|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Tuesday, 22 June 2010|
"Showgirls" is presented here as a 15th anniversary, Sinsational Edition. However, there isn't anything new here in terms of what the film reveals. That is probably because the film already revealed everything possible, both in terms of some sort of a resemblance of a story and every girl's body part imaginable.
Paul Verhoeven has had an illustrious career. He has spread himself throughout the genres of the filmmaking. "Total Recall," "Basic Instinct, "Hollow Man," and a Sarah Brightman Video are all quite distinct. And well most all of his work is held in high regard, "Showgirls" is his paycheck film. Fresh off the heels of "Basic Instinct," a tantalizing tale, comes "Showgirls" a skin flick and not much more.
However, the real question is, "When does a film become so bad that it almost turns good again?" "Showgirls" is walking that line. Anyone watching this film is watching either because they have accepted the cheesy nature of the story or simply want to see naked girls everywhere. As for me, I was only able to make it about half way through the film. No matter how much I keep telling myself that the film is a farce, I just can't seem to stay tuned in.
The film portrays Las Vegas as the town of hookers, strippers and cheesy stage shows that it really isn't. That aside, Verhoeven tries to deliver every detail of a girl's struggle in Las Vegas. Upon first arriving in the city she is taken for everything that she owns. Luckily enough, despite her throwing a really annoying temper tantrum, she is taken in by a woman who works for Stardust as a seamstress. Flash forward. Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) is working at the Cheetah, a sleazy strip joint. As she continues to act like a two-year old she gets into trouble quite often.
When the lead star of the show, "Goddess" at the Stardust, Cristal (Gina Gershon) takes a liking to Nomi, she gets her an audition for the chorus line in the show. The rest of the film seems to be about fake relationships, sleeping your way to the top, shoving girls down stairs to create opportunities, and let's not forget an out of the blue graphic rape sequence.
After re-watching "Showgirls" for the first since its initial release I found that it is just as corny as I remember, just as full of skin as I remember and somehow still watchable, at least for a little while anyway. I can't really make heads or tails of this film, but I think the lack of any real cohesive story makes this more a late-night skinemax film than anything else.
In terms of the video quality, you have never seen "Showgirls" looking this good before. Except for a few scratches here or there and some general age, the video transfer is near perfect. Colors are stunning. The Las Vegas strip is well defined and vibrant in each shot. Neon signs abound all have nicely balanced brightness and contrast levels. Fleshtones, which is very important in a film like this, ahem, are natural and inviting. Black levels are strong but don't crush the details. Figures and details still remain readily apparent in the shadows. There is no evidence of artifacting, digital noise reduction is very slight and edge enhancement is never noticeable if it was performed on this transfer. The source print is in terrific shape. It surprises how could of a condition the print was kept in after all these years. There is some slight wear to the image but nothing distracting. This is truly a magnificent transfer.
Likewise, the audio blew me away. I simply was not expecting a power track with lots of activity. However, from the moment the film opens swerving trucks cause quite an ordeal. The LFE is strong throughout, whether it be music or sound effects. Speaking of the music, the stage show music tracks are incredible. They are details and fill up the soundscape. I truly did not expect this. Dialogue is crystal clean and always intelligible. It is well prioritized throughout. Dynamics are better than I would have expected. This film certainly does not sound like it was from the mid 90s. Surround activity is aggressive. Discreet ambience and music always fills the surround channels.
"Showgirls" comes in a two-disc set. The primary disc is the Blu-ray, which houses the main feature and most of the special features. "Pole Dancing: Finding Your Inner Stripper" is an instructional piece of pole dancing as exercise. "Lap Dance: Tutorial Featuring the World-Famous Girls of Scores" is another instructional piece, 10 steps to lapdancing. "The Greatest Film Ever Made" is the title of the audio commentary by writer David Schmader. This is a fun track that just makes fun of the film. "A Showgirls Diary" gives us some storyboards and on set footage. There is a pop-up trivia track that also makes jokes about the film. Finally, the disc also has a theatrical trailer. The second disc is a DVD Copy of the film.
"Showgirls" is according to the writer, "The most misunderstood piece of art in the 20th century." I don't know if this is really true, and I am sure that David said this as a joke, but "Showgirls" seems to just be another skin flick that tried to be another "Basic Instinct." However, if you are willing to watch the film, the video and audio qualities are outstanding. With those I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. So, in the end, I recommend the disc not the film.