directed by Jared Hess
USA 2004

Napoleon Dynamite is cinema’s most obnoxious geek ever. He is dumb as in low intelligence, he believes his pathetic mediocrity is talent, he lives in a world of his own, where he is the best and hates everyone who doesn’t agree. And those are his good qualities.

He only has one friend, an equally dumb, but better looking and less solipsistic, Mexican student (in Idaho), Pedro. Pedro is despite his lacking of any facial expression, which he shares with Napoleon, a go getter and when failing to invite the schools cheerleader, Summer, to the dance, he quickly gets a date with Deb, who secretly has a crush on Napoleon, and finally runs for school president. As a story, it comes off as a third person variation of "Rushmore" without any story.

It takes about ten seconds before you hate Napoleon as a person, and then you begin to pity everyone else around him. He literary deserves any beating he gets at school, he attracts even the weakest school bully, because he is such a geek. In short: Napoleon is the poorest excuse for a human being ever put on screen.

It reminds me a lot of the films by Todd Solondz, but Hess direction is too laid-back indy and his characters are too extremely, thus they become one dimensional in their complexity, which again makes many of the stories unrealistic. No one would ever make their daughter date someone as Napoleon. A ebony beauty as LaFawnduh would never fall in love with someone as Kip, Napoleons 31 year old virgin chat addicted nerd brother. The entire world we see is like taken out of an episode of the Twilight Zone, part reality, part Napoleons own imagination, and in the end the film stands out as being painful to watch, not so much because of the actions of its characters, but because Hess seems to direct his films as if he was Napoleon himself. In short: Without these characters, the film would not exist.

There is a sharp contrast between the films characters. On one side people are social horrors like Kip, Pedro and Napoleon, who make up their own world, like the local tough guy, who teaches people Rex-Kwon-Do. On the other side, people are normal people. The constrast is however too black and white to make it believable. So what is the idea with this contrast? What is the idea with portraiting a character like Napoleon?

The question I ask is: With a film like “Napoleon Dynamite”, what direction can indy film now take? Where Solondz, Jamusch, Anderson and others have established themselves as, at least, semi mainstream, is indy now in the hands of gifted amateurs who substitute “being different” with “being a social horror”, social isolation with social outcast, and misinterpret emotionless action with wooden acting? In line of such questions, “Napoleon Dynamite” may well become a landmark film in terms of the direction of indy film.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 17, 2004 (Sundance Film Festival)

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DVD Review: Paramount Home Entertainment - Region 2,4 - PAL

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

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Distribution

Paramount Home Entertainment

Region 2,4 - PAL

Runtime 1:30:49 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.27 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital English, 5.1 Dolby Digital German (dub), 5.1 Dolby Digital Spanish (dub)
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and More
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by Jared Hess, Jon Heder and Jeremy Coon
• The Wedding of the Century (3:48 / 4:3)
• 4 Deleted Scenes with optional commentary (7:59 / 4:3)

DVD Release Date: April 25, 2005
Amarey

Chapters 20

 

Comments This generic non-R1 release is basically the same as R1, except it lacks the 8-minute short "Peluca" by Hess and the full frame 1.33:1 version.

The image is quiet decent, suffering from Macro Blocking and minor edge enhancements. But when changing chapters, the image gets serious pixelation problems, displaying serious color banding and clusters.






The additional material is lacking. The audio commentary is boring and dull, offering a little insight here and there, but overall not enough. A 4 minute "making of" featurette is almost a joke and then some deleted scenes.

 - Henrik Sylow

 

 


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Subtitle sample (English only)
Captures resized to 800px from 1016px

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 
Pixelation errors during chapter change

 

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Paramount Home Entertainment

Region 2,4 - PAL


 




 

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