Moonstruck appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. If someday I have kids who ask me “Daddy, what did film stocks look like in the 80s?” I’ll trot out Moonstruck.
So don’t expect a whole lot of vivid visuals here, as the movie showed the standard sense of 80s blandness. That affected virtually everything I saw, starting with sharpness. At times, the movie was able to display good delineation, but much of it veered toward mild mushiness. Though the flick was never really soft, it lacked much crispness or bite.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I sensed no edge haloes. Source flaws were an occasional problem, though, as the movie suffered from a mix of specks, spots and marks. Oddly, most of these cropped up during interior shots of Cage and Cher at the apartment; those were easily the messiest scenes in the movie.
Colors displayed the standard 80s muddiness. Though the hues occasionally displayed decent vivacity, they usually appeared bland, and skin tones tended to be heavy and reddish. Blacks were adequate, and shadows showed acceptable clarity. Nothing here looked awful, but the image betrayed its roots and was consistently mediocre.
To my surprise, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Moonstruck displayed a high level of activity – maybe a little too high for a romantic comedy, especially in the mix’s use of music. The songs tended to spread all around the room, and I found the presence of music in the rear speakers to create an occasional distraction.
Still, the track was usually pretty lively and engrossing. It displayed effects with nice breadth and location, as the movie used these elements more actively than expected. Unlike the music, though, the effects weren’t a distraction; while they could seem a bit unnatural, they worked well given the movie’s age.
Audio quality was also dated but fine. Speech seemed a little reedy but was intelligible and reasonably natural. Music varied due to the nature of the period recordings. The songs could seem thin at times, but they displayed adequate range. Effects were also occasionally a bit on the rough side, but they showed fair clarity overall. Though this was never a great track, it was a bit above average for its age and genre.
We get a decent set of extras here. These launch with an audio commentary from director Norman Jewison, writer John Patrick Shanley and actor Cher. All three sit separately for this edited, mostly screen-specific look at the opening sequence, cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, editing and story, cinematography, music and other areas.
While it acts as a minor disappointment that the three participants don’t chat together, the quality of the material more than compensates. We get a nice array of details about the project, and the program meshes together well. This creates a lively, informative piece that gives us a fine look at the film.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find three featurettes. Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family runs 25 minutes, 29 seconds and includes notes from Jewison, Shanley, Cher, actors Olympia Dukakis, Julie Bovasso, John Mahoney, Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello and Nicolas Cage, production designer Philip Rosenberg, and married couples Tom and Susan Conte, Steve and Angela Dolcemaschio, Fred and Rose Donato, John and Toni Deliso, and John and Emily Deliso. “Heart” examines the roots of the project and its development, characters and influences, cast and performances, sets, and aspects of Italian families.
The inclusion of the married couples really acts as little more than a gimmick to tie into the program’s title; those folks barely appear and don’t add much. For the most part, this is a pretty standard “making of” show, and it’s a fairly good one. Sure, we get some of the same info from the commentary – along with Jewison’s awful Sean Connery impression – but the show brings out a reasonable amount of new info and delivers a quality experience.
Pastas to Pastries: The Art of Fine Italian Food goes for 30 minutes, seven seconds and gives us a tour with TV host Mark DeCarlo. He takes us through various NYC Italian restaurants; along the way, we meet Chef Elvin Molina, Italian Food Center owner George Mastra, Ferrara Pastries owner Ernest Lepone, Piemonte Ravioli manager Elizabeth Amaro, gelato server “Moufid”, Florio’s Restaurant owner Lawrence Amoruso, and Florio’s chef Joseph Prete. Molina cooks a bunch of recipes, while the others discuss their specialties. If you like cooking programs, you’ll dig this; if not, you’ll be bored.
Finally, we locate the six-minute, 24-second Music of Moonstruck. It features Shanley, Jewison, Aiello, Rosenberg and composer Dick Hyman. They discuss the score and other musical elements. We get a tight, informative piece here.
While the movie’s broadness occasionally nips at its heels, the actors of Moonstruck ensure that it’ll succeed. They add bite and verve to a film that could’ve easily been a misbegotten farce. The Blu-ray provides erratic, often flawed visuals, decent audio and a mix of generally positive supplements. Moonstruck turns into an entertaining flick, but the Blu-ray’s picture quality makes it a disappointment.