It's shameful that one of the best films of 2010, "MAO'S LAST DANCER," wasn't recognized at the most recent Oscars. This reviewer can't stress enough how great the film is! Having "hated" the director's previous acclaimed, "DRIVING MISS DAISY," anticipation wasn't high for his latest film. Still, from beginning to end, "MAO'S LAST DANCER" never takes the easy turn. Unlike "DMD," "MAO'S LAST DANCER" is brave, never patronizing, and never rings false.
Based on a true story, it tells the story of Li Cunxin. During the reign of scumbag, Madam Mao, Li was one of various children, taken from his poor village family's home and placed into ballet school. Li's great physical abilities and dedication, helped win him a spot as part of a cultural exchange program with the Houston Ballet company.
While there, Li can't help but to fall in love with American freedoms, and a beautiful American ballerina. While an important portion of the film focuses on their romance, and the political turmoil which ensued due to it, "MAO'S LAST DANCER" is about much more than this particular romance. It's about love of family, culture, and America. "MAO'S LAST DANCER" is really a film destined to be a classic!
The acting from everyone is top-notch. And, Bruce Beresford's direction is anything but sluggish. Unlike the crappy, over-rated "BLACK SWAN," the ballet scenes in this film are all exquisite, and inducing an almost gasping impact at times. They're that well filmed!
FOX has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for this release on the AVC MPEG-4 encoded 1080p blu-ray. Colors are often vibrant and sufficiently restrained, when part of the intended scheme for atmosphere(location scenes for China) Blacks aren't as deep as on the best FOX blu-ray releases, but they're deep enough to retain an impressive sense of detail in darker moments. Detail varies from good to great, and looking best during the multi-layered dance scenes. It's a very good transfer, but short of reference quality.
FOX has provided a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. Far from immersive, surrounds are rarely used, save for certain spots during dance numbers and for minor ambient effects. However, there's enough separation in the front soundstage so that it never feels dull or stuck on the center channel alone. Dynamic range is terrific, and self-evident during the ballet production scenes.
Along with previews for other FOX films, a featurette offering interviews with some cast and crew is offered, however, only in standard resolution.
Originally being released as part of an exclusive "TARGET" stores only deal until late July, this release is one that should really be included in "every" film lover's collection!