It's about time. And, well, a little late. It would have made perfect sense to release a Criterion Collection DVD of Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocketlast year, when it quietly celebrated its tenth anniversary. But hey, better late than never, right? While promoting his latest film, The Darjeeling Limited, Anderson told MTV Movies Blogthat he's begun work on a Criterion edition of his debut feature. The director said there's a lot of stuff to go into it, including a lot of footage that was left on the cutting room floor. And certainly he will have to put his original black-and-white short, also titled Bottle Rocket, on there. For those Anderson fans who haven't seen it, the short is basically just early versions of scenes that ended up in the later film, including the part in which Dignan (Owen Wilson) and Anthony (Luke Wilson) rob Anthony's parents' house -- with the soundtrack set to jazz rather than Love. When I first saw it -- Lincoln Center screened it with The Royal Tenenbaumson the eve of that film's release -- I thought it was a little bit funnier than the full-length. But looking at it now, I just think it's a neat curiosity for the fans. You can check it out on YouTube if you aren't willing to wait to see if Criterion includes it.

Bottle Rocket can feel pretty slow and uneven compared to Anderson's later releases, all of which have already received the Criterion treatment. But the crime caper comedy does feature a younger, funnier Owen Wilson, back when he was even more wide-eyed and excited than we're used to now. And it does at least have the obligatory homages to J.D. Salinger (think of Anthony as a grown-up Holden Caulfield) that links it up with the rest of Anderson's work. The main thing missing, of course, is Bill Murray, who has appeared in all of Anderson's films after this one. Maybe, as I suggested last week, somebody can do a special alternate version in which Murray is inserted into the film, possibly replacing James Caan. That would be a fun bonus feature. Or maybe Anderson and Murray could stage some fake auditions (like the real ones on the Criterion Rushmore) where Murray tests for each of Bottle Rocket's characters. Currently there is no release date, nor any news on the Criterion site, for Bottle Rocket, but hopefully we'll hear more about it soon.
categories Features, Cinematical