The Thomas Crown Affair is one of the best movies John McTiernan ever made, features awesome supporting work by Denis Leary and Rene Russo’s breasts, and contains what’s arguably Pierce Brosnan’s finest performance. The film just arrived on BluRay, and there’s a good chance that– if you’re already a fan of the film– you’ve got a copy already in the lowly DVD format. So, is The Thomas Crown Affair worth a double dip? If you don’t have the DVD version, should you pick up this fancy new one? Find out after the jump, my precious snowflakes.
I’ve been a fan of The Thomas Crown Affair since it came out. It’s one of those movies that didn’t set the box office on fire, one that you rarely hear anyone talking about, but it’s just an entertainment machine. McTiernan’s packed so much awesome into TTCA‘s 113 minutes that it takes a few viewings for it all to sink in. Here’s a film that features a Trojan horse-inspired museum robbery, Pierce Brosnan wrecking a massive sailboat in rough waters just for the fun of it, one of the best sex scenes ever committed to film, another robbery you didn’t know was happening when the first robbery was taking place, genuine sexual tension between its leads, awesome supporting work from Rescue Me‘s Denis Leary, and– to cap it all off– one of the most thrilling heist/climax scenes around. Whew.
But McTiernan pulls it all off with aplomb, and the film only gets better on further viewings. I’ve seen this flick about a dozen times over the years– it’s the kinda movie that’s fun to show to people who’ve never seen it, like The Usual Suspects– and am still not bored with it. When it was announced that TTCA was headed to BluRay, I perked up: I’d love to see what the film looks like in 1080p, and my DVD copy was just worn down enough that a purchase seemed reasonable. Of course, MGM was kind enough to send Collider a copy for review, so purchasing the flick wasn’t necessary. But now, having seen the print and having revisited TTCA for the first time in a couple years, I’m happy to announce that this is a double-dip that’s surely worth it for fans of the film.
Perhaps you’ve never heard of TTCA. Let’s do a quick recap of the plot, just for those that are totally unfamiliar with this one: Pierce Brosnan is Thomas Crown, a billionaire whose cutthroat boardroom skills have given him everything he could ever want. He just, y’know, likes to steal priceless paintings when the feeling moves him. After a particularly brilliant– and seemingly botched– heist in the film’s opening minutes, Crown is pursued by Rene Russo’s insurance investigator, Catherine. Catherine’s partnered up with Denis Leary, a NYC cop, and the film deals with how Russo’s able to get close to Brosnan– perhaps too close. Things all wrap up with a jaw-dropping heist of yet another famous painting, and after you’ve watched it you just kinda sit there, wondering how more people aren’t huge fans of this movie. It’s that kinda flick.
Let’s assume that, since the film was released back in 1999 (yeesh, that makes me feel ancient), you’ve had plenty of time to catch the flick. If you haven’t, you can rest assured that purchasing TTCA on BluRay sight-unseen is a perfectly reasonable decision. If you have, then you already know how rich this flick look in DVD form: McTiernan does some awesome work with black in this movie, not to mention the amazing museum/heist set-pieces and the “Crashing the Boat” sequence. Oh, and then there’s that tropical-locale sequence where Rene releases the Russo’s. These scenes will pop right the hell off, oh I dunno, a 55″ Plasma TV with optimized settings. Believe me: I’ve seen it. Simply put, the transfer is gorgeous and the film looks even more amazing than it did originally.
As is common these days, the BluRay comes with a second disc containing the film in standard format (love it when they do that), as well as audio commentary from McTiernan. It’s the same commentary that was on the former version, but still worth a listen for anyone that’s A) never heard it, or B) a fan of the film. Besides that, the disc is without extras. Not unless you count “Smart Menu Technology” as an extra, which you shouldn’t. This is kind of a shame, because the heist scenes are begging for featurettes showing you how McTiernan pulled off these wildly complicated sequences, but maybe they’re holding onto that for the 3D-10th-Anniversary-Rene-Russo’s-Awesome-Breasts edition that I’ve been campaigning for (it’ll happen, just give it time).
There’s not much more to say on this one. If you’re a fan of the film, and picture quality’s important to you, then you’re going to want to pick this one up– even if it does count as a double-dip within your collection. If you’ve never seen the film and want the best-looking version, this is the one to throw your money down on. Sure, the extras are scarce and the commentary aint’ the most thrilling one I’ve ever heard, but The Thomas Crown Affair is an immensely fun movie to watch, and the film alone is more than worth the cost of the disc. Buy it, folks.
If you or someone you love has just read this review and decided that you’d like to read more from the author, Scott Wampler can also be hunted down like the animal he is over at Examiner.com– where he’s the Comedy Examiner– or on-stage in comedy clubs and crappy bars all over Texas.