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Special Collector's Edition
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 94 minutes
Starring: Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Belinda Bauer, Lilia Skala
Screenplay by: Tom Hedley
Directed by: Adrian Lyne
Retail Price: $14.99
Features: The History Of Flashdance, The Look Of Flashdance, Flashdance Music and Songs, Flashdance The Choreography, Releasing The Flashdance Phenomenon, Teaser Trailer, Theatrical Trailer, CD Soundtrack
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Mono, Portuguese Mono, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (18 Scenes)
Released: September 18th, 2007
"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 looks pretty similar to the 2002 DVD transfer. 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. The transfer has some noise and edge halos and looks a bit grainy at times, but overall the picture quality is pretty good.
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is 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, French subtitles and Portuguese subtitles. English closed captions are included too, plus mono tracks in Spanish and Portuguese, and a French Surround track.
After releasing a bare bones DVD nearly five years ago, it's nice Paramount has finally set things right for fans of 80s cinema. First up is The History Of Flashdance, lasting nearly 15 minutes. It's a pretty nice piece, especially since the movie seemed to give a lot of famous producers their start: Jerry Bruckheimer, Don Simpson (his former roommate and partner who became a production honco at Paramount), Lynda Obst and drector Adrian Lyne. The movie covers the basics: the origins of the project, the re-write by Joe Eszterhas (who was writing for Rolling Stone at the time) and how casting - especially Jennifer Beal's role - was tricky. Well worth a watch to see how all the stars were alligned.
The Look Of Flashdance is a nine minute featurette that talks about the iconic costuming featured in the movie - such as the now infamous sweatshirt. It's interesting to note that Paramount brass wanted Lyne to make Beal a bit more sexy by not having her be in "heavy clothes" so much during the movie. Lasting six minutes is Flashdance Music and Songs, which goes into another aspect of the film's popularity. Composer Giorgio Moroder discusses his involvement, as does music supervisor Phil Ramone, and this gives way to the hit songs in the movie - and thoughts about them from Bruckheimer, and Lyne, and how he incorporated them. It's quite enjoyable to learn the origins of songs that have become well known in the realm of pop culture.
Flashdance: The Choreography is a ten minute piece about the film's high energy choreography. After the first choreographer didn't meet expectations, Jeffrey Hornaday - producer Jon Peter's ex-wife's boyfriend - was brought into the mix. Here, Hornaday offers his initial impressions on working with Lyne, and hiring a dancing double for Jennifer Beals. The real meat though is the actual dance routines in the film, and how they were developed.
Running nine minutes is Releasing The Flashdance Phenomenon. This is a strong look at the film's release, first about the film's editing and then the film's reception. Critics trashed it of course, but the public loved it - and loved the soundtrack. The movie also held its own at the box office for a few months and became a hit. The featurette also pays tribute to those involved making the film that ultimately passed away, such as Dawn Steel. This featurette is a bit fluffy, but still has tidbits fans of the movie will want to hear.
Rounding out the disc are two Trailers in anamorphic widescreen: one is a teaser, the other is the theatrical. Oh, and as a bonus, the DVD comes with a CD that has six songs from the movie. Awesome, totally awesome! Yet one question remains: why no commentary from director Adrian Lyne?
"Flashdance" is still a fun movie all these years later, and it's nice that Paramount has finally given it the Special Collector's Edition. The video and audio are the same as the last release, but at least now we've been indulged with quite a few extra features that perfectly discuss the film's appeal (plus there's that mini-CD soundtrack that comes with the DVD). Given the low retail price for this double dip, I'll have to say it's worth the upgrade if you've purchased "Flashdance" before.