Plot: What’s it about?
I love movies. This is obvious coming from a guy who started a site dedicated to writing movie reviews. And when I look back at some of my favorite films, I’m always drawn back to the films of the late 90’s and, in particular, 1997. I don’t really know why, but I had more of a connection with those Best Picture nominees than a lot of the other years. Maybe it’s nostalgia or maybe it’s that those films really were that good. Need a refresher? There was, of course, Titanic, which went onto win the majority of the Oscars that night. As Good as it Gets saw Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt win Best Actress and Actor, L.A. Confidential is widely considered to be one of the better, if not the best film noir movies ever made. Good Will Hunting introduced us to a guy by the name of Matt Damon (and also got Robin Williams his long overdue statue) and finally there was the underdog, the little movie that could – The Full Monty. Now this is all conjecture as it could be argued that any film (or films) nominated for Best Picture have at least some merit, but hey – it’s my review and my site so I’m sticking to this story! And, of course, I digress…
When money is short and times are tough, people sometimes take any job they can get. But what if there are no jobs? This is the dilemma that the group of working class men in The Fully Monty face. While walking around one day, they stumble upon a gentlemen’s club, but inside is not the usual strippers, but male exotic dancers! Convinced that he can do this and make some money, Gaz (Robert Carlyle) starts to training, and elicits the help of his best mate Dave (Mark Addy). Along with their former boss Gerald (Tom Wilkinson), they start a talent search, looking for regular guys like themselves to join in the dance number with them. Desperate for money, many try out, but only the few actually get chosen. Horse (Paul Barber) is the dance machine of the group, Guy (Hugo Speer) is the stud of the dance troupe, and Lomper (Steve Huison) is…well…there. Each man his own set of issues to deal with, ranging from self confidence to eviction to losing custody of a child, but they try to put it all aside for one night, and go the full monty, totally nude on stage! But with pressure bearing down on each of them, can they all make it to the club to dance, and even if they do, will anyone be there to watch?
It’s been nearly two decades since we were first introduced to The Full Monty and it’s said that a movie that’s truly good will stand the test of time. After watching the film again, I’d have to say that this one passes the test with flying colors. The movie has even inspired a Broadway play by the same name if that’s any indication of the film’s continued success. As I look back once again at the Best Picture nominees of 1997, I’m hard-pressed to find a weak one in the bunch. I have no idea why it’s taken a movie that’s this popular so long to get to Blu-ray, but I can say that the wait is finally over and I’m sure this will garner a spot on many shelves. For those that have been waiting and waiting, you’ve now been rewarded and if there’s someone out there who’s not seen this and that’s looking for a nice little diamond in the rough, might I suggest The Full Monty?
Video: How’s it look?
The Full Monty hasn’t ever been the best-looking film when it came to its video presentation. The original standard DVD, now 15 years old, looks downright pedestrian when compared to this new Blu-ray. Fox has been kind to this title and while the 1.85:1 AVC HD image looks the best it ever has – there are still a few minor issues. I noticed an increase in detail that’s consistent with HD and while black levels and contrast seemed strong, I found a few instances in which there was a bit of movement (the initial rehearsal scene in the warehouse comes to mind). Flesh tones are a bit on the washed out side, but seeing as this movie takes place in Scotland…I’ll leave it at that. There’s a fine layer of grain throughout the film, but it’s not an annoyance as it is in other films – rather I think this is a very nice transfer and one that pays homage to the low budget roots of this film. Fox has done a fine job with the disc and I’m sure fans will be overjoyed to say the least.
Audio: How’s it sound?
As is the case with the video, the audio isn’t going to win any awards (they all went to Titanic, remember?). The DTS HD Master Audio mix is certainly an improvement over the previous standard DVD, but the majority of the film is dialogue-driven and a bit on the low key side of things. The highlight, of course, is the signature song in the film, Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing” and I have to admit that it does sound pretty darn good. While surrounds are active in a few key scenes, this is a front-heavy mix that’s not likely to impress, but it won’t disappoint either.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Several years ago, Fox came out with a “Fully Exposed” edition of this movie and it appears that the supplements on that disc found their way to this Blu-ray.
- Audio Commentary – Director Peter Cattaneo and Actor Mark Addy team up for a pretty interesting track. Though it’s the same one that appeared on the 2002 DVD, it’s nonetheless a fun track filled with tons of little quips that make it worth a listen.
- Audio Commentary – Producer Uberto Pasolini gives us his comments on the second track. It’s a solo track and while the tone is certainly different from the first, it moves at a much slower pace. If you’ve a choice between the two, chose the first one.
- Deleted Footage – Complete with optional commentary by Cattaneo and Addy, we see some scenes from the cutting room floor.
- The Cast – We get some footage of the cast of the film as they discuss their respective roles.
- Original Publicity Campaign – Running around 11 minutes, we get some trailers for the film, some concept work and the marketing campaign for the film.
- Music Machine – Some highlights from the film’s musical numbers.
- Production – Divided into five featurettes, these cover the more technical aspects of the film.
- Anatomy of a Score – An interview with composer Anne Dudley, where she discusses the instruments used and breaks down certain scenes.
Stocksbridge Brass Band Blues – A look at the real version of the factory band Lomper plays with in the film.
Song & Dance – The soundtrack itself and its success is discussed and an interview with the choreographer is also shown.
Editing Featurette – We get a look at some of the key scenes and how they were cut.
Translating English To English – Ever heard a Scotsman talk? Hence this feature…
- Developing the Script – Producer Uberto Pasolini discusses having an idea for the script and hiring Beaufoy.
Finding the Director – Pasolini talks about seeing director Cattaneo’s early work on British television and hence, hiring him for the role.
Focus on Sheffield – A look at the setting of the film.