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A hero from another world rescues a group of kidnapped children.
For more about Moonwalker and the Moonwalker Blu-ray release, see Moonwalker Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on August 30, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Moonwalker Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, August 30, 2010
Michael Jackson's "Moonwalker" (1988) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Brothers-UK. The only supplemental feature on the disc is the film's original U.S. trailer. In English, with optional English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH, Italian SDH, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Swedish and Thai subtitles. Region-Free.
There is nothing that I could write about Michael Jackson that has not already been written by someone else. A larger than life Artist who sold millions of records, Jackson managed to literally unite the world with his music. He is gone now but will always live in the hearts of those who knew him and his music.
Moonwalker was completed in 1988. The film was released theatrically in Europe and parts of South America, but in North America its distributor, Warner Brothers, decided to have a direct-to-video release, which coincided with the end of Jackson's Bad tour.
The film is structured as a collage of music videos, concert footage and short stories directed by Jerry Kramer, Colin Chilvers ("Smooth Criminal"), and Jim Blashfield ("Leave Me Alone"). In the short stories, Jackson is something of a good gangster with magical powers that allow him to transform into a car, robot, and even a spaceship, every time he sees a shooting star. He is a chased by a funny looking bad gangster, named Mr. Big (Joe Pesci, Raging Bull, Goodfellas), who desperately wants to hurt him. Each of the stories is fairly straightforward, even banal.
The music videos and concert footage, however, are terrific. Moonwalker opens up with a live performance of Man in the Mirror featuring archival segments with Mahatma Gandhi, the historic meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev during the early 80s, Dr. Martin Luther King's famous speech, President John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, the African food crisis, John Lennon, etc.
Next is a wonderful anthology with highlights from some of The Jackson 5 and Jackson's greatest hits – "Music and Me", "I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save", "2-4-6-8", "Who's Lovin' You", "Ben", "Dancing Machine", "Blame It on the Boogie", "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)", "Rock With You", "Don't Stop 'till You Get Enough", "Can You Feel It", "Human Nature", "Beat It", "Thriller", "Billie Jean", "State of Shock", "We Are the World", "The Way You Make Me Feel", and "Dirty Diana". In the beginning of the anthology, President Ronald Reagan is also heard announcing that Jackson's success is an American Dream come true.
Of course, what makes Moonwalker worth seeing are the three wonderfully choreographed music videos – "Speed Demon", "Leave Me Alone" and "Smooth Criminal" – and specifically the parts where Jackson actually sings and dances, not the crazy bits where he clashes with Mr. Big or acts like a spoiled god. During these specific parts the music is fantastic and the dancing quite extraordinary. Even some of the special effects are quite good.
This said, Moonwalker is, at the very least, a very strange film, and it is difficult to tell exactly what Jackson intended to achieve with it. In it there is plenty of color, great music and terrific dancing, but nothing else. Moonwalker is also an incredibly sad film. Now that Jackson is gone, it is impossible not to get emotional while looking at the archive footage in the anthology.
Note: In 1990, Moonwalker was nominated for Saturn Award for Best Special Effects (Kevin Pike, Hoyt Yeatman, Will Vinton) by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
Moonwalker Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with VC-1 and granted a 1080p transfer, Moonwalker arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Brothers-UK.
This is a very good high-definition transfer. Fine object detail is surprisingly strong - even the anthology footage looks good - clarity pleasing and contrast levels consistent throughout the entire film. The color-scheme does not disappoint either - greens, yellows, reds, browns, blacks and especially blues look rich and well saturated. During the chase sequences the variety of rich blues are indeed terrific. Edge-enhancement and macroblocking are not a serious issue of concern; neither are ringing and banding. Some minor noise corrections have been applied, but the fine film grain is very much intact. There are no serious stability issues. Finally, I noticed a couple of tiny flecks popping up here and there but did not see any large cuts, marks, stains, or debris to report in this review. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no problematic PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
Moonwalker Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are six audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital 2.0, German Dolby Digital 2.0, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 and Russian Dolby Digital 1.0 (Mono). For the record, Warner Brothers-UK have provided optional English SDH, French, Spanish, Castellan, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazilian), German SDH, Italian SDH, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Swedish, and Thai subtitles.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is very strong. The bass is potent and punchy, the rear channels very effective, and high-frequencies not overdone. Even the concert footage with "The Man in the Mirror" from the beginning of the film sounds terrific; there is excellent depth that will surely please Jackson fans. "Smooth Criminal" does not disappoint either. Finally, the dialog is clean, crisp, clean, and very easy to follow. For the record, I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, or hissings to report in this review.
Moonwalker Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Trailer - the original U.S. trailer for the film. In English, without optional subtitles. (2 min, 480/60i).
Moonwalker Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I hope that, sooner rather than later, the world gets a comprehensive collection of Michael Jackson's best videos on Blu-ray. Thriller, in particular, with all of the supplemental features that are available for it, should have already appeared on Blu-ray. In the meantime, while waiting for this collection to arrive, if you see Moonwalker with a decent price tag, get yourself a copy. I guarantee parts of it will bring back some special memories. RECOMMENDED.
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