Saturday, December 10, 2005

Special Edition Showdown: Office Space v. Big Lebowski, Part Two

The second in a two-part review of late 90's cult classics ends with a look at the Office Space: Special Edition With Flair! Box Set. Click here for my review of The Big Lebowski: Achievers Edition Box Set.

I love Office Space, and a majority of my friends and I have been entertained over the past 6 years or so with the Mike Judge satire about life in the cubical jungle. I'm hard pressed to think of even a casual acquaintance aged in their 20's who hasn't added a Lumberghesque "...yeaaaaahhhh..." into conversation at some point. The cultural saturation of this film speaks volumes about the power of "word of mouth" advertising. Even the Swingline stapler company was wise enough to sate the demand of the movie's savvy fan-base and create a red version of their beloved office supply; it also happens to be their number one seller. So, it's no surprise then that the regular ol' widescreen or *gasp* fullscreen versions of the film on DVD were not good enough for those needing a fix of the adventures of Peter Gibbons and the rest of the crew from Initech. Enter the Office Space: Special Edition With Flair! Box Set.

This box set is only available from Best Buy, which sucks. Something this good should be available to retailers of all sizes, but evidently the Big Blue Box just didn't feel like sharing. However, this is where the bad news ends.

The box contains the best swag in both form and function, and a DVD that sports a remastered film with deleted scenes, a hilarious documentary, downloadable soundbites from the film, and the original theatrical trailer.

The box itself is a little bit flimsy for my taste, (glorified paperboard), and is modeled after a worn-in filing cabinet. Once opened, the box reveals the film-themed goodies, such as a coffee mug with Lumbergh on it and the Office Space logo, a magnet that is styled after Post-It notes that can be hollowed out to place a personal picture, a pen and pencil set, an Initech notepad for your important TPS reports, a Chotchkie's-themed mousepad with pins showing the films characters, and the all important "red stapler" that you should hide from your evil boss. I'd say the only things missing are a "Jump To Conclusions" game and a million dollars. All the items are of good quality, and are more than suitable for repeat usage. This set is a very satisfying collection of items that is more than justifiable for purchase by a die-hard fan.

The DVD is also a welcome upgrade from the rather sparse initial release. The 8 deleted scenes give a few new twists to the story, and while all of them are funny, it's easy to see how they found their way to the cutting room floor. I'm especially glad that one scene depicting Lumbergh as Peter Gibbons new construction crew boss was dropped; it would just give me a sick feeling to have the film end like that. The retrospective documentary is worth the price of the DVD alone. Writer/Director Mike Judge encapsulates the birth of the "Milton" animated short and it's creation into a full-blown feature. Nearly all the cast (save for Diedrich Bader (Lawerence) and Richard Riehle (Smykowski) ) return to relate their time on the set and how they developed the motivation for their characters. The theatrical trailer is here, too, as is a DVD-ROM feature for peeps who have active 'net connections who want to download high quality soundbites from the film.

This set is a veritable treasure trove of goodies for Office Space fanatics, and the best part is that it only costs $21.99. Yep, you're reading that correctly, $21.99. This sort of set shows The Big Lebowski box set for what it really is; a total rip-off. Office Space: Special Edition With Flair! Box Set dominates this competition and wins hands-down.

Greymatter's Report Card: Office Space SE: With Flair!
SE DVD: Film - A
Features - B+
Box Set: Design - C+
Content - A


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