Lucky Luke (UK - DVD R2)
The Artist's Jean Dujardin cowboys it up in a movie he did before the Oscar win
Daisy Town 1846. Little John Luke (Jean Dujardin) watches his parents get gunned down in their home by a group of unknown cowboys. Flashing forward we meet up with an older Luke, now known as Lucky Luke the lonesome cowboy and the US government wants to have a word with him about a job.
For starters do not let the DVD cover here fool you into thinking this might be another Sin City affair. It's literally a million miles away from what that cover depicts. Based on the classic French comic book series, Lucky Luke is a mixture of humour, comic book violence and a lot of the time it’s just plain odd. Half of the references are from the comic and my limited experience with it are that it's quite amusing but the other half, which I guess would warm any fan's heart are almost totally lost on me and feel very peculiar. That said I appreciate that even the goofiest of visual gags (like Luke spinning around his horse while riding to pick up a four leaf clover) are part of the comic book's lore and while not all of this works on screen the character is getting celebrated and that’s never a bad thing in my book.
What doesn’t work for me here is the darker tones of the story. With all the scowls, face offs, shoot outs and darkened rooms, the mood is lost when some mad cap antic arrives and suddenly it feels like we’re in the live action Flintstones movie where nothing feels real and the cartoon brought to life sensibilities often come off as ropey film making as opposed to experimental cinematic fun, which I assume is the intention.
All in all this feels like a bit of fun. Dujardin is doing his best to keep it ‘cool’ in amongst the chaos and this carries a certain amount of charm (though nowhere near as much as he had in The Artist) but given the French humour, the language sounding odd in a American Western setting and the comic book visuals being a little too zany to take anything outside of them too seriously, this film is one that might get fans of the comic book character going but it’s a bit more of a hard slog for those unaware of the history behind it.
Being largely set outdoors, the glowing sunlit image of this colourful western provides some pretty visuals that walk the line between comic book and fairly tale in design. Costumes come with a collection of colours that celebrate the palette from the original comic book series, with plenty of strong yellows, reds and blues giving the film a heightened reality with its epic wide shots and designs that feel ripped right off of the page.
The image is clean, well detailed and the stylised visuals have moments where they pop off the screen in exciting and visually striking ways. The heavier CGI shots look a little odd but they seem few and far between with many of the location shooting selling the realism of the comic book story despite the loud costumes and less than real comic sensibilities.
The musical choices on the soundtrack are mostly blues numbers but also some thumpier stuff like Fun Lovin’ Criminals which all offer a nice full sounding stereo track and the dialogue also remains clear and crisp throughout. Gunshots range from feeling hollow to packing a punch and the same goes for the punches thrown. This is an okay track with a few moments of chinking money or spurs offering a crisper element in the mix but really this one doesn’t do much outside of what’s expected from it really.
Not even so much as a trailer here I’m afraid.
Lucky Luke could very well be a fan’s ultimate Luke movie but given that my experience with the character is a flick through the books while in France once and a fading recollection that I once had a Lucky Luke doll or possibly bendy toy as a child, my limited knowledge is maybe not one to give this film its full credit. To me this was a super zany comic book western that had moments of feeling like The Flintstones live action movie and too much craziness to sell the drama of the story (much like Wild Wild West suffered from). The disc looks surprisingly good given the exterior locations and has an acceptable audio mix but with no extras my guess is anyone really wanting to see it might seek out better editions that I can only imagine must be available in France given the character's history.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Release Date: 28th May 2012
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Stereo 2.0 French
Easter Egg: No
Director: James Huth
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Michaël Youn, Sylvie Testud
Genre: Action, Adventure and Comedy
Length: 99 minutes
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