Tropic Thunder Blu-ray Review
PictureOn Blu-ray Tropic Thunder gets the deluxe treatment with a pristine 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. Detail is pretty good throughout, picture clarity retained above all else, with no noticeable softness and negligible grain, whether in the close-ups or the longer jungle landscape shots. The presentation also eschews any kind of digital defects. The colour scheme is broad and rich, the luscious green jungle providing a deep, authentic backdrop to the proceedings, and the skin tones being rendered accurately. Blacks are solid throughout the movie and allow for decent night time sequences, although the nods to Apocalypse Now often lead to the shots being bathed in shadow. The movie looks superb on Blu-ray, and with the glorious napalm shots and explosions to liven up the visual offering there is plenty here to show off your equipment with.
SoundAlthough this is obviously a comedy, there is plenty of action going on - it's definitely a Hollywood war film in visual extravagance - and that allows for lots of punch on the track, whether in terms of effects or rock scoring. And the Dolby TrueHD track that has been provided to accompany the movie on Blu-ray definitely presents these aspects at the forefront, where they should be. Of course the dialogue comes across clearly and coherently - you'll never miss a joke, whether in the form of Downey Jr's ramblings or Tom Cruise's rantings - predominantly presented on the fronts and centre channels. The effects - as aforementioned - are outstanding for what is ostensibly a comedy, the roaring gunfights, the explosions, the napalm, it all thunders around you, tearing up your living room and really putting you in the thick of mock-Vietnam. The score has some nice suitably rock tracks which also get keen presentation and certainly these two elements are the focal point of this solid track, giving us all the bass and directionality we could want for.
ExtrasFirst up we get not one but two full-length Commentaries. The better is definitely the cast track, featuring key players Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr providing one of the funniest audio commentaries that I have heard in a long time - if not ever. They milk Downey Jr's staying in character for all it is worth and Jack Black is entertaining as ever unleashed here. The crew commentary is much more dry and technical, despite Stiller being on board for that one. In fact, perhaps its his presence that makes you automatically assume that it will be funny as well, but in Director/Writer mode even he can't afford to make the track too amusing.
Rain of Madness, the 'mockumentary' making-of, is the absolute gem of the extras, a spin on the infamous making-of that accompanied Apocalypse Now, Hearts of Darkness, it is almost as funny as the many movie itself, albeit much shorter. Well worth checking out, it is honestly likely to leave you in stitches. The Deleted and Extended Scenes, and even the Outtakes (Full Mags and Extended Full Mags) are not quite as funny as you would have liked for a comedy like this. I know that's probably why they were cut but I certainly expected the Outtakes to have me laughing but the Cast Commentary and Mockumentary were much funnier.
Before the Thunder is a pre-production Featurette that gives you plenty of behind the scenes footage and insight into the work done to prepare for the movie, The Hot LZ and Blowing S*** Up look at the more explosive sides of the movie, and the Design and Cast Featurettes speak for themselves. Whilst informative, they are nothing wildly special, and nowhere near the standard of quality comedy mock-featurette as showcased earlier. We also get a brief look at the MTV Movie Awards ceremony as well as Tom Cruise's makeup test, where he first shows off some of his hilarious dance moves.
VerdictTropic Thunder is great fun, a bit of a boys movie but nonetheless entertaining throughout. It may not be quite as good as Zoolander, or as daft as Dodgeball, but it does have some outstanding moments and a reasonably well used ensemble cast. On Blu-ray we get superb video presentation and a punchy audio track to boot, showcasing some massive explosions and shootouts in true (albeit mock) Vietnam war movie style. There are also plenty of decent extras, not least the Commentary with Downey Jr in character (as his character promises in the movie) and the outstanding mock-documentary, all of which should keep fans happy. If you liked the movie then you should definitely pick this up, and if you're at all unsure you should consider a rental first to see how much you laugh. The potential is - plenty.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.77
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