The Butler became a blockbuster, crossing the coveted $100 million mark with its summer release. And for those who missed it in theaters, or want to see it again or even better, own the Lee Daniels masterpiece, The Butler is coming home on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Previewed in The Butler trailer, Forest Whitaker stars as the titular character that is based on a real man who served seven presidents and had a front row seat from the White House of a seismic societal change. It was a historic period that saw our country go from deep and often violent racial divide to a man of color inhabiting The White House where The Butler worked.
When we published our theatrical The Butler review, Movie Fanatic marveled at the ability of Whitaker to portray a man over many decades. His performance is matched by Oprah Winfrey as his wife, who is likely going to earn an Academy Award nomination for Supporting Actress -- as we said in our Oscar predictions. The two of them put on an acting clinic, and Whitaker commands the film throughout. His story, as told by Daniels, is the story of a burgeoning freedom for African Americans and the struggle it took to achieve it.
The Butler DVD and Blu-Ray is filled with bonus features that only enhance the power emitted by the film itself. We were enthralled with the featurette Lee Daniels’ The Butler: An American Story. The doc re-enforces the point that this film is based on the story of the man who broke barriers in America’s house, but has a larger scope and responsibility to reflect the changing landscape in racial relations in the country as a whole. Therefore the liberties it takes with the facts are sacrificed in the larger vision of painting a richer picture of race in America.
In that vein, The Original Freedom Riders bonus feature is a must-see for those who are both keenly familiar with their story and for those who first learn of them in The Butler. Their role in the struggle for equality in America is as important as any who fought for freedom. To see them get the spotlight in this The Butler DVD and Blu-Ray bonus feature is a true gift. Hearing from the real Freedom Riders only enhances the film itself and honestly makes you want to learn more.
The deleted scenes are many -- there are nine. We can see how they were cut for time, but viewing them after seeing the movie is another must. Unfortunately, we still don’t get the scene that was cut from the movie that was talked about in our Terrence Howard exclusive interview. Still no proof of that hook-up scene between Howard and Winfrey!
But still, the nine deleted scenes are short and important, but not necessary in the dramatic pull of the entire film. Standouts include Cecil Leaves with Abe and the history buff in us enjoyed The Cuban Missile Crisis, especially given how stellar James Marsden was as John F. Kennedy.
The music video featuring star Lenny Kravitz with Gladys Knight, You and I Ain’t Nothin No More, is a nice addition, as is the gag reel. In a film that is so serious, it’s nice to see the cast and crew cracking up!
The only bonus feature we would have thought would have been included was a feature on all the superstars that played presidents. From Robin Williams as Eisenhower to Alan Rickman as Reagan, further insight into their playing small roles in a big film would have been fascinating.