Image Quality - 10
Audio Quality - 9
Packaging Quality - 8.5
Artwork Quality - 8.5
Summary : This is a no brainer. Don't be a square, pops. Pick this one up pronto!
The second that I saw this blu-ray, I knew that I was in for something special. After all, The Wild One is the very definition of a classic and important film. However, it wasn’t the movie title alone that instantly impressed me – it was the packaging. With artwork that rivals some of the beautiful work done by much bigger and more notable studios, it was clear that Mill Creek had put a lot of effort into this release.
It was hard to believe that a company with a reputation for cheap multi-movie sets had put so much care into one blu-ray release. I hadn’t even opened the blu-ray case yet, and I was still pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Imagine my surprise when I finally cracked the seal to find full artwork on the inside, including a high quality print of the BRMC logo on the disc itself.
Before you start thinking that I’m overselling this, ask yourself how many blu-ray releases nowadays contain inner artwork and full art on the disc itself? Most budget releases from major studios are sold in eco cases with little more than the title of the movie printed on the disc. What we have here is a small home video company giving the big guys a run for their money. If ever there was a sign that MCE was beginning to turn the corner to start establishing themselves as a boutique media company, this is it.
Perhaps now is a good time to inform you that the MSRP on this bad boy is only $14.99 – and you know you’re probably going to find it for cheaper than that. In comparison, Warner Bros recently released The Majestic at the same MSRP with far fewer bells and whistles. While their blu-ray did contain a few special features, it also came in the bare bone packaging that many collectors are starting to despise. The Wild One may not have any special features itself, but at least Mill Creek is putting more effort into their packaging and giving collectors more bang for their buck.
When I finally got around to checking out the movie itself, I was blown away. Film buffs will be very pleased with this release of The Wild One, as it maintains the original grain structure, giving us the most accurate representation of how the movie might have looked had we seen it in theaters some 60+ years ago. Fans of DNR might take issue, but true aficionados understand the value of film grain; it is not a hinderance, it is literally the means by which image clarity is made possible.
Despite its age, this is definitely a movie that stands up to the test of time. Its importance in establishing a genre and giving a voice to an early counter culture is undeniable. Just how iconic is it? Well, even if you haven’t seen the movie, chances are that you’ve heard at least one of the lines from Marlon Brando. You’ve also no doubt seen hundreds of movies and television shows that were heavily inspired and informed by The Wild One. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that Brando’s Johnny Strabler is the archetype for every bad boy biker that has graced the silver screen since.
Don’t believe me? Consider the following: James Dean not only emulated Brando’s hair style in the film, he also bought a motorcycle similar to the one that Strabler drove. As if that weren’t enough, Elvis Presley was also said to have taken tips from Brando’s image and even used it to inform the look of his character in Jailhouse Rock. This character didn’t just inspire a generation of movies and television shows about badass biker gangs, he also inspired some of the biggest actors and rock stars in the world.
This respectful release of The Wild One is sure to turn a few heads, and perhaps even change a few minds. I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a hot seller for Mill Creek, as film buffs are likely going to be heading out in droves to find the blu-ray. It may not be a Criterion level release, but considering that you’re getting the flavor of a boutique blu-ray without the hefty price, it’s still well worth the relatively painless investment.
When you can bring a piece of film history home for under $14.99 and know that you’re getting something well crafted, I don’t see how you could possibly complain about the lack of special features. Sure, it would be nice to see that little something extra, but this blu-ray is still worth its weight in gold – and it’s not even being sold for its weight in quarters. To quote the sheriff from the film: “What’s a matter? You been hit on the head so often, you don’t know when you’re getting a break?”