The Ben Stiller-directed action-comedy Tropic Thunder arrives on DVD this week and is sure to be a big hit. The movie, which got off to a shockingly slow start in theaters, quickly developed into a sleeper hit, based on pretty good word of mouth and a great cast that includes Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Nick Nolte, Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise, in the longest and most inspired cameo in years. Still, studio executives had to be expecting more – but DVD sales should make up for some of that.
I have the two-disc Director’s Cut version of Tropic Thunder on my desk, and with it comes several entertaining special features. I haven’t actually watched this new unrated director’s cut just yet (it adds 13 minutes to the film), but I will let you know when I do. Meanwhile, many of the special features are worth seeing, if only for their entertainment value.
Those looking for insightful behind-the-scenes examinations of the making of Tropic Thunder may be disappointed, as the DVD is less concerned with delivering something insightful as it is with being funny. For the most part, the Tropic Thunder features try to make you laugh, and some even interview the cast in character.
Since Tropic Thunder is a movie about a movie, this makes sense. Most of the features are about the making of the movie inside the movie, not about the movie we all went to see. This plays out well. For instance, The Hot LZ Blowing S#%t Up interviews Danny McBride as his character Cody, and he talks about how amazing it was for the crew to just blow into the untouched jungle, remove all the trees and destroy everything in sight in a matter of days.
The Cast of Tropic Thunder is also played out as partially in-character, and at the very least the actors play along in a laugh-out-loud way.
I watched Before the Thunder and Designing the Thunder, but for the life of me cannot remember what those featurettes were about. I believe this were more legit ones, and includes some script readings, casting choices and so on and so forth. There are some good nuggets in here.
Rain of Madness is a particularly funny documentary that plays out like a tragic, behind-the-scenes documentary that looks at what went wrong with the filming of the movie within the movie (did that make sense?). Directed by some British dude (because British narrators are better than anything else), the documentary looks at the problems of the picture and the events that led up to the tragic circumstances to follow. This mockumentary is downright funny at times, as one who didn’t know better could actually take it seriously.
There are some decent deleted and extended scenes as well, and an alternate ending that adds just a little more to the one seen in theaters. Of course, those of you who liked the viral videos that emerged from the MTV Movie Awards, they are included here.
Some of the video rehearsals are quite interesting as well.
The Tropic Thunder bonus features look to make you laugh more than teach you about film, and if that’s your cup of tea, you should find plenty to enjoy here. As for the movie itself, feel free to read my Tropic Thunder movie review.