"On the run from Johnny Law..."
Before director Wes Anderson became more popular with "Rushmore", he directed "Bottle Rocket", a feature that may be smaller in size, but one that I also consider smarter, funnier and a generally, a lot more successful. The film stars brothers Luke and Owen Wilson, along with Bob Musgrave, as robbers who are horribly, hilariously inept at what they do. The story begins with Anthony(Luke Wilson) "plotting" with Dignan(Owen Wilson) to escape out of the mental hospital he's staying at for "exhaustion", meanwhile, he hasn't worked a day in his life.
The two find a getaway driver in Bob(Robert Musgrave) and begin to plan out their little heists. They try and rob the local bookstore - when they succeed, they go out on the road and hide out in a hotel where they plan their next heist - which involves planning with the local criminal, Mr. Henry(James Caan).
It's not about the life of crime as much as it is about the dialogue. Dignan and Anthony have some hilarious conversations throughout the movie, and it helps that both Wilsons play their parts perfectly - Luke's Anthony being a relaxed, logical character and Owen's Dignan being a chatty, energetic fool who means well.
The movie's only major fault is that the middle is seriously slow. Other than that, the dialogue is edgy and very funny, as are the performances. It's not a flawless picture, but I think that it still succeeds enough to work in the end.
VIDEO: For a small, low-budget movie, this is a fantastic transfer from Tristar. Images are perfectly sharp throughout, and detail is great. Colors are very good as well - they look consistently natural and even fairly vibrant at times. Flesh tones are accurate and black level is solid, as well. The print used is in suprisingly good condition, with only a slight mark or two being the only flaws of note. Other than that, no instances of pixelation or shimmering make for a very natural looking image that's a pleasure to watch. Either 1.85:1 letterboxed(anamorphic) or full screen on the other side of the disc.
SOUND: Understandably, there isn't that much to the audio on a small film like "Bottle Rocket", where the majority of the film focuses on the conversations between the characters. "Bottle Rocket" does have a great score though, composed by Mark Mothersbaugh of the band Devo. The score comes through with pleasant clarity, although not with much strength. It may be basic, but there's no problems to be found. Dialogue is clear, natural and easily understood.
MENUS:: A very basic shot of the cover art is really all that makes up the main menu - other "film-themed" shots make up the rest of the menus.
EXTRAS: It's unfortunate that although Tristar did a really fine job on the image quality for "Bottle Rocket", they weren't able to get the same sort of extras that Criterion did for director Wes Anderson's "Rushmore". In fact, I was suprised to see that there isn't anything additional to be found on this disc. I'm sure that they probably wouldn't have been able to put together a package as impressive for this smaller picture, but a commentary track would have at least been very nice. Hopefully, this will be one of the titles that Tristar will revisit with a special edition in the future. It's a great little movie, though - at least take a look at this version as a rental.
Final Thoughts: Definitely recommended - at least as a rental.
The Film B+
Video 91/A = (364/400 possible points)
Audio 81/B = (324/400 possible points)
Extras 0/F = (0/300 possible points)
Menus 65/D = (130/200 possible points)
Value 79/C+ = (237/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: B+
DVD GRADE: D