Hairspray: 2-Disc Shake & Shimmy Edition – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

New Line Cinema presents Hairspray: 2-Disc Shake & Shimmy Edition. Written by Leslie Dixon. Based on the film by John Waters and the Musical by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. 117 minutes. Rated PG for language, some suggestive content and momentary teen smoking.

Directed By:

Adam Shankman

Cast:

Nikki Blonsky……….Tracy Turnblad
John Travolta……….Edna Turnblad
Christopher Walken……….Wilbur Turnblad
Amanda Bynes……….Penny Pingleton
Michelle Pfeiffer……….Velma von Tussle
James Marsden……….Corny Collins
Queen Latifah……….Motormouth Maybelle
Brittany Snow……….Amber von Tussle
Zac Efron……….Link Larkin
Elijah Kelley……….Seaweed

The Film:

I must start out by stating that I am a huge John Waters fan and I love the original Hairspray. Also, I had the opportunity to see the musical on the stage and loved that as well. However, when I learned that they were making a movie remake of the musical I had some serious reservations. In fact, when I sat down to watch it I wanted to hate it. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this film.

It’s hard to look at this latest incarnation of Hairspray without comparing it to its predecessors. The whole idea of a film being turned into a musical then being turned back into a musical film doesn’t not sit well with me and while this one did work I really hope it does not become a new trend.

Hairspray is the story of young ambitious Tracy Turnblad in 1962 Baltimore. Her only dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show. However, due to her weight, she doesn’t quite fit the ideal look of the show and is scoffed at. Yet she is able prove to Corny Collins himself how good a dancer she is and she gets her big break. But when she learns that the black kids aren’t getting their fair share she stands up and fights for their right to dance as well.

While the original Hairspray was a cult film filled with John Waters regular cast of misfits and the like, this incarnation as been padded out by an all star cast. At the top of the list we have Christopher Walken and John Travolta as Tracy’s parents. While Travolta seemed an obvious choice for Edna Turnblad, what with his known singing and dancing skills, he had some very big shoes to fill with Divine playing in the original and Harvey Fierstein playing in the stage musical. While this was my most worrisome casting choice, Travolta did admirably. The song “Timeless To Me” a love song between Wilbur and Edna is completely believable and totally cements Travolta’s legitimacy as Edna.

Also rounding out the cast is Michelle Pfeiffer as the evil Velma von Tussle, Amanda Bynes as the lollipop sucking Penny Pingleton, James Marsden as Corny Collins and Queen Latifah as Motormouth Maybelle. But amongst all these big names and recognizable faces it is first timer Nikki Blonsky, who plays our heroine that sells this film. Watching her glow on the screen leaves the viewer wondering how this could be her first film. Not only is she a good actress, but also she sings and dances as good as, if not better, than all the others. And don’t forget to look for John Waters’ cameo as the town flasher.

The musical was a long dead genre in film and in the last few years as begun to make a strong return. Hairspray is a fantastic edition to the genre and is absolutely worth your time.


“Good Morning, Baltimore!”

The DVD:

This film is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and is enhanced for widescreen TVs. Sound is in Dolby Digital Surround 5.1. Spanish subtitles available.

Extras:

Disc 1:

Audio Commentary with director Adam Shankman and Nikki Blonsky: This is a pretty cute commentary. Shankman is a first-time director and Blansky is a first-time actor and this comes across as they both seem really excited to be doing the commentary. There dialog stays lively the whole way through and they provide a lot of great candid behind the scenes info.

Audio Commentary with Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron: On the contrary this is a is a rather bland commentary. It is a lot more informative than the prior commentary but these guys have no personality. And why should they? They’re producers.

Hairspray Extensions: (37 min.) This is a look at the preparation of six of the dance numbers. If you are really into dancing and the art of dancing then this will be interesting for you. Otherwise skip to one of the many other special features.

Step-By-Step: The Dances Of Hairspray: (13 min.) Two of the films choreographers take you on a step-by-step instruction of two of the dances created for the film.

Disc 2:

The Roots of Hairspray: (40 min.) This is broken up into three sections. The Buddy Deane Show talks about a real show from the ’60s that was John Waters’ inspiration for the Corny Collins program. It includes interviews with John Waters and committee members from the real show. John Waters’ Hairspray focuses on the original film. This is a great featurette that talks about the original film with interviews with Waters, Rikki Lake (the original Tracy) and others. A lot of time is spent talking about Divine. I can only hope that parents will buy this DVD for their kids and when they watch this it will open their world to the films of John Waters. Lastly we have Hairspray On Broadway which focuses on the Musical and interviews many who were involved in the creating of that production. All three of these together give a great background on how this film came to be.

You Can’t Stop The Beat: (78 min.) This is a super in-depth making featurette that focuses on every faces of the filmmaking process. It is broken up into 7 sections that are pretty self explanatory: Hairspray Returns to the Screen, The Cast of…, The Music of…, The Choreography of…, The Costumes of…, The Hairdos of…, The Production Design of…, and Reflections on…

Deleted/Alternate Scenes: (10 min.) You’ve got five scenes here 4 of which have optional commentary from Shankman and Blonsky. A few of these are pretty good but nothing super special. And the commentary is not all that gripping.

Theatrical Trailer

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Hairspray: 2-Disc Shake & Shimmy Edition
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

8
THE VIDEO

9
THE AUDIO

9
THE EXTRAS

9
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
8.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
This is a very fun very lively musical. The songs are catchy and the performances are memorable. I absolutely recommend this film to anyone. And if nothing else hopefully the popularity of this will open a new generation to the wonderful films of John Waters.

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