PictureBoasting a very fine, clean print this was somewhat an impressive transfer. This isn't a particularly high budget movie, but the transfer shows no signs of dust or scratches, with colours bright and crisp. No edge enhancements or halos were noticeable with blacks deep and not suffering from any loss of detail. The picture doesn't suffer from grain or blocking either and it's so crisp that it belies its 14 years of age. Very nice indeed.
SoundWith both DTS and Dolby Digital mixes, the first thing that stuck me was the centre channel's clarity. Dialogue was sharp and clear and at no point was drowned out during the musical numbers. LFE however was very disappointing, with its presence being almost non-existent, which was a shame, but this isn't a soundtrack that needed too much deep bass. Surrounds were used effectively during the musical numbers and for general ambience, but again for this type of soundtrack they weren't in need of a workout. The DTS in my opinion pips the Dolby Soundtrack, not only giving it an increase in volume, but also a warmer, more natural sound.
ExtrasDisk one contains the movie complete with the Alan Parker commentary track, which given the quality of the transfer isn't a huge surprise. Disk two however contains all of the extras starting off with the Making of The Commitments, which runs for 22 minutes. Clearly this was a made for TV special and it's nice enough, but it doesn't have any real meat and is rather light and fluffy. One word of advice, the soundtrack on this is particularly crackly, so it's best not to have it played loud. “The Commitments: Looking Back” is a 47 minute feature, with cast and crew telling stories about the movie and themselves also. It does tend to duplicate parts from the first documentary, but is certainly more interesting and has more to sink your teeth into.
Dublin Soul: The Working Class & Changing Face of Dublin is a 15 minute featurette which delves into the real Dublin, particularly the North side vs. the South side, which is mentioned during the movie. It's interesting enough but not worth more than a passing view, as it really adds nothing to the film. “Treat Her Right” is the video for the song from the movie, with an anecdotal story at the beginning, but other than that it's very much par for the course. “Original Songs by Cast Members” features two videos, one from Andrew Strong, the other from Robert Arkins and again are standard music videos, nothing more. “Making of Featurette” is another making of the Commitments and runs for a shade under 9 minutes. Part of me wonders how many times they can rehash the same material in different forms, but I guess it completes the package. Rounding off the extras are the theatrical trailer, TV & Radio spots and a stills gallery.
VerdictWell, as stated, I'd never seen this movie and was pleasantly surprised with it; however I don't think it's a classic in any sense of the word. Even though it is effectively denied during the featurettes, it does have a “vehicle” type feel to it, which makes things feel a little forced, but other than that it is an entertaining enough two hours. Musically it fares better than more recent movies, such as Spiceworld or 8 Mile (both of which I have no desire to see at all and haven't yet). In fact musically, it has more obvious roots with the Blues Brothers than the two aforementioned movies, so if you like the music from that, soul music in general or just want to be reasonably entertained for a few hours, this is well worth checking out.
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