Shall We Dance? (2004)

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Released 15-Mar-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Peter Chelsom (Director)
Featurette-Beginners' Ballroom
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-The Music Of Shall We Dance?
Music Video-'Sway' Performed By Pussycat Dolls
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 102:02
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (72:22) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Peter Chelsom
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Richard Gere
Jennifer Lopez
Susan Sarandon
Lisa Ann Walter
Stanley Tucci
Anita Gillette
Bobby Cannavale
Omar Benson Miller
Tamara Hope
Stark Sands
Richard Jenkins
Nick Cannon
Sarah Lafleur
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music John Altman
Gabriel Yared


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
German
Spanish
Hebrew
Slovak
Arabic
Croatian
Slovenian
Serbian
Latvian
Lithuanian
Estonian
German Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
German Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Ballroom and Latin dancing are all the rage at the moment. The success of television programmes such as Strictly Dancing and Dancing With The Stars has led to a renewed interest in a pastime that was considered somewhat daggy just a few years ago. It was only natural that a few feature films would follow this trend, though interestingly this Hollywood offering is actually a remake of a film made in Japan back in 1997.

    In this version of Shall We Dance?, Richard Gere is John Clark, a middle-aged lawyer going through something that looks remarkably like a mid-life crisis. He has everything he could possibly wish for - a wonderful wife, Beverly (Susan Sarandon), a lovely daughter, a great job and a house filled with all the mod cons. But life isn't complete and lately a bored John has been feeling the need to do something adventurous. One night while on the train ride home, he spots a lonely figure (Jennifer Lopez) at the window of a dance studio. On the spur of the moment he decides to enter the studio and sign up for lessons. Whether this is because of a real need to learn to dance, or because he is consumed by the image of the voluptuous woman at the window we are not initially privy to. If John was expecting to instantly connect with Lopez's Paulina, a dance star without a partner and a sad past, he is mistaken and must endure the experienced but decidedly less voluptuous Miss Mitzi (Anita Gillette) as his teacher.

    John overcomes his fear of dancing and slowly but surely finds something that was missing in his life. Of course things are not destined to go this smoothly and with John sort of forgetting to tell his wife about his new-found hobby, and she beginning to have suspicions that he may be having an affair as a result of his changed mood and frequent absence, things are likely to hot up, and not just on the dance floor.

     There is something about this film that just doesn't quite gel and it has taken a while for me to put my finger on it. The story is primarily about Richard Gere's character John and his desire to spark his life into action via the discovery of ballroom dancing. So what is Jennifer Lopez even doing here, when her side story about a sad dance star has nothing to do with the plot and even plays third fiddle behind the secret dancing prowess of one of John's lawyer colleagues? It would seem like there was a need to include a big name star in a role for the sake of having her there and to stick her face on the movie poster. As an actor J-Lo also makes a great singer. This is surely one of the most wooden performances seen this year.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a really nice looking transfer. It is bright, colourful, sharp and clean.

    The aspect ratio on offer is 1.85:1 and the transfer is 16x9 enhanced. This is the same aspect ratio as originally shown in the theatre.

    The transfer is finely detailed throughout, with only the slightest amount of edge enhancement visible. Shadow detail is handled very well and grain is virtually non-existent. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are one of the highlights here with some deep, warm and brightly saturated tones. These look especially nice during the final dance competition scenes where the brightly coloured dresses and lighting dominate.

    There are no compression artefacts anywhere in the transfer. Film artefacts are also mostly absent.

    There are several subtitle options available. The English subtitles are accurate and well placed on the screen.

    This is a dual layered disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change is at 72:22.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are a grand total of four audio soundtracks on this disc. First up is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track in English, encoded at the higher bitrate of 448 Kb/s. This track is joined by two Dolby Digital tracks in German and Spanish encoded at the lower bitrate of 384 Kb/s. Rounding out the selection is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track.

    The main English 5.1 soundtrack is a excellent. It's light and breezy when needed but also cranks up when the various styles of music and dance dominate the screen. There is some decent surround and low end activity scattered throughout, especially in the night club scenes. Dialogue is anchored firmly in the centre channel, but the soundtrack opens right up to all speakers when the score plays or the action moves to the bustling dance floors. It is easily understood, clear and in sync at all times.

    The score is credited to Gabriel Yared and while fairly typical of the romantic comedy style, it does suit the dance action. There are also a few classical pieces and other songs throughout used during the dance routines. These include traditional waltz themes and songs like Sway by The Pussycat Dolls and Mya's take on the David Bowie classic Let's Dance.

    There is significant surround channel activity during the nightclub visits and whenever the ballroom action cranks up. It envelops and engages the viewer nicely.

    The subwoofer is used, though not extensively and supports the score well.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Audio Commentary - Peter Chelsom (Director)

    A fairly dull and dry screen-specific commentary from director Peter Chelsom. He explains the changes to the story from the original Japanese version and other technical aspects to the shoot.

Featurette - Beginners Ballroom

    A 6:28 guide to basic ballroom dancing (mainly the waltz) with a few interviews with some of the cast including the film's choreographer, Australian John O'Connell.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes

    Running for a decent 23:04, this is a pretty stock-standard promotional making of, showing interviews with all the key players and a little behind-the-scenes action.

Featurette - The music of Shall We Dance?

    A 3:55 look at some of the songs used in the film, including a reworked version of David Bowie's Let's Dance by Mya and The Pussycat Dolls version of the Dean Martin classic Sway.

Music Video - Sway by The Pussycat Dolls

    Runs for 3:23 and will certainly get your feet tapping. A great song no matter who sings it.

Deleted Scenes

    17:31 of deleted scenes, including a 6:01 alternate opening sequence. There are five scenes in total and they can be played with or without commentary by the director.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 disc is virtually identical to the Region 4 offering aside from some minor soundtrack differences. We get German and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 efforts to go with the English, while Region 1 has a French 5.1 effort to go with their English track. Pick the disc up where you can get it the cheapest.

Summary

    Shall We Dance? is a fairly average film, highlighting that as an actor J-Lo makes a great singer. Richard Gere tries hard, but the material is a touch soggy with sentiment. You might want to catch the Japanese original and see if that is any better.

    The video and audio quality are excellent.

    The extras are comprehensive.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
The Japanese version is ABSOLUTE MAGIC! - NewcastleBoy (read my bio)