Blu-Ray Review: ‘Donnie Darko: 10th Anniversary Edition’ Feels Like Overkill

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – A little over two years ago, Fox released a two-disc director’s cut Blu-ray of “Donnie Darko” that had a somewhat-mediocre HD transfer but enough quality special features to make up for it. With hours of bonus material, it seemed like the definitive edition. Nothing is definitive with Fox and now we have a 10th Anniversary Edition of this cult classic with four discs in one set. If you already own it and don’t need the digital copy, then this is overkill. If not, it’s the NEW definitive edition of a beloved film. For now. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

Richard Kelly’s “Donnie Darko” is part psychological thriller, part science fiction, and part ’80s nostalgia. It’s like John Hughes filtered through “The Matrix” with a bit of “American Beauty” throw in. And that only begins to capture the mesmerizing weirdness of one of the hardest to forget movies of the ’00s.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the lead in “Donnie Darko” with Drew Barrymore, Noah Wyle, Jena Malone, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Mary McDonnell filling out the all-star cast. Donnie is an average high school student who starts having end-of-the-world visions and sees a man in a terrifying bunny costume named Frank who tells him that the world is going to end in just over 28 days.

Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko
Photo credit: Fox

From there, “Donnie Darko” (at least in its original, theatrical, superior cut) becomes a work very open to interpretation. It’s a piece that means different things to different viewers. For me, it’s more of a mood piece, a dream than something that should be interpreted literally and that’s what has given the film surprising staying power and a growing cult following in the eight years since its release. One very notable thing about “Donnie Darko” is that the film has a markedly different “Director’s Cut” that runs twenty minutes longer than the theatrical version and actually answers a lot more questions than the original version. Some fans prefer the original version and Fox wisely includes both on the film’s Blu-Ray release, giving both the HD treatment.

Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko
Photo credit: Fox

The theatrical version of “Donnie Darko” includes a commentary by the cast and crew and one with Richard Kelly and Jake Gyllenhaal. When the “Director’s Cut” was put together in 2004, Kelly actually got friend Kevin Smith to stop by for an audio track and it’s still one of my favorites in the history of DVD. Smith acts more as an interviewer, prodding Kelly along to talk about the movie. It’s great and a must-listen for anyone who likes commentaries.

The second disc of the four-disc set is a standard DVD and includes the supplemental material, starting with a nearly hour-long production diary about the making of the film which includes a pretty dull commentary from cinematographer Stephen Poster. A commentary on a production diary is the definition of DVD overkill. Also on the disc is an excellent featurette called “They Made Me Do It Too - The Cult of Donnie Darko” which is essentially a “Darko” fanboy interview piece. The ultimate fanboy, Daryl Donaldson, winner of a “Donnie Darko” obsessiveness contest, is spotlighted in “#1 Fan: A Darkomentary”. The second disc is rounded out by a storyboard-to-screen comparison and the film’s trailer.

The third disc features “Donnie Darko” (the theatrical cut) along with a number of DVD-only special features including a “Mad World” music video, website gallery, “Cunning Visions” infomercials, and more. By the time you get to disc three, you’ll be in the middle of a “Donnie Darko” overdose. Seriously, this is one of the most extras-packed Blu-ray releases of the year, and it’s rounded out by a digital copy of the director’s cut for portable media players.

‘Donnie Darko: 10th Anniversary Edition’ is released by Fox Home Entertainment and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Noah Wyle, James Duval, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. It was written and directed by Richard Kelly. It was released on July 26th, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


Advertisement on Twitter

archive Top Ten Discussions