"Body Heat" Blu-ray Review

October 16, 2008 by Zach Demeter

Traveling all the way from 1981, Body Heat arrives on Blu-ray with the same features as the 2006 DVD Deluxe Edition release. This time around fans of the emotional thriller can witness all of the sweat, passion and scandal in high-definition, with a VC-1 encoded 1.85:1 1080p transfer and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track bringing the film to life like never before. Thereís no denying the chemistry that Body Heat produces and fans of the film will be sure to want to add this to their collection.

William Hurt and Kathleen Turner strike sparks in Lawrence Kasdanís Body Heat, a sexy, haunting tale of desire and skullduggery that echoes 1940s film noirs but is charged with an energy and passion that could only flare in the Ď80s. Aided by a sultry John Barry score, Kasdanís assured directorial debut foreshadowed the emotional textures he could bring to later films The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist and Grand Canyon. Sit back and bask in this contemporary classicís wicked warmth.

Body Heat was a film Iíd never heard of and questioned just what this Blu-ray title was that I was holding. Being born quite a few years after this film debuted in theaters and not being big into romantic thrillers of this nature, I simply had never heard of this film in the least. I researched it a bit before watching the film so Iíd know what to expect going into the film, which helped the flashback to the 80s seem less jarring. Itís easy to see why this film kicked up so much heat in theaters, as the chemistry between our two leads is definitely felt, although being a bit out of this films audience, I found myself remarking that this movie is really just a big time soap opera that would fit quite well on the Lifetime network.

The most intriguing bit of this film is the film noir feel it has to it. Despite being relatively modern in nature, the way the story unfolds does fit perfectly in the 1940s era that the films description mentions. From the mixture of dialogue and characters we get some very tense and sordid sequences out of the film, all adding to the scandalous feeling of that the film gives off so well. Not to mention William Hurt as the womanizing and loser lawyer who does all he can to keep his affair going with Kathleen Turner, a married woman.

Well into the movie, after our characters are established, we get into the plot of murdering Turnerís characters husband, a plot that envelopes the rest of the film. I must say I did find this bit engaging, but the events that followed up to it did tend to drag a bit too much for my liking. I simply donít find films of this nature all that entertaining and Iíve gotten enough forbidden love stories that are mixed in with perfectly good films that donít spend so long setting the story up. Although the film is far from what Iíd consider ďmy thingĒ, I really do see the appeal of it, although Iím curious why I hadnít heard of it until the Blu-ray showed up if it had so many fans.

Although not a film Iíd rush out and see, William Hurt and Kathleen Turnerís performances in this film, Turnerís debut and one of Hurtís first ďbigĒ films, really are worth checking out. Itís amazing that two relative unknowns, at the time of its production, were able to pop off the screen in such a big way together. The chemistry is definitely there and you feel it every time theyíre on screen togetheróboth in and out of bed.

Overall Body Heat is a classic and I doubt Iíll sway anyoneís opinions otherwise. I didnít grow up with it and Iím simply not in its demographic so I canít offer an opinion based on anything but my personal feelings towards it. Recommended for those who havenít seen it and check out Lifetime regularly, but if you arenít in that area then Iíd just pass on by unless youíre looking to add a film like this to diversify your Blu-ray collection.

The Blu-ray
Body Heat arrives on Blu-ray in a standard Elite casing with an insert telling you to update your player and the disc itself which mimics the cover art. As with all Warner Blu-ray titles, the film auto-plays so the menu here is very simple and relegated to a pop-up.

The aforementioned VC-1 encoded 1.85:1 transfer holds up quite well for the duration of the film. Thereís quite a bit of grain sprinkled about the film, but that just means they didnít get DNR happy with it. From the opening sequence youíre able to watch the sweat beads roll down the characters faces and all of the little facial details and clothing pieces all look fantastic. There are a few moments where things can get a bit smeared over looking, but theyíre minimal; the film itself maintains a ďhazyĒ look throughout, but Iím more inclined to say thatís something they wanted for the film and not an issue with the transfer itself. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is also clean and clear, with the majority of the dialogue coming out of the front channels, although on occasion there is some surround activity in areas like the diner, bar and restaurant. Minimal noises, but thereís still something.

As previously mentioned the extras on this set are the same as the 2006 DVD release. First is the three-part documentary ďThe PlanĒ, ďThe ProductionĒ and ďThe Post-productionĒ (43:30). All of the major players return, including Hurt, Turner and Ted Danson, as well as director Kasdan, composer John Barry and a few other crew as well. Theyíre great little extras, but they seem to be a bit light on theÖI donít know how to even describe it. They obviously enjoyed working on the film, but their enthusiasm for talking about it just doesnít seem to be there.

Vintage interviews (12:29) are included as well with Turner and Hurt. Watching these extras you get a sense that Hurt is a bitÖstrange, but I guess thatís just who the man is. Some deleted scenes (9:30) and a theatrical trailer wrap up the extras.

This is quite an impressive release for a film I hadnít heard of previously, but it clearly had an influence at its time. Nowadays there are so many films that likely fed off of this one that itís hard to tell them apart, but Body Heat does have some originality left in it for what itís worth. Recommended.

Body Heat is now available on Blu-ray.

 

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