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The Darjeeling Limited [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Region: A
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 12, 2010
  • List Price: $39.95

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Director Wes Anderson is a master at making offbeat comedies that exist in their own universe. He did it with Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums and he has done it again with The Darjeeling Limited. The latter may be the slightest of his films to date, but it is still amusing and pleasing to watch, a mere wisp of a film that begs the question, if you have no substance inside, how do you find yourself?

In The Darjeeling Limited, after a year of estrangement following the death of their father, three brothers are brought together by the oldest brother Francis (Owen Wilson). His plan is for the three to take a train trip through India on The Darjeeling Limited and “find themselves” while rebuilding the brotherly bond they have lost.

The other two brothers, Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) go along with the older, bossy Francis, but there’s not much finding of ones’ selves going on in The Darjeeling Limited. Instead, fraternal infighting and rivalries begin to manifest, but Francis is determined to force an epiphany, regardless.

Coupled with Hotel Chevalier, the short film that acts as part one to The Darjeeling Limited and stars Schwartzman as Jack meeting with an old girlfriend (Natalie Portman) at a hotel in France, the film has more of a back story and there is definitely a heart pulsating through its quirky universe. Each brother is in essence trying to run from a past or repress a frightening present, particularly Brody’s character who is nearly paralyzed by the thought of having a child on the way, but they are each so self-absorbed and shallow, they can’t make their ways to that “epiphany” they are trying to force.

The film is beautifully shot and absolutely oozes sunlight and the warmth of the subcontinent. It may well be the most beautiful looking Anderson film to date. It also offers plenty of glimpses of India. The Darjeeling Limited may not be Anderson’s best, but even an off day for Wes Anderson beats out lots of other films and The Darjeeling Limited is a winner.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The Darjeeling Limited arrives on Blu-ray with a transfer supervised approved by director Wes Anderson himself. It has been taken directly from the digital intermediate 2K files, which themselves were transferred from the 35mm camera negative on a Spirit Datacine. It appears in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio ad AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encoding.

The colorful, oversaturated, sometimes high-contrast look of the film is preserved and despite some occasional softness, The Darjeeling Limited looks solid in this Blu-ray transfer. Detail is rather strong and grain structure is maintained nicely throughout the film.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The audio has been provided as an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that has been optimized for the home theatre using Pro Tools HD. The film is a mostly quiet, dialogue-driven film so the 5.1 mix won’t supply much of a memorable home theatre experience and even the ambience mixed into the surround channels is quite low. Dialogue, however, is clean and clear, and the musical soundtrack, always so prominent in Anderson’s films, sounds airy and dynamic.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

There are ample supplements here to provide hours of entertainment. Best of all is the short film, Hotel Chevalier, which acts as Part 1 to The Darjeeling Limited and stars Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Hotel Chevalier (with optional commentary)
  • Audio Commentary — Recorded in March 2010, features director Wes Anderson and co-screenwriters Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman.
  • The Making of Darjeeling Limited Documentary by Barry Braverman (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:40.50) — Go on location and behind the scenes with the cast and crew in this forty-minute-long “making of” documentary.
  • Conversation with James Ivory (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:20.45) — Anderson speaks with James Ivory about his use of the music from the Merchant/Ivory films in The Darjeeling Limited.
  • Essay by Matt Zoller Seitz (1080p/24; 0:11.48) — Seitz offers his thoughts on The Darjeeling Limited and Hotel Chevalier as scenes of the films meander by.
  • American Express Commercial (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:02.02)
  • Sriharsh’s Audition (1.33:1; 1080i/60; 0:02.39)
  • Oakley Friedberg/Packer Speech (1.33:1; 1080i/60; 0:03.34)
  • Deleted Scene and Two Alternate Takes (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 0:03.21)
  • Sketch by Roman Coppola (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:02.29)
  • Waris’ Diary (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Trophy Case (1080p/24) — Two lesser-known awards for The Darjeeling Limited.
  • Stills Gallery (1080p) — James Hamilton was the full-time on-set photographer for The Darjeeling Limited (as he was for The Royal Tenenbaums). Photographers Laura Wilson (mother of Owen Wilson) and Sylvia Plachy (mother of Adrien Brody) visited the set as well. Pictures by all three are presented here.
  • Theatrical Trailer (2.40:1; 1080p/24)
  • Booklet: Insert features an essay by film critic Richard Brody, original illustrations by Eric Chase Anderson, credits, and information on the transfer.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

The Darjeeling Limited is classic Wes Anderson — quick, quirky, and in a world all its own. This Criterion Collection release brings the film together with the “part one” short, Hotel Chevalier, to complete the package, and offers them up in solid, director supervised and approved 1080p high definition transfers. If you’re a fan of Wes Anderson’s films, then you need to get this release.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B003KGBIS4[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Darjeeling Limited - Widescreen

Purchase The Darjeeling Limited [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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