"The Dictator" debuts in Blu-ray format via a combo pack called the Banned and Unrated Edition. This two-disc set consists of a Blu-ray disc and a DVD housing two HD cuts of the film, as well as its SD and UV digital copies. The movie brings back the outrageous tandem of producer, writer, and actor Sasha Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles who also helmed the comedian's gross-out mockumentaries "Borat" and "Bruno." Again, for this third risqué outing from the tandem, they explore many provocative themes that basically make fun of anything within reach. This political comedy also stars Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, Chris Parnell, Jessica St. Clair, and Jason Mantzoukas.
This liberal parody presents a fair amount of insulting humor meant to offend just about everyone it can, as often as possible. Its screwball nature depicts the life of the iron-fisted dictator Admiral General Alaadeen whose absurd ways showcase an endless array of politically and culturally incorrect, racist, sexist, and graphic jokes. The story follows his regime in the oil-rich North African country of Wadiya. Upon reaching New York for an official visit, his travel goes awry with a botched assassination attempt.
This proficient and stable transfer is pretty much what the public would expect for a recent big-budget flick. This HD version handles the movie's opulent residences, iconic skylines, and busy street locations quite well. It captures the finely nuanced details of its main settings including the Wadiya palace and landscapes, New York City streets, and an American organic market.
From its shadow details to its dazzling and even palette, its visual elements consistently look sharp and well-defined. The rich and steady colors and excellent contrast give a nice pop to the picture. Except for some light banding and a touch of shimmering, no crucial visual anomalies plague the images.
The film's five-channel surround track turns out sufficient for the movie's relatively simple sonic requirements. As a pretty basic sound mix meant for a comedy, the lossless track maintains a fairly immersive environment with good low-end support and a decent-to-fine hint of surround activity. The side and rear speakers aptly work on the music and atmospheric components, particularly the chanting of crowds and passing traffic and pedestrians. There is wonderful clarity to the even and clear speaking lines. The disc set also provides alternative five-channel dubbed mixes in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
This Blu-ray edition supplies a fluffy assortment of extras including a reel of deleted and extended scenes, the Aladeen music video for "Your Money is on the Dresser," and the longer version of the Larry King interview video, which is briefly used in one part of the movie. Subtitle options are available in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
"The Dictator" is a more-than-serviceable fare for the not easily offended. The vulgarity of its comic edge is often distasteful and nonsensical. From its insensitive, laugh-out-loud antics about Kim Jong-Il and the 9/11 to its crotch shots and genital-baring stunts, this love-it or hate-it piece lives and breathes gross humor.
The story's narrative flow stumbles in some scenes. Yet, the film works as a hilariously goofy satire of international politics, a biting criticism of America, and a lowbrow examination of what democratic ideals and corporate capitalism bring to the society. Its sarcastic portrait of a generic dictator clearly delivers the unorthodox brand of comedy that Baron Cohen has already established for himself. This makes it the type of scatological fun offering that best serves those who are willing to embrace his lewd-savvy gags.