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'The Specials: 20th Anniversary Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Thomas Haden Church, Rob Lowe, Jamie Kennedy, Paget Brewster, Judy Greer, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2000) 2019 / La-La Land Entertainment)

Overview: La-La Land Entertainment will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Craig Mazin's film 'The Specials' (2000) with a brand new limited edition release, available for purchase on July 14th, 2020.

The sixth (or seventh) best superhero team in the world pursue their rightful place in the harshly competitive world of toy tie-ins and fighting evil!

Blu-ray Verdict: Bringing it to you from the off, this very special 20th Anniversary limited edition Blu-ray of the highly under-rated 'The Specials' also marks the film's world premiere release in high-definition.

Featuring a brand new 2K scan and restoration from the film's interpositive, with lossless 5.1 and 2.0 audio for the first time, new and vintage bonus features, and all-new front cover art by artist Paul Shipper, 'The Specials: 20th Anniversary Edition' [Blu-ray] is, quite easily, one of the best Blu-ray's to have landed here for review in a long, oh-so long time!

The foundation to this, at-times laugh out loud comedy, at others a dramedy with comedic underlay, is that at their modest suburban headquarters, The Strobe (Thomas Haden Church), The Weevil (Rob Lowe), foul-mouthed Amok (Jamie Kennedy), Ms. Indestructible (Paget Brewster, Deadly Girl (Judy Greer), new member Nightbird (Jordan Ladd) and the rest all spend their time bickering, having extramarital affairs, and preparing for the grand unveiling of their own action figure line!

But when a furious Strobe suddenly disbands the group, who will be there for the oddballs, rebels, outcasts and geeks? Even more worryingly, before they save the world, can they save themselves?

Also featuring Kelly Coffield (In Living Color), Michael Weatherly (Dark Angel), Chase Masterson (Deep Space Nine) and a blink and you'll miss it cameo from Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina), this hilarious, and now deservedly cult hit from director Craig Mazin (creator of HBO's Chernobyl) and screenwriter James Gunn (Writer/Director of Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2), is a low-budget variant on Ben Stiller's 'Mystery Men' (that came out the year before this), albeit with a script that's about four times as good!

A film about superheroes that, thanks to an obviously small budget, features little to no special effects, and weirdly no scenes where the Specials demonstrate their powers (until the very end, of course), what we do get is a smartly written work that incorporates some fascinating characters.

Legendary director James Gunn (who also plays Minute Man), made every attempt to create believable human beings, "cursed" with superpowers that even they have yet to fully understand or barely harness.

Running at a highly entertaining 82 minutes, sure there are multiple layers of shallow parodies of comic book entries from down the years, but the interspersed gags along with an honest-to-God group breakdown that will have you begging for them to come back together (for the sake of the plot, let alone the world!), means that 'The Specials' still connects with us today.

I mean, simply put, 'The Specials' isn't really about superheroes being superheroes, but superheroes being real people. The fact that the superheroes take everything so seriously is the source of a lot of the movie's humor, of course.

But, and as aforementioned, the humor is so subtle, yet so obvious, that it doesn't have to always end in belly laughs to be funny. For me, well, it was hard at times to keep a straight face when Thomas Haden Church was acting as even in his serious moments, well, suffice to say he can crack you up with just an expressive look or grunt!

It even looks like all the actors had a blast making this movie and furthermore, Director Craig Mazin maintains a constant snappy pace throughout, whilst doing an expert job of creating a dry, yet infectiously zany tone.

In closing, the funky, catchy soundtrack, Brian Langsbard's stirring score, and Eliot Rockett's polished cinematography are all likewise up to speed, but what really makes this movie so funny and enjoyable are the spirited and engaging performances from the uniformly excellent cast.

FYI: During the end credits we see an "In Memory: 1970-1993" reference and picture of Mr. Stretch, an original member of the Specials that we are told died of mouth cancer in one of the interview segments! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the copious amount of Special Features such as:

NEW 2K REMASTER OF THE FILM from an interpositive
Theatrical Trailer
Moro's Magic: The 'Specials' effects - Featurette
Audio Commentary with Director Craig Mazin, Writer/Actor James Gunn, Producer Mark A. Altman and Visual Effects Supervisor Mojo recorded in 2000
Audio Commentary with Writer/Actor James Gunn and Actress Paget Brewster recorded in 2005
Deleted Scenes
Wedding Video
Toy Commercial
Behind the Scenes Photos

'The Specials: 20th Anniversary Edition' [Blu-ray] is out July 14th, 2020 via La-La Land Entertainment.

20th Anniversary Blu-ray Red Band Blu-ray Trailer