Office Space: Special Edition With Flair! [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Andy James & Noor Razzak (4th March 2009).
The Film

Anyone who’s ever worked in an office can identify immediately with "Office Space." I know of many people who have worked as office drone’s who point to this as something totally honest. And totally hilarious. And those who have had the luck to never work in an office, slowly losing your soul each day, can find a fantastic offbeat comedy. Mike Judge’s cult classic just gets better with each viewing.

The plot concerns wage slave Peter (Ron Livingston), working at a soulless IT company (Initech, Initrobe, Ini-doesn’t really matter – they’re all the same faceless corporation) with his pals Michael Bolton (David Herman) and Samir (Ajay Naidu). Peter is too intelligent for what he’s doing and spends most of his day killing time and putting up with his inane co-workers. In addition, his girlfriend is a bit of a bitch and constantly badgering him. In fact, she badgers him into a hypnotherapy session where he is convinced to
just relax and not worry about his job, his life, anymore. With this hypnotically suggested carefree attitude Peter discovers a kind of freedom he didn’t think he could experience again – he breaks up with his girlfriend, doesn’t turn up for scheduled Saturday work, and when he does eventually turn up on Monday he’s casual and frankly honest.

Quite frighteningly there are employment reviews and Peter is deemed management material, while hard-working Michael and Samir are made redundant. It all becomes too much for the three friends and they decide to take down the evil corporation. All does not go according to plan.

Ron Livingston as Peter delivers a perfect laconically pitched performance (and the man really needs to get a better agent; he deserves to be seen more often), keeping things on a nearly even keel as the sort-of leader. Jennifer Aniston hones her post-Friends comic timing as Peter’s new lady love – she’s also working in a dead-end job as a waitress at a crappy “restaurant” and loves kung-fu movies. Gary Cole oozes creepiness as the boss from Hell, Bill Lumbergh. I’d put him up against David Brent any day of the week. Judge finds the humor, and with it the honesty, of working in a dull-eyed, pointless job. While his characters all have their quirks, he manages to keep them from falling into quirkiness without honesty. Peter, Michael and Samir are the type of guys you could imagine hanging out with – they’re the slacker generation all grown up.

It’s by no means a perfect film, but if you’re in need of some relief from the drudgery of office life, or looking for a giggle or two check out "Office Space." It’s honest, intelligent and pretty damned funny to boot.

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 this transfer has been mastered in HD 1080p 24/fps and has been delivered onto disc with AVC MPEG-4 compression. The film originally released on DVD way back in 2000 in a rather unimpressive non-anamorphic transfer, later in 2005 a "Special Edition" was released with a new anamorphic transfer and a considerable improvement over the previous release. This Blu-ray edition uses the same master which the 2005 DVD was struck, the obvious improvements over the DVD edition include better sharpness and detail. Background detail is what stands out well, especially the open plan office. Grain is minimal, and I'm glad that Fox hadn't messed with the grain by using their digital noise reduction methods which other catalogue films had been through. Skin tones look good, blacks are decent enough. The film's look is very basic, almost TV-like as it's a comedy that plays off the performances rather than visual look, but overall the image is crisp and looks good but won't likely be used as a reference to show off your AV system.

Audio

Fox has included four audio tracks in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mixed at 48kHz/24-bit as well as English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. For the purposes of this review I chose to view the film with its DTS-HD track. For a comedy film this feature doesn't need anything more complex than a standard 5.1 track, and the DTS-HD track is about as average as they get, aside from some additional depth to the audio there was little difference between the standard 5.1 track and the lossless DTS-HD track. Dialogue is pretty clear and distortion free, music sounds good and makes decent use of the surround channels, ambient sounds are limited but present.
Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired, Cantonese, Mandarin and Spanish.

Extras

Fox has released this film with a collection of extras that include a featurette, a series of eight deleted scenes, the film's theatrical trailer and a collection of exclusive extras that include some interactive features. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

"Out of the Office: An 'Office Space' Retrospective With Mike Judge" featurette which runs for 27 minutes 3 seconds and is broken down into five segments that include: "The Cast", "Mike Judge", "The Printer", "The Red Stapler" and "The Reality Factor" that although the title of the featurette states it's a retrospective with Judge, there's a fine collection of interviews from the cast of the film as they reminisce about the film's production, how various scenes materialized and funny performances resulted. The clip also takes a look at the creative genius of Judge, the various characters that populate the world of "Office Space", plus a look at key scenes including the smashing of the printer scene and how many people can relate to that moment of release which sees the cast take out their anger out on an inanimate object. The clip also covers the the 'R-rated' content, the production having to make the red stapler (because the company didn't make it in the red variety) among other things including character traits and finally the reality of office life in which the film parodies.

Next up are a collection of 8 deleted scenes, there's no 'play all' option which is a little annoying since you get taken back to the menu after every scene. The scenes included are:

- "Peter Lies to Lumbergh" which runs for 1 minute 16 seconds, Peter tells his boss that he was in the bathroom when he in fact he wasn't at his desk and gets caught in the lie but keeps going with the lie.
- "Happy Hour At Chotchkie’s" which runs for 1 minute 6 seconds, the guys talk about what would happen if they stopped going to work.
- "Peter Goes Off on Nina" which runs for 31 seconds, Peter finally tells off Nina about how she answers the phone.
- "Tom’s Mixed Heritage Called into Question" which runs for 22 seconds, the two bobs question the authenticity of Tom's last name.
- "Milton and Bob" which runs for 36 seconds, Bob goes to Milton's desk and tells him that he can't find his name in the employee roster.
- "Peter’s Revelation" which runs for 1 minute 15 seconds, Peter finally comes to the conclusion that people don't have a lot of time and can't waist it working a meaningless job.
- "Lumbergh’s Dead" which runs for 8 seconds, Peter asks the guys if they went to Lumbergh's funeral.
- "Another Lumbergh" which runs for 26 seconds, Peter encounters another boss similar to Lumbergh on the construction site.

Also on the disc is the film's original theatrical trailer which runs for 2 minutes 27 seconds.

This disc also features some Blu-ray exclusive extras that include:

First of the exclusive extras is a picture-in-picture "Executive Games" track which features two ways to watch the film, you can essentially play these games while you watch the film and they are: Play with "Grab the Stapler and Printer Beat-Down" game, in this version of the game you basically have several chances to steal Milton's stapler and also get to smash the printer with various weapons and the "Whack-a-Drone" game which allows viewers to get to hit various employees with the TPS report. These games are a bit cumbersome, take a while to load and get boring rather quickly.

Next up is the "Jump To Conclusions 2.0" interactive game, basically you get to ask questions and then the game jumps to a square on a board that reveals the answer, it's just like the game Tom describes in the film... and it's pretty lame as well.

Finally there's "Post-it Pandemonium/The Apathy of Man History Track" trivia track, which is essentially a pop-up track that features information as you watch the film regarding the production, the information appears as post-it notes on the screen.

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: A Audio: B Extras: B- Overall: B

 


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