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Thelma and Louise: Special Edition

It was a lark, a terrific script with great roles for two women. It was, as Thelma and Louise star Susan Sarandon puts it, "A cowboy movie with trucks instead of horses and gals instead of guys." Yet Ridley Scott's 1991 film became so much more than that — lauded in international media, celebrated as "empowering" for its portrayal of women, reviled as "man-bashing" in its violence, and deconstructed in countless papers for college Women's Studies courses. What the heck was all the fuss about, anyway?. It's the story of two women whose vacation goes very bad, very quickly — Thelma (Geena Davis) bails on her jerk husband, Darryl (Christopher McDonald) to go away for a few days with Louise (Sarandon) to a mountain cabin. Stopping for a few drinks at a roadhouse, Thelma ends up in the parking lot, drunk, with a lout who refuses to take no for an answer. Louise pulls a gun on him, stopping him from raping Thelma, but when the guy mouths off she shoots him in the chest. In a panic, the pair take off on a sort of John Ford-meets-Sam Peckinpah drive across a lot of very picturesque landscape, shedding makeup and inhibitions as they're pursued by a compassionate cop (Harvey Keitel) and an FBI agent (Stephen Tobolowski). Putting aside the socio-political implications, Thelma and Louise actually holds up remarkably well after all this time. It's often very funny, and simply gorgeous to look at. Scott, a British ex-adman, uses his camera to soak up as much American landscape as he can get on film, and the man has never met a panorama that he didn't love. Like all of Scott's films, Thelma and Louise at times feels overlong and bloated. But compared to, say, Gladiator or Hannibal, it's positively lean. It also, unfortunately, remains unique as a movie about grown women having an adventure that isn't about the men in their lives. Despite all the fuss over it when it was released, little has changed — a decade later, females in Hollywood movies are still predominantly girlfriends, wives or victims. MGM Home Video's "special edition" DVD of Thelma and Louise is a nice package, offering a brand-new anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) that's rich and very, very clean. There's the occasional bit of dust or minor scratch, but for a ten-year-old movie this is an impressive presentation. The Dolby sound is sharp and equally clean. Extras include two audio commentaries, one from director Ridley Scott and another with actresses Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis and screenwriter Callie Khouri; an extended ending with optional commentary from Scott; extended versions of scenes; the promotional featurette made for the film's original release; the 45-minute "Thelma and Louise: The Last Journey" retrospective documentary; multi-angle storyboard comparisons; an extensive photo gallery divided into twelve sections; the theatrical trailer and trailer for the original VHS release; a silly music video by Glenn Frey; and a trailer for Hannibal, all in a keep-case that comes in a rather superfluous cardboard sleeve.
—Dawn Taylor

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