Documenting the story of a dysfunctional family, ruled haphazardly by patriarch Royal (Gene Hackman), who now is estranged. From eldest son Chas (Ben Stiller), a widower and businessman with 2 sons. Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), adopted daughter and depressed playwright and son Ritchie (Owen Wilson), former tennis pro and major tanker. Royals wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston), is in love with another man but he wants to win her back at any cost.
The Royal Tenenbaums established Anderson’s oeuvre. It lead to some calling him ‘The magnificent Mr Anderson’. It also lead to an imbalance in how we received his work. On second watch, Tenenbaums is funnier than I remember. Its charged, tender and slips into clever subtext and seems like something his later work is missing. His later work is also less sardonic in this humour. More reliant on whimsy and hue. All visual and nods, touches and troupes that are not tired but feel heavy handled against this.
Criterion collection have already released ‘RUSHMORE’ and ‘BOTTLE ROCKET’, so this was an obvious choice. The restored HD version actually might be credited for warming the colour palette of the film. This alongside the admirable soundtrack remaster, makes it a leap above the DVD versions. Obvious. The extras are familiar, with the commentary being available on the US release. Interviews extract a lot of love but Hackman’s stands out. His issues with the making of the film is worth noting and can be smelt on the 3 odd minutes.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
- Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director Wes Anderson, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
- Audio commentary by Wes Anderson
- With the Filmmaker: Portraits by Albert Maysles, featuring Wes Anderson
- Interviews with and behind-the-scenes footage of actors Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, and Danny Glover
- The Peter Bradley Show, featuring interviews with additional cast members
- Scrapbook featuring young Richie’s murals and paintings, still photographs by set photographer James Hamilton, book and magazine covers, and storyboards
- Studio 360 radio segment on painter Miguel Calderón, along with examples of his work