Groundhog Day (1993) - Special 15th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Fantasy / Romance
Columbia || PG13 - 101 minutes - $28.95 || January 27, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-02-17


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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

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Harold Ramis
Writer(s): Danny Rubin (story), Danny Rubin & Harold Ramis (screenplay)
Cast: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowski


Theatrical Release Date: February 12, 1993


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Picture-in-Picture Trivia Track
  • Feature Commentary
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Dutch, Arabic

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.::THE FILM::.

Bill Murray’s career has its share of ups and downs (mostly ups) and unlike some actors, Murray has advanced in versatility from genre to genre. In the 1970s and 1980s, it mainly straight up comedy from “Saturday Night Live” to Stripes to Ghostbusters, he proved to be an amazing comedic actor. It seemed that the 1990s brought the transition period for him as he started to dabble in dramas as well. Although Groundhog Day is much more of a comedy than drama, you could see the transformation begin before fledging out in the 2000s with movies like Lost in Translation and Broken Flowers. Point is, Murray has gracefully aged and has taken on roles fit for the transition.

Groundhog Day remains now 15 years later as one of Murray’s better films, though nothing I think could top Ghostbusters (for comedy) or Lost Translation (for drama).

The story about egotistical Pittsburgh weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray), on his fourth year covering the prognostication of a “talking rat” in Puxatony, and wakes up every day at 6am to find he’s reliving “Groundhog Day” over and over and over again (for a few years it’s been suggested). He uses this gift/curse for good and not-so-good from learning how to play the piano to getting to know his beautiful new producer, Rita (Andie MacDowell).

Groundhog Day is nothing short than a timeless and fantastic comedy. I’ve seen this countless times between television and DVD and I still love it each time primarily, well only, for the brilliant performance by Murray. Nothing against Andie MacDowell, but this is Bill Murray’s movie. Is it his best performance or even in the upper echelon of his career? Not quite, but if this role had gone to anybody else, I can’t think the movie would’ve been the same.

Directed and co-written by Ghostbusters alum Harold Ramis (he makes a brief appearance) presents a fine comedy with some light drama sprinkled in for good effect, mainly showcasing the 5 stages of grief: 1. Denial, 2. Anger, 3. Bargaining, 4. Depression and finally 5. Acceptance. It’s actually a pretty brilliant use of storytelling.

Even with an ending that’s a little too schmaltzy; Groundhog Day remains one of my personal favorite movies of all time due to a great screenplay (taken with or without spiritual undertones) and a fantastic performance by one of Hollywood’s greatest actors in Bill Murray.

The film co-stars Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott and Stephen Tobolowski in what is both the funniest and semi-annoying character.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All the features from the 15th Anniversary Edition DVD have been ported over with a new extra for this Blu-ray.

Needle Nose Ned’s Picture-in-Picture Track is a pop-up trivia track where Needle Nose Ned (aka Stephen Tobolowsky) comes in and provides bits of trivia about the movie. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Audio Commentary with Director Harold Ramis is alright but pretty dry and honestly, I had a hard time getting through the whole thing. Having someone else in there to pick up the slack would’ve been welcomed.

A Different Day: An Interview with Harold Ramis (9:58; HD) – Harold Ramis, with some footage from the film, sits down and talks about the success of Groundhog Day and how it was successful in so many communities and is universal in its story.

The Weight of Time (24:44) – An interesting featurette on how Groundhog Day got made from the script phase to the deeper, existential, meaning behind the story and how the script changed from the original draft. This is actually a lot better than those regular ‘making-of’ featurettes (which this basically is). It features new and old interviews with the cast (oddly minus Murray) and crew.

The Study of Groundhogs: A Real Life Look at Marmots (6:24; HD) is a featurette on groundhogs with interviews with professors. Yawn.

Deleted Scenes (5:53) – There are 5 scenes, most of which were rightly removed but still fun to watch none-the-less. One includes Murray playing pool (very well) and another he saves a little girl from getting hit by a car.

BD-Live with your typical Sony content. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Groundhog Day makes its debut on Blu-ray in a very, very nice looking video (1.85 aspect ratio and 1080p high-definition). I never had the chance to view the 15th Anniversary DVD version so I can’t compare it with that, but this is certainly heads above in quality over the 2002 DVD release which I do own. I noticed absolutely no scratches or dust marks and even the skin tones looked great.

Although not as strong, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track is good but I did notice in a couple scenes the dialogue wasn’t exactly clear. That said, the music score picks things up and makes use of my subwoofer and I noticed some ambient noise from my front speakers. Again, it’s not a strong track but still OK.



.::OVERALL::.

Groundhog Day is one of those timeless movies that 15 years later is still so damn good. Between Murray’s great performance and a story that the viewer can relate with more and more as our own daily grind becomes longer.

This is a good a Blu-ray and the difference in video from the 2002 DVD is quite noticeable, though I believe the variation between the BD and 2008 DVD may not be (and with a big difference in cost, I’d be hard pressed to recommend upgrading as the ’08 DVD can be had for less than $10). But if you only own the old DVD or don’t own it all, then by all means, pick it up.