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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Criterion Collection)

4.5 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Ellen Barkin, Gary Busey
  • Directors: Terry Gilliam
  • Writers: Terry Gilliam, Alex Cox, Hunter S. Thompson, Tod Davies, Tony Grisoni
  • Producers: Elliot Lewis Rosenblatt, Harold Bronson
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Feb. 25 2003
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00007ELDF
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,655 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Depp/Del Toro/Maguire/Barkin/Helmond ~ Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas

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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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).
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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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 humanity.
The whole film it feels like you're watching some insane carnival ride which on one level is appealing yet is also dangerous as the film descends to the level of farce, and you feel no real emotion for Thompson or Oscar.
Another danger of course is the drug use is trivialized, Hunter s. Thompson says 'hey drugs worked for me', yet having seen several of his interviews and documentaries its painfully obvious thats drugs HAVEN'T fully worked for Mr. Thompson.
He has a cruel streak a mile wide, he is often paranoid, his motors too big for his boat so to speak. I'm not condemning Hunter S. Thompson, perhaps he's aware of what drugs cost him and thinks on balance that it was worth the price. I'm not sure. There is always a price though and that point doesnt come across in the film.
Though its hard to argue he abused the enhanced consciousness drugs gave him, perhaps the ugliest part of a drugged up Thompson and Oscar was the way they often sensed peoples weaknesses and preyed on them like vultures. Total abuse of consciousness.
That part of my review may sound overly critical of the film and Thompson but it had to be said. As far as the film goes, the cinematography and visuals are absolutely stunning, the acting of Depp and Del Toro and the supporting cast with a few exceptions are first rate. The film is extremely entertaining of that there is no doubt. The dialogue creates a sense of the surreal, however unfortunately no depth of feeling shines through the surreal.
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