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Be Kind Rewind

review by Zach B.



MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Some Sexual References)

Running Time: 102 minutes

Starring: Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Melonie Diaz

Written and Directed by: Michel Gondry



Studio: New Line

Retail Price: $27.98

Features: Passaic Mosaic, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Stereo Surround, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scenes (24 Scenes)

Released: June 17th, 2008


"Be Kind Rewind" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it's a pretty decent if imperfect transfer (which, in the context of the film, actually is somewhat fitting). Fleshtones hit the mark, and colors don't smear and come off as rather vibrant - blues seem especially deep (actually, it seems there is a bit of a blue filter for parts of the film). Detail is very nice too, and the portions shown in VHS glory look just as they're supposed to: moldy, unrefined, lack of sharpness and pretty faded. 

Unfortunately though, there are several distractions that add up. Namely is that the contrast seems too high, and as a result, the transfer features a lot of edge halos, mosquito noise and some shimmering. There is some edge enhancement on the transfer, and sometimes the image quality is a bit soft, not to mention some scenes are a bit too grainy. Overall though, parts of this transfer seem to be in spirit of the movie's tone - but otherwise, it's above-average. The flaws aren't too fun, but at least the good points shine. (Kinda like the film itself.) 

A 1.33:1 full screen version is also included on the disc.


"Be Kind Rewind" features a Dolby Digital 5.1 track (what? no English Mono too?). While all the elements are here and sound fine, it's really a pretty average track. The mix is pretty front-centric: there isn't too much in the way of surround sounds, and they aren't that discrete. (The surround that stood out the most to me is when Jerry has his magnet accident.) The music gives the track a warm presence, namely the Fats Waller tunes and Jean-Michael Bernard's whimsical, snappy compositions. All the dialogue is very clear and easy to hear, and fidelity is pretty high. But the dynamics don't add up to anything significant, and there isn't much bass in the mix. But hey, back to the movie's context... maybe it's okay this is all on the lo-fi side. 

Also included is an English Stereo Surround track, plus subtitles in English and Spanish, and English closed captions. 


The only real supplement is the 10 minute Passaic Mosaic in anamorphic widescreen. It's a great featurette that focuses on the making of the movie, and that really ties the themes of the film (namely community) together. The passionate low-fi genius Michel Gondry (also the film's writer/director) discusses how sensitive he was in shooting Passaic, New Jersey: he didn't just want to stomp on its residents, but really find ways to incorporate them within the movie. Interviews with Jack Black, Mia Farrow and Melonie Diaz giving their thoughts about Passaic are featured, plus footage of the movie being filmed, but the main portions here is the actual "mosaic" - director Lance Bangs going around interviewing actual residents about their community and thoughts on the movie being shot, but also giving a glimpse of some of the harsh realities within the town. The capper to this mini-documentary is the town getting very involved in a key sequence in the movie - it's feel-good, and actually reminded me a bit of Gondry's own documentary "Dave Chappelle's Block Party." This is a really excellent piece. My only complaint? Too short. 

Also on hand is the movie's Theatrical Trailer in anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1. 

The Blu-ray version of the movie actually has much more in way of supplements. But for what it's worth, at least the DVD menus - in their analog glory - fit perfectly with the movie's motif.


"Be Kind Rewind" died a quick death at the box office, and while it's not the absolute best of Michel Gondry's feature-length films, it's still a pretty inspiring piece of work - namely in what it has to say about the role of community in our lives (too bad the whole homemade video remakes is more of a gimmick than an actual plot point). The DVD has a good transfer and a decent 5.1 mix, and the only real supplement is a great watch - but fans of the movie with Blu-ray players will want to check out that version, since there are a lot more extras to go around there. Still, given the whole home video motif the film features, it only seems fitting to watch this movie in the comfort of your own home (preferably with people in your town). Certainly worth a rental.