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Sex and the City: The Movie (2008)
Warner Home Video
DVD Released: 9/23/2008
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/21/2008
When we look back at the summer of 2008, several important movies will be remembered. The Dark Knight shattered box-office records and grossed a ton of money. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull showed that the character was still viable. The disappointing returns of The Clone Wars suggested that everything that Lucas touches may not turn to gold. However, in the long run, the most important movie may have been Sex and the City: The Movie. This movie defied many expectations and showed Hollywood that women do indeed go to the movies...sometimes over and over again. But, high grosses aside, does the movie live up to the expectations of fans after six successful seasons on TV?
In the event that you aren't up to speed, here's the skinny on Sex and the City. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is a writer who lives in New York City. She writes a newspaper column entitled "Sex and the City", which chronicles her many relationships. She had an on-again/off-again relationship with Mr. Big (Chris Noth), and as the series ended, she and Big were finally together for good. While men often dominate her life, Carrie's closest relationships are with her three best friends. Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) is an uptight, classy woman who believes in etiquette and true love. She's married to a brash lawyer, Harry Goldenblatt (Evan Handler). Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) is a Type-A lawyer who has a hard time letting her guard down. She is married to Steve (David Eigenberg) and they have a son together. Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) is a publicist who has a reputation as being a sexual predator. After years of playing the field, she found love with Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis).
Sex and the City: The Movie is set five years after the finale of the show. Carrie is still with Big (whose real name we do learn in the film), and they have been searching for the perfect place to live in New York City. Charlotte is still happily married to Harry and she spoils her adopted daughter, Lily (Alexandra & Parker Fong). Miranda and Steve are still doing their thing in Brooklyn. Samantha and Smith have moved to Los Angeles due to Smith's television career, but Samantha gets back to New York whenever she can. While Carrie and Big are working to make their new apartment their own, he proposes to her. Carrie's friends are ecstatic (especially Charlotte) and they begin to plan the wedding. As Carrie moves towards her big day, Miranda and Samantha begin to have relationship problems. Knowing the ups and downs that she and Big have had in the past, is marrying him a good idea?
After watching Judd Apatow's Sex and the City: The Movie I've come to the conclusion that...what's that...Judd Apatow had nothing to do with this movie? Then why is it 30-minutes too long? And therein lies the major problem with this movie. Clearly Writer-Producer-Director Michael Patrick King assumed that fans of the show would be hungry for as much of the ladies as possible, so he made an epic version of the series. But at 2 1/2 hours, the experience becomes grueling after a while.
Despite the fact that nearly 100 episodes of the show were made, it's a huge leap to go from a 22-minute show to a 150-minute movie. This becomes evident in the film's languid pacing. There are essentially three chapters to the movie and each has its major plot-points. These moments are interesting and well-done. It's the scenes in-between which feel like filler. The film has an opening montage which ostensibly introduces the characters to the uninitiated. so it's not like the remainder of the movie is spent with character development. There are simply a lot of scenes of the ladies being "fabulous", and isn't that what the fans wanted?
To answer that from this critic's point-of-view, I don't know. My wife is a huge fan of the series, and thus, I've seen every episode. While Sex and the City certainly had its share of dramatic moments, from the numerous broken hearts to medical scares, it was also an incredibly funny show and there were many laugh-out-loud moments. That's not really the case with the movie, which focuses much more on the drama. Are there some laughs here? Sure, there are, but they are merely chuckles when compared to the show. If anything, the film focuses too much on drama, and like some stretches of the series, goes to a place where no one is allowed to be happy.
In all, Sex and the City: The Complete Seventh Season is a tough call. What's that? That wasn't Season Seven? That was a movie? OK, if you say so. Anyway, it's a tough call. It is nice to see these characters again, and the actors clearly had no trouble slipping back into their roles. But, I thought that the movie was too long, not funny enough, and I would have liked to have seen some cameos from minor characters who came and went over the series six seasons. However, my wife claims that she didn't notice the length of the film and actually wanted more. So, there you have it folks, we've found the female equivalent of Die Hard.
Sex and the City: The Movie gets all dressed up on DVD courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has come to DVD in both a single-disc and two-disc edition. The packaging claims that the film is letterboxed at 1.85:1, but in reality, it's much closer to 1.78:1. The transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image looks very good, as the picture is sharp and clear. There is no overt grain here and no defects from the source material. As one would hope, the colors look great and the image is never overly bright. However, the image is a bit soft in places and skintones are waxy in some scenes. The DVD holds a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The street and party scenes provide some nice stereo and surround effects, and the in-film music really fills the speakers (and certain tracks spark the subwoofer). However, being a dramedy, most of the audio is concentrated on the dialogue from the center channel.
The 2-disc edition of Sex and the City: The Movie contains several extras. Disc 1 offers an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Michael Patrick King. This is an adequate commentary, as King speaks at length throughout the film. His comments are very scene specific and he never gets overly technical. Nor does he ever dig beneath the surface, as he reports on the locations, actors, and situations, without ever really discussing motivations.
Disc 2 opens with "A Conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Patrick King" (24 minutes). In this chat, the two discuss the making of the film, including the story, the locations, and the cast, but mostly they discuss the fashions. Speaking of which, "The Fabulous Fashion of Sex and the City" (18 minutes) examines how the clothes, jewelry, and shoes drove the film. We get comments from the cast and crew and a tour with costume designer Patricia Field. The speakers focus on the more memorable pieces in the film. The DVD contains 4 ADDITIONAL SCENES which run about 4 minutes and can be viewed with optional commentary from King. Given the length of the film, it's ironic that two of these scenes should have been kept in, as one explains a moment from the finale. "Fergie in the Studio" (2 minutes) shows the singer recording her song from the film and commenting on it.
Warner Home Video has also brought Sex and the City: The Movie toBlu-ray Disc. The film is again letterboxed around 1.80:1 and the Disc contains a VC-1 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 18 Mbps. The image here is very sharp and clear, showing no grain or defects. The colors are breathtaking, as each scenes brings us a rainbow of colors. The image also has a nice amount of depth, as evidenced by the scenes in Mexico. The picture is also highly detailed and we can spot every flaw on the actress' faces. The Disc has a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 1.4 Mbps, although it does drop below 1.0 Mbps at times. The track brings us clear dialogue and sound effects, but as with the DVD audio, it's nothing special. The stereo effects show more detail than the DVD and the music sounds great, but this certainly won't be a demo disc. The important thing is that all of the dialogue is audible and clear.
Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long