There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening. The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence.
Ultra-violence being of course exactly what A Clockwork Orange is all about. Both violence itself, and a social commentary on how we handle it. Back in college, I'd never seen this film, and I was going on a first date with a girl who hadn't seen it either. We both commented on that fact while we walked through the local video store, and decided to rectify the situation. Let me just warn you right here: A Clockwork Orange is not a good date movie. Unless you want it to be your last date. There's over the top violence, rape, and murder, and that's just for starters.
But that's not to say that A Clockwork Orange isn't an amazing film. It is. Probably one of Stanley Kubrick's best. Based on the novel by Anthony Burgess, it's more of a commentary than a narrative, and it involves Alex going through a circle of comeuppance that returns him back to where he started in the film, and perhaps a bit wiser for everything he's gone through. While Kubrick's version differs from the novel in several key areas, Burgess was a fan of Malcolm McDowell's performance of Alex and the film as a whole. It's worth reading the novel to compare to the film, especially when considering the controversy the film went through after its release.
But, you don't need mean to explain all of that. That's what the documentary on this Blu-ray set is for. The film already came out on Blu-ray back in 2007, and this is the same transfer, but what's new is a slew of special features, including an extremely well-done (although shot in SD) feature-length documentary entitled "Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures." It's an extremely impressive look at the filmmaker and his movies, and is worth the cost of this disc. In fact, if this was in HD, this could be sold alone as a feature.
Also new to this set is the "Turning Like Clockwork" feature hosted by Malcolm McDowell and shot in HD that looks back at the influence the film had, and it addresses the controversy over the original release back in 1971. Couple that with the included featurette from the original Blu-ray release, "Still Tickin': The Return of Clockwork Orange," and you have a tidy hour and fifteen minutes about the film. Another new feature in HD is "Malcolm Looks Back," which has McDowell reminiscing about the character and the time he spent with Kubrick. It's short at eleven minutes long, but is well worth the time to watch it.
But the real draw here is the impressive video and sound. A Clockwork Orange is one of those films that looks like it was shot yesterday when you view it in high definition, despite the fact that this is a 40th anniversary set. The digibook packaging, which I'm a fan of, combined with the new features makes this a must-have for true film geeks. It's currently a steal at $27.99 on Amazon, and is also included in the Stanley Kubrick Limited Edition Collection which also includes Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut. You can also pick that up for $104.99 on Amazon, which is about $12 per film on Blu-ray. Not a bad deal at all, droogs.