directed by Bill Condon
USA 2006

 

With Chicago winning several Oscars, the people behind Dreamgirls began flogging the movie as the Next Big Oscar Thing immediately after the 2006 Oscar ceremony. The project attracted some very big names for its cast--Beyonce Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover. Extended clips were shown at Cannes and other movie festivals. When Dreamgirls was finally ready for its theatrical bow, Paramount and DreamWorks booked it in a handful of venues with $25-plus tickets in an effort to make the movie a prestige event.

To be honest, the hubris behind promoting Dreamgirls made me gag. Even though I allowed myself to be dragged into a movie theatre by my sister to see Chicago, I adamantly refused to give Dreamgirls any money. The movie did great business until...Oscar nomination day. Dreamgirls was once touted as the inevitable big winner, but it did not score nominations for Picture or Director. It had the most nominations of any movie with eight, but three of those were in the Song category. Paramount’s big guns, Dreamgirls and Flags of Our Fathers, came up short while the studio’s small pistols, Babel and Letters From Iwo Jima, landed in the Top Five.

Well, I didn’t have to pay for the screener copy of Dreamgirls that I got from Paramount, so I still haven’t given the movie any of my money. To be honest, Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson are wonderful as sassy singers trying to claw their way out of poverty to the big time. However, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy were highly irritating. Foxx and Murphy don’t just play smug characters--they give off the vibe that they’re smugly self-satisfied playing smug characters. As a whole, Dreamgirls has a glossy, entertaining sheen that never develops much substance--a trait that makes its 130-minute running time feel much longer than it actually is.

By the way, while Dreamgirls is based on Diana Ross’s time with The Supremes, watching the movie felt like watching Beyonce Knowles’s career being played out in an alternate universe, too. (Miss Knowles was once a part of the group Destiny’s Child; Destiny’s Child has probably disbanded for good.)

Yunda Eddie Feng

Posters

Theatrical Release: 15 December 2006

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Paramount (2-Disc Showstopper Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

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Distribution

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 130 min
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.1 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 2.0 surround English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French
Subtitles English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• 12 extended/alternate scenes
• Listen music video
• Building the Dream
• Dream Logic: Film Editing
• Dressing the Dreams: Costume Design
• Center Stage: Theatrical Lighting
• Auditions and Screen Tests
• Previsualization Sequences
• Image Gallery
• promos for other releases

DVD Release Date: 1 May 2007
slim double keepcase

Chapters 25

 

 

Comments:

Video:
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen image is excellent with zero instances of picture damage. Vibrant lights are appropriately dazzling, though the moviemakers also captured the drab hues of some sartorial choices of the 1960s/1970s. The color palette is rather dark, but this is intentional.

Audio:
The Dolby Digital 5.1 English track is robust, dynamic, and wide. The music numbers surround you with a lively cacophony of singing and audience reactions. The center channel is always strong and clear, so the singing is never drowned out by peripheral effects.

You can also watch the movie with DD 2.0 surround English and DD 5.1 French dub tracks.

Optional English and Spanish subtitles as well as optional English closed captions support the audio.

 

Extras:
--Disc 1--
Disc 1 has twelve extended/alternate scenes and Beyonce Knowles’s “Listen” music video. You also get previews for Shrek the Third, Norbit, and the Dreamgirls soundtrack.

--Disc 2--
“Building the Dream” is a making-of piece that was broken into several parts. (The DVD gives you the option of watching all the parts without returning to the menu.) “Dream Logic: Film Editing” covers the arduous task of assembling the final cut since a lot of footage was shot for maximum coverage during the music numbers. “Dressing the Dreams: Costume Design” and “Center Stage: Theatrical Lighting” provide further glimpses into creating the movie.

Disc 2 also offers “Auditions and Screen Tests”, several “Previsualization Sequences”, and an image gallery.

--Miscellaneous--
The single-disc widescreen and modified-aspect-ratio DVDs have the same extras as Disc 1 of the “2-Disc Showstopper Edition”.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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