Marketed as a simple comedy about two guys remaking popular movies, Be Kind Rewind offers far more than that. It’s a comedy with a softer, even somber side. Yes, the movie “remakes” are fun, but that’s just the surface of this quirky piece.
As an owner of a video store still renting out VHS, Danny Glover is determined to make it work. With the help of Mos Def, that plan is working. In one of the film’s stranger moments, friend Jack Black is magnetized, erasing every tape in the store. This sets up the fun premise of Def and Black remaking the films their customers want by themselves with stuff they find laying around.
This endearing concept leads to fun reproductions of Ghostbusters, Driving Miss Daisy, brief snippets of Boyz in the Hood, 2001, and the The Lion King. In the case of Ghostbusters, their version may be completely out of sync, but it’s faithful and one of Be Kind’s brightest moments.
Stressing this again though, this is not a film about cheesy remakes. It’s the story of a forgotten jazz legend, and finding a way to keep his memory alive. There’s sentimental value through the roof here, and the drama is portrayed well, if not in complete contrast with the rest of the movie. The heartfelt ending doesn’t take the easy way out either, but provides a proper emotional send-off without too much fanfare.
Be Kind Rewind isn’t perfect. The characters change their tone and intelligence levels from scene to scene. One minute, Jack Black is spouting off about government conspiracies and a ridiculous plan he believes will work to stop them, the next he’s up for any challenge. Danny Glover’s performance is all around excellent, yet feels somewhat out of place given the nature of the film. He’s normal in a film that’s anything but.
Harmless and unique, it’s hard to hate Be Kind Rewind, especially if you truly know the films used here. There’s a lot to take in when watching this little film, and you come away with more than the trailers would suggest. Imperfect and goofy as it is, this is worth your time.
Razor sharp with a fairly natural color scheme, Be Kind looks wonderful in HD. Detail is routinely excellent and even with a low bitrate, there are no signs of compression or other imperfections in the transfer. Black levels can occasionally venture into gray territory, though these are rare and usually brief moments.
New Line usually delivers the highest caliber audio mixes, and it doesn’t matter whether the movie needs one or not. The 7.1 presentation is obviously overkill as the rears are given only minor work. There is some noticeable separation when needed though. Bass is there and then gone seconds later. There are few reasons to use it. Still, this is a clear and crisp audio track that delivers as needed.
Blu-ray fans are given an extensive set of extras over the DVD. Only one featurette, Passaic Mosaic which interviews people from the town where the film was shot (and many who are in the finished film), is a DVD carryover. The others, including a superb half hour making of, feel personal without any of the commercialism involved which many of these extras fall victim to. Four other featurettes, together running about a half hour as well, cover a wide array of topics. Finally, the full 'film within a film' that is chopped up during Be Kind is included in its entirety.
The guys provide their own version of the original King Kong during a montage, with Jack Black playing the ape. As you should probably know, Black starred in the 2005 remake of Kong. Also, Sigourney Weaver has a small role in the film, and she starred in Ghostbusters.