Showgirls appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While not stellar, the transfer was more than satisfactory.
For the most part, sharpness looked solid. Occasional wide shots demonstrated a little softness, but not to a tremendous degree. Most of the movie seemed pretty concise. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I also saw no problems with edge enhancement. As for print flaws, the film demonstrated a few speckles but nothing extreme.
Colors generally seemed rich and deep, with excellent saturation and few signs of problems. The only concerns occurred during the fairly frequent scenes that depict colored lighting. At times, these appeared a bit noisy and hazy. It's not a terrible concern but it's a slight distraction nonetheless. Black levels were thoroughly dense and dark, and shadow detail appeared nicely opaque but never overly thick. The mix of minor concerns sent this one to ďBĒ territory, but it was still satisfying.
I also felt positively about the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Showgirls. The soundfield seemed terrifically involving throughout virtually the entire film. In quieter moments, ambient effects helped reinforce the mood, but the best parts were during the louder scenes; that was when the track really kicked into high gear. Primarily these occurred during the many segments that featured music.
Between nightclubs, parties, and the Vegas shows themselves, loud music was a near-constant partner in this movie, and the soundtrack helped blast it with "you are there" realism. Not only did the songs fly from all five channels, but also they present a quality that made them seem natural. The audio didn't engulf the listener randomly but instead created an atmosphere that resembled the dynamics of the depicted venues, so that music in a club had the boomy echo of audio in an actual club. It all worked very well.
Quality was also strong. Dialogue consistently seemed pretty natural and warm, with no intelligibility issues. I detected a slight bit of distortion from the speech at times, but this seemed mild. Effects were crisp and clear and appeared nicely realistic. Music was bright and bold and always sounded appropriate for the on-screen setting.
Bass seemed positive, though I must admit it's a minor disappointment that it didn't use the LFE channel. This usually didnít cause any concerns, but I thought some elements - especially rock music - lacked great depth. Most of the mix featured fine bass, but it could have been warmer at times. Nonetheless, the track presented a lively presence that fared nicely.
How did the picture and audio of this Blu-ray compare to those of the 2004 DVD? The audio seemed similar, but the visuals showed the expected Blu-ray improvements. The DVD looked very good for its format, but the Blu-ray was definitely better defined and clearer.
The Blu-ray includes all of the disc-based extras from the VIP Edition. We start with an audio commentary from Showgirls expert David Schmader, who provides a running, screen-specific chat. Apparently Schmader runs annotated screenings of the flick during which he chats about it as it proceeds. I guess he saves the good material for the paying customers, as his commentary seems less than scintillating.
Expect almost no information about the filmís creation. Schmader tosses out a handful of remarks about some cut sequences as well as Verhoevenís motivation and thatís about it. Otherwise he simply snickers at the movie and makes fun of it.
Thatíd be fine if he offered more entertaining statements. His cracks tend to be fairly lame and obvious, and he also fails to speak much of the time. Schmader remains silent during the vast majority of the film. I donít know if thatís good or bad; since what he says seems so pointless, I canít imagine this painful commentary would fare better if he talked more frequently. Anyway, skip this dud unless you canít live without a screening of Showgirls narrated by a mostly unfunny MST3K wannabe.
Another viewing option appears via a trivia track. With this activated, little blurbs pop up throughout the movie. They concentrate on facts connected to different parts of the film like Vegas and its shows as well as notes about the movie and its participants. These incorporate some nice tidbits about the flick and even toss in occasional catty comments from those involved as well as from the trackís writers. The track balances information about the movie and external factors to become a fun and useful discussion, and itís one of the better trivia tracks Iíve seen. It certainly outdoes the silly audio commentary; at least when this one jabs the film, it does so in clever and amusing ways.
Pole Dancing: Finding Your Inner Stripper goes for 11 minutes, 54 seconds and features notes from S Factor Director of Curriculum Development Teri Jaworski. She tells us a little about the stripper-based fitness regimen her organization advocates and then teaches some movements. This basically feels like a long ad for S Factor; it doesnít serve much additional purpose.
More activity from dancers comes via a Lap-Dance Tutorial. In this four-minute and 55-second featurette, two dancers tell us the methods they use to provide good lap dances. Their notes come accompanied by snippets from the film and some shots of the two Scores dancers in action. Itís a pretty silly extra.
In addition to the filmís trailer, the disc presents A Showgirls Diary. This offers four featurettes that each concentrates on different scenes. They run between two minutes, eight seconds and three minutes, 25 seconds for a total of 10 minutes, 46 seconds of footage. They incorporate shots of director Paul Verhoevenís script - annotated with little drawings - plus movie snippets and footage from the set. These seem moderately interesting and thatís about it; the material from the shoot is fun, but we donít get a lot of it.
The second disc offers a Bonus DVD. This replicates the release from 2004, which means it includes a feature absent from the Blu-ray: a brief video commentary from some strippers at the Scores nightclub. They chat solely during the main scene at the strip club; they first pop up at the 20:40 mark and they appear sporadically until 32:40. They watch the flick and comment on the reality of the strip scenes as well as their own experiences. An interesting tidbit or two shows up, but most of their remarks seem banal.
I hate to have to pan a movie that provides a memorable dry-hump scene, but I'm afraid I must. Showgirls is a few minutes of campy fun surrounded by long stretches of glossy boredom. The Blu-ray offers good picture and sound along with some fairly mediocre extras. This is the best release of Showgirls to date, but it remains a silly movie.
To rate this film visit the original review of SHOWGIRLS