Tropic Thunder (Blu-ray) Unrated Director's Cut Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum

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Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews

Ralph Potts's Avatar Ralph Potts
12:28 PM Liked: 688
post #1 of 44
11-13-2008 | Posts: 9,510
Joined: Mar 2002
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Paramount - 2008
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Feature running time: 120 Minutes
Genre: Comedy/Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Brandon T. Jackson, Tom Cruise, Jay Baruchel, Nick Nolte, Matthew McConaughey
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
Written by: Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux, Ethan Cohen
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 18, 2008

"The movie they think they're makingisn't a movie anymore"

Film Synopsis:

Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. lead an ensemble cast in Tropic Thunder, an action comedy about a group of self-absorbed actors who set out to make the most expensive war film. After ballooning costs force the studio to cancel the movie, the frustrated director refuses to stop shooting, leading his cast into the jungles of Southeast Asia, where they encounter real bad guys.

My Take:


I saw this in the theater when it was out earlier this year and got a kick out of it. If you're not a fan of the over the top dialogue and physical humor of Ben Stiller or Jack Black's tendency toward ostentatious and sometimes overstated energy then you probably won't care for Tropic Thunder. On the other hand, you might just find it fun nevertheless because of the incredibly funny performance turned in by Robert Downey Jr. and the very different and equally entertaining cameo by Tom Cruise as studio mogul Les Grossman. Five actors are dropped into the jungle in Asia under the belief that they are filming a big budget action film but in reality they are dropped there to experience real dangers and fears in the hopes of inspiring them. Four of the actors are well established and feature action star Tugg Speedman (Stiller), comedy star Jeff Portnoy (Black), rapper/entrepreneur/actor Alpa Chino (Jackson), and award winning dramatic actor Kirk Lazarus (Downey Jr.). The director's intent was to capture their reactions and performances using hand held and hidden cameras. The problems arise after a mishap that leaves them stranded but still under the belief that they are shooting. They encounter a ruthless band of local drug traffickers known as the Flaming Dragon who mistake them for DEA agents. This puts them in a dangerous and potentially lethal situation that requires them to use their skills to rectify if they hope to make it out alive.

This is a rather silly film but that certainly doesn't make it any less entertaining. Jack Black's portrayal of Heroine addicted Jeff Portnoy was a crack up. Robert Downey Jr. was of course the standout among the four stranded actors. His combination of comedic timing and staunch dedication to being the character within a character just worked so well. Like him or not you have to give credit where it is due and Tom Cruise did a great job in his small but integral role as the very direct, grumpy and rather portly studio mogul Les Grossman. This unrated Director's Cut adds 14 additional minutes to the film. It really didn't anything other than some additional scene expansion and one or two shorter sequences that didn't change the story. Tropic Thunder is a laugh out loud comedy that isn't always politically correct but maintains enough etiquette that it doesn't approach what some might deem offensive. I found that I enjoyed it even more the second time around.

Parental Guide:

This unrated film contains pervasive language, violence, and drug references.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 94

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Tropic Thunder comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.6 mbps.

This presentation is reminiscent of what I saw in the theater and looks superb. This is the type of visually impressive high definition video that the Blu-ray Disc format aspires to. The level of detail provided visual acuity that appeared nearly infinite. Images had exquisite depth, resolute sharpness and fine rendering during close ups that was unquestionable. The various shades of green and sepia tones within the lush jungles, landscapes and military uniforms were cleanly rendered with excellent tonal separation and vivid hues. Colors were deeply saturated with resplendent and eye catching primary highlights. Flesh tones were natural and well delineated with incredible lifelike texture and complexional divergence. Blacks were dynamic, stable and inky with discernible shadow detail and low light image penetration. There is a scene shot at night around a campfire as the group devises a rescue plan. There is an upward camera shot of Lazarus (Downey Jr.) as he is speaking. The glow of the fire on his face illuminates his features. This shot/sequence looks stunningly detailed as it brings out the subtle nuance in his facial characteristics as it appears against the deep black of the sky and shadowy structure of the jungle behind him. On a few occasions I noticed what appeared to be some minor edge enhancement but it was far from objectionable and never interfered with fidelity.

The lossless Dolby TrueHD sound mix featured definitive front channel separation and opulent clarity. Soundstage depth and imaging across the left, right and center channels was excellent. This gave the multitude of directional sounds and dialogue deep room penetration, high level perception of detail, and appropriate near field placement. It also elevated the sonic refinement of the film's music. The surround channels were used primarily to augment the sound field emanating from the main channels and to solidify directional panning sequences via use of ambient and discrete sound placement. The delivery was top notch and never felt shallow or lacking in spatial dimension. Low frequency effects had solid weight and deep extension that resonated well in the room with tangible authority. This was an invigorating audio presentation that mated well with the source material and seemed to accurately reflect the film's theatrical performance.

Bonus Features:

  • Filmmaker commentary with Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux, Stuart Cornfeld, Jaff Mann, John Toll and Greg Hayden

  • Cast commentary with Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr.

  • Before the Thunder featurette

  • (HD) The Hot LZ featurette

  • (HD) Blowing S&*T Up featurette

  • (HD) Designing the Thunder featurette

  • (HD) The cast of Tropic Thunder:

  1. Stiller
  2. Black
  3. Downey Jr.
  4. Jackson
  5. Baruchel
  6. McBride
  7. Nolte

  • (HD) Rain of madness feature

  • (HD) 2 Deleted scenes, 2 Extended scenes, Alternate ending - all with optional intro/commentary

  • (HD) MTV Movie Awards - Tropic Thunder

  • (HD) Full Mags:

  1. Cody at Bar
  2. Portnoy tied to Tree
  3. Choose a Dude
  4. Laz at campfire

  • (HD) Tom Cruise makeup test - with optional intro by Ben Stiller and Greg Hayden

  • BD-Live access: (Not currently enabled)

  1. Dispatches from the edge of madness
  2. Video rehearsals
  3. Additional Full Mags

Final Thoughts:

Tropic Thunder is an entertaining comedy that has moments of hilarity. I wouldn't say that it brings an entirely fresh concept to the genre but its take has unique appeal that makes it fun. It manages to successfully mix action and comedy into well balanced blend that works. Yes it's silly and nonsensical but that is part of its charm. Its Blu-ray disc presentation from Paramount delivers the goods and features exemplary audio quality and superlative video high definition video that is sure to please discerning enthusiasts. Fans can look forward to a boatload of bonus supplements including BD-Live enabled content.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS1x 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

logain2000's Avatar logain2000
01:26 PM Liked: 10
post #2 of 44
11-13-2008 | Posts: 404
Joined: Jul 2003
I'm a lead farmer, muthaf!@ka
Doom878's Avatar Doom878
02:07 PM Liked: 10
post #3 of 44
11-13-2008 | Posts: 1,053
Joined: Dec 2006
I loved this movie and saw it twice in theatres. I honestly didn't think it would be a Blu Ray movie with all the sepia and its graininess. Thanks for surprising me and getting me excited all over again, Ralph! I look forward to watching the extras as well.
Orbert's Avatar Orbert
03:32 PM Liked: 10
post #4 of 44
11-13-2008 | Posts: 260
Joined: May 2008
I thought this movie was a hoot and look forward to the Blu-ray. Also, that's a pretty nice list of extras, and I look forward to seeing them, too.

Thanks, Ralph!
snoman_99's Avatar snoman_99
03:39 PM Liked: 10
post #5 of 44
11-13-2008 | Posts: 18
Joined: Aug 2008
HELL YEAH... right on!!! buying this next week for sure...

nice review once again Ralph....

J :-P
KingKapalone's Avatar KingKapalone
04:14 PM Liked: 10
post #6 of 44
11-13-2008 | Posts: 37
Joined: Nov 2008
I didn't see this in theaters, so I'll definitely Netflix it.
spectramr2's Avatar spectramr2
05:24 PM Liked: 10
post #7 of 44
11-13-2008 | Posts: 86
Joined: Oct 2003
"What do YOU people?" hahahaha!!
Haroon Malik's Avatar Haroon Malik
02:24 AM Liked: 10
post #8 of 44
11-14-2008 | Posts: 688
Joined: Feb 2006
This movie has its moments for sure! I liked it a lot. Looking forward to the Blu-Ray. Thanks Ralph for the review.
Maestro J's Avatar Maestro J
06:25 AM Liked: 13
post #9 of 44
11-14-2008 | Posts: 1,990
Joined: Nov 2004
Is this the first movie that actually mentions the term "Blu-ray" in it? Great flick....
focker240's Avatar focker240
06:39 AM Liked: 10
post #10 of 44
11-14-2008 | Posts: 152
Joined: Oct 2007
Originally Posted by Maestro J View Post

Is this the first movie that actually mentions the term "Blu-ray" in it? Great flick....

Maybe a spoken mention, but I think there is a scene in Casino Royale where Bond messes with a BD in a security room of some sort. I could be wrong though.
MSmith83's Avatar MSmith83
06:46 AM Liked: 68
post #11 of 44
11-14-2008 | Posts: 8,673
Joined: Jun 2005
Originally Posted by focker240 View Post

Maybe a spoken mention, but I think there is a scene in Casino Royale where Bond messes with a BD in a security room of some sort. I could be wrong though.

Yup, there's a scene where Bond checks security footage archived on a Blu-ray Disc. The Sony Blu-ray player is displayed prominently. However, the word "Blu-ray" is not said by any actor.
Doom878's Avatar Doom878
07:29 AM Liked: 10
post #12 of 44
11-14-2008 | Posts: 1,053
Joined: Dec 2006
Yeah the geeky character that was in "Knocked Up" was talking about the format war.
Franin's Avatar Franin
05:33 AM Liked: 297
post #13 of 44
11-15-2008 | Posts: 17,572
Joined: Aug 2007
looking forward in watching this one
Matts's Avatar Matts
03:06 PM Liked: 11
post #14 of 44
11-18-2008 | Posts: 409
Joined: Jan 2003
I'm definitely buying this one. Loved it in the theater. Laughed the entire movie. Downey Jr. was the biggest pleasant surprise of the movie.
klover's Avatar klover
04:26 PM Liked: 10
post #15 of 44
11-18-2008 | Posts: 889
Joined: Sep 2006
Just picked this up at BB and unwrapped the free Booty Sweat t-shirt (as expected, a fairly basic iron-on image on cheap tee...but whatever, it's funny).

Having some friends over for drinks and this movie on the weekend. Can't wait.
mooshoo's Avatar mooshoo
12:45 AM Liked: 10
post #16 of 44
11-19-2008 | Posts: 461
Joined: Mar 2004
OMG I could not believe how funny this was! I was practically cramping from all the lols! The scene with Laz speaking chingrish just about killed me!
nas2344's Avatar nas2344
11:24 AM Liked: 10
post #17 of 44
11-19-2008 | Posts: 74
Joined: Mar 2008
im buying this movie real quick!
aydu's Avatar aydu
03:15 PM Liked: 61
post #18 of 44
11-19-2008 | Posts: 3,756
Joined: Sep 2003
Got this on Tuesday as a rental from BB.

As the review states, pq is excellent. AQ is fine also, with good use of the surrounds for the war scenes.

The movie isn't for everyone, but has some good gags in it throughout. I thought a 50% reduction in the "F bombs" would have helped. Current comedy seems to resort to the "F" word whenever they run out of things that might be funny.

Worth a rental for sure. Might warrant a purchase for pq and aq demos, but probably not for storyline. Once you've seen it, that's about it.
Don Landis's Avatar Don Landis
03:31 PM Liked: 166
post #19 of 44
11-19-2008 | Posts: 11,239
Joined: Jun 1999
I thought you were too generous on the audio. It was just middle of the road, I'd say between 2-3 not 4+. It's either that or maybe you need to extend the scale to 10 for those that are doubly better. I did enjoy the movie overall and laughed all the way through.
audiomixer's Avatar audiomixer
03:33 PM Liked: 11
post #20 of 44
11-19-2008 | Posts: 2,350
Joined: Oct 2002
Originally Posted by Doom878 View Post

I loved this movie and saw it twice in theatres.

gnj1958's Avatar gnj1958
02:31 PM Liked: 12
post #21 of 44
11-20-2008 | Posts: 463
Joined: Jan 2003
I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. Like most comedies it seemed to run out of comedic steam towards the end of the movie but the first hour certainly makes it worthwhile.
Doom878's Avatar Doom878
07:10 AM Liked: 10
post #22 of 44
11-21-2008 | Posts: 1,053
Joined: Dec 2006
Originally Posted by audiomixer View Post

Well I have free passes but could've seen something else
muffinmcfluffin's Avatar muffinmcfluffin
07:37 AM Liked: 69
post #23 of 44
11-21-2008 | Posts: 1,304
Joined: Jun 2005
Just watched it yesterday. Not a very good movie IMO. I mean it was decent, but I actually expected a bit more, especially on the "non-cheesiness" or goofiness aspect. And I'm not referring to Les dancing to rap, because that was actually quite funny. It just reminded me a lot of Fool's Gold or Out Cold, which is not a good thing.
Ripeer's Avatar Ripeer
09:45 AM Liked: 46
post #24 of 44
11-22-2008 | Posts: 2,033
Joined: Jul 2007
I thought it was the best movie I've seen in a long time.
We had to turn on subtitles, Lez mumbling was just to hard to understand, anyone else have that problem>
Doom878's Avatar Doom878
07:55 AM Liked: 10
post #25 of 44
11-24-2008 | Posts: 1,053
Joined: Dec 2006
Fool's Gold? Come on!!!!!
jkcheng122's Avatar jkcheng122
05:06 PM Liked: 30
post #26 of 44
11-25-2008 | Posts: 5,481
Joined: May 2007
Originally Posted by Ripeer View Post

I thought it was the best movie I've seen in a long time.
We had to turn on subtitles, Lez mumbling was just to hard to understand, anyone else have that problem>

same here, one of the reasons i bought the movie is to re-watch it with subs on. couldnt make out almost half of what Laz said when in character.
kamspy's Avatar kamspy
03:07 PM Liked: 10
post #27 of 44
11-30-2008 | Posts: 1,038
Joined: Sep 2007
Great movie, great disc.

One of the years best overall packages.

The cast commentary is hilarious.
mike-tee's Avatar mike-tee
09:51 PM Liked: 10
post #28 of 44
11-30-2008 | Posts: 1,049
Joined: Aug 2008
Good stuff here. Lots of over the top humor and a welcome change from the action flicks I usually love to watch. Although, lots of things/people did get blown up in this movie. To me , it looked good, sounded good and my wife and I enjoyed it very much.

It was only a rental for me but when it comes down in price and if I get the itch to see it again....who knows???

Thanks Ralph.

Mike T
Doom878's Avatar Doom878
09:25 AM Liked: 10
post #29 of 44
12-01-2008 | Posts: 1,053
Joined: Dec 2006
In the Sunday newspaper I got a $3 off coupon for the DVD/BD.
ricky_rocket's Avatar ricky_rocket
01:56 PM Liked: 10
post #30 of 44
12-01-2008 | Posts: 113
Joined: Jan 2008
Originally Posted by Maestro J View Post

Is this the first movie that actually mentions the term "Blu-ray" in it? Great flick....

Yes, I love when he was talking about the format war.

As others have mentioned, when Robert Downey Jr. is in character it is very hard to understand what he is saying.

Overall, a good movie. Like many comedies however, a great concept but not enough jokes or laughs to last an entire movie.

BTW - it's shot BEAUTIFULLY. The way blu-ray was meant to be shown. Very suprising that they took the effort and $ to do this for a comedy.
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