Dirty Dancing: 25th
Anniversary – 2 Film Collection (Lionsgate Blu-ray)
Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras: A/C Film: B+/C
We have now reviewed Dirty
Dancing five (5) times on this site and this will be the 6th.
Three of those reviews were for the multiple DVD releases and re-releases and
this will now be the third time for a Blu-ray review. The multitude of Dirty Dancing reviews means several things; one the film is well
loved, two perhaps the film needed touching up, and three executives at
Lionsgate think Dirty Dancing is
undying cash cow.
The last thing readers need is another review of Dirty Dancing, but what we can do here is point out the differences
between this release and the last. The
2010 release was a lovely box set that had some pack-in peripherals and more
importantly a video/sound upgrade after viewers (fans) called out Lionsgate
after a less than stellar 20th Anniversary release. This 2012, 25th Anniversary
release is the same video/sound quality as the 2010 release, but not in a big,
fancy box. What is new to this set is
that it includes (prepare your gag reflex) the 2004 Dirty Dancing “sequel,” Dirty
Dancing: Havana Nights. Havana Nights, a film that is on many
critics’ and casual viewers’ list of worst films of all time. A film that has little, too nothing to do
with the original and more importantly soils the original’s name by comparison.
Havana Nights takes place
several years before the events of the first Dirty Dancing film in Cuba.
Cuba is on the verge of war as whispers of Communist revolution are
abound, with Fidel Castro in the forefront.
The film focuses on a family (much like the first film) and how music
and dancing can change the world (gag).
A rich girl (Romola Garai) falls for the ‘wrong guy’ in the form of a
hotel employee (Diego Luna). Again we
have overprotective parents, an annoying sister, and inner turmoil to the
highest degree as this ‘coming of age’ store hits the ground dancing. The soundtrack is Tango and Salsa inspired
this time (hey, when in Cuba. Right?!) and the bumping and grinding has been
amped up. Patrick Swayze even makes an
odd cameo that was (again) odd and unnecessary; playing a completely different
character. Havana Nights was an unnecessary cash grab that merely slaps “Dirty
Dancing” in the title though it has little to nothing to do with the original;
only sullying the good name of its predecessor.
The films’ video/audio qualities are one of the only things on par
with each other. Again, the picture is presented in a 1080p AVC encoded
1.78 X 1 widescreen for both the 2004 and 1987 film, both with great detail and
colors are vivid with deep, inky blacks to frame each scene with ease. There
is a degree of grain present on both, but (oddly) I found the original Dirty Dancing had the upper hand. There
are no noticeable compression issues and overall I was quite pleased with the
presentation. The sound against a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that is crisp,
clean and clear with little issues. I found certain moments being
softer than they should have been, but for the most part everything came
through clear and balanced. The directionality was nice and the
ambient noises gave atmosphere. The shining piece of the audio
track would have to be the music as it is a key component of the film. On
Blu-ray the music is boisterous and well balanced taking the release to the
next level, though not much can be done to improve Havana Nights.
The extras on Dirty Dancing are the same as those on the previous release
(nothing new), but Havana Nights does
have some extras of its on, including:
Multi-Angle Dance Sequences
“Baila: A Dance Piece”
Explores the grueling choreography and rehearsals needed
to bring the film to life.
“Inside Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights”
A deeper look behind the film (about 30minutes long) that
explores the film from a variety of angles
Michael P. Dougherty II