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Rock of Ages: Extended Edition Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French, Portuguese, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Only)
  • Subtitles: English (Theatrical Only), English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC  (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG-13 (Theatrical) R (Extended)
  • Run Time: 136 Mins. (Extended); 123 Mins. (Theatrical)
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: UltraViolet
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 9, 2012
  • List Price: $35.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

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:3/5]

Rock of Ages is a glitzy jukebox musical set in the “hair band” era of the 1980s. If the names of bands like Poison, Journey, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and Guns ‘n’ Roses spark memories for you, then you may well know what to expect when you go into this film. Director Adam Shankman’s big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name comes replete with the big musical numbers, MTV-era productions, and Reagan-era excesses one should be expecting, as well as the songs we all remember, like them or not.

At the center of the story is Sherrie (Julianne Hough), a small town girl from Oklahoma who leaves home and travels to Los Angeles with dreams of hitting it big as a singer. There she meets Drew (Diego Boneta), frontman for a rock band working as a bartender at the Sunset Strip’s famous Bourbon Club. Drew helps her get a gig there as a waitress and the two begin a romance, as the club’s owner is struggling to keep the club afloat, banking on an upcoming final gig by the band Arsenal, whose unreliable frontman Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise channeling his character from Magnolia) is planning to go solo. Meanwhile, ambition from a ruthless politician (Bryan Cranston) puts more pressure on the club as he sets his pious wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) loose to go after the club and heavy metal music with her groups of religious organizations in order to cleanup the Strip.

There’s no doubt that the musical numbers are mostly well thought out, even if their humor is at times obviously forced. Zeta-Jones at one point leads a group of religious “soccer moms” in a half-suggestive rendition of “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” in front of a poster of a codpiece-wearing Tom Cruise. It comes across as both obvious, and weird. The central love story between Sherrie and Drew is cool as ice, even as they are given many numbers together, the chemistry is never squeezed out of them from Shankman, which makes the entire film fall flat. The best moments come from Paul Giamatti as Stacee Jaxx’ smarmy manager and the over-the-top love sequences between Cruise and Rolling Stone journalist Constance (Malin Akerman).

What’s going to happen here is, since Rock of Ages fails to build up any sort of story anyone can really care about, you’ll either like it (not love it) or hate it, depending on whether or not you liked this music then, now, or ever.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

Rock of Ages was an original high definition production, captured using the Arri Alexa at 2.8K resolution. The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement on Blu-ray from Warner looks magnificent, with no evident digital artifacts like posterization or color banding, it has strong contrast with inky blacks, and colors that really pop. Textural details are rather sharp while shadows are nuanced.

Audio Quality

[Rating:5/5]

This DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) offering does a really good job at capturing the audacious arena anthem atmosphere of the musical performances, even managing to ping some instrumentation across the front and surround channels occasionally for something a little more engaging than just a straightforward concert sound. Dynamically, it is big when need be, but also gets the little sounds and dialogue just right. Low frequencies are weighty, but musical rather than unwieldy and explosive.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

Rock of Ages is packed with high definition featurettes featuring the big hair bands of the ’80s whose music is prominently featured in Rock of Ages, the cast and crew of the film, and much more.

The supplements:

  • Extended and Theatrical Cuts
  • Short Feature: Rock of Ages: Legends of Sunset Strip (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:29:56) – Hosted by Bret Michaels. Hear from rockstars – Def Leppard, Poison, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Twisted Sister, and more – as they relive the music and vibe of the extraordinary Sunset Strip.
  • Short Feature: The Stories We Sing (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:53) – Find out the real stories and crazy events that inspired your favorite power ballads and rock anthems of the ’80s.
  • Behind the Scenes: Defining a Decade (1.78:1; 1080p/24):
  • Intro (00:25) – Hosted by Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta
  • The ’80s Look (03:57) – Don’t call Rock of Ages a period movie! Check out the flawlessly researched and spellbinding look of rock and roll in the ’80s.
  • It’s All About the Moves (07:35) – Adam Shankman knows choreography and for the moves, he turned to famed choreographer Mia Michaels.
  • Stripping Miami (04:38) – Recreate the Hollywood sign and the Sunset Strip of the ’80s.
  • The Tease (04:13) – The hair was everything in the ’80s. The bigger the better,, and sometimes it was the guys that had bigger hair than the girls.
  • If You Build It, They Will Rock It (03:02) – A look at the historical significance of the real “Sunset Strip” clubs in the ’80s and how they shaped the design of the “Bourbon Room” in the movie.
  • Connection to the Music (04:32) – Rockin’ to the music in its heyday, or singing it for the first time – hear the cast talk about their personal connection with the music of Rock of Ages.
  • So it Started in a Bar (07:12) – From a small underdog show to the big lights of New York City, join Constantine Maroulis (American Idol/Tony Nominated in Rock of Ages) and others as they tell the story behind the creation of the five-time tony nominated, broadway phenomenon Rock of Ages.
  • Music Video: Any Way You Want It (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 02:40) – Featuring Mary J. Blige, Constantine Maroulis and Julianne Hough
  • Rock of Ages Musical Numbers
  • DVD
  • UltraViolet

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Rock of Ages fails to really shine, despite its glitzy production, big musical productions and familiar tunes. With the hit and miss humor, lack of a compelling story and, let’s face it rather tame rendition of the rock excesses, this one is a bit of a disappointment. Rent it.

Additional Screen Captures

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[amazon-product]B005LAIHRC[/amazon-product]

Purchase Rock of Ages on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Rock of Ages: Extended Edition

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B009GEPPYC[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B005LAIHRC[/amazon-product]

Purchase Rock of Ages on Blu-ray Combo Pack at CD Universe

Rock of Ages: Extended Edition

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

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