H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Bad Boy Bubby (3-disc) [Blu-ray]


(Rolf de Heer, 1993)




Blue Underground have their Blu-ray release available in the US although this UK disc is region FREE!



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Australian Film Finance Corporation (AFFC)

Video: Eureka Entertainment



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:53:51

Disc Size: 34,378,029,372 bytes

Feature Size: 32,717,998,080 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.06 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: UK thicker Blu-ray case

Release date: August 3rd, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2043 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2043 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1382 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1382 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
'Headphone': Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps






• Commentary with director Heer and actor Hope

• 'Christ Kid, You're a Weirdo' - interview with Heer (23:48)

• Original theatrical trailer (1:52)

Binaural Headphone audio-track ('Be Inside Bubby's Head)

• DVD of film and extras

• 3rd disc Digital copy

20-page color booklet





Product Description
Awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, BAD BOY BUBBY with its hard hitting content of deprivation, mental illness and incest, shocked its audiences to become one of the most daring and controversial cult films of the 1990s. Nicholas Hope gives an astonishing performance as Bubby, a demented man-child kept locked for his entire life in a squalid apartment by his depraved mother who uses him for sex. When Bubby who can only communicate by mimicking what others say and do, escapes into the outside world, he soon discovers young women, crime, rock'n'roll, and pizza. Will this naive 'mad bastard' be destroyed by the realities of our cruel world, or does a higher calling ultimately await him in the most unlikely place of all? Bad Boy Bubby is released UNCENSORED, UNCUT, THE DIRECTOR S VISION on 3rd August 2009 for the first time in the UK on Blu-ray in a 3-disc box set also containing a DVD version and Digital Copy

Australian director Rolf de Heer's bizarre parable of innocence and corruption, belief and redemption, paints a decidedly grim picture while allowing hints of optimistic humanism to filter through. Bubby (Nicholas Hope) is a 35-year-old manchild, confined his whole life by his domineering mother--who uses him for sex--to a two-room tenement apartment. She has convinced Bubby that the air outside is poisonous, donning a gas mask every time she leaves; all this changes when Bubby's father, a priest who has lost his religion, shows up. His presence both demonstrates the possibility of breathing the air outside, and inspires Bubby to an act of violence that upsets his enclosed world. Finding himself out on the street, the antisocial, nearly mute Bubby must now encounter society, and his adventures run the gamut from poignant and funny to grim and brutal. He is seduced by a Salvation Army worker, adopted by a rock band with whom he performs, imprisoned, raped, and saved again.

An incredibly unique and eccentric film, BAD BOY BUBBY inspired some controversy upon its release, with some judging its themes so dark as to be unethical. But this verdict belies the compassion and empathy latent in the treatment, which expands the piece to encompass both disillusionment with society, as well as hope for humanity. The film noir style presents a gritty, raw view of a corrupt world, presented through honest, innocent eyes.



The Film:

The first half-hour of Bad Boy Bubby is so oppressive and grim that De Heer realized his original idea of presenting these scenes in a cramped aspect ratio would make it unbearably claustrophobic for the viewer, so he opened it up to a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio to let the scenes breathe even as both Bubby and his cat suffocate under the weight of Bubby's oppressive "Mam." In turn, Bubby's mother only leaves the squalid apartment with a gas mask so as to keep Bubby in fear of the outside world and to make sure he won't escape. But escape he does, and so Bubby's journey begins. Aside for being a stranger in what is, for him, a new planet, Bubby also has a talent for mimicry that compulsively informs every scene that follows. Thematically, the cinematic relatives that come to mind are The Wild Child (1970) by Francois Truffat and Being There (1979) by Hal Ashby, but otherwise it's hard to compare both of these traditional films to Bad Boy Bubby if only because De Heer's film is so completely whacked out, crazy, unpredictable, and also quite inspired and totally memorable in its own deranged way.

With most films, should the viewer leave for a quick bathroom break they could easily come back and fill in the gaps as to what they had missed. Not so with Bad Boy Bubby, for even the briefest trip to the lavatory might mean missing an entire segment that you could never have predicted and yet, somehow, plays an instrumental part to the whole. One of the reasons for this comes down to its unique construction as a work that gestated over several years, with De Heer writing down bizarre life moments and then putting them away for later. In some cases he'd revisit scenes that he realized weren't quite as strange anymore, so he'd ratchet them up a bit, thus creating a tapestry of changing encounters that are all amped up in their strangeness and glory, and that range from Bubby joining a rock band to eventually playing a key role in another group that assists people with cerebral palsy. He also kills things with cling wrap, but that's all part of his learning curve.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE



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

Firstly, this is the uncensored, un-cut, director's version of the film. While I wouldn't say that Bad Boy Bubby on Blu-ray from Eureka in the UK looks like your typical 1080P pristine and glossy transfer - I would say it probably looks quite accurate. Actually, it is advertised on the boxset as '...high-definition transfer supervised by the director'. The image quality looks thick and hazy but there are sequences of surprisingly strong detail. This, along with the 32 Gig file size for the feature and healthy 30 Mbps transfer rate, lead me to believe that this indeed does precisely represent the source utilized. The film probably isn't going to look much better for digital home theater display (although the US Blue Underground edition may be able to confirm this). Colors are significantly brighter in outdoor scenes and the contrast and grain in darker venues is film-like. Fleshtones show a bit of warmth - and there is a modicum of noise although the background texture is mostly all grain. The corresponding DVD can't capture the film's depth or more realistic qualities at the same level as the 1080P transfer but otherwise doesn't look too bad at all for SD-DVD. This Blu-ray lends a genuine and consistent quality to the visuals but, by modern standards, this isn't going to be a 'go-to' demo disc as most can ascertain by the posted screen captures below. The transfer, essentially, has no flaws.

















Audio :

Of the stronger, lossless, audio options - the DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2043 kbps seems to be the most dynamic with a few mix separations although I also found on the Dolby TrueHD that dialogue was a bit scattered - meaning it was probably that way originally. There is also a 2.0 channel track but I only tested it in a couple of scenes and it was expectantly flat. The complaint I do have is the lack of subtitles - not for the intentionally incoherent parts of the film, but for the dialogue that sports an Aussie accent. It can move at a fast pace and all the specific words can be difficult to identify. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.




Extras :

I was expecting a bit more out of the commentary with director Heer and actor Hope. It had gaps and certainly wasn't on the professional level of a Tony Rayns with heavy explanations for the onscreen activity. There was some but I think the 23 minute interview 'Christ Kid, You're a Weirdo' fulfilled some of the film's interpretations better. I tried the Binaural Headphone audio-track ('Be Inside Bubby's Head') a few times but didn't get anything out of it. It just seemed that Bubby's dialogue was muffled. This is probably my own fault for not persevering but it may be because of the screener copy that I have - I'm not sure but it's not a supplement I would probably indulge in regardless. There is an original theatrical trailer and second disc DVD with the film and same extras - plus a 3rd disc Digital copy and 20-page color booklet with some text on the film's censorship issues.



The first 30-minutes of Bad Boy Bubby are so disturbing and depraved that it is almost totally unbearable to sit through. The film then dramatically shifts to a kind of raw Being There with some humor and social commentary. It's fascinating for so many reasons beyond the fact that you have no idea what is going to happen next. It's easy to state that this is definitely not a film for everyone but those brave enough will certainly find a unique, inquisitive, offering.   This Blu-ray covers all the bases for a complete package and I don't expect much more could be added. This is an interesting piece of work but the squeamish should surely beware. 

Gary Tooze

July 28th, 2009




Blue Underground have their Blu-ray release available in the US although this UK disc is region FREE!



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








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