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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 1/18/00

The Thomas Crown Affair
1999 (1999) - MGM/UA

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) Film Rating: A

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/A/B-

Specs and Features

113 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, full frame (1.33:1), dual-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, commentary with director John McTiernan, 2 theatrical trailers (for the 1968 and 1999 version of the film), 8-page booklet, film-themed menu screens with animation and sound, scene access (36 chapters), languages: English & French (DD 5.1) and English (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and French, Closed Captioned

Who would have thought that a sequel to an ultra-hip, ultra-cool heist flick would surpass the original in terms of coolness. I mean man -- the 1968 version of The Thomas Crown Affair is a smooth movie. But somehow, Pierce Brosnan takes a turn that is both cooler than Bond and cooler than McQueen. I would have never guessed.

The Thomas Crown Affair follows a super rich guy by the name of, you guessed it, Thomas Crown. It would appear that flying gliders, picking up and travelling the world and having sporadic love affairs with beautiful ladies isn't enough for Mr. Crown. He needs the adrenal rush of stealing. Not your everyday convenience store shoplifting mind you -- this guy clips painting worth $100 million right off the walls of museums. In walks Rene Russo, as a bounty hunter/insurance investigator that figures out his little plan and plops herself right down into his life (keeping her friends close but her enemies even closer, if you know what I mean). The film is very fun, and there are a few hold-your-breath moments when you're trying to figure out exactly what this Crown guy is up to and how Russo plans to catch him. Denis Leary also makes a fine appearance against type, as a frustrated detective working with Russo. I probably don't have to recommend this film to everyone, but I don't think there's anyone this movie won't appeal to.

MGM/UA does good DVD special editions, and this one is right up there. It's not big on the production side, but presentation-wise it's a nice disc. The menu screens are full of animation and life, there are a pair of trailers for the two versions of the film (1968 and 1999), and you get the standard production booklet and a commentary track. John McTiernan (who gave us Die Hard, Hunt For Red October and Predator) can direct, but his track is kind of boring to listen to. He does give out some fun facts and work arounds for you to savor, like the fact that The Metropolitan Museum of Art didn't want to be referenced in the film because of security concerns... so he still used them as the facade and everyone KNOWS it's the Met. The way McTiernan tells the story is pretty funny, but he's just a bit too monotone and deadpan for a commentary (although I bet he's fun in person). The video and sound are both pretty good. The sound is better than the video though. I saw a few moments of digital artifacting that couldn't be attributed to grain, even right from the start. But there are only a few problem spots and they are quite forgettable -- so no worries. Plus you get dual anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions. The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is great, with a very active soundfield that definitely puts your sound system to work. From dance sequences with swirls of music to chirping alarms, you will experience this flick through the joys of sound.

The Thomas Crown Affair is a keeper on DVD, and is well worth checking out. I'm not a big Brosnan fan, and I'm probably still not much of one, but Crown is a cool dude made even cooler by Brosnan and DVD. Catch this one if you can.

Todd Doogan
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