Swingers (Blu-ray) (1996)
|Year Of Production||1996|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Doug Liman|
Patrick Van Horn
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Swingers is one of the more critically successful comedy/dramas from the indie wave of the mid 1990s. Though financially it was only a modest success in theatres (although that still meant raking in around 20 times its tiny production budget), it served its primary purpose in spectacular fashion: it put then-struggling director, Doug Liman, writer and stars John Favreau, Vince Vaughan, Ron Livingston and Alex Désert on the map.
The movie follows a wanabe actor as he hits the town over a series of nights with his wannabe actor friends, who are all trying to get him over the girl he left when he headed to Hollywood. The gang are cocksure and desperate to ensure everyone is aware just how "money" they are. This anatomy of cool consciously, and very openly, borrows from its peers and idols. In doing so it reaffirms its characters desire to be cool, by being associated with cool. A sort of cool by osmosis. The guys do the walk from Reservoir Dogs. The gang themselves are almost a low-rent modern carbon copy of the Rat Pack, complete with token black guy.
Nearly 15 years after its original release, the film holds up well as a snapshot of life as a party going 20-something single man in the mid-1990s. The Hollywood setting serves to particularly emphasize the tragically hip vibe of it all, although the setting really only serves to distill the mood of wannabe trend setters of the day. Swingers is certainly cult fare and the type of film that plenty of viewers might need to see a couple of times to "get" (I personally loathed it on first release and caught it late at night many years later at which point the whole thing just clicked), though every 20-something man needs to give this a shot.
The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio in 1080p.
The film was originally shot very quickly and cheaply. Although the transfer offered on this disc is fairly true to its source, the picture is hardly anything to crow about. The image is reasonably clear and in focus. There is quite a variable degree of grain in the picture and it tends to vary from shot to shot. The worst affected, unsurprisingly, are the dark scenes. There is a fair degree of detail visible in the shadows, although the grain frequently acts to obscure the darker areas. The colours look muted, though the palette is consistent throughout.
There is no sign of compression artefacts or excessive edge enhancement in the video. One or two minute speck of dust are visible, although only the pickiest viewers will notice.
The disc includes a lone English for the hearing impaired subtitle track which appears to be reasonably accurate and well timed.
The disc includes the option of English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) or English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 audio tracks.
The audio is reasonably clean and easy to discern, though like the video it does not hide that it was recorded on the cheap and lacks finer detail. Most importantly for a gab-fest like this, the dialogue is well placed in the mix and easy to make out at all times.
The film features a hip, jazzy soundtrack (the film even includes an appearace by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy), that that sets the tone for the film perfectly.
The surrounds and subwoofer get very little play in the mix, mostly filling out with music.
|Surround Channel Use|
At this stage the only other territory Swingers has been released in on Blu-ray is Canada, where a similarly bare bones edition appears to be available.
This disc is a significant step up on the previous Region 4 blu-ray, which was bare bones and pan & scan. A special edition has been released on DVD in Region 1, featuring 2 commentaries, deleted scenes, a bonus short film and an extensive set of making-of featurettes.
A cult classic indie comedy that every 20-something male should be watching before they head out for a night on the town.
Video and audio are a significant improvement on the past DVD but far from reference. The extras are non-existant.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Optoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|