Crazy Rich Asians was a critical and commercial success for Warner Bros., a fish out of water story about love, family, and an understanding of Asian culture.
The Production: 3.5/5
When Rachel’s (Constance Wu) longtime boyfriend, Nick (Henry Golding), asks her to accompany him to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore and meet his family, she is about to be met with some serious culture shock as Rachel soon learns that Nick is from the very wealthy Young family, and his best friend’s wedding is possibly bigger than any Royal Wedding.
Based on Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel of the same name, Crazy Rich Asians takes its viewers on a tour of Singapore’s 1%, the upper crust of society that lives in penthouse apartments and lavish mansions nestled in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by armed guards. The Young’s come from old money, handed down after several generations, and Nick’s mother, Eleanor (played with a cold heart by Michelle Yeoh), sees Rachel as an outsider, a middle-class economics professor raised by a single mother in America, or as Rachel’s best friend, Peik Lin (Awkwafina), puts it – a banana: yellow on the outside and white on the inside. Although Rachel is accepted by the groom and bride to be, Colin (Chris Pang) and Araminta (Sonoya), as well as Nick’s cousins, Astrid (Gemma Chan) and Oliver (Nico Santos), she is subjected to some very hostile cruelty by both the maid of honor and the bridesmaids, and Nick’s family.
The extravagance of the family lifestyles on display, not only in the bachelor and bachelorette parties, the wedding, and the reception, but also the day to day life, can at time be rather obscene, but that is part of the point, as Rachel navigates her way, following her heart and trying to be accepted. The film boasts a very large Asian cast, which also includes recognizable faces such as Ken Yeong (The Hangover, Dr. Ken) as Peik Lin’s father and Jimmy O. Yang (Silicon Valley) as Bernard Tai, one of Nick’s childhood “friends.” Crazy Rich Asians was directed with flair and style by Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, No You See Me 2), although by the end of the movie, I felt it was a little overstuffed with characters and subplots.
3D Rating: NA
Crazy Rich Asians was captured in 4K resolution on Panavision Varicam 35 Pure and Red Dragon cameras, and completed as a 4 K digital intermediate. Unfortunately, Warner decided to forego a 4K UHD release (although it is available in 4K UHD on various digital platforms) and instead offered up the movie on Blu-ray. This is a very colorful film, often bursting with vivid and bright colors (especially once we arrive in Singapore) in both costumes and set design with no noticeable banding issues (the major exception being the opening logo for Ivanhoe Pictures). Contrast is excellent, with bright whites that don’t clip and deep blacks that still manage to retain a great deal of shadow detail. It just seems like a missed opportunity with the addition of high dynamic range that can be had on 4K UHD Blu-ray, but I suspect the omission may have had more to do with the replication issues plaguing the industry at the moment with physical media and 4K UHD Blu-ray more specifically.
Another missed opportunity here by the studio, Warner Bros. Crazy Rich Asians was released theatrically with a Dolby Digital 7.1 sound mix (it even says so in the end credits), but the studio has only included a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track as the default, with English Descriptive Audio as well as French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks (to be fair, the 4K UHD streaming version on Vudu only includes an English Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 track, so the 7.1 is missing there, too). Still, this is a very good and engaging 5.1 track, especially for a romantic comedy. This is a very wide and spacious track when it needs to be (big parties, bustling city), while also subtle and intimate at times as well. Song selections get the largest benefit, with booming bass and immersive surrounds. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.
Special Features: 4/5
Audio Commentary with Director Jon M. Chu and Novelist Kevin Kwan: The director and writer of the source material (and executive Producer) discuss the differences between the book and the movie, what they had set out to accomplish with the film, and the events in Kwan’s life that inspired the book.
Crazy Rich Fun (1080p; 7:18): An all-too brief look a the making of the film.
Deleted Scenes (1080p; 12:10): Seven scenes are included, but not indexed.
Gag Reel (1080p; 1:47): Short clips of goofing off, blown lines, etc.
DVD Copy: The movie in 480p and Dolby Digital 5.1, plus the special feature Crazy Rich Fun.
Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a Digital HD copy of the film on Movies Anywhere.
Crazy Rich Asians is an often funny, sometimes painful look at Asian high society. Warner’s Blu-ray presentation is excellent, but the lack of a 4K UHD option on physical media feels like a missed opportunity.
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