||DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has released a Special Edition of “THE COMPANY,” Robert
Altman’s homage to the Joffrey Ballet. Its star, Neve Campbell, is also credited
as the story writer. Unfortunately, the film’s one major drawback is that
there’s very little of plot. Instead, Altman opts to create a semi-drama/mostly
documentary approach to the film. We totally feel the hard work, sweat,
frustrations and magic of ballet, but miss out on any internal character
development. Following the “company” during one season, Campbell is the main
character readying for her biggest performance. She’s also a real dancer, and
her numbers are truly beautiful to watch. Malcolm McDowell brings some much
needed emotion as the company director, and James Franco, is interesting, though
under-developed as a romantic interest.
The 5.1 audio has much to recommend it. The environmental effects aren’t
constant, but are very well executed when present. A particular highlight is the
thunderstorm that strikes during an open-air performance. The placement of the
effects is very good, and one notices this especially with the ballet audiences:
when the camera is in the audience, applause comes from the rear speakers; when
the camera is on stage, the applause is more front-heavy. The music comes off
very well too.
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has preserved the film’s 2.35:1 aspect ratio, with 16:9
enhancement. It looks terrific! Colors are solid, and while there’s some minor
grain, the elaborate production design is rich throughout. Contrast is
impressive, with deep blacks and grays. Fleshtones appear natural.
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. It’s not an aggressive
mix, but extremely effective when surrounds are put to use. The musical score
is well represented here. Dialogue, while sparse, is always intelligible and
free from distortion.
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has provided a lot of extras. The director and Campbell provide
a running commentary. It’s an engaging commentary, and while the film may have
its detractors, it’s easy to appreciate their intentions. There are also two
featurettes, though mostly self-promotional. Perhaps the best supplement, is the
ability to watch the dance sequences alone, in order, without all the filler.
Several trailers are also included.