Blu-Ray Review: Beloved Kevin Smith Films Released in High Definition

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CHICAGO – Very few filmmakers provoke the same kind of passionate adoration as the sometimes-great Kevin Smith, a man who has such a following that he can sell out large theaters filled with people who merely want to ask him questions for hours. Smith is a charismatic, interesting, clever filmmaker and his best work reflect his gregarious personality. Three of his best are captured in “The Kevin Smith Collection,” including two films with all-new Blu-Ray material.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

If you were designing the Kevin Smith set and could only pick three films, what would you choose? The man has directed eight full-length feature films and we can probably cut “Jersey Girl” from consideration from the beginning, leaving seven to choose from. Personally, I would go with three different periods of his work and choose “Clerks,” “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” but then that would leave out his best film, “Chasing Amy”. As if they were on the same page, the producers of “Kevin Smith 3-Movie Collection” swapped out “Zack” for “Amy” and have selected three of Kevin’s best, all must-owns for fans of the filmmaker.

The Kevin Smith Collection featuring Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 17th, 2009.
The Kevin Smith Collection featuring Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 17th, 2009.
Photo credit: Buena Vista Home Video

Smith’s first film, “Clerks,” is not only his most influential but one of the most influential that anyone made in the ’90s. It’s been copied ad nauseam (some would argue by the filmmaker himself) and still stands as a great testament to the power of independent filmmaking. I wonder if “Clerks” looks the same to a new generation raised on films with the same kind of pop-culture sensibility as it does to those of us who first saw it in theaters. It may look dated now, but it was ahead of its time when it came out.

The Kevin Smith Collection featuring Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 17th, 2009.
The Kevin Smith Collection featuring Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 17th, 2009.
Photo credit: Buena Vista Home Video

“Clerks” is presented in 1080p High Definition with its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. There’s something about the guerilla style of filmmaking that made “Clerks” being presented in High Definition that seems a little off - it’s an expensive way to watch a cheap movie. The audio track is a perfect English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix.

Special features on this 15th Anniversary Edition of “Clerks” include a new introduction by Kevin Smith and “Oh, What a Lovely Tea Party: The Making of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” an 87-minute documentary included on “Clerks” and not the relatively-devoid-of-special-features “Jay and Silent Bob” basically because they’ve run out of bonus material for this film and Smith didn’t want to rip fans off after they bought the three-disc Special Edition DVD.

All of the special features from that release have been imported including the theatrical and first versions of the film, a classic commentary circa ‘95, a trivia track, a first cut commentary track, a 2004 Kevin Smith intro, “Clerks: The 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 “Clerks” auditions, “Snowball Effect: The Story of Clerks,” “Mae Day: The Crumbling of a Documentary” with intro by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier,” outtakes from “Snowball Effect,” and a 10th anniversary Q&A.

Smith’s best film, “Chasing Amy,” is the second in the set and the film has held up remarkably well over the years, still standing as Smith’s best blend of raunchy humor and honest emotion to date.

“Chasing Amy” is presented in 1080p High Definition with its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and has been accompanied by a Dolby English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track.

Special features include the new & exclusive to Blu-Ray commentary with writer/director/actor Kevin Smith and producer Scott Mosier, “Tracing Amy: The Chasing Amy Doc,” “Was It Something I Said? A Conversation with Kevin & Joey,” and “10 Years Later Q & A - With Kevin Smith and the Cast”. Imported features include deleted scenes, outtakes and the film’s trailer.

Finally, the underrated and fun “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” which reportedly ended Smith’s time with these characters (at least until “Clerks II” came out) comes relatively bells-and-whistles free with just a commentary track. Jay and Silent Bob get no love. The film is presented in 1080p High Definition with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English 5.1 Uncompressed English track.

Ultimately, with a hefty $60-plus price tag, only very diehard fans will make the upgrade and at least two of the Blu-Rays include enough new bonus material to make the jump a little less painful.

‘Kevin Smith: 3-Movie Collection’ includes “Clerks,” “Chasing Amy,” and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” and is released by Buena Vista Home Video. “Clerks” stars Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Jason Mewes, and Lisa Spoonaur. “Chasing Amy” stars Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee, Dwight Ewell, and Jason Mewes. “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” stars Ben Affleck, Eliza Dushku, Shannon Elizabeth, Will Ferrell, Ali Larter, Jason lee, Jason Mewes, and Chris Rock. All three films were written and directed by Kevin Smith. The films were released on Blu-Ray on November 17th, 2009.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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