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MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Drug Content and Some Sexual References )
Running Time: 94 minutes
Starring: Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer, Joy Bryant and Lil' Romeo
Written by: Alonzo Brown & Kim Watson
Directed by: Billie Woodruff
Retail Price: $26.98
Features: Audio Commentary with Director Billie Woodruff and Jessica Alba, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Music Videos, In The Mix With Blaque, The Making Of Honey, Make Your Move: Dance Like Honey, Cast and Filmmakers Bios, DVD-ROM
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles Scenes (20 Scenes)
Released: March 23rd, 2004
Jessica Alba is Honey Daniels, a young and sweet (just like her name!) dancer who teaches hip-hop dance classes at "da center" (a local, community recreation place within the inner city). As much as Honey enjoys what she does, her dreams reach even farther: she wants to be a music video dancer. Of course, fate has many things install for our young protagonist when she's noticed dancing at a club by a scout. Her dancing styles are soon noticed by uber-video producer Michael Ellis (David Moscow) and soon Honey is a superstar in her own right. However, it becomes clear it's not for the right reasons. As Honey becomes caught up in her exciting new life, will she remember her roots and who she really is? And what about the barber Chaz (Mekhi Phifer) - Honey's probable true love?
The widescreen DVD release of "Honey" features a terrific anamorphic transfer, in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The flaws are pretty minimal for this release: there is a little edge enhancment, the image is a bit grainy at times, there are some edge halos and there is a softness to the overall image. Detail is also not as refined as it could be. However, there's a lot to like here - particuarly the vibrant and bold colors that are well saturated. The transfer shows signs of sharpness often, but it's nice to see the image hold up in some outdoor exterior shots as well the darkly lit club scenes. With strong fleshtones to boot, this is a solid and pleasing transfer.
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is pretty much what I expected: it's certainly kickin'. This is a dance and music movie, so you better believe the track is going to compliment that. The subwoofer and overall bass levels are quite strong and will certainly put a lot thumps into your speaker system. The music and dance scenes are the main standouts here - they're loud, the music and clapping is nicely mixed through the channels and you certainly feel you are with the action, let alone the entire vibes of the dance floor. Dialogue is clean and easy to hear, but other surround effects are mainly quick and subtle through the rear speakers. Still, the music dominates this track - and that's okay with me. I wonder what a DTS track would have been like... also included are 5.1 tracks in Spanish and French, plus subtitles in English, Spanish and French.
There's a pretty strong array of supplements to go around that will definitely please fans of the movie. Behind The Groove: The Making Of Honey. This eleven minute EPK piece is supposedly "in-depth" but is pretty cookie cutter. The cast and crew explain the film and go around praising each other - the only main interests here are a focus on the dance training and on some of the music, but it's pretty basic. Topped with on-the-set clips, on-the-set interviews and pieces of the final film, you really won't find anything useful here. The film's choreographer Lauira Ann Gibson, producer Andre Harrell, Jessica Alba, producer Mark Platt, Mekhi Phifer, Joy Bryant, Lil' Romeo, Missy Elliot, director Billy Woodruff are the bulk of the interviews.
There are sixteen Deleted Scenes - and they end up totalling over a half-hour (pretty impressive). While they are chapter encoded there is no index for the scenes themselves, and the scenes are in non-anamorphic widescreen. Some are just extensions of exisiting scenes but there is some interesting and fun stuff here. However, I don't think they're really worthy to be in the film since nothing is added to the overall story arc. There are also four minutes worth of Outtakes that are a bit amusing. These are in non-anamorphic widescreen too - and yes, even chapter encoded.
Make Your Move: Dance Like Honey lasts about nine minutes and is actually a pretty fun and useful feature. Made just for this DVD, the film's choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson guides the viewer through one of the dance routines feature in the film. I will never be able to dance for my life, but it fits within the film's context and I'm sure some of you will really get into this.
Two Music Videos are featured: Jakiss & Sheek's "J-A-D-A" and Shawn Desman's "Sexy." Apparently these are exclusive to the DVD. There's also a third music video, Blaque's "I'm Good." In The Mix With Blaque is a six-and-a-half look at the making of the video. Alba is featured in this, and she seems so deadpan. Footage of the video shoot are featured, as well as interviews with Blaque, plus the video's choreographer. Missy Elliot also chimes in a bit, but I personally didn't like the disjointed nature of this featurette. Most of it is relevant, but a lot of it seems to just plug the film even further.
There are some Cast and Filmmakers Bios as well as some DVD-ROM features. But topping it all off is an Audio Commentary with Director Billie Woodruff and Jessica Alba. The two get along pretty well, and it is pretty joking and light in nature. There are some decent production stories here and there, but it's just not very serious and I didn't really learn a lot about the shoot, let alone artistic approaches to the story and filmmaking. Then again, this is a VERY-clichéd movie and it's supposed to look like a big music video anyway, so maybe I should have lowered my expectations before listening. Nonetheless, only die-hard "Honey" fans need to give this one a listen.
"Honey" is semi-entertaining film that is energetic, but has the word cliché written all over it. The DVD is certainly worth of your time and attention if you like the film or are curious: the 5.1 Dolby Digital track rocks, the transfer is excellent and there are some noteworthy supplements. Fans of the movie shouldn't hesitate to pick this disc up, but those who are curious may find a decent rental.