HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Edition
HTS Overall Score:73
“I’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’ve, had, the time of my life! And I owe it all to yo……. Oh! Excuse me, I didn’t see you there! (Mike slowly takes his dancing shoes off and gets back down to writing this review). I have to say that “Dirty Dancing” has always been a slightly guilty pleasure for me. On paper it’s the perfect definition of a chick flick, with the young innocent girl getting wooed by the James Dean like bad boy. A rom com that every female in my house loved, but every guy I knew rolled their eyes at. So you can be sure that my viewings were done discreetly so I didn’t have my friends telling me “No one puts Mike in the corner!” (yes I had friends that did that) and I could watch it in peace. Over the years it has garnered a certain amount of nostalgia and a warm place in my heart to the point that I usually take it out at least once a year and give it a spin. There’s nothing new to the storyline that will make it an epic for the ages, but the catching tunes, the inclusion of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in their primes (I had the biggest crush on 1980s Jennifer Grey) along with that sort of “coming of age and sticking it to the man” sub plot that gave an entire generation courage to become their OWN adults.
This has been what? The FOURTH time that “Dirty Dancing’ has been released on Blu-ray? I think I’ll start calling it the new “Terminator 2” with this many releases. The first time was simply an abomination Blu-ray wise. It had poor source elements as well as a really poor first generation of Blu-ray video and audio encode to boot. The second 2010 release with the massive boxset fixed those issues (for the most part) and that same transfer has been recycled for the “Dirty Dancing Collection” with “Havana Nights” as well as this 30th edition release. Just this time it has a new box of swag for the collector’s edition and both that and the regular 30th anniversary edition contain new extras exclusive to these two newer editions.
It’s the summer of 1963 and the Houseman family are going to the Kellerman Lakeside resort for a weekend of foxtrot lessons, family bonding and good old fashioned, wholesome fun. Frances “Baby” Kellerman (Jennifer Grey) is a bit LESS than enthused at being drug along for a boring family vacation and decides to forgo the standard entertainment that the rest of her family is enjoying to go wander about and look for her own fun. Stumbling upon the staff quarters she becomes enamored with the wild and crazy dancing of the crew when they’re not being prim and proper in their instructor statuses. Gravitating towards lead dance instructor Johnny Castle (the Swayze himself), she gets swept up in his world when Johnny’s pregnant dance partner has to keep a low profile after she finds out about the unintended sexual consequences. Offering to become his partner, Baby interjects himself into his life and the two start to form a summer bond.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90314[/img]Initially Johnny is not exactly warm and inviting to the newcomer, as he has some preconceived notions about the rich “silver spoon” upper class guests at the resort. It takes Baby’s willingness to give it her all and stand up for the poor working kid to slowly change his mind. Unfortunately, his status in her eyes is not the same status in other people’s eyes, as Johnny is booted from the resort just before the final dance over a false claim of him stealing money (which actually turns out to be an elderly couple of guests). Torn between trying to be the “good girl” her daddy thinks she is and wanting to stand up for Johnny, Baby has to make a decision. Does she throw Johnny under the bus, or does she reveal all of her extra-curricular activities to her parents and friends, putting her own comfortable life at risk.
Being released so many times I’m pretty sure that most of you have watched the 30 year old film AT LEAST once in your life time, or have been exposed to it enough to have formed an opinion about the movie, so my opinions on how much I love it are probably not really necessary. It’s one of those movies that seems impervious to most criticisms and the feel good romantic comedy aspect of the film has endeared it to many for decades. I personally love to dance so anytime I can groove along to “Shake it up Baby” or “Loverboy” or Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes” I’m MOOOOOOOOOOOOORE than happy to pop this in and ask the wife for a dance. “Dirty Dancing” is just one of those movies that is like comfort food. It’s not exactly the best in the world, and there’s definitely better movies out there, but it’ the one thing you reach for and enjoy more than just about everything else. Fluffy, light and fully of pure fun, “Dirty Dancing” has remained one of the most popular films of the last 30 years in many a household, and for good reason.
Rated PG-13 by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90322[/img]For those wondering, “Dirty Dancing” was remastered a few years back due to the initial release of the film (the old black and silver cover) being an ABYSMAL Blu-ray. I had the movie when it first came out and remembered all of the jaggies, red push, black crush, wonky contrast and artifacting that mess of a disc was subject to. The 2010 release came out with a brand-new master and a new transfer which fixed a LOT of the issues that plagued the film’s original release, but still there are some source related problems that hamper the film. This same transfer was used for both this AND the “Dirty Dancing Collection” that came out previously as well. Honestly, this is probably the best the movie is going to look unless a full-blown restoration of the film’s elements is done to clean it up a bit. The contrast is a bit wonky and there’s still some noise in the picture, but “Dirty Dancing” has a clean look that is better than I’ve ever seen it before on any other format. There’s some softness to the image, but clarity is good and black levels are acceptable. It’s not the greatest looking catalog title before, but as I said. Unless there’s a full blown restoration this is about as good as it’s going to get.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90330[/img]The same 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio track that was on board the previous 2 releases graces this edition as well, and while it is an upgrade over the very lackluster 6.1 PCM track from the original release, the mix is just not a crowd pleaser. The dialog is well done and is perfectly intelligible, but it feels a bit boxy and constrained for some reason. The mix is DECIDEDLY front heavy (even with the musical numbers) and the surround activity is fairly limited in nature. LFE is soft and present, but never really that noticeable except in the musical numbers. The 7.1 experience feels largely wasted with the front heaviness of the mix as the majority of the work is done in the front three channels while the surrounds and LFE only get a spark of activity here and there. Sonic clarity is solid enough in the channels that are in heavy use, and while it’s not a head turner, the 7.1 mix is decent enough.
• Commentary with Writer/Co-Producer Eleanor Bergstein
• Commentary with Kenny Ortega, Miranda Goldstein, Jeff Jur, Hilary Rosenfeld and David Chapman
• NEW Happy Birthday Dirty Dancing
• NEW Patrick Swayze: In His Own Words
• NEW Eleanor Bergstein
• NEW Patrick Swayze Uncut
• Dirty Dancing - The Phenomenon
• The Rhythm Of The Dancing
• Music Video: Hungry Eyes
• Music Video: She's Like The Wind
• Music Video: (I've Had) The Time Of My Life
• Cast Interviews with Jennifer Grey, Eleanor Bergstein, Miranda Garrison and Kenny Ortega
• Deleted Scenes / Extended Scenes / Alternate Scenes
• Screen Tests & Outtakes
The big question for these re-releases is, “Is this worthy of an upgrade”? In this case I’d say it really depends. If you’ve never purchased the movie on Blu-ray before (which would shock me if you’re a fan) then definitely. One of the best editions out there with the newer extras , and the box of swag edition gives the collectors a nice package. For those who already have the big 2010 boxset of the “Dirty Dancing Collection” with the sequel than I would be not. Unless you HAVE to have those 4 new extra special features you’re buying the exact same audio and video encodes as those two releases. It’s a fantastically fun movie, but an upgrade will depend entirely on whether you have the movie or those special features are a gigantic pull for you. Still, definitely a movie well worth watching.
Starring: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Cynthia Rhodes
Directed by: Emile Ardolino
Written by: Eleanor Bergstein
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English DTS EX 5.1
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 7th, 2017
Buy Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Edition On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Great Watch
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