Blu-ray Review: Rock of Ages (2012)

Rock of Ages Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Warner | DIRECTOR: Adam Shankman | CAST: Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Bryan Cranston, Malin Akerman, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 10/9/2012 | PRICE: DVD $22.97, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $35.99
BONUSES: featurettes
SPECS: PG-13/R | 123 min./136 min. | Musical | 2.4:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English, French, Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Rock of AgesAs is very aptly said in a featurette on the Blu-ray for Rock of Ages, “We didn’t want to make fun of the 80s, because the 80s does that by itself.” As is befitting of a musical about the 80s rock scene, this movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, piling on just the right amount of camp.

The film tells the story of rocker wannabes Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough, Burlesque) and Drew Boley (Diego Boneta, TV’s 90210), who find love in the famed Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard. They work for Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin, It’s Complicated), who runs a failing rock bar (a la the Whiskey A Go Go) with Lonny (Russell Brand, Arthur). To build business, Dupree tries to get a favor from rock agent Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti, The Ides of March) to bring aging rock star Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise, Top Gun) to perform at the club. Meanwhile, politician Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Traffic) is on a mission to shut down rock once and for all.

Mix in great songs from the era — including “Sister Christian,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “I Want to Know What Love Is,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” — and plenty of tongue-in-cheek comedy, and Rock of Ages is a rocking good time.

On Blu-ray all those songs sound brilliant. They’re sung by the actors, so don’t expect repeat performances of your old CDs. But Cruise, Zeta-Jones, Brand and Baldwin rock it hard, and the music itself fills the speakers brilliantly.

The colors of those garish but gorgeous 80s costumes look fabulous in Blu-ray’s high-definition, not to mention that big hair.

The Blu-ray includes an extended edition of the movie. It offers only a few more minutes, but it’s a nice addition to the disc.

What sets this disc apart for 80s rock fans, however, are the special features. Warner has done a great job of extending the movie in the extras with two mini documentaries: “Rock of Ages: Legends of the Sunset Strip” and “The Stories We Sing.” Both are hosted by 80s rocker Bret Michaels and feature interviews with the likes of Twisted Sister, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Poison and more.

In the first doc, the singers make fun of their fashions, their hair and their lives in the 80s rock scene — with some great anecdotes — while in the second, they tell the stories behind the songs we love.

A bunch of behind-the-scenes featurettes, under the “Defining a Decade” monika, show how the filmmakers created the costumes and rebuilt 1980s Sunset Strip in Miami and how Rock of Ages was conceived in a bar. Each piece is short, fun and very watchable. The only caveat are the introductions by Hough and Boneta, which give them all a Disney Saturday Morning Special feel.

All in all, if you like 80s rock, bring this one home.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.