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  • Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights

    Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on August 10th, 2004

    Overall
    Film
    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    (out of 5)

    

    Synopsis

    Based on the life of co-producer/choreographer JoAnn Jansen, this is the tale of RomolaGarai (no more American than her co-star is Cuban, but what the hell), who is uprooted fromthe States when her father is transferred to Havana. Our heroine is very repressed and bookish,but before you know it, she is being taught all sorts of hot moves by waiter Diego Luna.

    Situating the love story and the dancing against the backdrop of the looming revolution isadds a bit interes… to the narrative. That still doesn’t make this The Unbearable Lightness ofBeing, however, and pretty pictures aside, this is a plot so old and useless that it desperatelyneeds to be shot and sent off to the glue factory.

    Audio

    The music sounds fine, which is good, since this is one of the movie’s main reasons forbeing. There aren’t a lot of surround effects, but there are some good, immersive crowd scenes.Still, the rear speakers could use a boost, and the track sounds considerably more energetic in2.0 than in 5.1.

    Video

    The film’s other strength is its pictorial splendour, and this comes through on the transfer, atleast as far as the colours are concerned. These are very rich and strong, with terrificcontrasts (for example) in the opening sequence between the surreally bright postcards and theslightly more sedate shots in the real world. The image is very soft, however, and there is somepixelation that undermines the aesthetic pleasures of the film.

    Special Features

    The commentary is by Jansen and producer Sarah Green. Though one might wonder at theabsence of cast and director, this very behind-the-scenes talk does also shine light on Jansen’sexperiences and how they informed the film. There is a multi-angle dance sequence option,where you can choose between four different angles while watching two different couples. Thereare 10 deleted scenes as well. There are two featurettes: “Baila! Building the Dance” (which is alook at the choreography) and “Inside Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” (this one, at 24 minutes, ismore substantial than most promotional making-of featurettes). The inevitable video is “Guajira(I Love U 2 Much)” by Yerba Buena. The trailers are an oddly grim collection for this disc:The Punisher, Godsend and Dogville. The menu is fully animated andscored.

    Closing Thoughts

    I know, I know, this is a Dirty Dancing movie, and one shouldn’t be expecting a script onthe order of Chinatown. But a plot arc that is a little more original couldn’t hurt, couldit?

    Special Features List

    • Audio Commentary
    • Multi-Angle Dance Feature
    • 10 Deleted Scenes
    • “Baila! Building the Dance” Featurette
    • “Inside Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” Featurette
    • Music Video
    • Trailers
    Posted In: 1.78:1 Widescreen, Disc Reviews, Dolby Digital 2.0 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Drama, DVD, Lionsgate / Maple Pictures

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