The Cold War made smart people do stupid things. Luckily they didn’t do enough stupid things to kill us all. One of the brilliant things they both worked with was psychic soldiers. First the Russians thought we were doing it, then they started doing it, and then we had to start doing it, or at least that’s how the movie will tell you it happened.
The movie is a star-studded feature with 4 heavy-hitters of the acting community. George Clooney plays the most talented of the psychic warriors. Jeff Bridges plays the leader of the battalion. Kevin Spacey plays the competitive member of the group who is jealous that Clooney is better. Ewan McGregor plays a reporter who interviews Clooney to get the story. And the goat plays a goat.
This movie is billed as a comedy, but most of the comedy comes from the fact that it’s a true story. Or at least that is where they are trying to pull the humor from. Everyone plays it straight, with the possible exception of Spacey in a few scenes, you are supposed to laugh at just how ridiculous the situations are and how anyone else in that situation would think they were absolutely crazy, but these people truly believe.
That is the other crux of the movie. They are trying to make you chose whether or not to believe the events of the movie. They say at the beginning more of it is true than you would believe, but everything in the movie is so far out there it makes no logical sense. That is the thing you have to overcome while watching it. You can’t let logic get in the way, you have to just relax and follow the story. If you try to impart logic you’re not going to believe anything and you’ll lose all entertainment possibility in the movie. I’m not saying there is a lot there to begin with, but there is some and you have to have an open mind to get at it.
The Men Who Stare at Goats is presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.
Really one of the better looking Blu-Ray’s I’ve seen. The CGI doesn’t stand out constantly, there are obvious places where the CGI is evident, but a lot of it looks perfectly natural.
Goats Declassified: The Real Men of The First Earth Battalion: Nice little package here. You meet the people who the movie is based on. If you believe everything it will really get you going, and if you find it crazy and impossible, you’ve got more crazy people to look at.
Project “Hollywood” A Classified Report from the Set: Here’s you behind the scenes feature.
Audio Commentaries: There is one with the director and one with the writer of the book. Why not just have them do it together? I don’t know. Here’s a taste of the Director’s commentary, “We shot this in New Mexico….this was shot in California because it was too cold in New Mexico…this was back in Puerto Rico…and this was back in California…”
Character Bios: Basically just 4 trailers for the movie with one character more central than the others in each different trailer.
Deleted Scenes: As per usual, deleted for a reason.
Digital Copy: Always a big plus in my book. The Digital Copy is also the only extra for Blu-Ray specifically.
The trailers are better than the movie. It’s a comedy that has no characters trying to be funny. The comedy is supposed to come from the outlandish story they go through and the fact that none of the people think they’re crazy. There are some funny parts and it is a good story and it will probably be a big boost to the psychic community. I would recommend renting it before diving in a buying it, but it’s probably worth seeing. For another opinion, check out our own Danny Cox reviewing the DVD release.
Overture Films presents The Men Who Stare at Goats. Directed by: Grant Heslov. Starring: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, and Jeff Bridges. Written by: Jon Ronson(Book), Peter Straughan(Screenplay). Running time: 94 minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: March 23, 2010. Available at Amazon.com