Moonstruck (Deluxe Edition)
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115 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2006
When MGM first released Moonstruck on DVD they inexplicably did so with an inferior pan and scan transfer. They've rectified this situation with a new deluxe edition that restores its proper aspect ratio and with a collection of new extras. Moonstruck was the My Big Fat Geek Wedding of its day only infinitely better and about an Italian family as opposed to a Greek one. Watching Norman Jewison's film again, you realize just how much Nia Vardalos' film is heavily indebted to it. If Moonstruck is La Boheme than Greek Wedding is Tony and Tina's Wedding.

It's time to use your old disc as a coaster as this edition is definitely worth the double dip. MGM has taken TBS' dinner and a movie to the next level by including three recipe cards with fine Italian meals so that you can do your own cooking and eat it while watching the movie.

Carried over from the previous edition is the audio commentary by Cher, director Norman Jewison and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley. Both Jewison and Shanley talk about their fascination with death while Cher talks about the importance of costume and how it helps her get into character. This is a solid commentary with smart observations and excellent anecdotes from everyone.

"Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family" takes us through the genesis of the film mixing interviews done at the time of filming (Cage and Cher) and new ones (Aiello and Dukakis). There is great, behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage as Jewison and Shanley take us through the film telling several entertaining anecdotes.

"Pastas to Pastries: The Art of Fine Italian Food" is a tour of some of the best restaurants in Little Italy, in particular on Mulberry Street. You have six different places to choose from and their chefs demonstrate how to make a few choice foods guaranteed to make you hungry. If you love to cook and eat than this extra is for you.

Finally there is the "Music of Moonstruck" that examines the role that music plays in the movie. The first screening went badly because the music was all wrong.
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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
Despite comments by previous reviewers this video is not pan and scan, it is cropped. There is a difference although I can understand how people could confuse the two. Moonstruck was originally shot with the intention of a 1:85 aspect ratio for theatrical screenings and 1:33 for television. The tops and bottoms of the frame were cropped to give it the widescreen ratio in the theatre. When films are shot for cropping they are essentially composed by the DP for both for 1:85 and 1:33 ratios simultaneously. Full frame video versions simply remove the cropping bars and show you more than you would have seen in a theatrical presentation. Pee Wee's Big Adventure and The Shining are two other films that utilized this (relatively uncommon) process. While one would still prefer that these films be cropped so as to provide a more "theatrical" feel it is incorrect to call this pan-and-scan because there is no panning and the viewer isn't losing any of the original frame information.
Pan-and-scan is when a film is shot in a widescreen format such as cinemascope, panavision or Super 16 and then transferred to video full-frame. In this case you actually are losing the material at either side of the film frame and you get that notorious back-and-forth panning as the transfer people try to focus the viewer on what they consider the "important" part of the frame. This injustice is still perpetrated for a majority of VHS releases but DVD producers for the most part have caught on that people "want widescreen". So yes, most of the time a full-frame release does indicate the pan-and-scan process but not with this film.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2000
A great flick. Five stars is not enough. Cher & Cage are awesome together. Gardenia & Dukakis (as Cher's parents) are almost as brilliant. The backdrops of Manhattan and Brooklyn look terrific. Some great & memorable scenes... 1. Cher meeting Cage for the first time in the bakery basement, 2. Cage expressing his love for her the morning after, 3. Dukakis & Mahoney having dinner together & walking home, 4. Cher & Cage, (and her father and his "date") at the opera, and 5. The family sitting around the kitchen table when husband to-be Aiello shows up. Six Oscar nominations - and three awards. Cher & Dukakis were very deserving and this was easily the best screenplay of the year. How director Norman Jewison didn't win the Oscar is beyond me. I ran out and bought the delux '06 edition the week it was released. Slight picture upgrade - the widescreen is definitely better than the full frame, but there's no impprovement on the sound... dare I say it's worse. The music and most of the dialogue sounds like it is standard stereo (perhaps even mono at some points)... but the real kicker is the background music is so loud at times you can't hear the character talking. Great movie, but I feel it deserved better treament on the re-release.
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61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
First off, this is a brilliant movie. Absolutely wonderful, delightful, funny, romantic, and magical. Divine. Worth a cosmos of the brightest, most glorious stars, but I guess in this case a mere five will do.

But I'm sure you've heard what a great film this is by now, if you haven't seen it already and found out for yourself. What I want to address is the controversy regarding the new widescreen transfer on the deluxe DVD. It is indeed true that you see more in the original MGM pan & scan release--but this is still a legitimate widescreen presentation, and the way this beautiful movie was originally intended to be seen. There are many different ways to shoot film in widescreen, and one of these involves shooting onto 1.37 ratio film (pan & scan ratio) while composing it for theatrical widescreen with the aid of two lines representing the "bars" you see on a TV on the monitor. This how "Moonstruck" was filmed, and it is done so that the director can have control over how the film will look both when seen in a theater and when cropped for viewing on a conventional television. Thus, the film is shot with more image on top and bottom than you actually end up seeing in the theater, but although you are technically seeing more in pan & scan, the widescreen is still really the "definitive" version.

Anyway, I hope this review helps those who may be debating between which version of this wonderful movie they ought to buy. Both are legitimate--I've seen the pan & scan and it's lovely (it clearly was carefully composed for both aspect ratios) but I'm going to buy the widescreen version. Thanks, and hope I could help!
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85 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2001
(formerly a THREE-STAR review)
GOOD NEWS AND ALTERED COMMENTS!! BUY IT, BUY IT, BUY IT!!! "Moonstruck" is a fabulous modern comedy/romance, a classic!! I LOVE this film, and you will, too!
I had complained in my previous comment about the lack of widescreen theatrical release format in the previous release of this film, but I have just received word straight from the horse's mouth (MGM, via e-mail at their website) that the re-release of 'Moonstruck' on DVD (Nov.) will be available in either full-frame or (finally!) widescreen. AND they told me, in answer to my direct question, that 'Moonstruck' was shot in a full-frame 1.33:1 aspect ratio; theatrical presentation was 1.85:1. (Huh?)
I found out that most 1.85:1 aspect ratio movies are actually shot in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, with the intention that the top and bottom of the frames will be trimmed (matted) for 1.85:1 widescreen theatrical presentation. The cinematograper and director frame the shots with this in mind. The result of this is that the movie can be transferred easily to video without doing a pan-and-scan treatment of the photography for full-framed TV presentation. In other words, you're not missing anything in the full-screen framing. This is much preferred by the director, but still not ideal.
In fact, you get MORE than the director and cinematographer intended you to see, so the framing of the shots is a bit tall, less subject-focused than intended for cinematic presentation. This is by far a better compromise than a pan-and-scan transfer: rather than losing portions of the picture and ruining the framing, you just get some extra film that the director considers superfluous. It's still a compromise, and as you watch the film, it could mean the difference between a great shot and merely a good one.
So I personally still prefer theatrical release format, but I don't begrudge those who dislike widescreen their full-frame option, especially if they're not missing parts of the picture. I must say though that it surprises me how many people out there are bothered by widescreen movies on the normal 1.33:1 television. You get used to it quickly, unless you LET it bother you. (Have you noticed all the commercials and TV programs shot in widescreen recently? You probably haven't, so look for them!) As an owner of only a 27" TV (new), and a 20" before that, I say you can enjoy widescreen on TV!
I would now buy this DVD even if it were only full frame. GEORGE'S RECIPE FOR INCREASED DVD AND VHS SALES: the movie studios should inform us on the back of all video releases as to what alterations have been made for the video release. If it says it's pan-and-scan, I won't touch it, but if it's this other method, I might. Many feel the same as I.
I have many DVDs with widescreen on one side and full-screen on the other: the perfect compromise!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Hilarious and enjoyable, "Moonstruck" is a fantastic romantic comedy featuring spectacular performances by Cher, Olympia Dukakis and Vincent Gardenia. Great screenplay, wonderful direction, just an exciting romantic comedy that is absolutely timeless!

In 1987, "Moonstruck", directed by Norman Jewison ("Agnes of God", "Rollerball", "Fiddler on the Roof") and a screenplay by John Patrick Shanley ("Joe Versus the Volcano", "Congo", "Doubt") was released theatrically and became the fifth highest grossing film of that year with over $80 million made in the US box office and a film that would be nominated for six Oscars and taking home three for "Best Original Screenplay", "Best Actress" (Cher) and "Best Supporting Actress" (Olympia Dukakis). And now this wonderful romantic comedy receives a re-release as part of "Cher: The Film Collection" (note: The version included in this release is the Deluxe Edition).

There was no doubt that 1987 was a busy year for Cher who starred in three films that year alone with "Suspect" and "The Witches of Eastwick". Since her return to feature films with "Silkwood" in 1983 (which she was nominated for an Oscar for "Best Supporting Actress"), she followed up with a wonderful performance in "Mask" in 1985 which earned her a Cannes Film Festival Award for "Best Actress". But it is her role in "Moonstruck" that literally made Cher one of the most popular and most wanted actresses on the planet.

VIDEO:

"Moonstruck" is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 widescreen). First, its important for me to remind everyone that this is a 1987 film and I've always had the opinion that many films from the '80s tend to have this aged look and sometimes appearances look soft. While for "Moonstruck", the film does show its age in terms of film stock used, this is the best looking version of the film to date.

There is a good amount of grain in this film but there is much more detail. For example, when we are introduced to Ronny (Nicolas Cage) for the first time, you can see the detail of that flame inside the bread cooking stove, the hairs on Cage's chest are much more evident, especially the white in Cher's hair at the beginning of the film.

Blacks are nice and deep in the Blu-ray release and for the most part, it's not the greatest looking film on Blu-ray but for a 1987 classic romantic comedy, it's definitely an upgrade from the previous DVD releases. While the film definitely looks better on Blu-ray, where "Moonstruck" definitely excels is its lossless audio.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

"Moonstruck" is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono and French Dolby Surround. While "Moonstruck" has always been a film about its witty dialogue, it's also a film that is known for its music. While the film is not known for having an immersive soundtrack and it's not an action film to expect any major use of surround, what I enjoyed about the lossless soundtrack to this film is how they utilized the music towards the front and surround channels.

The music sounds fantastic for this film and I was amazed of how much the music brings the film to life via lossless. From hearing Dean Martin's "That's Amore" to the opera and hear how the music was utilized throughout the film and hear it sound crystal clear was pretty awesome. There are some scenes that do fully utilize the surround that are non-music such as a jet flying over the city and you can hear how the engines start to get louder and go from one speaker and literally envelope the whole soundscape but these are just a few instances. If anything, the lossless soundtrack for "Moonstruck" is adequate for this film and if you loved the film before, especially for how music was utilized, you'll love how this film sounds on Blu-ray.

Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"Moonstruck" comes with the following special features in Standard Definition:

* Audio Commentary - Featuring audio commentary by Cher, director Norman Jewison and writer John Patrick Shanley.
* Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family - (25:29) Director Norman Jewison and writer John Patrick Shanley talks about making "Moonstruck" a film that showcases Italian family. Also, featuring interviews with Italian families and more.
* Pastas to Pastries: The Art of Fine Italian Food - (1:41) Mark DeCarlo takes us around Little Italy in NYC. After DeCarlo's introduction we get six establishments featured in their own separate featurettes:

- Grotta Azzurra - (18:47) Mark visits the restaurant and we learn how to make three easy dishes courtesy of the chef.

- Italian Food Center - (2:32) Mark visits the Italian Food Center and takes a look at things we can find inside the store.

- Ferrara Pastries - (2:29) Mark visits the famous Ferrara Pastries.

- Piemonte Ravioli Co. - (2:29) Mark visits the Piemonte Ravioli Co. and how they supply fresh pasta to many of the restaurants in Little Italy.

- Gelato Stand - (1:03) Mark visits a gelato stand in Little Italy. Gelato is Italian ice cream.

- Florio's Restaurant - (1:25) Mark visits the popular stone oven pizza restaurant.

* Music of Moonstruck - (6:25) A special feature with composer Dick Hyman who talks about the music of the film and how the music was tested with an audience and changes were made to the film. But how Dean Martin's "Amore" was a perfect for the film.

JUDGMENT CALL:

Back in 1987, there was no doubt that "Moonstruck" was a magical film. Before films such as "When Harry Met Sally", "Sleepless in Seattle", "My Greek Wedding" and "Pretty Woman", the film had everything that you love in a romantic comedy. Drama, humor and just solid performances from everyone involved.

When I first watched this film, I was literally laughing for many of the comedic sequences throughout the film. From Nicolas Cage's character screaming about how he lost his hand. It's such a tragic situation but the way it was done onscreen, it was crazy. There were just so many scenes that were just way out of left field that I never saw coming and that's what added to the allure of the film. You can tell that everyone involved had a blast and everything just came out quite well in the end. The screenplay and the film's pacing was well-done, direction was also well-done and as mentioned, the performances were wonderful, especially for Cher and Olympia Dukakis. These two women did a magnificent job and their Oscars were well-deserved.

Coming back to this film nearly over 20-years later, the film still manages to still maintain its laughs and the film doesn't look incredibly aged. If anything, as much as I enjoyed this Blu-ray release, when the original deluxe version came out back in 2006, I felt at the time that the release was well-deserved and that there should have been many special features included. Because this film was literally re-released several times on DVD and once again last fall for Cher's "Cher: The Film Collection" from MGM and 20th Century Fox, I was hoping to see newer special features to celebrate this romantic comedy.

As far as the Blu-ray is concerned, this is a wonderful romantic comedy and definitely one of the best films that she has starred in. She has done many wonderful films in her acting career but "Moonstruck" is my opinion, her greatest performance thus far. Personally, there is nothing negative I can say about this film because I absolutely loved it. But for the Blu-ray release, I was just hoping for a bit more in terms of newer special features but it makes you wonder if there will be a 25th Anniversary release? Nevertheless, you do get the upgrade in picture quality and a lossless soundtrack that really brings the music out for this wonderful film and it is a pretty solid upgrade.

Overall, a highly recommended romantic comedy worth owning on Blu-ray!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2007
I bought this for my wife, for Mother's Day, to replace our videotape version which was not in the widescreen, theater layout. It is of course great to have Moonstruck now on DVD, in the letterbox format, but the sound seems to have been mixed a little low. I'm tempted to say the sound may have been also a touch less clear than our videotape version. So, one has to crank up the volume on the TV, which isn't such a big deal, but the next time you turn on the TV: Blam! It's blaring.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2002
Moonstruck is a movie that easily deserves five stars. However, this DVD edition of Moonstruck has been edited to a full-screen format from the original widescreen. As far as I'm concerned, when publishers edit a film in that manner, they in effect are butchering the film-makers' original vision. One grossly butchered scene involves Cher and Aielo (sp?) together in the front seat of a car: the viewer is allowed to see only one actor at any one time, because the full-screen format will only fit one actor onscreen at once. This causes the audience to miss exactly one-half of each actor's wonderful performance. What a shame.
To my knowledge there is no widescreen version of this outstanding movie available on DVD. That's just too bad.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2006
As you should first know, MOONSTRUCK is one of my ALL-TIME favorite movies. I love this film, I have since the first time I saw it (last November) and I was deeply disapointed when I came here to amazon to buy it and found that MGM had this film on a pan-scan ONLY DVD. I was MAD (I don't mind fullscreen, as long as the director approves or the DVD has both that and WIDESCREEN) so I checked on the MGM website to see if they had a new DVD release coming. To my surprise and delight, they were in the process of printing at that time. So I waited and waited, and (believe it or not) I FORGOT about the DVD all together! Then, earlier my mom (who also loves this film) surprised me when she produced it out of her shopping bag, THEN I REMEMBERED! I had doubts as to the quality of this DVD (as MGM and SONY haven't blended very well in the past) but all of my fears were put asunder when I began watching this film. The quality is absolutely wonderful! I have not seen the older version, so I can't compare, but I am sure that this is a vast improvement over it (being as I am very familiar with MGM's old DVDs). There is no edge enhancement AT ALL (on my DVD player), which is the biggest turn-off for me when it comes to DVD quality; NO artifacting or compression; and perfect colors. Yep, this is one of the best DVDs I've seen in a while, but I have ONE complaint: the audio could be a little better. All in All, even if you own the old DVD, buy this one, NOW!

(P.S.- if you are wondering why I still live with my mother, I'm only 14.)
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2003
I am in complete agreement with the viewer from MN as to the unfortunate full screen format this DVD version was produced in. What a blunder! What a loss of visual information so important to the script! I have had to make a VHS recording off of TCM when THEY presented the movie in its' Letterbox format. I hope someone smartens-up and rereleases Moonstruck on DVD that delivers all the great cinematography.
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