Dirty Dancing fans, this might be the dance you've been waiting for…maybe.
Lionsgate released a Dirty Dancing 2-Film collection on May 8th in celebration of 25 years of the original film. The collection is good and bad, but depending on if you're a fan of them or not is where you need to figure out if you want to make the purchase.
The first film is certainly worth the price of admission. You get an Oscar winning film with the original Dirty Dancing, which features Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in their hay-day. It's a simple movie based in 1963, that shows a clear divide of classes and how dancing brings them both together. It's a Romeo & Juliet-esque story, but it ends much better. Despite the hokey dialogue (yes, even in the 60s they didn't talk this way), the film's real catch is the dancing sequences. Swayze knew how to move and groove, and Jennifer Grey wasn't half bad (though Dancing with the Stars judges will tell you she's damn good).
Anyway, this is the reason why you want this collection.
The reason why this might be sort of a turn off is the Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. While I have to commend the studio for taking basically the same formula and putting it in a different setting, the magic by 2004 was lost. It's a movie that is out of place, but the attempt was decent. Again, the story itself was buggy, but the dance sequences were darn good. I think the filmmakers knew what type of movie they had originally, as you do get a wonderful appearance from the late great Patrick Swayze. As a whole, the movie just didn't work out. Maybe it was bad direction, maybe it was the practically unknown cast; whatever the case, it didn't do the original any justice.
I appreciate the attempt, but the movie simply didn't work.
So, the real reason you're wanting to get this set is because of the Blu-ray update. While the 2004 movie is geared more for a cleaner, crisper HD transfer, the original film did okay. There were a lot of dark areas in some of the lighter scenes of the film. For example, right at the beginning of the original film, there are folks unpacking outside, the sky is blue and there should just be this gorgeous picture in HD. Instead, you get some very dark blue colors that have artifacts in them, and a little bit of graininess. Outside of the night scenes, the day scenes just aren't very pretty. It's not as clean as other Lionsgate films have been when they were transferred to HD. Reds and yellows really do stand out, maybe too much. They're pretty apparent, especially when you see the first dance sequence with the campers. You'll notice Cynthia Rhodes red dress immediately. It's so very red onscreen. It's, again, almost too red. It outshines the rest of the picture. This is the first film where the colors seem very off balance in relation to the HD transfer. It's not one of Lionsgate's best, but it's certainly not 20th Century Fox Rain Man bad. The 2004 Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights was much better, but the film stock is newer and the way they made that was probably more adapt to the HD format.
One of the brightest spots on this release are the special features. While some of it might be re-issues, you get some great commentary, a very good tribute to the fallen folks of the film (Patrick Swayze, Emile Ardolino, Jerry Orbach) dancing featurettes, a very cool multi-angle dance sequence (they don't do enough of those on DVD/Blu-ray), solid cast interviews and a ton of other things. The ones listed above are probably the strongest of the features, but there are other things like deleted scenes, alternate scenes and original screen tests. The features portion of this Blu-ray set really brings it all together. It makes the price of admission more than worth it.