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Movie: Picture: Sound: Extras:
Few people will be hearing most of the songs in Moulin Rouge! for the first time.
At the start the songs are presented intact and more or less straight. There was the big Nicole Kidman rendition of 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend' (from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), but tossed into this, and around it, were snippets of other songs. Some Madonna of course, with 'Material Girl' fitting the first act's themes of ambition, trashiness and amorality. But as the movie progresses and love blooms and danger threatens, it gets far more serious. The song elements borrow more extensively from more intense songs, woven together with considerable dexterity into sequences which were powerful and moving.
The presentation of the music was, well, flat. Not tonally, but in terms of three dimensional space. There was little use of the surround channels beyond a little bleed into ambience during most of the songs. As opposed to the thrill of the very opening when the 20th Century Fox logo was revealed by the drawing back of red curtains to the sound of immersive applause. The music is mostly from the front, and mostly confined quite closely to the area around the centre speaker.
The dynamism seems rather constrained as well, with acoustic peaks a little flattened into the body of the music, robbing it a little of life. So just expect more the 'wall of sound' effect. There's a fair bit of jungle-drum type music near the start, and the bass, while driving, is a touch lumpy and undifferentiated from the rest of the mix.
I'm judging harshly, here, against the standards of an audiophile disc. And none of this detracts from a good movie, with good music, that will sound much better on a quality surround system than a TV.
The feature package is handsome, too, with nearly four hours of additional material plus a BonusView PIP accompaniment to the commentary, plus a DVD version of the movie, plus a 'Digital Copy' suitable for a portable device.
The following video bitrate graphs were generated by BDInfo 0.5.7. This is for the movie:
And this is for the BonusView PIP stream: