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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Heist > Romance > The Thomas Crown Affair (1999 remake/MGM/20th Century Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999 remake/MGM/20th Century Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)


Picture: B-/C+/C     Sound: B-     Extras: C-     Film: C



When Pierce Brosnan dared to take on the Steve McQueen role in a remake of The Thomas Crown Affair in 1999, he was at the top of his commercial and critical success.  His first two James Bond films (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies) were the most successful set of hit Bonds since Sean Connery and things were looking up to the extent that this remake was a surprise hit and a sequel is still being talked about.


Brosnan plays the suave art thief who has to dodge investigator Rene Russo in the process, but the two become entangled in ways that they should not, which makes it all the more appealing to both.  Though not as good as the original film, Director John McTiernan proved he could have a hit outside of the Die Hard franchise and despite the failure of Last Action Hero, though he has not had a hit since and worst things have happened off-screen.


As for the film, it is sometimes interesting to watch when it is on, but quickly forgettable, despite a script update by the interesting writers Leslie Dixon & Kurt Wimmer, plus a supporting cast that also includes Ben Gazarra, Denis Leary, Frankie Faison, Fritz Weaver and Faye Dunaway.  It is competent and sometimes interesting, so that is why people still talk about it.  That MGM made it at that time seems more a fluke than ever, but they pulled it off and it reminds us how the studio could do projects people would want to see when they took themselves and viewers more seriously.  That was not to last.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 22 MBPS digital High Definition image was shot in real anamorphic 35mm Panavision by Director Of Photography Tom Priestly, Jr., in some of his best work to date.  Too bad this is a softer image than it should be, though you can see at times how good this looked on film in the minority of better shots.  An old copy of the DVD is included with an anamorphically enhanced widescreen side that shows its age, is darker and softer than the Blu-ray.  The flip side of the DVD has a useless pan and scan 1.33 version of the film that is to be totally avoided.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix on the Blu-ray can be a little harsh and shrill in spots, so the mix is either a bad upgrade and/or is exposing the limits of the old digital 5.1 soundmaster.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is weaker and has the same limits and flaws on both versions, but the 1.33 pan and scan butchery seems worse with a strange soundfield.  The only extra is a feature-length audio commentary by McTiernan.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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