Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
Both cover and menu are functional and look the part of the glitzy story that lies behind their packaging goodness. I was pretty under whelmed to be honest. I would love to have seen something special for this DVD, but I guess they thought the film would make up for the blasé efforts elsewhere….we shall see.
- 12 Never Before Seen Musical Numbers – These are not all technically NEVER before seen. Some of them are the extended versions of numbers that made it into the film. If you love the music, you’ll LOVE this little selection of song and dance.
- Music Video “Listen” By Beyonce – Ok, for a movie that is actually a Musical, I can handle a music video being added to the DVD. Most of the time, however, a music video is NOT an extra. It’s an advertisement.
- Full Length Documentary – This is a monster of an extra with a running time of almost 2 hours. It’s got a lot of coverage of how the movie got made from the original musical, and tons of interviews with cast and crew. You get a total look at how the musical numbers were painstakingly arranged and choreographed, so if you want to know all the details, this is the extra for you, you musical lover you.
- Building The Dream Featurette – This is basically more about building the sets and making this look like an authentic period piece. Some of it is mentioned in the documentary, so you might get a case of setdecorationitis
- Auditions & Screen Tests – Dito, but this one is about the auditions of the cast.
- Pre-visualization Sequences – Pre-visualization…just a schmacncy word for storyboards. Pick part of the movie and see it as it was in the early stages, drawings, and excerpts of other performers doing the leading roles to help the director and crew figure out what they would do on set when it was time to film the real thing.
The Movie: 8/10
I waited a long time to see this movie. I wasn’t really looking forward to it. I know, I know, EVERYONE loves this movie. Well, I have a built in hatred for going along with the crowd and there was so much ass kissing and sucking up around this film I felt like I needed to get some distance before I could enjoy it.
If you don’t appreciate my flowery attitude, I will just figure you are one of the minions who jumped all over this Oscar nominated hit of the past year. If you understand my point of view, you will also understand that the whole problem of facing the prospect of seeing a movie you have convinced yourself isn’t worth the trouble. It can be a little bit depressing when you want to love all movies, but some just don’t appeal to you for some reason.
Well, it finally came time and now I’ve seen it. I liked it. I enjoyed it a lot. It is very entertaining and extremely well made. No one can say anything less than all the performances were excellent, the sets were amazing, and the songs were just right. Why then did I feel like it wasn’t as completely satisfying as it should have been?
The story is a mix of fictional versions of real life Motown and other musical acts of the 60’s, and 70’s, so that’s cool. The heart of it is based on the difficulties African American performers had breaking into the mainstream and how one record producer broke all the rules to make the change himself. Jamie Foxx plays the hopeful, slimy producer who brings the Dreamgirls from obscurity to fame using every trick he could pull out of his car salesman sleeve.
The heartaches and breaks that come with keeping a group together and the changes people go through when faced with great fame, or falling from great fame, is another theme that runs through the story. Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson play the ends of that spectrum with equal talent in the acting and singing departments.
I won’t comment much on the singing or dancing, except to say I’m no expert but it’s pretty darn good. I am not a fan of musicals most of the time, but the songs (although all sung by African Americans were written by extremely white wealthy Hollywood writer/producers) were woven into the story enough not to become two minute sections of the movie where I’m thinking “This is a good time to go to the toilet.”. That’s a good thing.
Video & Audio (By Ascully): 9/10
Dreamgirls is presented on two 50GB Blu-Ray discs, one contains the special features while the other is dedicated to the movie. The movie itself is presented in spectacular 1080P 2.35.1 widescreen, the image is spectacular especially during the song and dance numbers where the colors shine and the deep blacks really stand out. This is a movie that really makes the new HD formats shine, it was pretty unexpected for me I didn’t think I would be blown away like I was. Audio is also top notch with the surround speakers really coming to life during the musical numbers. Dreamgirls is also available on HD DVD and standard DVD if that’s your thing.
I’m not a fan of paying over twenty dollars for a DVD, so even with the top quality of the movie, the extras and the Blu-Ray thingy, it’s still not worth it to me. I want to see all DVD’s at around ten bucks someday….I won’t hold my breath.
Overall Score 8/10