Director: Terry Gilliam
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl
Release Date: Now Available on Criterion Collection Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 10/10
A former radio DJ, suicidally despondent because of a terrible mistake he made, finds redemption in helping a deranged homeless man who was an unwitting victim of that mistake.
Terry Gilliam’s phenomenal ‘The Fisher King’ is a beautiful and wonderfully moving film that deals with real and painful issues and intertwines them with some mind twisting fantasy elements that perfectly represent what we would imagine the character on screens is experiencing. The film’s overall beauty is wonderfully complimented by the expressionistic colors featured throughout and powerful on so many emotional levels that it truly resonates with you. Beautifully guided by director Terry Gilliam at the helm and featuring outstanding performances by Jeff Bridges and the late Robin Williams, ‘The Fisher King’ is a true masterpiece of filmmaking that still comes across as relatable and powerful even nearly two and a half decades after its initial release in 1991.
Fans of Terry Gilliam’s beautiful and moving masterpiece ‘The Fisher King’ will unquestionably want to be certain to pick up a copy of the Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release to add to their collections. This phenomenal Blu-Ray release delivers in every possible way, providing gorgeous high definition video (approved by Terry Gilliam himself) and audio presentations in addition to an impressive collection of bonus content including two new short Documentaries featuring new interviews with the cast and crew, an Audio Commentary with Director Terry Gilliam and a great deal more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below) making this an absolute must own.
The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release of ‘The Fisher King’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The following is a quote from inside the releases’ included booklet regarding the video transfer for those who would prefer some additional details:
Approved by director Terry Gilliam, this new digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on a Spirit DataCine film scanner from a 35mm interpositive.
The video presentation looks fantastic, delivering a rich and detailed presentation throughout, holding up impressively during even the numerous dark (and often fast paced) sequences, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become distorted or indiscernible in the slightest. Overall, this is another phenomenal high definition video presentation from Criterion complimented by a very healthy bitrate that shouldn’t disappoint fans of this wonderful film in the slightest.
The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release includes a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. As with the video details above, the following is a quote from inside the releases’ included booklet regarding the audio transfer for those who would prefer some additional details:
The 5.1 surround soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the original 35mm 6-track magnetic tracks.
This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds wonderful and while it may not be consistently active throughout, it holds up in every way required of it, utilizing all five available channels to their fullest potential during a number of scenes, especially during the fantasy type scenarios in which the beautiful score completely immerses the viewer and additionally taking advantage of the surround channels for other natural auditory elements throughout; while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become negative affected or inaudible. Overall, just as with the video presentation this 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack sounds magnificent and delivers in every possible way.
The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release of ‘The Fisher King’ includes quite the impressive collection of supplemental material. Included on the release is an Audio Commentary with Director Terry Gilliam recorded in 1991 by the Criterion Collection; in addition to a number of Deleted Scenes (running just shy of 10 minutes in length altogether) including optional commentary with Terry Gilliam. Also included is ’The Tale of The Fisher King’ which consists of two new short documentaries titled ‘The Fool and the Wounded King’ and ‘The Real and the Fantastical’ which run approximately an hour in length combined and include new interviews with Terry Gilliam, Jeff Bridges and a number of others discussing their experiences during the film’s production. We are also treated to a new piece titled ‘The Tale of the Red Knight’ (approximately 22 minutes), along with some additional Featurette’s and extra goodies that include Behind the Scenes footage, Interviews and more, including ‘Jeff’s Tale’ (11 minutes), ‘Jeff and Jack’ (20 minutes) and ‘Robin’s Tale’, an interview with Robin Williams recorded in 2006 (19 minutes). Lastly we are treated to ‘Costume Tests’ (3 minutes), Trailers for the film (10 minutes altogether) and the usual included booklet (or leaflet) which this time unfolds to a beautiful full color poster on one side and an essay on the film titled ‘In The Kingdom of the Imperfect’ by Bilge Ebiri on the reverse.