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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: MGM - 1987
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 102 minutes
Genre: Dramedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Cher, Danny Aiello, Olympic Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia, Nicholas Cage
Directed by: Norman Jewison
Music by: Dick Hyman
Written by: John Patrick Shanley
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 15, 2011

"Life. Family. Love"

Film Synopsis:

Cher is Loretta, an "unlucky in love" Italian widow who finds romance through the intervention of the Manhattan moon. With her wedding to mama's boy Johnny just weeks away, she meets--and falls hopelessly in love with--his younger brother Ronny! Her dilemma and her equally passionate and hilariously eccentric family make for an unforgettable film.

My Take:

Moonstruck is a romantic comedy about a superstitious Brooklyn window (Cher) who is ready to get married again. Only this time, she plans on doing it right - even if she has to say yes to a man she doesn't really love. When she unexpectedly falls in love with her fiancé's estranged brother Ronny (Nicholas Cage), what comes next is a romantic complication worthy of the greatest comedic operas.

It has been years since I have seen Moonstruck. It's one of those films that I like but never got around to picking up on home video. It's a relatively simple plot that uses New York City as a backdrop while exploring the dynamics of an Italian American family with the primary focus settling upon Loretta, a 37 year old widow who considers herself unlucky in love. Deciding that she has waited long enough for love to come along again she agrees to marry Johnny, a 42 year old nebbish who hasn't let go of his mother's apron strings. Things get interesting when Loretta meets Ronny, Johnny's younger brother whom he hasn't spoken to in five years but wants to reconcile with now that he is getting married. In Ronny Loretta finds the passion that rejuvenates her heart but of course like everything else in her life, it's complicated. The Loretta, Johnny, Ronny triangle has its moments but I find the familial interplay between the Castorini family to be what makes this film so rewarding. The old school spin placed on the complicated but ultimately loving relationships among them is pitch perfect. Speaking of which pretty much any scene involving Rose, played brilliantly by Olympia Dukakis, is memorable. For me one of the best (if not THE best) scenes in the film takes place between Rose and Perry (John Mahoney). Beginning in the restaurant, their initially awkward meeting turns into an exchange of charming dialogue followed by a sort of romantic interlude that never escalates but quietly and satisfactorily exists in its own plain within the context of the story.

This film isn't a traditional romantic comedy of the ilk we often see today. The laughs don't overshoot their mark and the humor rests in the richness of the characters. I love the cast. Seeing Cher in this film reminded me of how attractive and gifted an actress she was/is. I could watch Olympia Dukakis all day long. She is a personal favorite and gives a captivating (and Oscar winning) performance in Moonstruck. Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello and Nicholas Cage are all fine but remain well within their respective comfort zones. The screenplay, music score, and cinematography aptly convey the Little Italy vibe that helps draw us into this brief snapshot in the lives of these characters. Moonstruck is an engaging, mildly quirky and thematically demonstrative film with an effecting yet subtle wit which proves supremely rewarding thanks to a wonderfully crafted script and genuine performances by a terrific cast. I thoroughly enjoyed this revisit and am glad that it hasn't lost any of its luster.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for brief sensuality, mild language thematic material.

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: 78

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

Video: 78

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

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Moonstruck comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 35 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.

This presentation features an uneven and grainy visual aesthetic that sometimes leaves it looking soft and devoid of revealing high definition clarity. Blacks can be deep but lacking in delineation which presents them as flat and offering little in the way appreciable gradations. Dark scenes and backgrounds suffer the same fate as details tend to be barely distinguishable. Colors and fleshtones generally look natural with warm highlights that never stray toward oversaturated. Contrast is stable and well balanced over the course of the presentation. I noticed some minor print imperfections and digital noise in a few backgrounds but otherwise didn't note any deleterious video related artifacts or unwanted digital manipulation.

This is a dialogue driven film however there are aspects of the soundtrack that make use of the entire sound field for proper atmosphere or to add presence to the music score. Dialogue is intelligible and delivered with average room penetration. Channel separation and directional correlation are quite good which allows the blend of music and background detail to be clearly articulated. I noticed that high frequency elements within the recorded sometimes had an edgy/strident quality and that the volume of the audio mixed to the rear channels occasionally overshadowed the front soundstage. Neither proved detrimental. On a whole I found this to be a satisfying audio presentation that represented the source well.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary by director Norman Jewison, Cher, and writer John Patrick Shanley

  • Moonstruck: At the heart of an Italian Family - 25 minute featurette

  • Pasta to pastries: The art of fine Italian food - 6 segments with introduction by Mark DeCarlo

  • The music of Moonstruck - 6 minute featurette

  • Theatrical trailer

Final Thoughts:

I haven't seen it in years but Moonstruck hasn't lost any of its luster and proves to be an engaging, mildly quirky and thematically demonstrative romantic comedy that is truly deserving of the accolades bestowed upon it. It makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc featuring faithful high definition video, lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound and the same supplemental material from the 2006 Deluxe Edition DVD release. I am pleased to own this wonderful film in high definition and recommend that you check it out as well.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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