Moulin Rouge (2001)
28th December 2001
When Christian, a young wannabe Bohemian poet, heads to Paris for inspiration he is unaware just how the famous Moulin Rouge is going to change his life. Able to see the famous land mark from his apartment his career soon gets a kick start when some budding actors drop into his apartment during one of their rehearsals.
When one of their cast members becomes unconscious from a sleeping disorder Christian is roped into the rehearsals. However, the rehearsals are not going well and they bicker over the script, until Christian comes up with some of his own. The members are impressed with his Bohemian ideas and decide that his ideas are so good that they should approach the Moulin Rouge club to gain finance for a production.
It is there that Christian is introduced to a glamorous haven of sex, drugs and the beautiful Satine. Satine is the Moulin Rogue's highest paid star and the city's most famous courtesan, and he's just fallen madly in love. However, he has some competition in the form of the rich and powerful 'Duke'. Trouble is, he's the one who is going to fund their production and hold the club to ransom in turn for the hand of Satine.
The picture is superb with huge amounts of rich and vibrant colours. With many of the dancers wearing red it would not be unexpected to see some colour bleeding and edge enhancement. However, this transfer is perfect. With virtually the whole film taking place in the dark Moulin Rogue club there are no signs of artifacting, graininess or dust scratches. It is wonderful and a credit to Fox.
With this not being an action film you're probably not expecting too much from the sound department. However, that is where you'd be wrong as the musical soundtrack is brilliant, especially the much more dynamic DTS soundtrack, with plenty of ambient sound effects in the rear channels and clear and rich dialogue and vocals in the centre and front channels.
However, there are rumours of lip synch problems with the DTS soundtrack and as an owner of a Pioneer DV-717 DVD player, which well renowned for its lip synching problems, there were occasions when I thought the singing was indeed marginally out of sync. However, it was so borderline it wasn't that distracting.
The menus on both discs are pleasantly animated and scored in Dolby Digital, although I thought that the menu options on the second disc could be a little convoluted. There are so many extras that they flow onto a second disc and include a number of music videos, including the saucy Lady Marmalade video, interviews and extended dance scenes with multi-angle facilities. These extras certainly add value to what is already a bargain package.
There's also a number of Behind the Scenes segments that can be selected during the film. When the option is enabled from the menu a fairy will be displayed on the screen. When selected you'll be taken to some behind the curtains making of section - much like the Follow the White Rabbit feature on The Matrix.
There also appears to be a near endless number of hidden, and relatively easy to locate, extras. For example, from the main menu on the second disc select the 'More' option. On the displayed page highlight the 'Back' menu and then press the 'Down' arrow key on the remote. This will then highlight a fairy. Finally press 'Enter' to see an outtake from the film. You just need to experiment on each of the menus and once you manage to highlight the fairy you'll be shown some sort of clip.
Like the film, the whole packing is excellent. Although I always dislike paper sleeves, the gatefold packaging is well designed and its wonderful colours and embossing make it perfect for this genre of film.
You can definitely sum this film up in one sentence. It's a two hour music video extravaganza for the MTV generation. It's simply superb and what's even more shocking is that both Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor can really sing. You should really buy this film and even consider buying the musical soundtrack CD as well.