Starring: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere
Studio: Miramax 53532
Video: 1.85:1 widescreen enhanced for 16:9, 1080p HD
Audio: English 5.1 uncompressed (48K/24 bit), English or French DD 5.1, Spanish PCM stereo (Extras are DD 2.0)
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Commentary track by Director Rob Marshall & Screenwriter Bill Condon, Behind-the-Scenes Special, Deleted Scene “Class,” The History of Chicago from Stage to Screen, The musical performances only, An Intimate Look at Director Rob Marshall, When Lisa Minelli Became Roxie Hart, Production Designer John Myhre, Costume Designer Colleen Atwood, Movie Showcase
Length: 113 minutes
If you’re a fan of Hollywood musicals you couldn’t go wrong with this splashy, sexy winner of six Academy Awards. And with the superb resolution and detail plus the clarity of the immersing uncompressed surround sound, the experience is probably better sonically than in the theater and the equal of the projection quality in most multiplexes. (I had just installed a firmware upgrade in my Pioneer Blu-ray player and though the screen images looked as terrific as ever, the menu navigation now worked correctly, which was a welcome improvement.)
Both Roxie and Velma have bumped off their lovers and are put in the prison’s Murderess Row with many other sexy women who have done in their partners as well. They are all under the supervision/ protection of warden Mama – played and sung to the hilt by Queen Latifah. Roxie secures the assistance of hotshot, lie-his-way-thru-anything defense lawyer Billy Flynn (Richard Gere). Together they make Roxie into a huge celebrity and make her dreams come true.
Part of the film – nearly all the big musical numbers – are part of Rosie’s dream to be up on the stage as a performer, as when she is watching Velma singing “And All That Jazz” at the beginning of the film. The transitions are skillfully and creatively handled, sometimes using the same set and environment and other times panning over to a lavish set that contrasts greatly with the drab prison setting. The song, dance and tap-dancing skills of Gere are a delight to see, and John C. Riley shines in his role as Roxie’s naive husband, especially in his solo on the tune Cellophane. Several of the extras are very worth watching, and the commentary by Marshall and Condon was most revealing of the work that goes into a production like this – not only by all the behind-the-scenes crew but in this case the hard-working actors themselves. Chicago is full to the brim with razzle dazzle, and all the more so on Blu-ray! It’s a masterpiece of a musical.
– John Sunier