Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 22, 2011)
As a kid in the late 1970s, Sport Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue was a gift from heaven. If you weren’t old enough for Playboy or the like, the swimsuit issue granted you the opportunity to ogle super-hot women in the nearly-altogether.
Though the market now offers thousands more opportunities for kids – and adults – to get their hot lady fix, the SI swimsuit edition keeps on keeping on, as evidenced by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2011, a video documentary connected to that issue’s shoot. In this one, we see and hear from three models: Irina Shayk, Julie Henderson, and Alyssa Miller.
We also get a few notes from photographer Bjorn Iooss, but the emphasis – logically – remains on the models. We get a few behind the scenes images of the shoot, but we mostly see the models wander around tropical settings and smile or pout at the camera.
As I alluded at the start of this review, the girl-ogling marketplace has changed radically since my childhood. With so many other options – so many of which are much more revealing than the swimsuit issue – does SI’s annual calling card still serve a purpose?
Yeah – to a degree, at least. The SI swimsuit issue’s main appeal comes from the classiness of the project. It boasts immaculate production values and top-notch photography, so it always looks amazing.
And the models are awfully stunning. You’ll find virtually no silicone on display in SI, and that means a lot to some of us. As dazzling as they are, most of the models still look real; they’re not plastic fantastic Pam Anderson approximations of women. Of course, each viewer will have his faves, but it’s impossible to find any models who are less than gorgeous.
So I still appreciate and enjoy the SI issue, but I’m not quite as wild about this documentary. Granted, I can’t observe one of the Blu-ray’s big selling points: its 3D presentation. I don’t have a 3D TV or player, so I had to opt for the included 2D version.
Because of that, I was somewhat reluctant to review the title – after all, I couldn’t watch the show in its full glory. But hey, 2D guys like hot babes too, and since 3D buyers make up such a small percentage of the market, I figured there’d be a logical reason to review it without the 3D side.
I’d be curious to see the show in 3D, but I can’t imagine the extra depth would add a lot. That’s what Swimsuit opts to do: just use the 3D for a bit of extra dimensionality and “you are there” feeling. It’s not like the models thrust their boobs at the camera or do anything that would appear to pop out of the screen.
For the 2D viewer, that’s a good thing, as it means Swimsuit never shoots for silly 3D elements. Really, I can’t see anything here that would differentiate the cinematography from a traditional 2D presentation. As a 2D viewer, I can see how the program uses the 3D for depth, but it still works perfectly fine as a 2D image.
As beautiful as the models are, though, there’s just not a lot on display to make Swimsuit particularly interesting. It’s not especially good as a documentary. We get fairly banal comments from the models and Iooss; these offer a smattering of information about the SI experience, but don’t expect to really learn much more than it’s an honor and it’s awesome.
Despite all the lovely eye candy on display, Swimsuit tends to be a bit of a bore. There’s a definite sameness to the situations; we see the women wander through similar settings with similar motions and similar expressions. Okay, Henderson smiles more than Miller and Shayk, but still, there’s not a lot of variety here. Each year, SI in a wide variety of locations – why not give us scenes from a few others to spice things up a bit?
At no point does Swimsuit 2011 become a bad program; it’s hard to really dislike 30 minutes of well-photographed super-hot bikini models. Nonetheless, it also never turns into anything especially engaging. It’s a mild, pleasant diversion and nothing more.