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Blu-ray Review: Kevin Smith 3-Movie Collection

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Written by Caballero Oscuro

The Kevin Smith 3-Movie Collection contains Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Smith's directorial debut Clerks is a wild day in of the life at a convenience store.  Chasing Amy is Smith's third film and is about the complications that arise when a heterosexual male comic book writer falls in love with a lesbian  Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is Smith's fifth film and finds the former supporting characters in lead roles involved in a series of crazy adventures as they head to Hollywood to stop a movie with characters based on their likenesses from being made.

All three movies are presented in 1080p resolution with beefed-up audio options. Clerks and Chasing Amy deliver their audio in 5.1 DTS-HD MA (48kHz/24-bit), while Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back features 5.1 Uncompressed (48kHz/16-bit). That's all well and good, but does it really make a difference when the original material is famously lo-tech, especially Smith's breakout, the micro-budgeted Clerks? In this reviewer's opinion, not really. It's fine to brag to your fellow nerds about the unsurpassed quality of these Blu-rays, but in reality there's only so much video clarity and audio fidelity one can wring out of a mute fat dude and loud skinny dude saying "snootchie bootchies".

Clerks is still as grainy as you remember it, Chasing Amy is murky, while Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back impresses comparatively with the best video quality of the bunch. The audio doesn't really have much notable discrete audio separation in any of the films, so the upgraded specs are mostly for peace of mind than any gain in performance. The diehard fans will appreciate owning the best possible specs, but for average viewers there's little in the featured films to justify moving up from DVD.

The discs are packed with bonus features, but most of them are carryovers from previous DVD releases. Only Chasing Amy touts truly exclusive and new Blu-ray bonuses.

Clerks includes the theatrical version of the film with classic commentary from '95 featuring Smith, producer Scott Mosier, co-stars Jason Mewes and Brian O'Halloran (Dante). There's also an enhanced playback track containing synchronized trivia and cast and crew quotes. The disc also includes the "First Cut" version of the film with an intro by Smith taped in 2004 for the Clerks X tenth anniversary release and a separate commentary track with Smith, Mewes, O'Halloran, Mosier, and Jeff Anderson (Randal). Other extras include a featurette on the film's restoration, original trailer, and a feature-length documentary about the film's production (also from 2004) entitled "Snowball Effect: The Story of Clerks". It's an exhaustive package for a trailblazing film, guaranteed to satisfy the most demanding of Smith's fans with its plethora of insider information.

Chasing Amy features the only advertised new and exclusive to Blu-ray bonus content. The new commentary track features Smith and Mosier, while the bonus features include a documentary about the film's production entitled "Tracing Amy", a conversation with Smith and co-star Joey Lauren Adams, and a "10 years later" Q&A with Smith and the cast. Returning from previous DVD bonus features are deleted scenes, outtakes, and the original trailer. Like Clerks, the thorough bonus content here is a treat for fans, and since it's exclusive to Blu-ray it's possibly the best reason to own this set.

Although Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is the newest and most technically accomplished of the three films, it gets relatively short shrift in the Blu-ray department. In contrast to the bevy of bonus features on the other two discs, this one contains only an audio commentary track with Smith, Mewes, and Mosier, along with instant access to select scenes that showcase the "ultimate in High Definition Picture and Sound", an amusing option considering the decidedly non-ultimate source material.

Thankfully, the discs are each housed in their own full-size single edition Blu-ray cases with independent artwork rather than getting crammed into a substandard repackaged case. The cases are stored in a simple cardboard slipcover with Smith's mug towering over the original cover art. The Kevin Smith 3-Movie Collection is now available on Blu-ray.

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