The Artist Blu-ray and DVD Reviews
“The Artist” is a charming tribute to silent films.
“The Artist” begins by introducing audiences to the two main characters- George Valentin and Peppy Miller. Valentin is a bonafide silent film actor while Miller is an aspiring dancer/actress. The two cross paths by chance and they immediately hit it off. Eventually, Peppy gets her big break and she soon starts becoming a movie star herself. You’d think the two would fall in love and that would be the end of the story, but the decline of the silent film and the rise of the talkie hampers their relationship. Valentin adores silent films and thinks little of talkies. In fact, he refuses to even make the transition. Meanwhile, Peppy’s career flourishes in talkies which puts a strain on their relationship. Can the two work things out? Can George save his career?
As you probably know by now, “The Artist” was one of the most buzzed about films in 2011. It won many awards from various ceremonies and even picked up several major Oscar wins including Best Picture and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin. It’s not too hard to see why film aficiandos fell for it. There’s no denying that the film is a charming ode to cinema’s past and that the ensemble cast is flat-out fantastic. French actor Jean Dujardin is a natural born star and I will be very curious to see where his career goes from here. Likewise, Berenice Bejo is equally talented and has a bright future ahead of her. Even the dog (Uggie) manages to put on a show as he steals every scene he is in. It’s no wonder that he just got a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame!
With all that said, however, is “The Artist” really worthy of all this grand praise? Not really. Don’t get me wrong, the film a likeable and brave experiment in this modern age, but it’s not anywhere near as impressive as 2011 gems as say “Hugo” and “Midnight In Paris.” Truthfully, the film is too simple and straight forward. There’s not much to it at all in terms of themes and story and, in fact, the movie gets a bit repetitive and gimmicky at times (especially in the middle act).
Summary: While far from perfect, “The Artist” is still worth a watch (especially for Uggie).
In typical silent film fashion, “The Artist” is presented in fullscreen (no widescreen here folks). The 1080p hi-def transfer is flat out perfect. The film looks so crisp and clean in B&W. As for the DVD transfer, it too looks sharp. Granted, it lacks the 1080p clarity, but I don’t mind that here because “The Artist” looks more like a traditional silent film on DVD without the high definition glamour.
The 5.1 DTS-HD audio track on the Blu-ray does the job. The sound primarily consists of the cutesy music score, but there are a few “sound” scenes here as well. The DVD contains a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which is on par with the 5.1 DTS track (although inferior in sound quality).
Blu-ray and DVD Extras:
* Sony and Weinstein Company trailers.
* Ultraviolet Copy.
* A silent blooper reel complete with Uggie outtakes! Very cute.
* “The Artisans Behind The Artist”- A 4 part featurette that covers the production design, the cinematography, the costumes and the composer. Lots of great behind-the-scenes information about the 1920’s recreation in terms of costumes and sets.
* “Hollywood As A Character: The Locations Of The Artist”- Information about the Hollywood locations that “The Artist” filmed at.
*”Q&A With The Filmmakers And Cast”- This is what appears to be a post screening Q&A session with 7 cast and crew members. Sadly, Uggie is not present.
* “The Artist: The Making Of An American Romance”- A typical featurette that sells the film, contains cast and crew interviews, and shows behind-the-scenes footage.
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