Napoleon Dynamite

Cover Art and Menu: 10/10
Fantastic, I love it. I love the cover and the menus. The menus follow through with the clever opening credits of the film with the use of ordinary, if not outdated, objects, textures, and throw backs to a different time and place.

Features: 8/10

  • Director/Producer/Actor Commentary – Fantastic to hear the young talented Mr. Hess talk about his experiences making the film. I appreciate his passion for the craft of filmmaking and his enthusiasm for the often absurd things in life that can be turned around and portrayed in a way that makes them funny and poignant at the same time. I actually looked forward to seeing the movie the second time with the commentary on just to hear what he had to say about the whole ordeal from his original short Peluca, to the now cult hit Napoleon Dynamite.
  • “Peluca” Original Short Film – The short film that started it all. It’s a black and white mini version of the feature film which evolved into something very different. I love seeing this idea of Hess blossom into such a tremendous feature film now knowing where it all started.
  • The Wedding Of The Century Making Of Featurette – a behind the scenes short that takes us to the reunion shoot of the cast and crew when they came together a year after most of the movie was shot so they could add the final wedding sequence.
  • Deleted Scenes – Always interesting to see what the director chooses to leave back in the editing pile. In this case you can see that most of what was cut was for time purposes. I think the finished film is just right the way it is and if much of these scenes were left in it might have cluttered it up too much to be as funny as it ends up being.
  • Gallery – Still photos.

The Movie: 9/10:
I sat down here thinking, “what can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said?”, and then I realized, I don’t even know what’s been said. I have lived in a vacuum when it comes to Napoleon Dynamite. I saw some trailers for it a long time ago at the theater, and since then I haven’t read, heard, or seen any press about it since. Call me a news hermit, but I just don’t follow current events in the entertainment biz closely enough to get the lowdown on film promotions, talk shows, and the excessive advertising that happens when a film is released.

You could say I was a Napoleon virgin, making me a prime candidate to walk away from the experience either very very happily satisfied, or sadly disappointed and unfulfilled by yet another writer/director/producer trying every little trick they think they know about pleasing a, I mean, pleasing a film fan. A new film maker, taking on the writing, directing, and producing of his own film can be a deadly combination, deadly cocky and boring that is, but then again, there are always exceptions.

I can imagine people describing this movie by using words and phrases like “quirky, interesting, different, underdog story, tale about outcasts, indie film, etc.” They’d be right. They would also be overstating the obvious. Of course this movie is different. It would be obnoxious to say it’s innovative and fresh, but it’s tempting.

With characters who range from a middle aged uncle longing for the glory days of ’82 when he was even then out of place with his leisure suit mentality and high school football obsession, to a teenage girl making her own way by devising a make shift glamour shots studio and selling hand crafted key chains, there is no end to the unique personalities floating around this sterile little world where Napoleon and his island of misfit toys reside. (it’s not an island, but you do get the point, right?)

We are treated to a film full of interesting, intriguing, and endearing characters who represent everyone of us who feels out of place in life at one point or another, namely those torturous high school years. While we have the “quirky” characters to identify with, we also get a good dose of making fun of, or at least pointing out just how awful the popular kids, the snotty girls, and the jerky jocks of life really are. Now that’s my kind of story.

At the heart of the story is the idea that there is someone for everyone, someone to love that is. It’s that simple. I don’t think I need to add much more than that. It’s a simple and amazing film that does not need me to complicate things by analyzing it too much or over dramatizing just what a seriously excellent experience it is.

I love it and I think if you are about ready for something new and surprisingly inspirational, go get Napoleon right now. If you like crappy movies with too much budget, an overrated leading woman, bad special effects, bad writing, bad story, bad directing, bad casting, and bad everything else, go rent Catwoman and have the time of your life!

Value: 8/10
I don’t even care how much this DVD costs. To be honest, it’s worth it whatever it is. This is a film I want on my shelf forever so I can watch it over and over. There are just barely enough extras to make a DVD lover happy, but as good as the movie is, those features are truly just bonus. Overall the movie is SWEEEEETTTT!

Overall Score 9/10