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  • 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English DTS 5.1 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
  • Special slipcase/box packaging featuring Richard Avedon's cast photo, plus cover artwork by Eric Anderson
  • Commentary by Wes Anderson
  • With the Filmmaker: Portraits by Albert Maysles, featuring Wes Anderson
  • Exclusive video interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, and Danny Glover
  • Outtakes
  • The Peter Bradley Show, featuring interviews with additional cast members
  • The Art of the Movie: Young Richie's murals and paintings, still photographs by set photographer James Hamilton, book and magazine covers, Studio 360 radio segment on painter Miguel Calderůn, and storyboards
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Collectible insert including Eric Anderson's drawings

The Royal Tenenbaums

Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Wes Anderson
Starring: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Danny Glover, Seymour Cassel, Kumar Pallana, Alec Baldwin, Deepak Pallana, Andrew Wilson
2001 | 110 Minutes | Licensor: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $19.99 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #157
Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Release Date: July 9, 2002
Review Date: August 17, 2008

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Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) and his wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston) had three children-Chas, Margot, and Richie-and then they separated. Chas (Ben Stiller) started buying real estate in his early teens and seemed to have an almost preternatural understanding of international finance. Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) was a playwright and received a Braverman Grant of $50,000 in the ninth grade. Richie (Luke Wilson) was a junior champion tennis player and won the U.S. Nationals three years in a row. Virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums was subsequently erased by two decades of betrayal, failure, and disaster. The Criterion Collection is proud to present Wes Anderson's hilarious, touching, and brilliantly stylized study of melancholy and redemption.

Forum members rate this film 8.3/10


Discuss the film and DVD here   


Disney and The Criterion Collection present Wes Andersonís The Royal Tenenbaums in its original aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on the first dual-layered disc of this two-disc set. The image has been enhanced for widescreen televisions.

Like with their earlier releases of The Rock and Chasing Amy, and their later release of The Life Aquatic, I suspect Disney has more to do with the transfer on this DVD than Criterion. The film is much newer and the transfer looks fairly average. Sharpness and detail is decent but nothing special, the image appearing to have a slight haze around everything. Artifacts such as edge-enhancement are present, and the picture has a bit of noise to it in sequences.

Colours look pretty good, reds and pinks looking quite strong. Flesh tones look a little on the yellow side, though not distracting. The print used is in really good shape and I donít recall seeing any real noticeable marks, though this should be expected since the film was so new upon the DVDís initial release.

It looks fine, but I may have had higher expectations for this one. I feel the Criterion edition of Rushmore (even the non-anamorphic Armageddon, limiting it to previously Disney licensed titles) looked much better.


All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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Criterion/Disney present two audio tracks, a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track and DTS 5.1 track. Both are good but I didnít notice a real difference between the two, except that DTS is a little louder. The film isnít exactly loud or robust, but the tracks both present strong and suitable presentations for it.

The front speakers present a majority of the sound for the film, with excellent panning between the speakers, strong, clear dialogue, and great sounding music. The surrounds present some subtle effects, but donít really kick in until music plays over the soundtrack or one bit near the end of the film.

The DTS track is probably overkill, but itís here. The DTS track is clearer and does have stronger bass, but I didnít think there was that much of a difference. In the end, wonít show off your system, but both audio tracks present the film perfectly.



This is a two-disc set, though there isnít much on here. Iím assuming itís two-discs only because of the inclusion of the DTS track with the film, otherwise Iím sure everything could have fit on one disc, since the image isnít one of Criterionís better ones.

The first disc contains a running audio commentary by Wes Anderson. It is a decent and informative commentary from the director, though I wish that we maybe got a little less Wes and maybe had some cast members thrown in there or at least writing partner Owen Wilson, who did participate on the Rushmore DVD. Still Anderson offers quite a bit of information on the background of the film (The Magnificent Ambersons being a key influence not all that surprisingly,) how it came to be, points out friends/family, and offers some anecdotes from the set. I found it interesting enough and do recommend fans of the film or Anderson to give it a listen but I find I prefer his commentaries much more when others are sharing the work.

The second single-layer disc contains the rest of the extras. The big one would be the roughly 26-minute documentary on the making of the film, called With the Filmmaker by Albert Maysles. It offers only a little insight into the making of the film, including Anderson's handling of the actors (and the use of the falcon in the movie), work on the design and his other duties as the camera follows him around. Itís not your typical making-of, sort of hanging back and never getting up close. Itís decent but I think I prefer the similar documentary found on the later release for The Life Aquatic.

The interviews with the actors in a separate section offers more compelling stuff. It gives interviews with Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray and Danny Glover. All together they run about 30 minutes. Each actor gives a brief synopsis on their characters and why they did the movie. It's not your typical "everyone is so great!" material you might be used to. This is actual insight, not always positive. I'm surprised to hear Hackman almost turned down the role, only because it was pretty much tailored for him (which he hates). Stillerís interview is also surprisingly insightful. All good stuff.

2 deleted scenes are also included. The first one is very funny, but was cut as to make Eli Cash more a loner, as the scene shows his family (Rushmore's Olivia Williams appears in the scene) and the second is an extra scene between Anjelica Huston and Danny Glover. In total they run about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

The Peter Bradley Show is a joke (this character briefly appears in the film.) This 15 minute send up of The Charlie Rose Show (which was an extra on the Rushmore DVD) is a rather funny bit, having Peter Bradley interview the lesser known actors from the film, including Stephan Dignan, Sanjay Matthew, Kumar Pallana, Dipak Pallana, and Brian Tenenbaum. I found it very funny, as Bradley (played by actor Larry Pine) is, to put it bluntly, an idiot. It's an amusing and clever little addition to the set.

The storyboard and pictures section shows just that, storyboards, Richie Tenenbaumís paintings and production photos. You also get book and magazine covers used in the film if you want a closer look. And there's also a fascinating bit about the "eccentric" paintings that appear in Eli's apartment. This is an audio slideshow. The audio is from a Studio 360 segment and as it plays the paintings are displayed. It's a neat extra, which I know Disney would never have thought to have included.

You also get two theatrical trailers, closing off the main disc supplements. There are also Easter Eggs hidden. If you click the Criterion banner on the main page of the second disc, you get an intro by Ben Stiller. Three Easter Eggs scattered throughout and you will see Anjelica's hair catch fire, Kumar give a show for the crew and Bill Murray being Bill Murray.

Two inserts are also included. One contains an essay by Kent Jones, which is a rather insightful analysis of the film, and the other contains artwork by Eric Anderson that I assume was used for the design of the film.

While it's not up to par with Criterion's other special editions, it's still another excellent DVD with extras worth looking at that, going beyond your typical DVD release.



Since it's pretty much the only way you can get the film (other than a French version available in Quebec, Canada) it probably doesn't matter if I give it a recommendation or not, but it's still a decent release with a nice transfer and some informative supplements. Well worth picking up for fans of the film and Wes Anderson in general.

View packaging for this DVD


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