
club, for example) look false and artificial. There's no life to any
of these places.
There's no life to any of the performances either. Aykroyd
awkwardly (say that 10 times fast) plods through page after page of
flat dialogue. His Elwood character worked so well in the original,
because he was the straight man to John Belushi's energetic and
over-the-top Jake Blues (who, oddly enough, you never even see a
picture of in this film). But there's no one for Aykroyd to play
against here - John Goodman's Mighty Mack is a soft-spoken lug.
Bonifant (as Buster) is a Home Alone
sequel wannabe. And Elwood's 'new' brother Cabel Chamberlain (Joe
Morton) is a starch-collared Illinois State Patrol commander of all
things. Even the plot points here are pale carbon copies of the
original film: the nun whacks Elwood around with a pointer when he
swears, there's a police car pileup, Russian mobsters and White
Supremacists replace Illinois Nazis, the band stops at Bob's Country
Kitchen (as opposed to Bob's Country Bunker), there a southern tent
revival (with yes... James Brown, where yes... a character 'sees the
light'). It's all very lame. Director John Landis seems to have
phoned this one in for the paycheck. There's just nothing to inject
any energy into this film.
OK, let me take that back - the music is good. But the musical
numbers are so unmotivated (not to mention staged lifelessly by
choreographer Barry Latter), that you just don't care. The effect is
rather like those musical tributes at the Academy Awards - you wish
they would just get a clue and leave 'em out so the winners can
thank their parents without getting interrupted. "OK, Mr. King?
You and Lucile just stand here and read from the teleprompter. Mr.
Clapton? You and Aretha do your thing, take a little bow and quickly
leave the stage..." Want an example: the band Blues Traveller
makes a brief musical appearance here... which plays in the film as
though you're flipping cable channels and accidently stumble across
their video on VH1. Boring.
Ironically, the production quality of this DVD is really terrific
(it's a shame the movie doesn't match it). The film is presented in
its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio, and it's in anamorphic
to boot. The disc is a DVD-9 (RSDL dual-layered) with a nice,
on-the-fly layer switch in Chapter 24 (1:12:17 on the counter). The
video quality is generally excellent, although some scenes
occasionally appear unnecessarily soft (I suspect a cinematography
issue, not a transfer issue). The 5.1 Dolby Digital surround is well
balanced, but other than a few gimmick car-crash scenes, isn't fully
exploited. However, the music does sound fantastic. The 2.0 Dolby
Pro-Logic sound is flat but adequate, and again, the music is good.
5.1 sound is also provided in French, and there are English captions
and Spanish subtitles. The film runs 2 hours and 4 minutes, with 41
There are plenty of special features to be found on this DVD.
There's an adequate, 24 minute featurette entitled The
Making of Blues Brothers 2000 (with 9 chapters). There's
also a widescreen theatrical trailer, a gallery of production
photographs, a gallery of poster artwork, production notes and cast
& crew biographies. The only thing I would have liked to have
seen (especially with this title) would be music tracks playing
behind the menu screens (like Universal'sApollo
13 DVD, for example). Oh well, the movie blows anyway.
Blues Brothers 2000 makes a
nice DVD, but is a seriously disappointing film - one that can't
decide if it wants to be a movie or a concert video. I would have
settled for the soundtrack CD and been perfectly happy. I just hope
that Universal's releasing this DVD first, doesn't turn people away
from buying the much better, original Blues
Brothers when it hits DVD in September.