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Festivale online magazine, March - April, 1998
Blues Brothers 2000

Blues Brothers 2000

The Hunt for the Blues continues

The original Blues Brothers movie was unlike any other band movie in that its success eclipsed the band itself. The Beatles films were a forum for their music, like a linked set of music clips, but the movie made around the Blues Brothers Band achieved the kind of cult status reserved for a very few films (for example, the Rocky Horror Show).

Movie, Blues Brothers 2000, Festivale film review

B.B.King, Blues Brothers 2000 movie still
B. B. King

Elwood's mission is to play the music and provide the buzz that no pharmaceutical product can match -- the rhythm and blues.

En route he collects old friends and the growing gang meet, sing and dance with, many of the contemporary North American music greats.

This sequel, set 18 years after the original, succeeds on its own. One could see this film without seeing the first. Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) is released from prison after 18 years incarceration for crimes including felonious motor vehicle assault only to discover that his partner/Blues Brother has passed on.

Determined to reform the bed, Elwood seeks out his semi-half-brother under the skin (the son of Elwood's own father-substitute), and in so doing embarks on yet another mission.

Movie still, Blues Brothers 2000
Movie still, Blues Brothers 2000

John Goodman's long-time love of the music and his comedy experience make him a natural choice for the part of Mighty Mack. Joe Morton is more of a surprise for those who know him for his acting, but not his singing. He displays remarkable comedic timing and he and Nia Peeples make a great team as the law officers who lead the hunt for the Blues.

J. Evan Bonifant as the orphan, Buster, gets to go from torn jeans to full Blues Brothers regalia, and his youth and size are ably used for sight gags by directory John Landis and choreographer Barry Lather.

Writers Aykroyd and Landis are known for outrageous situations, sight gags, and celebrities playing bit parts, and Blues Brothers 2000 filled with their trademarks, however the cynical might suggest that sometimes the film makers were saluting their previous film, or setting up sequences for cult fans.

Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman, Blues Brothers 2000, Festivale movie review
Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman, Blues Brothers 2000

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Elwood describes the Blues Brothers costume as iconographic and the surreal nature of Blues Brothers 2000 is what attracts the cult fans and enables the film makers to sometimes show the truth more clearly. A wonderful example of this is the call centre of the love exchange where the bowl-boobed, plastic blonde bikini bimbos of phone sxx advertisements are contrasted with the reality of saggy-baggy housewives and knitting grandmothers taking the calls.

The music is amazing, of course, I caught almost all the lyrics, which is always a pleasure, the performances are fulsome and colourful, and the performances are continually strong, which all makes for a good night out movie-wise.

See also: Tim Richards' review


The only problem I had with the film has the costuming of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Ms Franklin's costume, according to the costumer a Chanel-inspired creation, is an unflattering distraction, pale, shiny, and cluttered with a long scarf and hug (frog?) brooch. once at a performance of a Russian ballet company I was distracted continually by the skeletal condition of the female dancers. They looked like they were ill-fed refugees about to have a heart attack at any moment.

Ms Franklin, whose VOICE was fabulous and whose PERFORMANCE was as strong as ever, looked large enough to be at risk of serious illness. This was emphasized by her costume rather than the reverse, and the result was a bit like watching Menuhin playing on an unloved instrument. Watching her performance, there was a fear that one of the great voices of North America would be silenced before its time.

Aretha Franklin, Blue Brothers 2000, movie review
Aretha Franklin

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See also: John Goodman appears in The Borrowers

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Just the facts:

Title: Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)
Written by: Dan Aykroyd and John Landis 
Directed by: John Landis 
Produced by: Dan Aykroyd, Leslie Belzberg, Grace Gilroy (associate), John Landis 
Edited by: Dale Beldin 
Director of Photography: David Herrington 

The Players: Dan Aykroyd .... Elwood Blues
John Goodman.... Mighty Mack McTeer
Joe Morton.... Cabel Chamberlain
J. Evan Bonifant.... Buster
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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Filed: 3-Mar-1998 : Last updated: 26-Apr-1998 : Last tested: 3-Jul-2014: Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
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