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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

Office Space (Special Edition with Flair) [Blu-ray]


(Mike Judge, 1999)






Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: 20th Century Fox

Blu-ray: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment



Region: A

Runtime: 89 min.

Chapters: 36

Size: 50 GB

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 3, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC @ 33 Mbps



English DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1; English Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish & French DD



English SDH & Spanish, Cantonese & Mandarin



• Out of the Office – a Retrospective with Writer/Director Mike Judge (27:03)

• 8 Deleted Scenes (4:30)

• Post-it Pandemonium – The Apathy on Men Trivia Track

• Executive Games: Grab the Stapler, Printer Beat-Down, Whack-a-Drone, Jump to Conclusions 2.0

• Executive Games: Grab the Stapler, Printer Beat-Down, Whack-a-Drone, Jump to Conclusions 2.0



The Film: 6
Office Space is now almost ten years old. There's a quote by Roger Ebert on the cover: "A smart, savage comedy." Perhaps the satire was fresh back then, but it seems now, while apt, old hat. That said, it's hard not to relate to life in a cubicle even if you've never worked in such an office. And yes, Mike Judge's portrait of middle and upper management is vicious with a core of truth, but I found just about every gag – with the exception of any scene with Stephen Root as the bug-eyed and relentlessly put-upon Milton - predictable and telegraphed for too long before it punched. I never could work up much enthusiasm for the antihero drudges or their plot to achieve early retirement. Jennifer Anniston's chameleon character struck me as entirely unnecessary, an afterthought with as maybe five scenes and as many lines in each.



Image: 7/8
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

The image is clean and free of those pesky enhancements or DNR, but generally thin and flat with a fine layer of fuzz laid on top. It's sharp enough, just uninteresting.













Audio & Music: 7/6
The audio of Office Space is dialogue driven and so tends to be front-directed. Speech is clear (thank you, DTS HD-MA), and while there is some subtle office ambiance it is really only the music that opens the stage up for us.




Operations: 5
The basic menu design, with its animated cutout, a la Monty Python, is most amusing until we get to the Deleted Scenes where we are forced to return to the menu after each segment, one of which is all of nine seconds. Apparently, Fox is indulging in a little office cruelty of its own.

Extras: 5
The Extra Features from the similarly titled "Special Edition with Flair" DVD are present here as well: "Out of the Office", the 8 Deleted Scenes. In place of the DVD-Rom material the Blu-ray includes a huge post-it enabled Trivia Track and some mindless games: "Grab the Stapler" "Printer Beat-Down" and "Whack-a-Drone" are in-feature games. "Jump-to-Conclusions 2.0" is brilliant for its utter pointlessness.



Bottom line: 6
Mike Judge's Office Space has a devoted following – more, I think, for what it represents and the situations that we can identify with – at a comfortable distance, of course. Fans will want the high-def upgrade, which this Blu-ray just manages to get across.

Leonard Norwitz
February 7th, 2009








About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.

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