Need For Speed [Blu-Ray]

nfsRelease Date: March 14, 2014
Cast: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Kid CudiScott Mescudi, Imogen Poots, Michael Keaton
Director: Scott Waugh
Studio: Touchstone Pictures, Dreamworks Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, EA, Bandito Brothers
Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures
Genre(s): Action
Based On Need for Speed (Video Game)

Special Features Rating: ★★★
Review Spoilers: Medium
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Need for Speed is a fun movie. It’s not a perfect movie. It’s not amazing. But even if the movie itself isn’t that amazing the actual look and feel of it? That is amazing. That’s why for the purpose of this blu-ray release review I’m going to round up from Therese’s 2.5 stars to a solid 3 stars for the movie itself. Because I think the look and feel deserve a lot more credit especially after watching the special features.

I think you’ll feel the same way, too, when you see what went into the making of this movie.

Authenticity matters in this movie. From the get go the filmmakers knew they wanted to take the Need For Speed franchise and use that as a chance to make a real, classic car movie. Is it a classic? Maybe not. But the effort they went through to make this movie look and feel real is astounding. There was a lot of love that went into this movie and it shows.

But don’t just take my word for it.

You can hear it all from the filmmakers themselves when you check out some of the features on the blu-ray yourself. The making-of videos are pretty much all worth a look which isn’t something you can say for every blu-ray release. This one, though? It’s absolutely true.

Here’s a look at what you’re getting.

Capturing Speed: Making An Authentic Car Movie

From the get go, the folks behind Need for Speed knew they wanted to make a movie that was shot on camera. “[Scott] wanted to make a car movie for car junkies,” Aaron Paul says at the beginning and it’s pretty clear going forward that it wasn’t just Scott Waugh who wanted that. The way the cast and crew talk about this movie you can tell that authenticity was important. It was so important that they wound up reinventing the wheel so to speak. Working with such fast cars meant that they had to find a way to film it all. Turns out that most camera cars meant for filming can’t reach even close to the speeds that the cars used in the film could. Capturing Speed takes the viewers inside the process for about ten minutes and follows the filmmakers as they show folks just how they managed to pull off the death defying speeds and still make it look great. It’s a must watch for car and adreniline junkies – especially ones looking for an example of some pretty thrilling, exciting job options in the movie making business.

I mean, c’mon. Ceck out those moves. [mia47 on Tumblr]

Ties That Bind

Probably the cutest, sweetest feature on this blu-ray release, Ties That Bind follows the Gilbert and Waugh families who worked together as stunt coordinators on Need For Speed and have had effectively a close, lifelong connection. Patriachs Mickey Gilbert and Fred Waugh were both stuntmen in old Hollywood who knew pretty much from the get go that their boys would someday want to follow in their footsteps. But instead of discouraging them, these two men took it on themselves to teach their kids the ins and outs of the business. It’s an incredible little feature filled with pictures from the Gilbert and Waugh photo albums and heartwarming moments between the whole team. Perhaps it’s a little crazy to think about the sort of things these kids did – from unsupervised time on trapeze sets in the backyard to rolling cards in the desert as children – but the way they talk about their childhood is just touching.

Seriously, though, these guys? Crazy and amazing. Check out their IMDB.com pages because they have done some amazing things and worked on some incredible films. And it’s not just brothers Tim, Troy, and Lance. Cody Gilbert, one of the boys’ kids, is also featured briefly to talk about following in his father, uncles, and grandfather’s footsteps. They really are just one awesome family.

The Circus Is In Town

I think one of the greatest parts about this movie is how much they filmed on location. By making an authentic car film they pretty much tied their hands there. They had to pick up and move across the country to get some of the amazing shots they got for this movie. As you can imagine, it was quite a feat. But in the end no one can say it wasn’t worth it. From Mendocino County to Macon, Georgia to Detroit these guys went all out to get the perfect shots against the perfect backdrops. And some of the lengths they go to make sure these shots work? Man! There’s no way you could ever strap me to a speeding car with a camera no matter how safe you say it is going to be. I’m just saying.

Different shorts needed different locations which meant a lot of traveling for the cast and crew. [hersheytamanda on Tumblr]
The feature gives you some insight on some of the complications of working in varied climates. Like, you know, cars with no A/C in Georgia in the summer. It also gives you some idea as to why certain chocies were made. One of the coolest tidbits – and I’m not a car movie fan so I didn’t know this – was that the intersection where the Mustang is totaled by the semi-truck is apparently the same place on Knob Hill where Steve McQueen jumps his Mustang in the film Bullitt.

It’s a really cool feature full of photos from the sets, little candid moments with the actors and crew, and just a lot of really neat stuff. The passion with which these guys

Monarch & Maverick Outtakes

Sadly, there is no dedicated blooper reel for Need for Speed. But we do get a consolation prize. Scott Mescudi and Michael Keaton both played phenomenal, hilarious characters. Seriously, I swear that Monarch basically makes this movie. He’s such a great, random character. And Maverick is easily the coolest guy on Aaron Paul’s street team. Turns out, a lot of their lines were adlibed as you can probably imagine. So basically we get a three minute blooper reel for just those two. Out of all the features… this one is probably the weakest. Only because with such an amazing cast I am sure there were plenty of other moments caught on camera worth adding to the mix.

This guy. I'm telling you. This guy.
This guy. I’m telling you. This guy.

Deleted Scenes

Included on the Need for Speed blu-ray are four deleted scenes. The first deleted scene was pretty low-key. The guys were assigned their starting positions in the first race of the film by picking playing cards. It’s a nice scene and tense. The music does a lot for it. But ultimately it doesn’t add much and it’s easy to see why it was cut. Another cute scenes after Julia and Tobey escape from the cop at the truck stop was also cut and, honestly, it should have probably been left in. It’s just a minute long and it’s got some nice little banter. In a movie with such confined quarters, those moments matter. A moment of doubt between the team after escaping the guys out to collect on Dino’s bounty out in Utah was cut and probably rightfully so. The last thing the movie needed was a moment where the band seemed like they were breaking up. It would have felt out of place – especially when the rest of the movie plays out like it had never happened and everyone is on board with getting vengeance for Pete. The last scene is just an extended ‘Jailhouse Dance Party’ bit that probably should have just been bundled with the Monarch & Maverick outtakes feature. Over all, kind of limited offerings here but in a movie that had to be so intricately planned to ensure authenticity and safety it’s not surprising.

The Sound of Need for Speed

The soundtrack for Need for Speed is really good. In fact, it was one of the soundtracks I listened to while I was studying for the bar. It is really, I don’t know, motiving. It’s one of those soundtracks that really adds to a film and helps make it something special. Nathan Furst, the composer, really did a great job and The Sound of Need for Speed goes inside how the crew not only utilized the soundtrack itself but also the sounds in general. I joked on Facebook the other day that I’m not sure how anyone watches this movie without closed captioning because it’s so loud. It sounds real. The authenticity in this film wasn’t just limited to the look. You really feel like you’re in the car. And that was intentional. This feature shows you that and how they managed it despite the intense sounds they were working with and the crazy scenes they were shooting.

At no point does this not feel epic when you can actually imagine yourself being right there in the car as it’s freaking FLYING. [mia47 on Tumblr]
A couple other features included are an audio commentary with and then a trailer for Need for Speed: Rivals. That’s actually a pretty amazing game and if you haven’t played it you should because man. On the PS4 at least it looks amazing. And it’s got a lot of replay value. I’m terrible at racing games but I love it.

Final Thoughts:
Need for Speed is a video game movie that really manages to do it’s source material justice. That’s not hard, though, considering the Need for Speed franchise is pretty simple story-wise. As long as you had fast, cool-looking cars you were going to do okay. But the film brought us an unexpectedly touching storyline as well as an authentic car movie that I don’t think anyone really expected from what could have just been a half-hearted video game adaptation. Fans of the series and fans of car movies should get this on blu-ray and they should definitely watch at least the making-of videos because it will give them a lot of insight into what it’s like working with these cars and what it’s like to make a movie “for car junkies.” For more casual fans, the blu-ray is still worth getting but the bloopers and deleted scenes are light on this one so you might not get everything you’re looking for from it. Either way, how can you say no to having Michael Keaton’s Monarch at your beck and call 24/7? (I will say, though, that this may be a Black Friday buy as opposed to a go-out-and-buy-it-now buy. It’s a good movie but it’s also probably going to be $10-$15 on Black Friday.)


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