Napoleon Dynamite 10th Anniversary Blu-ray Review

Format: AC-3, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby TrueHD), French (Dolby Surround), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: May 6, 2014


            The only problem with sleeper hits like Napoleon Dynamite is that once they get popular, often the heart is pounded right out of the very thing that was special in the first place. This happened with The Blair Witch Project and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. One had a bad sequel and the other had a worse spin-off television show. Though there were no attempts at furthering the Napoleon Dynamite franchise, it is yet another one-hit-wonder which has lost some of the appeal in the ten years since its release. This makes the 10th Anniversary Blu-ray release feeling a bit redundant and unnecessary, especially with no new additions aside from the combination of DVD and Blu-ray in one package.


            Napoleon Dynamite took pop culture by storm with dozens of catch phrases and endless crappy impressions of favorite characters. The film has virtually no plot, essentially just a series of strange experiences with a bizarre geek living amongst many odd characters in rural Idaho. He has very few friends, but he meets Pedro and Deb which leads to a number of interesting adventures. Napoleon and Pedro struggle to get dates for a dance and Deb has a few businesses trying to raise money for college. Napoleon also has a geeky older brother who is addicted to internet chat-rooms and an uncle still reliving his glory days as a high school football star.


            The Blu-ray release for the film had all of the great special features from the single disc DVD, and they were transferred over again for this 10th Anniversary Blu-ray release. The major addition is a DVD copy also included, along with a fuzzy collectible cardboard cover. Both discs include most of the special features, including an audio commentary with director/co-writer Jared Hess, Jon Heder (Napoleon), and producer Jeremy Coon. There is also a new cast commentary track with Aaron Ruell, Efren Ramirez, Jon Gries and Tina Majorino. It would have been nice to see a retrospective commentary, but this is just a re-release of previously featured extras.


            The additional special features are split up into three categories. The first category is documentaries, which there are two of. The first one is “World Premiere Jared Hess”, a documentary about the director of Napoleon Dynamite. There is also a new documentary, “On Location: Napoleon Dynamite”, which is a ton of behind the scenes footage, often split-screened with the actual footage from the takes. This is fascinating at times, but can be incredibly boring as well. There is a lot of footage and most of the time the camera is just a fly on the wall. It shows that being on a movie set can be dull, frustrating, and occasionally fun.


            The second section of extras is dedicated to deleted and extended scenes, which there is plenty of. There are all of the deleted and extended scenes from the single disc, with a number of new ones. The last section of additional features includes the Napoleon and Pedro sightings. For a while it seemed like Jon Heder was going to be appearing only as Napoleon, and all of these random appearances were collected and put in the special features of the DVD release. There are award show appearances, Utah State Fair ads, TRL and SNL. The strangest is when a spelling bee contest does a random Napoleon Dynamite impression before spelling a difficult word. There are also all new audition clips, promos, still galleries, and the original short film, Peluca, with an optional commentary track. 


            This isn’t exactly a film that lends itself to needing a Blu-ray release, at least not for the obvious reason of a high definition film, but it is an improvement if only for the easier access to the special features, of which there are many, and the inclusion of a DVD copy. Overall, this is an unnecessary release with little other than a new case to offer fans.


    Entertainment Value: 8.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10

    Historical Significance:  6.5/10

    Special Features: 7.5/10

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