Whatever the quality of the movie itself, The Tourist looks undeniably excellent on Blu-ray, coming to the format with a glorious 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1. Clarity is resounding throughout, the image retaining perfect detail in almost every shot (except where portions of the screen are intentionally out of focus) – so much so that it makes the blatant set-staged Venice rooftop sequence stand out even more. The colour scheme is fantastically broad, bringing forth a rich and authentic Parisian palette, which is contrasted with an equally decadent, but much sunnier Italian waterfront setting for the Venice-based sequences. Skin tones are accurate in the early scenes, even if they do start to get a little more colourful as the movie progresses (and obviously in answer to the change in setting), and the palette is dominated by rich browns and vibrant, deep reds, juxtaposed against a bright light blue sky. Black levels are strong, with no signs of crush, and the picture is totally devoid of defects, banding, or edge enhancement. Overall it’s top notch, demo quality, and just shy of sheer perfection.
The Tourist, for all its attempts to present itself otherwise, is a distinctly dialogue-driven affair, and this Blu-ray release’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track more than caters for the fairly limited material. The all-important dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, largely dominating the frontal array for the duration of the movie. The score, a lightweight, breezy offering, also gets keen presentation from the fronts and centre channels, but does broach through to the rears to project a fairly whimsical environment in which you experience the film. Effects are quite limited – only occasionally breaking into more boisterous crashing and bashing, with scant few gunshots ringing out across the array – but that does not mean that the more ambient, atmospheric flourishes aren’t given decent presentation across the full spectrum. Indeed the only are where you feel the track is distinctly lacking is with the LFE quota; otherwise it’s a perfectly decent aural presentation.
However lacklustre the movie may be, they Studios have clearly made all attempts to compensate in other departments, providing a reasonably comprehensive extras package. Of course it’s an entirely different matter whether or not all of those efforts are pretty wasted when you consider the quality of the main feature.
The director pops up for an extremely enthusiastic offering, which shows his clear love for filmmaking, his interesting ideas, and his consummate professionalism. He talks about the setting, the short filming timetable, what the stars brought to the table and the style that he was going for. It’s all perfectly enjoyable material – and fans will definitely want to give this a listen – but you have to wonder whether it would have been more interesting to have a film critic on board to ask some of the questions that most of the world would want to hear answered. First on my lips is how a movie which is clearly labelled, sold and intended to be something of a romantic thriller got entered into an awards category for ‘Best Comedy’, and why the director himself sanctioned this strange viewpoint.
A Gala Affair takes 7 minutes to focus specifically on the ball sequence, with a behind the scenes look at the costumes, set and dance choreography.
Bringing Glamour Back takes 9 minutes to look at how this movie was an attempt to hark back to the Hitchcockian days of yore, and the characteristic traits of those productions, which they hoped would be passed over to this production.
Action in Venice is a short 6 minute look at the only ‘action’ sequence in the movie, where the filmmakers explain the issues that they found with shooting with the Venetian speed restrictions – the result of which is quite evident from the lacklustre speed in said ‘chase’.
Tourist Destination offers just 3 minutes of interspliced interview snippets and panoramic footage of the city.
Canal Chats has 6 minutes of cast and crew interview soundbites, where they talk – on location – about the production, and about shooting in such a beautiful place.
Outtake Reel runs at just ninety seconds and has your typical mix of line fluffs and inexplicable outbreaks of laughter.
Alternate Animated Title Sequence is a two-minute alternate to the title sequence used in the theatrical cut. Nothing desperately worth checking out.
Finally the disc is rounded off by a bunch of previews.
The Tourist is a terrible blockbuster. At one time or another it’s been promoted as a comedy, a thriller and a romantic drama, as well as a combination of all three. In my opinion it has no thrills, no drama, the romance is non-existent thanks to a complete lack of on-screen chemistry, and – somewhat ironically – the only humour to be found is desperately unintentional. Basically this truly dull escapade is little more than an excuse for two of Hollywood’s veteran sex symbols to go traipsing around beautiful European locales in designer outfits, literally having a ball. The fact that they’re getting paid millions to do it doesn’t appear to have had any effect on their desire to provide decent performances – as they have clearly chosen to just take a back-seat to the location, and merely sit back and enjoy the ride. Unfortunately, they appear to be the only ones who are enjoying it. Hitchcock this is not.
On Region A-locked US Blu-ray we get excellent video presentation, good audio, and a fair few extras, but none of this really makes up for the quality of the movie itself. Still, if for some reason you like this insipid mess, then you won’t be disappointed with the package. Everybody else has been duly warned.
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