Fifteen years ago Kevin Smith released a film that would forever change his career in Hollywood. His directional abilities and his passion for film has without a doubt been shown in Clerks. The film achieved so much with its low budget and basement production that is incredible that it garnered such a cult following. Thanks to this film the doors to Hollywood were opened for director Kevin Smith.
By now who doesn’t know who Kevin Smith is? Then you must know that he was also the creator of one of the most remembered Indie film in the past 10 years. Clerks has become one of the most loved films by Smith’s fans, this is the one that started it all. Clerks did not achieve its status by viral marketing, but none other than word of mouth. Those willing to pay their hard earned cash on a film that no one had heard of and hardly any theater showed, found themselves with a surprise. Clerks created fuzz not only among its fans, but with critics. How did he do it? Kevin Smith’s writing, directing and passion for filming is all evident in the movie.
Convenience store clerk Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and video store clerk Randal (Jeff Anderson) begin the day having to cover in for other employees on their days off. They are stuck in their dead end jobs with no end in sight. Their seemingly normal day turns sour very fast having to deal with ungrateful customers, odd personalities that walk into the store, and not to mention trying to keep the local drug dealers Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) who hang outside of their doors. Dante spends his time complaining about his life and all the romantic conflicts and what could have been while Randal remains the same loud mouth who knows his limitations and openly speaks his obnoxious mind.
The film remains at a slow pace while the character development moves on. I feel that the casts for the characters of Dante and Randal are spot on as you can always see the good chemistry between them. They appear to be complete opposites while keeping certain aspects that make them a great combination. The script also is witty and in between all the explicit language it remains very comedic. Perhaps if this film was to be released today it might not achieve what it did fifteen (15) years. The strong writing and low production look would most likely not be accepted by many today, were most are worried about the booms, bangs, and the pretty visuals without any real substance. Clerks is an undeniable Indie classic that will remain as such for the years to come.
Clerks arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 1.85:1. This is the best looking Clerks to date, it will probably never look any better than this. The film is present in black and white throughout with white colors that are crisp and clear, greys that are nicely preserved, blacks that deep and very accurately presented. There are many visible video noise, but not enough to be considered a distraction. There also some grain detected as well as some softness in several scenes. This was originally a very low budget film so anyone having high expectations will be left disappointed.
Clerks arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Again the viewer should take into consideration the original source material and the problems it originally contained within. The audio track creates a seemingly immersive soundfield, yes I am aware that there is very little substance in the film to feel immerse, however, for what it is it works. The rears appear to kick in nicely during the few scenes with music on them. There are a few problems that should have been taken care of; the dialogue has problems all around from clearness to clarity. The film appears to create some distortion to the center channel which can become quite annoying. This is probably due to the original material.
Not always can we expect to have a film that will port all the previous extras into a Blu-ray release. With that being said I am pleased to say this Clerks version has included EVERY supplement every created for the film. Not all the content is in HD, but who cares! Every single supplement is in format! In one disc! Sure some will complain, but ultimately this is a release that has everything for the fans.
Theatrical Cut Audio Commentary – This is a very entertaining commentary featuring several cast members including Kevin Smith. Definitely worth a watch.
Theatrical Cut Enhanced Trivia Track – This features some facts and a look at several quirks, definitions, and some comedy.
First Cut Picture-in Picture Commentary – This feature plays over the film and is entirely in SD, including the film. However, it’s a blast; Smith and company always maintain a high comedic level. This was taken directly from the 2004 edition of Clerks.
First Cut Director’s Intro – This is not your traditional introduction, it’s a conversation between Smith and Mosier. It’s a must for die hard fans.
The Making of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back – Yes, you read that right and you might be wondering why this featurette is part of Clerks. Well, this is because Smith wanted new material on the disc. However, is just as entertaining as most of the featurettes included in this disc.
Snowball Effect – This featurette features Smith talks about his peeves, a look at his early career, the cast of Clerks, and much more.
Snowball Effect Outtakes – This features 13 segments that didn’t make it into the “Snowball Effect” featurette.
10th Anniversary Q&A – A look back with the cast and crew of Clerks plus a Q& A with Smith.
Clerks Lost Scene – Animated Short – This was taken from the Clerks 10th anniversary edition, it was in Smith’s original script, but was never shot.
The Flying Car – This is a short originally made for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Original Auditions – Features a look a the audition tapes of Jeff Anderson, Brian O’Halloran, Marilyn Ghigliotti, and Ernest O’Donnell.
Clerks Restoration – John Smith, Mosier, and David Klein go over a brief look at the process behind the restoration.
Mae Day: The Crumbling of a Documentary – This is the first View Askew production film made by Smith and Mosier.
MTV Spots with Jay & Silent Bob – Eight TV sports with introduction by Smith and Mosier.
Music Video – “Can’t Even Tell” by Soul Asylum.
Theatrical Version and First Cut – Both versions of the film are included in this release. The Theatrical cut is roughly 92 minutes and the First cut is 104. Anyone who calls himself a fan knows that there are some differences between each version.
Clerks on Blu-ray offers a slight upgrade over the previous 10th anniversary Clerks DVD; all of the previous supplements are included in this release. The video and audio have improved and it’s the best looking Clerks that we’ll probably ever see, any further attempt to make it better may very well cause the film to lose its Indie feel. If you are looking for to upgrade your previous releases this is the time, but if you are looking to watch this for the first time I recommend a rent first.