Graffiti Bridge (1990)

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Released 2-Feb-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Main Menu Audio
Music Video-Graffiti Bridge: The Videos
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 86:37 (Case: 85)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Prince
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Prince
Ingrid Chavez
Morris Day
Jerome Benton
Michael Bland
Phillip C
Rosie Gaines
Levi Seacer Jr.
Damon Dickson
Kirk Johnson
Tony Mosley
Miko Weaver
Garry Johnson
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Wayne Coster
Prince
Richard Whitfield


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Swedish
Hungarian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

"Music is the power. Love is the message. Truth is the answer"

†††† Firstly let me begin this review by acknowledging that I am a huge fan of Prince and his music. In my opinion this enigmatic genius can do no wrong as far as song-writing and music is concerned but, in saying that, this movie should be reviewed objectively and in isolation to his other offerings. Written as a sequel to his popular debut film Purple Rain there was much to be anticipated in Graffiti Bridge. Stung by his unsuccessful second film Under The Cherry Moon, Prince assumed full control of the writing, directing and production of Graffiti Bridge, including the filming taking place in his Paisley Park Minneapolis studios.

†††† The plot of Graffiti Bridge begins several years after the conclusion of Purple Rain with the Kid (Prince) still engaged in a rivalry with his Glam Slam club partner Morris Day and Day's band, The Time. Day runs most of the night clubs in town and wants to assume total control by taking possession of the remaining interest in Glam Slam, and also by closing down other rival club owners such as George Clinton. We then see the introduction of the mystical poet Aura (Ingrid Chavez) who is the "angel" that seeks to positively influence the greedy Morris and the troubled Kid. With love interests between Kid, Day and Aura intensifying we see Aura using this influence to manipulate the protagonists with events culminating in a tragic accident and the closing winner-takes-all "battle of the bands" climax.

†††† As a good (Kid) versus evil (Day) vehicle Graffiti Bridge lurches between excellent musical interludes and a turgid script. The acting is universally awful although Chavez is certainly picturesque, and Day with sidekick Jerome Benton are occasionally amusing in a cheesy way. Prince really shines with a guitar and microphone in his hand but, unfortunately, his acting prowess only extends to broody close-ups into the camera. Production values appear low with the sets built inside Paisley Park warehouses looking cheap and nasty. Scenes shot at the bridge look so fake that you almost expect to see Bob Hope in a safari suit push through the bushes. The mystical aspect of Auraís intervention is not convincing and there are also un-sequential plot developments which are muddled between the musical interludes. Unfortunately, and despite the musical set pieces and choreography being excellent, Graffiti Bridge fails as a vehicle to show that Prince could succeed at starring in, writing and directing a serious movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† Graffiti Bridge is presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen anamorphic transfer which is cropped slightly from the 1.85:1 theatrical release. There are significant instances of positive film artefacts apparent as black flecks and spots but fortunately these are not too bad and donít distract overall. The image suffers from excessive edge enhancement which is especially evident in scenes with backlighting. Grain is at times quite noticeable with the transfer also being very soft. There seemed to be a prominence of smoke machines in use during filming which left a lot of scenes looking hazy. This was presumably done to imitate club interiors and cold Minnesota street scenes. The colours seem fine although quite muted. Cross colouration and colour bleeding were not noticed and there was no mpeg macro blocking artefacts. There was some telecine wobble in the opening and closing credits.

†††† This is a single layer disc.

†††† There are subtitles in English which seemed accurate enough - also Swedish, Hungarian, and English for hearing impaired.

†††† Overall a fair but not great video transfer is evidenced here.

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

Audio

†††† The audio was presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded at 192 K/bs. Unfortunately this is a sub-par effort for a film that relies so heavily on musical numbers. For the most part the audio sounded flat and uninteresting with a switch to Dolby surround processing livening it up only slightly. Increasing sound volumes to higher levels helped the sound stage a bit but the low encoding levels meant that any nuances were lost. On a positive note there were no issues with audio synchronisation and no glitches that I noticed. Overall this is not a great audio mix which is a shame given the quality of the musical productions.

†††† There are no audio synchronisation problems.

†††† The subwoofer was not used to full capability and surrounds were only marginal when surround processing was activated.

†††† This audio track only rates as fair which is unfortunate for a music dominated film.

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

Extras

†††† Extras are limited to music videos and a theatrical trailer. Video quality in all of these is poor to fair with significant film artefacts particularly evident as black flecks and spots. Music quality is fair with no particular problems.

Menu

†††† Static menu with looping audio.

Trailer (1:40)

†††† Trailer for Graffiti Bridge with 1.78:1 aspect and Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192K/bs.

Music Videos

†††† New Power Generation (3:55) - pillar and letter boxed 1.33:1 video aspect with Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192Kb/s - promotional video.

†††† The Question Of U (4:02) - 1.33:1 video aspect with Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192Kb/s - live concert performance.

†††† Thieves In The Temple (4:07) - pillar and letter boxed 1.33:1 video aspect with Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192Kb/s - promotional video.

†††† Round and Round (4:27) - pillar and letter boxed 1.33:1 video aspect with Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192Kb/s - promotional video.

R4 vs R1

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

††††Versions available seem identical part from language selections and the PAL or NTSC formatting. The Region 4 version is therefore recommended.

Summary

††††In summary, I think you would have to be a fan of Prince and his music to get any enjoyment out of Graffiti Bridge. Similar to Purple Rain the acting, storyline, and dialogue is B grade at best, however the musical interludes are very good. According to trivia sources Madonna originally turned down the role of Aura because she thought "the screenplay was awful". This should have rang alarm bells to anyone involved in the production however I guess Prince couldnít see past his own ego. The Time and George Clinton (amongst others) provide great performances on stage but Prince easily blows them away in star quality and talent. Whereas Purple Rain was a landmark film as the first real "rock musical" Graffiti Bridge can only be seen as sequence of MTV type video clips patched together with the flimsiest of plots and corniest of scripts. When you combine a sub-standard plot with a barebones release from Warner Home Video and only fair video and audio then the only conclusion can be that this DVD is recommended for Prince fans only.

†††† The video quality is fair. The audio quality is fair. Extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mike B (read my bio)
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationDenon AVR-3808 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp
SpeakersB&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub

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