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Madonna: Truth or Dare Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Miramax/Lionsgate
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 3, 2012
  • List Price: $14.99

[amazon-product]B00755646W[/amazon-product]

Purchase Madonna: Truth or Dare on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Ah, yes, 1991, when Truth or Dare landed in theatres and Madonna was still at the height of her fame. I was already well on my way to being proved wrong about her being a mere flash in the pan (I’d made the prediction way back in the Eighties, sometime around her “Lucky Star” period). Say what you will, but the Material Girl could then, and still can now, teach some of these, to use her word “reductive” youngsters a thing or two. Lady Gaga? Katy Perry? Pshaw! Seen it! Take a look at Truth or Dare and there should be no question in anyone’s mind where that all began.

Now, for filmmaker Alek Keshishian, the big accomplishment with his documentary Truth or Dare, a behind-the-scenes, all access pass to Madonna’s inner sanctum during her triumphant Blonde Ambition world tour, was that, despite Madonna’s obvious efforts at “striking a pose” on camera, his relentlessness at following her around did manage to yield some moments of truth. You will have to stick with the rather long – nearly two-hour-long, to be exact – film to get at the forbidden fruit.  Inside, however, are gems that reveal Madonna’s reverence and somewhat strained relationship with her dad, the sadness she locks away for the loss of her mother, and the true friendships she develops with her dancers and backup singers.

From the wet rainy season in Japan through a threatened arrest in Toronto for indecency on stage to the big flashy nights across America and sparkling tour in Europe (most of the live performance footage is captured in France), the Blonde Ambition tour was harrowing and Truth or Dare depicts it all, the warts and the  glory.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Shot mostly in black and white with live performances in sparkling MTV-era color, Truth or Dare comes to Blu-ray from Miramax/Lionsgate in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement. I tried to determine what exactly was the original format for Truth or Dare, but I came up empty handed. It looks to me like the black and white sequences were done on 16mm and blown up to 35mm, giving them an extra grainy appearance, not unlike the technique employed for U2’s Rattle and Hum, which went from 8mm to 35mm, if I recall correctly. It doesn’t exactly yield the greatest high definition results, but I’d say it looks about what it should look like. More disappointing are the color sequences, obviously filmed at higher resolution. Of course, filming live stage performances are always going to be difficult, but here, Miramax has once again disappointed with what looks like just an average transfer that doesn’t extract as much detail as it should, some source damage like specks of dirt and so on that pop up frequently enough to be a nag, and there are inconsistent levels of grain and blacks.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

At least the audio is enjoyable for this release. While it is certainly not as bombastic as it may have been were this a modern concert film, the live performance sequences yield a pleasurable amount of musical bass tones and stereo separation across the front with good ambience in the surround channels. Madonna’s vocals are loud and clear in the center. The documentary sequences, as one might expect, collapse into something a lot more dry and down to earth, but still sound natural and clean.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0.5/5]

The supplements are simply two theatrical trailers for Truth or Dare.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

The Material Girl’s classic concert film reemerges on Blu-ray to school a new generation about dance, music, and manipulating the media. Too bad the release can’t truly be claimed as a reference A/V release.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00755646W[/amazon-product]

Purchase Madonna: Truth or Dare on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

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