The Bodyguard (Blu-ray)

March 21, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

For those who aren’t aware, The Bodyguard was originally supposed to star Steve McQueen and Diana Ross. This was 1975, but the movie never got made. Kevin Costner loved the script for some time, but it wasn’t until he gained his notoriety as an actor that he was able to do anything about it (i.e. star in it). The movie was released late in 1992 and went onto become one of the top-grossing films of that year along with Aladdin, Basic Instinct and A Few Good Men. This was the first screenplay written by Lawrence Kasdan, who has made quite a career for himself involving both Directing and Writing. Kevin Costner’s part was written expressly for him and evidently shooting was delayed over a year in order to secure Whitney Houston for the part of Rachel Marron. Oddly enough, the movie was fairly well-received by audiences and critics, but it’ll be most remembered for the soundtrack and more to the point the song “I Will Always Love You” – a Dolly Parton song performed and made famous by Houston.

Whitney Houston plays, well…Whitney Houston (except that her name is Rachel Marron) a pop star who has a habit of not getting along with everyone. She surrounded by agents, friends and family but there have been some death threats that have made her a bit uneasy. Against her wishes, Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner) is hired on as a bodyguard. Farmer is good at his job, though he still holds himself responsible for Reagan getting shot – even though he was off work that day. He’s all business and has one rule: Don’t get personally involved with the client. This, of course, sets up the movie as the initial friction between the two we know will turn into something much more. As Frank becomes more ingratiated in Rachel’s life, they form a unique bond. This, however, doesn’t mean the death threats stop. Frank’s methods have proven to cramp Rachel’s style, but it’s not long that everyone can see that his way is the right way.

While The Bodyguard was a commercial success, it was criticized for the very low key acting by Costner. Hell, he even had a “Steve McQueen” haircut for the movie. I’ve enjoyed this movie several times over the years and it’s good to see that it’s getting a widescreen re-issue (the previous version was one of Warner’s initial DVD offerings and sported a full-frame transfer only). As time has told, the movie, though good, has taken a backseat to the soundtrack which was the top-selling album for a long while. The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards (appropriately enough two for “Best Song” both of which lost to “Aladdin’s” – “Friend Like Me”) and still has enough emotion to make a good date movie. I preferred Costner in some other roles, but there’s always a special place for this movie to me – personal reasons I guess.

Video: How does it look?

It’s been a few years since I’ve sat down and watched The Bodyguard and with it being one of the first DVD’s on the market, I have to say that the movie (in regard to the transfer) has come a long way. The first offering was a full-frame transfer back in the early days of DVD. The next edition was a step up in that it was an anamorphic image, but the presence of grain was a bit of a deterrent. Now we’ve got the film on Blu-ray and while there’s an improvement in picture quality, it’s not really what I’d hoped or expected. The 1.85:1 AVC HD image has a clarity that I’ve not seen in previous issues, detail is improved a bit, though that damn grain is still present! The palette used is a bit muted and there’s not a lot of bright, bold colors. Contrast and black levels do tend to be a bit more solid than the DVD. While this is the best the film has ever looked, I’m still left wanting a bit more.

Audio: How does it sound?

One thing the film excels at is sound. We’ve got a newly-mastered DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack that brings the film to life (so to speak). All of Houston’s songs sound as rich and full and though Costner essentially mumbles his way through the film, it doesn’t detract from the overall appeal of this soundtrack. Directional effects are used sparingly and though surrounds present, they’re not utilized too terribly much. The film really struts its stuff during the performance scenes. I suppose it’s somewhat fitting that the sound outshines the video quality as the soundtrack to this film was more memorable than the film itself.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The morbid side of me wonders if we’d be seeing this release had Whitney Houston not passed earlier this year. I’d like to think that this was already in the works, but you never know. Still, I’ll leave that argument alone. It’s been several years since the two disc Special Edition of this film came out on DVD and now that it’s on Blu-ray we find…nothing new. Yes, the same music video and retrospective featurette are all that’s on this disc. Also included is the original theatrical trailer. You’d figure that for the film’s 20th anniversary there’d be something new. Nope.

The Bodyguard – Frank protects Rachel – “Own it on Blu-ray

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