The Bodyguard: Special Edition

January 28, 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. In any case, the film has a huge following and Warner has showed that once again, they make it worth your while to buy this movie…again.

Video: How does it look?

As mentioned earlier “The Bodyguard” was one of Warner’s original DVD’s and was one of the unfortunate few that had a Full-Frame transfer only – yep, no widescreen version at all. This problem has been fixed as a new digital transfer has been made and it looks good for the most part. The 1.85:1 anamorphic image looks clean and very solid throughout, though some dirt on the print and some overall softness do detract. The last time I saw this movie in widescreen was on my very old widescreen VHS copy and the results are much improved. The flesh tones seem more vibrant and the level of detail is a lot more defined. The overall transfer has somewhat of a “dingy” appearance to it, but this was the way the movie was shot and not a result of the transfer. For true fans of the movie, this new transfer alone should be enough reason to buy the new disc and for those who have been holding out – this should be the incentive you’ve been looking for.

Audio: How does it sound?

The original DVD had a very good-sounding Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and this appears to have found its way onto the new disc as well. As one might imagine, this has a very dynamic soundtrack especially during the concert/song scenes. For the most part, though, this is a very dialogue-driven story that doesn’t utilize the sound as much as other films. The surrounds kick in at key moments, but don’t add a whole lot of ambiance, though their presence is known. The action takes place in the front stage and though this soundtrack is robust at times – on the whole it’s just above average.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The previous DVD had only the theatrical trailer and sadly the new disc doesn’t have much more. The trailer made its way onto the new disc as did the music video “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. The only additional supplement is the retrospective featurette “Memories of ‘The Bodyguard’” which features new interviews with Lawrence Kasdan and Kevin Costner and some on the set interviews with Houston (circa 1992). This is fairly informative and tells of the history of the script, how it ended up with Costner and Houston and the impact of the movie. I found it enjoyable, but as far as the DVD goes – I found it rather lacking. The widescreen version of the movie was nice to have but to purchase a DVD that is most likely in a lot of collections; I think Warner needed to offer up more.

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