Monday, December 28, 2020

Coming to America (1988) Paramount Pictures UHD Review

Coming to America (1988) Paramount Pictures 12/1/2020

Directed By: John Landis 

Starring: Eddie Murphy, James Earl Jones, Arsenio Hall, John Amos, Maggie Sinclair 

Disclaimer: Paramount Pictures has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 

    Just in time for the sequel Coming 2 America (2021), Paramount has re-released the original cult classic on UHD. A spoiled Prince named Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is supposed to marry his Queen. Only problem is he has grown bored with his pampered life. He sets off for New York City to find a woman for himself.  Coming to America has a huge cult following as a comedy classic of the decade. 

   The great irony is that, despite having a notoriously rocky relationship, Landis and Murphy really were a good fit. Moving my personal feelings on Landis aside, I will say that the man really did know how to construct biting, witty satire in his prime. And, this really works for Murphy's larger than life persona. Both this film and, Trading Places (1983) are savage critiques of class climbing and commercial excess that the '80's was known for. However, unlike Trading Places,  Coming to America does so without being overtly negative in it's world view and, this time around Murphy plays a more sympathetic role.  Akeem is such an endearing character that you cannot help but root for him and, this is where the film finds its emotional center. I mentioned that this movie was a pretty razor sharp comment on class systems and social climbing which was instilled into the ideal '80's lifestyle. Landis openly mocks this but also doesn't go as far as to outright damn it either. This having it's cake and eating it too is a minor complaint but one that never gets in the way of enjoying the films antics. Coming to America also smartly plays up this boarder line absurd sense of reality which is why I think it can get away with some more broad stereotypical aspects. In fact the trailer for the sequel dropped earlier this month and it seems that these elements will indeed make a come back.  Landis will not be returning to direct the follow up. 

  Coming to America is a  well directed and has the heart that I thought Trading Places sorely lacked. Not to mention a fantastic cast which refreshingly had an all African American characters in the lead roles. Notable early roles for Cuba Gooding Jr and Samuel L. Jackson. I will be excited to see if Coming 2 America will be able to capture that same kind of magic as the first film. 

Picture: Coming to America is really stunning on UHD. The colors are so vivid and well maintained throughout. It retains a lot of detail in things like clothing texture and locales. Grain is smooth and also well balanced giving a fresher look than its 1080p sibling. This movie has a lot of great production design that is really fantastically utilized with this upgrade. Landis is said to have supervised this HDR which tells me Paramount did not half ass this product. 

Sound: Similar to the picture, Coming to America has a powerful DTS 5.1 lossless track. Sound is robust and in my opinion offers a complex sound experience. Here we can a nice 3d and nicely spaced track that is really a joy. 

Extras: This edition ports over the features from the 30th HD presentation and includes: 

Prince-ipal Photography: The Coming Together of America, Fit For Akeem: The Costumes of Coming to America, Character Building: The Many Faces of Rick Baker, Composing America: The Musical Talents of Nile Rodgers, A Vintage Sit-Down with Eddie & Arsenio, Theatrical Trailer

Sure it would have been nice to get maybe a new interview but, even if you own the HD this UHD is well worth the double dip in my opinion. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice review, I definitely agree with the video review. It's really impressive.