Royal Tenenbaums

Royal Tenenbaums

4.5 59
Director: Wes Anderson

Cast: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller


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The Royal Tenenbaums, featuring one of the most eccentric dysfunctional families ever put to film, comes to DVD, produced by Criterion. Typical for the two-disc sets they release, it's creative and well organized. Hardly unusual for their special edition, this set is loaded with supplemental features. The first disc, along with the movie, has a commentary trackSee more details below


The Royal Tenenbaums, featuring one of the most eccentric dysfunctional families ever put to film, comes to DVD, produced by Criterion. Typical for the two-disc sets they release, it's creative and well organized. Hardly unusual for their special edition, this set is loaded with supplemental features. The first disc, along with the movie, has a commentary track from director Wes Anderson, who covers just about everything that could be imagined. The second disc houses the rest, with a featurette on the portraits created for the film, interviews with the cast, outtakes, an extensive photo gallery, storyboards, theatrical trailers, and more. The navigation, look, and atmosphere of these extras is similar to Criterion's other DVD release of Anderson's Rushmore. As for the image, it's presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, and while it does look a little soft at times, detail and color are still quite strong, as well are the black levels. Knowing Anderson's visual style, the way the video image looks is related to the way he makes films and less to mediocre authoring. The sound, which includes 5.1 tracks in Dolby Digital and DTS, is completely adequate for this type of film. It's centered up front, with good volume, but doesn't take advantage of the Surround speakers. Dialogue is clear, which for this film is of the utmost importance. English subtitles are also offered. You would be hard-pressed to find a bad Criterion special edition, and certainly won't find it with this title.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
An offbeat, charming, and exceedingly dysfunctional family of overachievers comes to life in The Royal Tenenbaums, director Wes Anderson's follow-up to his delightful Rushmore. Gene Hackman stars as the eponymous patriarch, an irresponsible but lovable rogue who deserts his wife (Anjelica Huston) and three extremely precocious children, only to find them emotionally scarred and embittered when he returns to the fold 20 years later. The cast is a marvel here: Hackman revels as the shamelessly manipulative shyster with a gold-plated heart, while perfect casting frees up Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, and Luke Wilson to deliver nicely understated performances as the grown Tenenbaum children. Adding to this carefully balanced blend of personalities are the likes of Bill Murray, Danny Glover, and scene stealer Owen Wilson (who co-wrote the screenplay). The film's fairy-tale atmosphere is nurtured with a combination of warmth, deadpan humor, and comic-book sensibility. Some characters wear the same costumes throughout (an amusing touch that adds a dash of archetypal resonance), and a brilliant voice-over narration by Alec Baldwin adds to the aura of fantasy. As in Rushmore, music also plays a key role. A mix of perfectly chosen pop songs and an original score by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh ground the film's exquisitely controlled tone. Yet despite its quirks, Tenenbaums falls squarely in the genre of dysfunctional family dramas typified by films like Terms of Endearment and The World According to Garp. And while it stops short of the more heartrending extremes of those films, Anderson's entry manages to find more than its share of touching moments. The result is a film that seems fresh and yet reassuringly familiar, as lovable for its veneer of eccentricity as it is for the simple human truths revealed beneath.
Barnes & Noble
This year's quirkiest big-studio release has to be Wes Anderson's J. D. Salinger-esque comedy about a family of dysfunctional geniuses. Written by Anderson and his Rushmore coauthor, Owen Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. It also features one of the year's best performances: Gene Hackman as the clan's cheerfully malignant patriarch. Tenenbaumsgets the royal treatment with this delectable DVD, featuring among its many riches numerous "Easter eggs" and a making-of documentary directed by the legendary Albert Maysles.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Naysayers may lament that it's too mannered for its own good, but The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) nevertheless solidifies Wes Anderson's status as an exceptionally gifted filmmaker. Shot on location in New York City, Anderson creates a finely detailed, alternative fairy tale New York that suits co-writers Anderson and Owen Wilson's uniquely gifted and tortured Tenenbaum clan. Though it touches on such dark topics as incest, drug addiction, suicide and death, Anderson and Wilson's wry sincerity turn the story of how the no longer sterling Tenenbaums make peace with the past and present into a meaningful picaresque comedy of subterfuge and resilience. Judiciously framed shots, clean editing and the inspired use of songs by Nico, Paul Simon, The Rolling Stones and The Clash mesh adroitly with the overtly literary storytelling, confirming Anderson's exuberant command of the medium. The stellar cast rises to the occasion, with Gene Hackman and Luke Wilson in particular delivering outstanding performances as the hardly majestic Royal and his Bjorn Borg-ian supernova-turned-burnout son Richie. Though they may be dysfunctional, it's easy to see why hilariously ersatz cowboy neighbor Eli Cash wants so much to be a part of The Royal Tenenbaums' world.
Village Voice - J. Hoberman
Sweet and funny, doggedly oddball if bordering precious, Wes Anderson's third feature presents itself as the adaptation of a non-existent book, checked out of an anachronistic municipal library, and set in an enchanted Manhattan. It's the story of an Upper East Side Salingeresque family living in the memory of their own personal FAO Schwarz.
Washington Post
Chock-full of quotable lines and silly surprises.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
1/2's proof that Anderson and his writing partner, the actor Owen Wilson, have a gift of cockeyed genius.
San Francisco Chronicle
A film like no other, an epic, depressive comedy, with lots of ironic laughs and a humane and rather sad feeling at its core.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Walt Disney Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; New widescreen digital transfer, supervised by director Wes Anderson and enhanced for widescreen televisions; Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 soundtracks; Commentary by Wes Anderson; "With the Filmmaker: Portraits by Albert Maysles," featuring Wes Anderson; Exclusive video interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, and Danny Glover; Outtakes; The Peter Bradley Show, featuring interviews with additional cast members; "The Art of the Movie": Young Richie's murals and paintings, still photography by set photographer James Hamilton, book and magazine covers, Studio 360 radio segment on painter Miguel Calderón, and storyboards; Theatrical trailers; Collectible insert including Eric Anderson's drawings; English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired; Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gene Hackman Royal Tenenbaum
Anjelica Huston Etheline Tenenbaum
Ben Stiller Chas Tenenbaum
Gwyneth Paltrow Margot Tenenbaum
Luke Wilson Richie Tenenbaum
Owen Wilson Eli Cash
Danny Glover Henry Sherman
Bill Murray Raleigh St. Clair
Seymour Cassel Dusty
Kumar Pallana Pagoda
Alec Baldwin Narrator
Grant Rosenmeyer Ari Tenenbaum
Jonah Meyerson Uzi Tenenbaum
Stephen Lee Sheppard Dudley Heinsbergen

Technical Credits
Wes Anderson Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Barry Mendel Producer
Mark Mothersbaugh Score Composer
Karen Patch Costumes/Costume Designer
Scott Rudin Producer
Dylan Tichenor Editor
David Wasco Production Designer
Owen Wilson Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Robert Yeoman Cinematographer

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- The Movie
1. Prologue: Family of Geniuses
2. Cast of Characters: The Players
3. Chapter One: 22 Years Later
4. Chapter Two: Reunion of the Tenenbaum Children
5. Chapter Three: A Pretty Bad Case of Cancer
6. Maddox Hill Cemetery: The Salt of the Earth
7. Chapter Four: Royal's Encyclopedias Are Placed in Storage
8. Chapter Five: An Obsolete Vernacular
9. Chapter Six: Between the Buttons
10. Chapter Seven: Mordecai Comes Back
11. Chapter Eight: Etheline and Henry's Wedding
12. Epilogue: BB Gun Salute
1. Five Minutes of Strength
2. The First Thing
3. Stuck in Time/Starting the Story
4. A New York Fable/Key Scenes
5. It Should Be Easy
6. The Third Wilson/Breaking Cinematic Rules
7. Royal's Mission
8. Peaking Early
9. Deep Wounds/The Possibility of Death
10. Bird Trouble/Preferable Sadness
11. A Good Dog/Take 18
12. Exaggerated Familiarity/The Family Plot


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