Dreamgirls (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Jamie Foxx) works as a used car salesman, but when he is off the lot, he fancies himself a talent manager. He has found himself quite a talented bunch too, an all female music group known as The Dreamettes. He manages to get the soulful Dreamettes the job of backup vocals for the well known James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy). This proves to be the break the women needed and soon, they’re called The Dreams and headed for musical stardom. The group’s lead singer is Effie (Jennifer Hudson), a very talented vocalist who also happens to be strong willed. Curtis thinks more about business than music, so he wants to replace Effie with Deena (Beyonce Knowles), who is more popular with white listeners. The move makes sense to him, but it sets into motion a new path for the group as a whole. But will Effie being relegated to backup vocals just make The Dreams stronger, or send them on the road to collapse?

One of the most talked about movies of late 2006, Dreamgirls was a hit with audiences and critics, a big event movie that seemed to be pleasing all audiences. Then Dreamgirls would storm into the Oscars and take home two statues, including Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Hudson. I haven’t been much of a fan of this new wave of movie musicals sparked by Moulin Rouge, so I tried to hold my expectations down here. As it turns out, Dreamgirls is a good movie, with good performances, good music, and a good story, but to me, it just didn’t connect. I have little interest in musicals, so despite Dreamgirls being well made, I never got too into it and the over two hour duration was too much. I was also taken out of the movie by some very obvious lip synching, which shouldn’t have made it out past the editors. Jennifer Hudson is good, not Oscar good in my opinion, but good and her stacked deck of co-stars is more than up to task also. Dreamgirls is just not my cup of tea, but if you’re a fanatic for musicals, this one is better than most. Paramount’s two disc edition is well crafted, with all the extras intact. So if you want to check out Dreamgirls, make sure you do so with one of the high definition formats.

Video: How does it look?

Dreamgirls is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This movie has vivid colors and bright visuals, so it is an ideal candidate for the Blu-ray magic. As it turns out, the visuals do indeed shine here, with some real eye pleasing scenes that make you take notice. The image is crisp and sharp throughout, with excellent detail, especially in the close-ups, but even distant shots show some visible subtleties. But the visuals really come to life through the colors, rich and vibrant hues that pop right off the screen, with no signs of errors. The colors are supported by stark and consistent black levels, which only further serves to make the hues stand out. This movie has a fun and colorful visual design, one which is well presented here and is so much fun to watch with so much detail and depth.

Audio: How does it sound?

This should have been a dynamic, knock down soundtrack, but sadly, the included Dolby Digital 5.1 option doesn’t stack up to the elite Blu-ray soundtracks out there. I think an uncompressed PCM or lossless DTS option could have been great, but this sounds just like the DVD. Not to say the audio is bad, but this is Blu-ray and to me, that means the visuals and soundtrack should be better than before. The music sounds good and dialogue is clean, so as far as the basics, they’re covered. I just think Paramount dropped the ball here, as this is good, but it should have been great. This release also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.

Supplements: What are the extras?

If you want more music, then you’re in luck. You can check out a dozen never before seen extended musical numbers, including one with Jennifer Hudson that wasn’t shown in theaters. As I said before, I am not one for musicals, but I am sure these added numbers will delight fans to no end. Building the Dream is a feature length look inside the production and while a little on the fluff side, there is still some good insight to be found. But to me, if I am going to spend this much time watching a behind the scenes piece, it needs more substance than this. You can also watch Beyonce’s music video for Listen, as well as browse some brief, but decent featurettes and finally, some auditions and screen tests.

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