With the shift in format from DVD to Blu-ray, there's naturally a backlog of titles in the pipeline for that high definition upgrade. If you've been keeping a checklist going for titles to add to your collection, you can officially scratch The Blues Brothers off the list.
Originally released in 1980, The Blues Brothers was virtually an instant classic the moment it hit theaters. Starring the likes of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, the film played to all of their strengths and captured lightning in a bottle. It was a collection of several right things all coming together at the same time, and for the most part I'd say the film is unrivaled to this day. It was a piece from a bygone era and it simply had a spark; though admittedly that may be some nostalgia talking.
The film follows the misadventures of Jake (Belushi) and Elwood (Aykroyd) Blues, two blues musicians not exactly keen on changing their style. At the start of the movie, Jake is released from prison, and as a first order of business the brothers go to their old orphanage to see a nun (penguin). It's revealed that the orphanage is going to close unless they can muster up $5,000, so the Blues brothers get it into their head that they're on a mission from God. They do their damndest to re-form their band, make the money, and save the orphanage. Sounds easy, right?
Along the way the Blues brothers tick off the Illinois Nazi party, country music loving rednecks, the police, and even narrowly escape murder at the hands of a mystery woman (portrayed by Carrie Fisher). On top of all that Jake and Elwood must reconnect with old band-mates and convince them to play, despite the fact that they are all owed money from the last gig. While the plot remains cohesive enough to keep viewers interested, The Blues Brothers is really a loosely knit collection of scenes strung together with the aforementioned premise of saving the orphanage. It's nothing more, nothing less. In all fairness though it didn't need to be, and it's perfect the way it is. What more could you expect from a film based on classic Saturday Night Live characters?
Another thing about The Blues Brothers that makes it feel special, besides the sense of nostalgia with Aykroyd and Belushi in the spotlight, is the bevy of guest stars. Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, John Candy, Paul Reubens, and Frank Oz all lend their talents to the film and make it something even more special. Granted there are times where it feels like the cameos were shoehorned in for the sole purpose of doling out a musical number, but even that fits in with the theme of a love for music.