Election (1999) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Drama
Paramount || R - 103 minutes - $29.99 || January 20, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-01-15


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Alexander Payne
Writer(s): Tom Perrotta (novel); Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor (screenplay)
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein


Theatrical Release Date: May 7, 1999


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

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.::THE FILM::.

I should start off saying I have been a fan of Election since its dim Theatrical release back in 1999.I remember paying an insane price tag for the almost feature-less DVD just so I could watch the film again and again on my shiny new DVD player. The Blu-ray arrives the same day as President Obama goes into the White House... interesting tie-in, Paramount!

Tracy Flick (Witherspoon)... we all had one of her in High School. The student who would always go above and beyond what any teachers expectations were and make everyone look (and feel) like a fool. If a question was to be asked, expect her hand to be up before the teacher could finish the sentence. She runs unopposed for Class President for her Senior year, which irks teacher Jim McCallister (Broderick) because he can't stand her because she slept with his friend, and former teacher, Dave Novolty. Wanting someone to stop her, McCallister persuades dim-witted football star Paul Metzler (Klein) to run because he thinks his popularity will help knock Flick down a notch. After some encouraging words, Paul accepts and the election is on!

After both start their campaigns, they are joined by another potential President, and sister of Paul, Tammy Metzler (Campbell). She is the opposite of both of them - she simply doesn't care about the school and in her speech to the student says "Who cares? Don't vote at all!". With the three in a battle for the win, we begin to see how the Election takes a toll on each character. Witherspoon, the smart, enthusiastic character, quickly approaches a level of craziness as she destroys her own banners accusing others of doing it. Paul continues on his dim-wit adventure not sure of whatís to come or what even being President of the Class means, while Tammy is more in it for revenge for Paul hooking up with her ex-girlfriend (or so she likes to believe). McCallister goes off the deep end living in a love-less marriage where his wife can't conceive a child all while having an affair with his friends wife.

What I really love about the film is the progression of each character. At the start of the film you kind of get an idea of why each character acts in a certain way, but by the end, they have all seemed to change in turn into shadows of their former self. The downward spiral of Flick and McCallister is an interesting look at how one simple comment to have Paul Metzler run for Presidency can ruin the lives of both of them. The Directorial approach is also interesting - scenes are frozen while we get a narrative discussing the scene at hand and events that happened in the past.

Acting is near perfect in the film. Broderick, after starring in the crap-tacular Godzilla remake a year before, regains control of himself in a role that is perfectly suited for him. Witherspoon, who was fairly unknown at the time, nails her character and gives what I believe to be her best performance ever (even in 2009). The only real downfall is Klien who plays almost a carbon copy of his character on American Pie... leaving most of the film to rely on Broderick or Witherspoon.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary with Director Alexander Payne - A solo track (shame no Broderick or Witherspoon) that gives us some insight into how the film came to be and casting choices. A real treat considering this is the only special feature...



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Election is presented 2.35:1 (AVC) on a 50GB Disc. I've come accustom to watching the now stale 10 year old DVD release of the film so seeing it on Blu-ray was a real treat. Colors were more vibrant and each character showed a ton more detail than before. The grain is still very much present but itís been toned down a lot. My main issue with the film is anytime you see the (green) chalkboard it looks like bee's are fluttering around. It becomes very distracting as the film takes place in the school nearly the entire time.

Paramount has included an English TrueHD 5.1 Track as well as a French & Spanish DD5.1. The film is essentially 100% dialog driven so I was excited that the TrueHD track was a huge improvement over the tinny DD5.1 track from the DVD release. Don't expect miracles though - I've heard far better tracks on much older films.

Please Note: The box and menu list both the TrueHD and Spanish track as 5.0... this is an error. My Sony S550 clearly shows it being a 5.1 track and going from speaker to speaker to sub woofer everything was rockin'. I find it hard to believe Paramount would give us a downgrade considering the ten year old DVD had DD5.1 tracks. As far as I am concerned, this was just a listing error.



.::OVERALL::.

Election remains a top spot in my favorite movie list... but the Blu-ray simply does not do it justice. Deleted scenes are known to exist but Paramount didn't seem too enthused to find them. Couple that with only small increases in the picture and audio department and youíve got a release that many will leave on the shelves which is a shame since the film is so good.