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Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (Criterion) (Blu-Ray)

Johnny Depp , Benicio Del Toro , Terry Gilliam    R (Restricted)   Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (406 customer reviews)
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Product Description

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The original cowriter and director of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was Alex Cox, whose earlier film Sid and Nancy suggests that Cox could have been a perfect match in filming Hunter S. Thompson's psychotropic masterpiece of "gonzo" journalism. Unfortunately Cox departed due to the usual "creative differences," and this ill-fated adaptation was thrust upon Terry Gilliam, whose formidable gifts as a visionary filmmaker were squandered on the seemingly unfilmable elements of Thompson's ether-fogged narrative. The result is a one-joke movie without the joke--an endless series of repetitive scenes involving rampant substance abuse and the hallucinogenic fallout of a road trip that's run crazily out of control. Johnny Depp plays Thompson's alter ego, "gonzo" journalist Raoul Duke, and Benicio Del Toro is his sidekick and so-called lawyer Dr. Gonzo. During the course of a trip to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, they ingest a veritable chemistry set of drugs, and Gilliam does his best to show us the hallucinatory state of their zonked-out minds. This allows for some dazzling imagery and the rampant humor of stumbling buffoons, and the mumbling performances of Depp and Del Toro wholeheartedly embrace the tripped-out, paranoid lunacy of Thompson's celebrated book. But over two hours of this insanity tends to grate on the nerves--like being the only sober guest at a party full of drunken idiots. So while Gilliam's film may achieve some modest cult status over the years, it's only because Fear and Loathing is best enjoyed by those who are just as stoned as the characters in the movie. The DVD offers the film in its full 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

Criterion's high standards get even higher with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. "Hunter Goes to Hollywood" is a fascinating 1978 segment of the BBC's Omnibus series, following "gonzo" journalist Hunter S. Thomson and artist Ralph Steadman on a Fear and Loathing-like odyssey to La-La-Land; a visit to Thompson's Aspen, Colorado, ranch offers ample proof that Johnny Depp's later portrayal is uncannily accurate. All three commentaries are worthwhile for different reasons: as always, Gilliam is intelligent, mischievously subversive, and defiantly protective of Thompson's source material; Depp and Benicio Del Toro offer passionate perspective on tackling their demanding roles without drugs; and producer Laila Nabulsi chronicles her 10-year effort to get the film made (including the protracted writer's credit arbitration). Thompson's commentary is the least coherent but most entertaining; with occasional whoops and hollers, he's like a stand-up act for acid freaks, dispensing occasional pearls of wisdom. Another excellent feature is Depp's reading of correspondence with Thompson; in emulating his friend, Depp proves himself to be a fine writer and storyteller. Taken together, these and other features make Criterion's DVD an essential addition to Thompson's literary legacy. --Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally the Blu-Ray Worth Waiting For May 16 2011
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Fear and Loathing on Criterion Blu, the way it was meant to be presented. Astonishing picture presentation, wonderful bonus materials (including Hunter Thompson's own DVD commentary of the film). The only way to enjoy this movie for true lovers of the movie and of HST.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely love this film Nov. 1 2006
By LA
Format:DVD
I have watched this movie many times and was quite young when I first saw it. Therefore I didn't really get the drug stuff completely but still enjoyed it. When I was a bit older I watched it again and loved it even more. Johnny Depp is a dead ringer for Hunter S. Thompson. He even sounds exactly like him. I didn't recognize Benecio Del Toro, since he gained around fifty pounds for the role, and mumbles his way through the whole thing. If you like funny, bizzare, but extremely entertaining films then give it a go. It's worth it just for Depp's performance alone. Also Tobey Maguire is hilarious in his small part including the weird wig.
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By gilles
Format:DVD
One hell of a movie! Great performances by Depp and Del Toro. Gilliam's directing is near-perfect. The soundtrack is outstanding. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is probably the only work of fiction that is a masterpiece in both novel and movie. An advice: Don't watch it only once. Watch it at least two or three times, then you will see. It's a bizarre, savage film. One of a kind. We are not use to those kind of film. And, don't let it go because of it's poor performance at the box-office back in 1998. Like Dr. Hunter S. Thompson himself said: " It slowy grew an adoring cult following - much, fittingly, like the book."
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hard film to rate July 5 2007
Format:DVD
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas was originally written by famous writer and rebel Hunter S. Thompson. This man was both brilliant and mad to some extends, and his literature strongly reflects this. Anybody who is familiar with his literature might call his work 'unfilmable', and to some extent they would be right, but director Terry Gilliam has done as good a job with it as any director could.

Fear & Loathing is largely a plotless film; two men go on a drug binge in Las Vegas for a weekend. Thats it, scenario after scenario of hallucinations and drugs. This is neither a bad thing nor a good thing, it simply is; we watch these men and laugh at them, but ultimately the film ends up amounting to nothing. We are the same at the end of the picture as we were at the beginning, without anything added or subtracted from out lives.

In my opinion this is cinema as an art form; can we define what a film is supposed to do? Fear & Loathing does what Fellini did with 8 1/2; it creates a film that ultimately leaves meaning to the viewer. There isn't a lot there to engage, so throughout the film we find means of engagement in it. Sure it works as a comedy on a basic level (as does 8 1/2), but to get depth and meaning from the film we must create it, and to me Fear & Loathing provides us with an opportunity to do this, without telling us how to think about it.

I guess thats my take on it; it certainly is not for everybody and many people would give it a 1/10 in all fairness. Others would give it a 10/10, and they would be also fair to the film. Fear & Loathing is just very subjective, and any honest opinion formed on it is basically pretty accurate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One I can watch over and over Sept. 11 2004
By Kilgore
Format:DVD
When this movie first came out it got such lousy reviews I didn't watch it at first but did end up renting it. It has now become one of my favorites
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious July 18 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
This isn't your average movie. Based on the H.S Thompson novel, tt quite succesfully captures the literary insanity of Thompson's books (I'm actually 16, not twelve). Here's the scenario, two stoners running around Las Vegas. All the jokes are based around the wild, outrageous hallucinations of Raul Duke, and his "side kick" Dr. Gonzo. But damned if the many variations of the same basic joke aren't guiltily hilarious every single time. In one scene, Raul and Gonzo are in a bar, When Raul freaks out, thinking that all the bar patrons have been turned into monstrous lizards.
Weird- absolutely Funny- You bet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review of the DVD, not the film July 11 2004
By John
Format:DVD
First things first: FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, the film, is quite good. If you can stomach its content, it IS a rather fun drug odyssey with a fair amount of underlying social commentary. Some of it becomes muddled and the reviews were horrible (Ebert gave it 1/4) but I enjoy this more than Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL, to be honest (which, ironically, Ebert also gave a negative review).
THE DVD
An overall wonderful experience. First, the packaging: superb. Criterion is always good at packaging their DVDs and this is one of my favorites. On the inside is an essay by a film critic and two discs. The first has the film, newly remastered under the supervision of Gilliam, along with three commentary tracks: by Gilliam, Depp and Del Toro, and Hunter S. Thompson. Wisely, they had someone interview him most of the time since he's obviously a bit of an oddball and would be prone to sitting there and saying nothing.
The second disc has some extraordinary specials, including an old BBC documentary about Thompson (whose semi-truthful novel this is based upon), TV spots, the theatrical trailer (with optional commentary by Gilliam - which I've never seen before), poster and photo galleries, Hunter Goes to Hollywood (an amusing short documentary about Thompson visiting the set of the film), a selection of somewhat bizarre letters between Depp and Thompson that date back to the pre-and-post-production of the film (Depp reads all of them to the camera for us).
Overall, one of the best DVDs I own. The film isn't a classic, per se, but it IS enjoyable. I'm sure part of my appreciation for it comes from this superb DVD, which is one of the finest I own in terms of special features.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars pas pire pantoute
cé donc ben l'fun acheter des affaires, tsé quand t'a l'gout de te sentir en vie, y a rien comme sortir ta carte de crédit
Published 6 months ago by simon roy
5.0 out of 5 stars wow, johnny depp on drug !!
this movie is incredible, very funny, base on a true story of 2 dummyz who are driving to las vegas with too much alcool and drugs for the trip, very insane !! Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2008 by Daniel Nault
3.0 out of 5 stars It took two viewings to make it through
The first time I started to watch this movie I got a big headache. At my friend's urging I watched it again, and still got a headache. Read more
Published on July 13 2004 by Dominic
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughed out loud.
The movie is downright funny I tell you. It shouldn't be - watching two maniacs descend into chaos, you'd think that's disurbing...should be disturbing, but it's NOT. It's funny. Read more
Published on July 9 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars the up in smoke of halucenogenic movies
johnny depp and his lawyer stay trashed on a plethora of halucenogenics for 2 hours.chances are your kids wont know what the hell is even happening. Read more
Published on July 9 2004 by abe
3.0 out of 5 stars A slightly misguided cartoon of Hunter S. Thompsons world
I've listened to Hunter Thompsons complaints about the film and I have to say I agree with him about how the style and the tone of the film detract from the characters... Read more
Published on June 23 2004 by Duncan C. White
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