Trading Places – Blu-ray Review

Trading Places is a 1983 American comedy film that waas directed by John Landis and stars Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. It tells the story of an upper-class commodities broker and homeless street hustler whose lives-cross paths when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet. Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Denholm Elliot, and Jamie Lee Curtis also star in the film. The storyline is often called a modern take on Mark Twain’s classic 19th-century novel The Prince and the Pauper.

The film was written by Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod and was produced by Aaron Russo. It was released into theaters in North America on June 8, 1983, where it was distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film ended up earning over $90 million duuring its theatrical run in the United States, finishing as the fourth highest earning film of the year, and the second highest earning R-rated film of 1983.

Denholm Elliot and Jamie Lee Curtis won awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role, respectively, at the 37th British Academy Film Awards. The film was also nominated for several additional awards, including Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy at the 41st Golden Globe Awards.

The Film Itself (4/5):

Trading Places is a film that I had only heard about, and ultimately questioned whether or not I would enjoy it. When I saw it arrive at my doorstep, my interest was definitely piqued because I’m always down to visit an older film like this. This movie, gives audiences a considerably immense storyline to follow, and with the comedic natures of both Aykroyd and Murphy, allows for a laugh that can be shared by anyone and everyone who watches this. The story and overall experience gives audiences a completely “new” look at the age-old tale of The Prince and the Pauper that is semi-relatable and easily more understandable, I couldn’t help but find myself with my eyes locked onto my television from beginning to end.

Picture Quality (5/5):

The 35th anniversary release of Trading Places provides its viewers with a completely fresh and newly remastered visual experience into the crass comedic performances of the two titular characters that’s not only extremely clean and sharp, but enough to the point where it maintains that original feel that movies from the 80s had during their original release.  Watching through this movie with my wife the other night really allowed for us to see and experience this tale without having to increase focus or squint to make out what was happening on screen; and with the overall preservation of that old school feeling of the video presentation, you can really tell that the crew who worked on this release put in a damn good bit of work into this release.

Audio Quality (3.5/5):

Bundled with a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, Trading Places does everything that it can to offer audiences with a powerful and remastered audio experience.  While the audio is not as immersive as it could have been with a release like this and the technological capabilities of the format, I feel that they could have done a little bit better by putting some more time into the remastering of the audio track and at least gone with a DTS-MA 5.1 mix.  As I sat down with this film, I did find that I had to increase the volume on my receiver a little bit higher than normal to be able to hear everything cleanly; but other than that, it was cleanly presented, and the dialogue was able to be heard and understood without any other additional adjustments.

The Packaging (2.5/5):

The new Blu-ray release of Trading Places comes packaged in your standard single-disc Blu-ray amaray case.  Within that case is the standard Blu-ray copy of the film, the disc featuring absolutely no artwork that’s related to the film at all outside of the standard release text and generic blue background.  There are no DVD copies included with this release; however, there is a digital copy redemption pamphlet that’s been included for the various streaming options.  There is also a slipcover that’s been provided during the original pressing that features the same piece of artwork that’s provided on the case art.

  

Special Features (4/5):

The special features that’s included on the 35th anniversary release of Trading Places were surprisingly well dine in celebration of this film and its success that it’s had.  The content not only offers a nice look into the storyline to answer some of the questions that came up after watching it; but offers some of the behind the scenes look and experiences that were shared among cast and crew members.  The only thing that I think should have been included that wasn’t would definitely have to be an audio commentary to accompany the feature presentation.  Included with this release is:

  • Insider Trading: The Making Of Trading Places
  • Trading Stories
  • The Deleted Scene With Optional Audio Commentary By Executive Producer George Folsey, Jr.
  • Dressing The Part
  • The Trade In Trading Places
  • Trivia Pop-Ups
  • Industry Promotional Piece

Technical Specs:

Video

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio

English: Dolby Digital 5.1

French: Dolby Digital Mono

Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles

English, English SDH, French, Spanish

Runtime

Original Film: 116 minutes

Final Thoughts:

Normally, I wouldn’t have picked up a film like Trading Places as I tend to focus more on newer films when adding to my collection anymore.  But, given that I was given the chance to sit down to this film, I am really grateful for that because I had absolutely no idea in what I was missing by having not seen this film.  The comedic genius that’s behind both Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy blend extremely well with this age old tale and I couldn’t help but find myself smiling the entire time.  The visual presentation of the Blu-ray release is nicely done and you can tell there was a lot of effort put into that.  The audio, could have been better as it’s a lossy and very underpowered experience.  But, with a slight increase in the volume levels, everything is able to be heard and understood.  If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to add this release to your collection, I would definitely recommend it.  Especially since the price tag for it is more than reasonable.  Trading Places will be available on Blu-ray beginning on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.

Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.

 

Doug

Movie lover, technophile, moderator of /r/dvdcollection and just your average, everyday movie viewer. Haven't heard of our subreddit? Check us out!

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