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The Big Year

Score: 70%
Rating: PG
Publisher: Fox Home Entertainment
Region: A
Media: Blu-ray/2
Running Time: 100 Mins.
Genre: Comedy
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio,
           English Descriptive Audio 5.1
           Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish


  • Extended and Theatrical Editions
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • The Big Migration
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Big Year is about a rather unorthodox topic that makes it clear that someone involved in the film's creation has this particular pastime as a hobby or passion. You see, The Big Year is all about bird-watching ... excuse me "Birding." The film is about an informal competition among bird enthusiasts to see as many different species of birds in North America as possible, and The Big Year follows three such competitors; The Programmer, Brad Harris (Jack Black), The CEO, Stu Preissler (Steve Martin), and The Reigning King, Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson).

An interesting twist to this movie, besides its subject matter, is that it is done in a documentary style with John Cleese providing narration. The narrator observes the three subjects in their adventure and makes many observations about their intriguing behaviors in the competition and even associates those actions to similar behaviors in birds. He starts by identifying each of the subjects and explaining how The Programmer finally commits to a Big Year even though he has many other responsibilities holding him down. Similarly, Cleese points out that The CEO seeks the outdoor life in order to fully retire from the company he founded and The Reigning Champion feels that his title is threatened and, despite the warnings from his mate, ventures forth to try and beat his existing record.

The three characters meet frequently throughout the year, and while none will admit to each other that they are doing a Big Year, they suspect each other's true intentions. It isn't long before Stu and Brad become friends and the pair start working together, especially with the real chance of beating Bostick looking more and more feasible. The question is, will their new friendship, and each other's home lives, stand up to the year-long informal competition.

While The Big Year isn't likely to develop any kind of cult status, it is an enjoyable film. If you go into it expecting over-the-top humor that the film's cast usually conveys, then you will be disappointed. Instead, watch the film as a light comedy with beautiful scenery worthy of the Blu-ray HD experience.

As for the rest of the Blu-ray's special features, a slew of deleted scenes and a gag reel accompany a behind-the-scenes featurette focusing on the making of The Big Year and the many locations used for the movie. The other added feature on the Blu-ray release is both the Theatrical and Extended Editions of the film, and while there are slight differences, nothing that seems to drastically change the feel of the movie.

The Big Year is a rental, and then, only if you have run out of other films in your NetFlix queue. There are good moments and its an amusing premise, but it's not really a film that you will want to watch over and over again.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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