Blu-ray Review: ‘Magic Mike’

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"Magic Mike" arrives on a two-disc combo pack consisting of a Blu-ray disc and a DVD. This disc set houses the film's HD, SD, and UV digital copies, as well as a handful of bonus materials. This 2012 Steven Soderbergh offering originated from a prior conversation between the director and his "Haywire" actor Channing Tatum. Soderbergh became quite intrigued by Tatum's life as a former stripper and he saw the potential for a movie from it. Interesting as it sounds, this Tatum vehicle works as a loosely autobiographical spin that rightfully adds to his prolific filmography that already includes "21 Jump Street," "Step Up," "The Vow," "Dear John," and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra."

Operating as a jovial dark comedy and drama, this film revolves around the world of male stripping set in a rowdy strip club in Tampa, Florida. It pits three generations of strippers who have their own reasons and aspirations in making a career out of G-strings and lap dances. For the lead character Mike played by Tatum, he must confront certain issues and responsibilities both inside and outside the strip club, including his inability to develop relationships deeper than sex and his determination to fulfill his dream to establish his own furniture-making company. The film also stars Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn, Cody Horn, Matt Bomer, and James Martin Kelly.

Visuals

A yellow cast in the outdoor day scenes dominates the film's stylized palette, while vibrant blues, reds, and purples are reserved for the hazy, dream-like club scenes. Soderbergh aptly balances the picture's grit and gloss to create satisfying depth and texture for the story's tropical Tampa setting and the titillating stripping scenes of oiled and chiseled men dancing around hot stage lights. The HD transfer kicks up color and detail to highlight rippling muscles, manly stubbles, and skimpy costumes. Blacks and shadows are never flat and the many flashing lights in club scenes maintain the images' well-resolved textures and crisp edges. Shots are also devoid of artifacts coming from excessive digital processing or manipulation, as well as serious instances of aliasing, ringing, banding, and other digital anomalies.

Audio

The movie delivers an infectious five-channel lossless soundtrack, along with a stereo option and five-channel foreign dubs in Spanish and French. The dance sequences take advantage of the club-centric mix that consistently pumps out pulsating low-end beats with aggressive rear and surround support. This provides the audience with the feeling of being right in the middle of the action. Amidst the varying instances of pounding bass, the audio track never overwhelms the dialogue. Ambient effects and interior acoustics are often involving with no significant clipping, hissing, and other aural flaws plaguing the presentation.

Supplements

The disc's supplements include the behind-the-scene featurette "Backstage on Magic Mike," the dance sequences reel "Dance Play Mode," and a collection of three extended dances in "Extended Dance Sequences." Subtitles are available in English SDH, Spanish, and French.

Final Thoughts

For all its sizzles and flashes, "Magic Mike" should please those finding it an eye candy to see male strippers doing what they do best. With a solid script, capable performances, and a slightly unconventional indie hook to it, this darkly humorous cautionary tale looks good for what it is. As a slightly flawed but entertaining piece, it becomes a little more substantial than what is typically expected of a commercially released stripping-themed movie.

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