The Men Who Stare At Goats

The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: George clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Robert Patrick
Extras: Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Bios, Digital Copy

When I first watched the trailer for "The Men Wo Stare At Goats" I could have sworn this is a Coen Brothers movie. It carried the same strange, off-the-wall humorous signature and right then and there I knew I'd have to see this film. Anchor Bay Entertainment is now bringing this comedy to Blu-Ray Disc and it was time for me to take a much closer look.

Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is a journalist on his way into the dumps after his wife left him for her one-armed boss and his career going nowhere. He decides that he needs a change, something to prove himself in the eyes of the world and the wife he lost, something that says "Look at me!" He decides to sign up and head out to the Iraqi war zone – not necessarily to really cover the war, but to pretend to.

By pure coincidence he stumbles upon Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), am na he had heard of before in conjunction with rumors about a highly secretive experimental military program that seemed to focus on ESP. Like a dog sniffing the ground, he immediately realizes that this could be this chance of a lifetime. If he could crack open this secret wing of the military, he would be famous all over the world. Like a burr he sticks to Cassady and travels to Iraq with him, trying to squeeze every bit of information out of the ex-ESP-specialist. But the more he learns, the more it seems that Cassady is really just a nutcase making up crack stories as he goes along. But then again, every once in a while Wilton gets to see a glimpse of what Cassady can really do and dutifully he tags along learning more and more of the New Earth Army, lead by Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) who turns men into warrior monks with incredible psychic abilities.

Just when Wilton once again completely loses faith in Cassady and decides to turn around, they are kidnapped. What follows is a series of mind-boggling events that turns Wilton's life upside down.

"The Men Who Stare At Goats" is a real comedy highlight; probably one of the smartest and funniest films I have seen in a long time. It has such a black sense of humor, that the film could almost be British. Subversive and anarchic, the movie smashes stereotypes and throws around mind boggling theories that will light a fire in every conspiracy theorist's mind, no doubt, until they realize they are the butt of a joke, actually. But it's not all just silly games here. Surprisingly, the film takes its main premise rather seriously and fleshes it out with quite of detail and politicking, showing that we, the civilian population, really never know what's going on behind government walls and their secret projects. Who knows if not one day they really come forth with a superhuman agent who does not only have X-Ray eyes but also the power to create black holes at his own whim? Well, can they? You be the judge…

Featuring a spectacular cast lead by Ewan McGregor in a surprisingly down to earth and personable performance, and George Clooney, the two are nicely supplemented by Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey, who shows once again that he can be every bit as funny as he can be menacing within a split second. God, how he made me laugh in that "I'm hungry" shot.

Anchor Bay Entertainment delivers the goods on this release, presenting the movie in a glorious 1080p high definition transfer. The image is absolutely free of blemishes and revels in colors as only high def formats can. Wonderfully natural-looking throughout, the color palette is rich and strong, never bleeding, never getting in the way of the beautiful photography,but instead helping to enhance it. An incredibly sharply defined image makes sure you're not missing a hint of the picture while never appearing unnaturally emphasized. With its rich black levels, the image has good visual depth that gives the film dimensionality and a pleasingly realistic look. Great stuff, here.

The audio on the release comes to you as a lossless PCM 5.1 audio track, or a Dolby Digital track. It is engaging and very active, making aggressive use of the surround channels whenever the action is turned on – which happens quite a bit. In the more somber moments, the film creates a solid ambiance by using the surround field for effect without being obtrusive at all. Dialogues are well integrated, making sure the presentation is always balanced and pleasant.

As extras the release features audio commentaries as well as a few featurettes on the making of the film and its real life origins. As remarkable as it may seem but yes, "The Men Who Stare At Goats" is inspired by real events and a real, existing military branch. Further you will find a few deleted scenes and character bios on the release. A second disc is also part of this version, offering up a digital copy of the movie.

"The Men Who Stare At Goats" was every bit as funny as I had hoped. In fact, I would say, it was even funnier because I did not really imagine the film to be that wacky and hilariously off-kilter. The trailer, while funny, does not nearly do justice to the incredible sense of humor and the weird, tripping story that this film truly is. This Blu-Ray Disc comes highly recommended, so miss this opportunity to thought-provoking laughs at your own peril.