The popular Broadway musical doesn’t get the same thrilling reception for its big screen adaptation, but the few who took a shine to Richard Attenborough’s 1985 production should be delighted by its Blu-ray debut.
Distributed By: Fox
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Run Time: 1 Hr. 58 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 01/14/2014
Dance auditions for a Broadway musical’s chorus line are under way, headed by enigmatic choreographer Zach (Michael Douglas) and his assistant Larry (Terence Mann). Out of the scores of hopefuls trying out, there will only be eight – four men and four women – chosen, and the process of elimination will be both competitive and unforgiving. Deciding on the final set of dancers will come down to more than just their physical abilities, but something personal, about themselves and how they got there.
The Production Rating: 2/5
Meanwhile, Cassie (Alyson Reed), a dancer from Zach’s past, has returned to the city, looking to join the production. Taking a job in the chorus would be a step down for her, after seeing her career as a solo dancer bloom; but, as it turns out, show business has proved as fickle as they say.
To paraphrase the lyrics of A Chorus Line’s most well-known musical number, there’s not one, singular complication, but a series of them that makes the film stumble. The enduring Broadway stage musical had long been considered unfilmable given the number of confessional character monologues and stripped down set design. Adapting a piece conceived to literally spotlight dancers and their work would require some outside-of-the-proscenium thinking, but Director Richard Attenborough and Screenwriter Arnold Schulman confined themselves to something much too straightforward. What deviations there are, namely the back story on Zach and Cassie’s relationship, told through flashbacks, stick out awkwardly and sap the film’s momentum. That some of the auditioning dancers seems to have been picked more for their physical talents than acting or singing abilities doesn’t help matters, upending scenes and numbers that, by all accounts, should have been captivating. The final, flashy number is an exception, but – like auditioning for Broadway – it’s a long and grueling process getting there.
Framed at 2.35:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer offers a first rate presentation of Ronnie Taylor’s cinematography. Blacks are deep and stable, contrast appears consistent and uncompromised, and the color palette has a deep and nicely saturated quality with the variety of flashy dance wear. Detail also holds up from long shots to close ups, the image showing a pleasing veneer of grain that precludes any excessive processing.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
Dialogue in the 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp, clear and intelligible. Cues in the orchestral score reveal both a pleasing level of detail and depth, with an impressive breadth to the sound stage as well as a rather wide dynamic range.
Audio Rating: 4/5
Special Features Rating: 0.5/5
- Theatrical Trailer (2:13, HD)
MGM Home Entertainment turns in an impressive high definition presentation for A Chorus Line, but the extras include nothing more than a theatrical trailer. Though most will find the feature a lackluster adaptation of a celebrated stage musical, those who enjoyed the film should have no reservations picking up the release.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Reviewed By: Cameron Yee
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