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MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 126 Minutes
Starring: Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
Studio: Warner Bros.
Retail Price: $19.97
Features: Robert Osborne Introduction, Theatrical Trailer
Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Mono, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Index (32 Scenes)
Released: October 12th, 2004
The movie musical is a genre that has certainly been dead for the longest time, and while a few have popped up here and there (excluding Disney's animated offerings in 80s and 90s), it seems that movie musicals are finally making a comeback on the heels of the success of "Moulin Rouge" and the Oscar-winning benemoth "Chicago." Yet ask any contemporary youngster these days, and chances are good they probably don't know a lot about the Hollywood of the past. The really glitzy premieres, how celebrity was arguably different then and how musicals - yes, musicals - ruled the industry.
Anyone who's a fan of old Hollywood (or classic musicals at least) is probably familiar with the "That's Entertainment!" series. The first film was originally a small project to celebrate MGM's 50th anniversary, but soon it blew up into something much more and became quite the memorable film. The original and its two sequels are a fabulous, engrossing and always entertaining look back at a key era in Hollywood's golden age. The movies are kind of like a clip-show and kind of like a documentary combined (actually, according to Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies, the proper definition is "docutainment"). There's also a weary-eyed look of nostalgia to them; stars of the era look back at the days gone by, putting the movies into some kind of time frame and mentioning their experiences here and there. These stars really cement the importance of the films, talent and actors and how they'll probably never be another period like these specific "good old days." You won't find anything negative here - these are tribute films in every sense of the word.
While each film is linked by the musicals, they're each a bit different. "That's Entertainment, Part 2" has an interesting approach. It's a bit more flashier, and at times sometimes it feels a bit overdone - it's almost as if it's a musical within a musical. While it lacks the simplicity and elegant charms of the original, it's still quite entertaining - and having Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire hosting, even performing in (at the time) new scenes, certainly doesn't hurt. There's still a focus on musicals, but there's also a bit of comedy thrown in with the likes of the Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello. Even if it doesn't exactly live up to the original movie, and some of the look back narration seem slightly forced, it certainly still is a fun movie.
By this point you've probably assessed whether "That's Entertainment!" is appealing or not. Musical lovers, fans of the classic films and fans of this trilogy in general - then you know what you're in for. But if you are just a tiny bit curious about the Hollywood of old - and want to see it at its best, complete with all its biggest stars - then don't hestiate and check out these films. You won't be disappointed in the slightest bit.
Featuring 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full screen transfers on a dual-layer disc, "That's Entertainment, Part 2" has been digitally remastered and looks pretty nice. The full screen versions of the film is interesting: the specifically filmed portions are cropped, but the actual movie scenes feature their original aspect ratios (which is either full screen or widescreen), which is a nice touch if you ask me. These transfer is a bit hard to judge in my opinion: there are just so many clips, and of course, due to their ages and how they were put together in the first place, truly vary. Yet for the most part the clips look great, and the specifically filmed footage looks pretty nice too: decent fleshtones, fine detail and color saturation that is balanced and firm. There's some flaws though to be found: expect to see plenty of dirt, grainy, blemishes, scratches and even shimmering. Still, Warner has done a fine job with the transfer for the most part (just as it has with the two other films in the series).
"That's Entertainment, Part 2" features a brand new 5.1 Dolby Digital track in English. Putting the musicals into 5.1 seems fitting and appropriate enough (though the comedy sequences are questionable), and largely it suceeds. It is not as discrete as sound mixes for recent movies, but the broad soundstages presented do their job quite well: the actual music is broad, the vocals are pretty sharp and there's even some effects that are pulled off decently, such as imaging. The song and dance numbers aren't completley three dimensional in the way they sound, put they do remain a bit imersive. Dialogue is clean too and easy to hear, in both the clips and specially filmed segments. A French mono track is included, plus English closed captions and subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
There really isn't much to talk about in this section. There's an introduction from Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne, which is several minutes and pretty good. He talks how MGM was quick to make a sequel to the movie, how the sequel evolved and how it's different from the first one. Osborne is rather neutral on the movie, and it's pretty easy to tell he's not a fan of it. The Theatrical Trailer is included as well. If you really want supplements (and a great deal of them), then check out the boxed set of the trilogy.
"That's Entertainment, Part 2" is not as good as the first in my opinion, but it's not too far off from it and is still more than watchable. The retail price for the movie is fairly priced given the extras and presentation, but if you're a true fan the boxed set of the movies is the way to go.