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Directed by Wes Anderson
USA 2007

 

In director Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, three estranged American brothers reunite for a meticulously planned, soul-searching train voyage across India one year after the death of their father. Armed with eleven suitcases, a laminated itinerary, a can of pepper spray, a supply of over-the-counter painkillers, and a host of family conflicts ready to erupt, Francis, Peter, and Jack eventually find themselves stranded alone in the middle of the desert—at which point an unexpected new chapter in their journey begins. Featuring a sensational cast, including Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, and Anjelica Huston, The Darjeeling Limited is a dazzling and hilarious film that takes Anderson’s work to deeper places than ever before.

***

Wes Anderson movies are invariably about family, but he's sharper and less self-indulgent when depicting surrogate families than actual ones — characters who share chromosomes tend to bring out his maudlin side. His latest effort, The Darjeeling Limited, follows three brothers, played by Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and co-screenwriter Jason Schwartzman, as they gallivant across India in search of themselves; the film has been positioned as Anderson's return to form following 2004's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which was widely perceived as overly fussy and emotionally constipated.
 

[...]
 

It wouldn't matter so much were the movie consistently funny, but the mood is leaden and the whimsy forced, save for a charming fling between Schwartzman's Jack and an Indian tea hostess (Amara Karan). Consequently, when the film turns "serious" about two-thirds of the way through, the effect is not so much jarring (as I assume was intended) as it is dully gratifying: finally, somebody died. (This is also the first time I've found Wilson actively annoying, though that reaction was tempered somewhat by the knowledge of what he's going through at the moment.) What keeps The Darjeeling Limited on the rails, for a while at least, is the Darjeeling Limited: it's amusing to watch a director known for his exacting widescreen tableaux attempt to navigate a locomotive's narrow corridors and cramped compartments, all while keeping everything perfectly centered.  

Excerpt from Mike D'Angelo's review at The Nerve Film Lounge located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 3rd, 2007 - Venice Film Festival

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Comparison:

20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray

20th Century Fox - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

DVD Box Cover

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 540 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:31:12  1:31:46.542
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.65 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,247,706,770 bytes

Feature: 27,902,717,952 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate:  Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUB: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0) DTS-HD Master Audio English 3341 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3341 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Short - Hotel Chevalier (13:05)
• Featurette: The Darjeeling Limited Walking Tour (21:21)
• Trailer (2:17)

DVD Release Date: February 26th, 200
8
Keep Case
Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,247,706,770 bytes

Feature: 27,902,717,952 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:
Hotel Chevalier (part one of The Darjeeling Limited - 13:11 in HD!)
• Audio commentary featuring Anderson and cowriters Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola
• Behind-the-scenes documentary by Barry Braverman (40:50 in HD!)
• Discussion between Anderson and filmmaker James Ivory on the music used in the film (20:46 in HD!)
• Anderson’s American Express commercial (2:02 in HD!)
• On-set footage shot by Roman Coppola
(2:29 in HD) and10-segment piece by actor Waris Ahluwalia
• Video essay by critic Matt Zoller Seitz (11:49in HD!)
• Sriharsh Sharma Audition footage (2:39in HD!)
• Oakley Friedberg Packaging Speech - (3:33 in HD!)

Deleted and alternate scenes (3:20 in HD!)

Trophy Case (:41 in HD!)
• Original theatrical trailer (2:18 in HD!)
• Stills galleries from James Hamilton, Laura Wilson, and Sylvia Plachy
• 16-page liner notes foldout featuring an essay by critic Richard Brody and original illustrations by Eric Chase Anderson


Blu-ray Release Date:
October 12th, 2010
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 20

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - September 2010: It should be apparent from the screen shot comparisons - in what areas Criterion's 1080P transfer advances. Colors are a bit richer but the lines are all sharper. Everything tightens up and we have plenty of depth that the flatter DVD couldn't export. The DVD looked good, comparatively softer, but the Blu-ray looks... fabulous.

Audio also improves with a lossless DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3341 kbps. Being a Wes Anderson film there is a cornucopia of music from The Rolling Stones and The Kinks to Ravi Shankar and Satyajit Ray (YES, that Satyajit Ray!). Serious cinephiles may recognize some of the master-director's scores from such films as Charulata (1964) or Jalsaghar aka The Music Room (1958) - the latter possibly my favorite Ray film. Wonderful! Criterion have included optional English subtitles and my Momitsu confirms that the disc is region 'A'-locked.

While I always loved Anderson's film - having watched Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums at least a 1/2 dozen times each. It was only after I saw Fantastic Mr. Fox that I started to recognize a deeper level of his brand of genius. That film is a definite masterpiece! - anyway what is great about The Darjeeling Limited Criterion package are the extras.  

When starting the feature you get the options to watch Hotel Chevalier (part one of The Darjeeling Limited - 13:11 in HD! - as are all video supplements) before, separately - or not at all. I really like this short with a sexy Natalie Portman described as 'A short prologue of one heartbreaking history of love and the prologue of the travel told in The Darjeeling Limited.' I only noticed now that the executive producer is my friend Nicolas Saada. Commentaries featuring Anderson are always super and he is joined here by co-writers Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola. Its informative, humorous and it substantially helped with my appreciation. Criterion include the 40-minute Behind-the-scenes documentary by Barry Braverman and a 20-minute discussion between Anderson and filmmaker James Ivory on the music used in the film. After that is a long list of mostly shorter pieces including notables like Anderson’s 'American Express' commercial, a video essay by critic Matt Zoller Seitz, deleted and alternate scenes, audition footage, stills galleries, on-set footage shot by Roman Coppola (2:29) and a 10-segment piece by actor Waris Ahluwalia, a theatrical trailer and lastly they include a 16-page liner notes foldout featuring an essay by critic Richard Brody and original illustrations by Eric Chase Anderson. Whewww.

I'm really happy that Criterion released this title in high-def because it gave me the opportunity to re-watch and become aware of details that eluded me the first time. Whether it was the higher resolution visuals, crisper soundtrack or bountiful extras - this is a package that I can heartily endorse. Criterion have done a super job releasing another Anderson film in digital. Strongly recommended!

***

ON THE FOX DVD: Beautiful looking film with bright colors toned down to a semi-soft palette. The dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic Fox DVD looks wonderful with consistent detail and excellent contrast. I can only see this looking better if it was in 1080 - which is not yet scheduled. Blues, greens and yellow look exceptionally strong. The transfer has no major (or even minor) flaws that I can determine. Audio is offered in a fairly unutilized 5.1 track and there is also a 2.0 Spanish DUB available. There are optional subtitles supporting the dialogue in English, French or Spanish. Expectantly it is super clean with no speckles or damage marks.

Supplements include the 13 minute short "Hotel Chevalier" which acts as a kind of 'part one' to The Darjeeling Limited (and can be viewed in that way). It is cute, touching and sexy all at once. There is also a, 20 minute, 'Behind the Scenes...' entitled 'The Darjeeling Limited Walking Tour'. It follows Production Designer Mark Friedberg around as he discusses some of the locations and shooting details.

Wes Anderson's films are refreshing in their uniqueness. This is no exception. I know some critics were so-so on this one but I enjoyed every moment with characterizations always teetering into unexpected directions. Part of Andersons inspiration for the film was Renoir's 1951 The River (based on the novel by Rumer Godden) shown to him personally by Martin Scorsese. Great DVD from Fox. 

Gary W. Tooze

 


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Short - Hotel Chevalier

 


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DVD Box Cover

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 540 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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