I had mixed emotions about seeing Tropic Thunder because I feared that the theatrical trailer revealed the funniest momentswhich, unfortunately, turned out to be mostly true. Ben Stiller and Jack Black aren't two of my favorite actors, but Robert Downey Jr.'s performance as an African American is worth the price of admission. Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey deliver some laughs in their supporting roles as a studio head and agent.
Paramount delivers another fantastic AVC encode with rich colors, three-dimensional depth, and impeccable detail. Black levels are inky and deep, providing ample shadow detail, especially leading up to the third act when the men are planning their rescue mission while sitting around a campfire. Contrast is slightly pumped up on occasion in an otherwise beautifully rendered 1080p presentation.
Even though the production falls into the comedic category, it doesn't forget the action genre it is satirizing one bit, delivering a great audio experience with its fantastic Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. The opening scene depicts a Vietnam-era battle with a trio of helicopters sweeping into a battlefield on a rescue mission, and the "whup-whup-whup" of the chopper blades encompass the room. Dialog is mostly crisp and clear, although there were moments when Robert Downey Jr.'s lines sounded a bit mumbled and unintelligible. Panning effects populate the track and move seamlessly from speaker to speaker.
The extensive collection of supplements includes separate crew and cast commentaries, some behind-the-scenes production featurettes (HD), deleted/extended scenes (HD), a gag real (HD), and a short piece from the MTV Movie Awards (SD). The best of the bunch is the mockumentary "Rain of Madness" (HD), which offers up a plethora of laughs. Rounding things out is some BD-Live content that consists of the deleted scenes from "Rain of Madness," some video rehearsals, and a few additional outtakes.
Satirical films are hit or miss with me, and this one mostly missed until the third act. The presentation is fantastic, and the mockumentary in the supplements is extremely funny. I'm not sure how well this would play a second time through, so the rental route is probably the way to go.
Release Date: November 18, 2008
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo Pro 85 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector