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Running Time: 94 minutes
Starring: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Belinda Bauer, Lilia Skala
Screenplay by: Tom Hedley
Directed by: Adrian Lyne
Retail Price: $24.99
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (18 Scenes)
Released: October 8th, 2002
"Flashdance" is yet another film from the 1980s that helped define the era. It also yet another film that is loved by so many audiences, but when it comes down to it, it's really not as great as you might think - or led to believe - it is. Yet it's definently a fun kind of movie that is just downright entertaining, even a guilty pleasure to an extent, complete with great dancing, fun performances and just helps reaffirm the power of music in the movies (not to mention the spectacular album sales and award nominations and wins this one got).
"Flashdance" tells the incredible story of Alex Owens (Jennifer Beals in her life changing role), a teen on the verge of growing up who just wants one dream to come true and one dream only: to be a dancer and study ballet at the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance. But it's not that easy. She works at a steel mill during the day and is one hell of an exotic dancer by night. Still, to achieve her dream, she'll need a lot of support and more than had work. Will Alex meet her dreams, or will they fade into the darkest of the night?
Just one of the many successful pictures the late Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer made in the 1980s, what makes "Flashdance" just a fun film and what was its main appeal nearly twenty years ago? One has to analyze the apparent truths: it's an inspiring story that we've all seen before but we can't help and must cheer for our protagonist, it's flashy, it's fun, Jennifer Beals became an 80s idol for many reasons that are showcased, it's stylized and the music is just so damn catchy. Clearly, there was something in this movie for everybody and it came out at the right time. It just clicked and hooked on. Hell, we still hear "What A Feeling" and "Maniac" in all sorts of media today still. No one can say "Flashdance" did NOT have an impact.
But going into the film itself a bit more deeply, I think it is one of the more technically impressive films of the 1980s and has a lot film school geeks can study from, whether they'd be caught dead watching the film or not (the film didn't get Oscar® nods for cinematography and editing for nothing). The editing is particuarly sharp here, especially during the dancing sequences which make it seem like a glorious music video. Like the film itself, it's well cut, frentic and has a good flow. Director Adrian Lyne's second film definently shows his up and coming talent with fine sensibilities.
Of course, the music (which I went into a bit earlier before), does help make the movie a bit more, especially in the rather spectacular dancing sequences (who remembers the controversy on those, by the way?). It truly does drive the movie. The performances here are not way too dramtic or kitschy, which is a good thing. Jennifer Beals definently showed what it meant to be an up and coming, breakout actress here... even if that lasted way too short. Supporting performances from Michael Nouri and Lilia Skala are also pretty nice. Still, "Flashdance" is definently one fun and entertaining 1980s capsule that is fun to open now and then. It may not be the deepest film in the world, but it's still rather apparent while it's popular after all of these years.
The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it's certainly the best shape I've seen it in yet. It's a little grainy at times, but certainly not to the point where it comes distracting. It seems a bit soft at times, but not too soft... almost like you're watching the movie from the film's dreamlike state. Fleshtones are decent, while detail is nice. Color saturation is also nothing impressive, but works for what it is. Overall, out of all the Paramount "dance movies" being released in October, I'd say this is one of the best, if not the best one.
Come on, how can this movie not get a 5.1 Dolby Digital remix with all the music and dancing sequences? Overall, it's pretty kicking and feels pretty natural. Surround use is nicely supplemented throughout, but obviously really shines in all of the famous dancing sequences. Subwoofer use is excellent with strong bass, but this mix becomes really, really boisterous and excessive during those dancing sequences. The volume gets louder and it packs a lot more as far as punches... perhaps too many punches, and then it becomes rather quiet again, with more subtle surround use in other scenes. Dialogue is also rather clear too. Still, I found this track to work nice with the material, and I think some of you may enjoy that as well. Also included are English subtitles, Spanish subtitles, English closed captions and Dolby Surround tracks for French and English.
Nothing. Kind of surprising, given Adrian Lyne's involvement on DVDs as of late. Couldn't Paramount have thrown together a featurette or something with new interviews?
"Flashdance" is still a fun movie all these years later, but fans are still probably going to be disappointed with this DVD release. While the transfer is good and the 5.1 mix is rocking, I'm sure most of you would have liked some supplements. Still, if you're a big fan of the movie, then do check it out and enjoy the film in glorious widescreen.