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June 12, 2010
Religulous Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
None26/5/2010Icon FilmsLarry Charles
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MBill Maher

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Larry Charles (far left) on Religulous set..

In between the hit success of Borat and the unexpected disappointment of Bruno director Larry Charles directed Religulous, with comedian Bill Maher. Religulous (whose title is a mixture of Religion and ridiculous) is a documentary and Bill Maher goes around the world examining religion and for most part, mocking it.

The film actually shares more in common with Charles' Borat than expected, the interviewees don't realise what they are a part of (the producers referred to the movie as 'A Spiritual Journey' when obtaining interviews and Bill Maher also has the ability to make his interviewees just as uncomfortable as Borat.

Throughout the movie Bill looks at a variety of different opinions and viewpoints in Religulous and in this respect he doesn't discriminate, he has interviews with his family, Christians, a Satanist, a senator, a Catholic, a Rabbi, a Muslim and plenty, plenty more. Bill Maher himself also knows a lot about religion and the bible, so he is able to quickly question his interviewees and rebutt some of their arguments.

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Bill Maher visited the Vatican City for Religulous.
Religulous is not the type of movie for everyone. It's argued by Maher himself that the movie doesn't so much mock religion, but question it and I would agree. Maher never mocks the people in his interviews, he just asks Why? It's fascinating and a documentary that really questions those core beliefs on religion and does so relatively impartially. If you are religious this film is not going to change your beliefs and it also doesn't ridicule, but it does genuinely make you wonder at times.

Religulous also goes far to show you some of the extreme lengths that religion goes to at times, Billy Maher visits Holy Land, he speaks to a pastor who 'overcame' homosexuality and he visits a gay bar for muslims, in Amsterdam.

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Visiting the Truckers Chapel in Raleigh.
Bill Maher visits lots of different locations and they look beautiful in Blu-Ray, but this isn't really a film that is going to show off your home theatre system visually primarily due to the filming techniques of only having a couple of Panasonic AJ-HDX900 cameras on set at any time. The video bitrate tended to bounce from 20Mbps to 35Mbps, which is inconsistent, but for this documentary it isn't really a huge deal.

Religulous is presented with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (16-bit/48Khz) track with the PS3 we reviewed this disc on showing a bitrate of 2.4-2.6Mbps throughout. As Religulous isn't a feature film, or music documentary this really isn't the type of film that tests your surround sound speakers. In fact, surround sound is very rarely utilised, except for the odd occasion when the soundtrack occasionally kicks in.

It's also worth noting that a lot of the interviews are done using small microphones attached to Maher and his interviewees, so while the audio is acceptable and it's great we've been given a lossless track, it's a bit underutilised in a movie such as this. The disc also includes an English subtitle track for those that require it.

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Bill Maher at the Mount of Olives in Religulous.
There are no extras included on the Religulous disk at all, which is a severe disappointment. In America the DVD release of Religulous includes deleted scenes, a monologue and a commentary with Bill Maher and Larry Charles, to miss out on all of this is disappointing.

Religulous is a clever documentary and those that are willing to look at religion in a more open minded light will find the movie to be very thought provoking and clever and definitely worth a watch. We doubt very much whether this is the type of movie that will be watched repeatedly, but it's certainly worth watching at least once.

Review By: Luke Van Leuveren


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Icon Films. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.