National Lampoon's Animal House

Directed by John Landis

> > Sep 2003

National Lampoon's Animal House - Directed by John Landis
By Noel DixBefore there was American Pie, there was Animal House. In fact, we probably have this classic film to thank for every single college-themed gross-out comedy that has surfaced in the past 25 years, because not even the writers or director knew this would be a huge hit, or even made in the first place. Looking back at Animal House now after all the followers have come and gone, the plot is quite standard in the college comedy realm. Just take the wild and unruly fraternity of Delta and mix them in with the elite and snooty members of Omega and toss in a crusty old dean, but Animal House started the trend and gave life to staples such as the toga party and raging keggers. One of the great things about Animal House is the fact that big-name actors were not an option, as writers Harold Ramis, Chris Miller and the late Douglas Kenney were having a hard enough time selling their script. Through an extensive 40-minute documentary we learn that John Belushi was the most expensive price tag attached to this film, at a whopping 40,000 dollars. Though there weren't any household names involved, apart from Belushi and Donald Sutherland as the pot-smoking professor, this was the film that would launch a few careers, most notably a baby-faced Kevin Bacon in his first acting gig. The greatest asset to this collection is the fact that the majority of the cast has been reunited and give insight and often-humorous recollections of their time spent on the set, including the viscous beating they received from a real fraternity on the campus in which they were filming. Throughout the documentary we're also treated to on-set clips of director John Landis in 1978, with a somewhat touching exchange between him and the late John Belushi. This release boasts of a "better-than-original" picture transfer, which might be the case, seeing as most low-budget films from the '70s look terrible and this version looks as if they had ten times as much money to film as they had. The huge downfall to this release is no commentary from anyone, which is a shame seeing as Ramis and Landis are so animated and would have probably delivered great background on Bluto Blutarsky's impersonation of a popping zit. Toga! Toga! Extras: reunion documentary; Delta alumni update; more. (Universal)
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