The first musical to come from FOX on blu-ray, "SOUTH PACIFIC," will leave fans chomping at the bit for them to release many more, and their library of musical classics is vast!
FOX has many great musicals and many of them are from Rodgers and
Hammerstein. "SOUTH PACIFIC" is certainly up there with the best!
Based on Michener's "TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC," the plot is set during WW2, and focuses on three characters, Lieutenant Joseph Cable, sent with a mission to use observers to report Japanese troop movement on enemy territory. Cable enlists the aid of Emile De Becque, a French national, who knows the area well. However, after De Becque meets and falls for a naval nurse(Mitzi Gaynor), a variety of secrets from the man's past and prejudice from the nurse, may spell doom for the relationship and DeBecque's important tasks that have been required. Of course, being a Rogers and Hammerstein musical, there are other love stories taking place, and these all provide ample material for great songs. There's also a fair amount of tragedy and heartache. But, beneath it all, "SOUTH PACIFIC" offers viewers an escape from reality, while examining a real time and horror, that brought out the best and worst of men.
While the themes and reasons for prejudice seem almost antiquated in comparison to what was happening in America following WW2 and on through the '60s, "SOUTH PACIFIC" was still semi-daring for its day.
Musicals, by definition, require a potentially bigger suspension of disbelief than non-musicals, as characters break into song, however, it's virtually impossible to not smile and sing along with Ray Walston during his song, and many more moments equally as infectious!
One aspect of the film, still open to debate, is the filmmaker's decision to use heavy filters during key musical scenes. While it can be argued that this was a reasonable artistic decision to create a surreal, dream-like escape from the conflicts inhabiting the non-musical parts of the film, it does seem overly cheesy at times, and unnecessary. Still, that's a decision for viewers to debate about, and it doesn't detract from the film being a memorable and entertaining experience.
FOX has provided the correct 2.20:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray. When tints aren't annoyingly overused, the colors are rich and vibrant, and detail is flawless, providing a transfer that ranks up there with the best blu-rays available anywhere! The costumes, exotic locations, crystal blue beach and island flair have never looked this appealing before! WOW! To see what FOX has been able to deliver with a catalogue, albeit "classic" title, really raises the bar for other studio releases to come!
FOX has provided a DTS-HD master Audio 5.1 mix as well as 4 channel and 2 channel Dolby Digital tracks. Surrounds are rarely used, however, when they do kick in, it's extremely effective, without feeling manufactured. The front soundstage offers many directional effects and the music, especially on the lossy mix, has a dynamic range that's incredibly entertaining. Dialogue, effects and music are perfectly balanced, with the subtlest nuance effects sticking out for the right reasons.
In addition to the general release version of the film, offered on disc 1 of the film, a commentary with the President of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, providing a surprisingly entertaining and informative discussion about the film, its creators and the production in many aspects. It's really worth listening to, and far better than most commentaries we've heard.
A karaoke sing-along for 19 of the songs is also provided on disc 1.
Disc 2 offers the "roadshow" version of the film with an extra 14 minutes of film. The source material is nowhere near the quality of the general release version, although it's still decent. It just doesn't offer the impeccable detail and color stability found on disc 1.
No lossy mix for this version, just Dolby Digital 5.1, 4.0 and 2.0. No, it's not as amazing as the lossy mix, but it's still pretty darned good. And, as the film historian notes in the optional commentary provided on disc 2, there are many that will feel the roadshow version, even with inferior quality, is the superior version, due to the edits and content provided.
A screen test with Mizi Gaynor(1080p), a "60 Minutes" piece, and much more are also offered on disc 2, making "SOUTH PACIFIC" a great addition to every film lover's blu-ray collection!