Blu-ray Extras Fail to Catch the Rhythm of Jersey Boys

One better-than-average making-of featurette is this disc's only hit.

By , Columnist

Images are copyright of Warner Brothers.

From watching the special features on Jersey Boys, you'd be forgiven for thinking this adaptation of the Broadway musical story of Frankie Valli was a critically acclaimed smash hit. Everyone is upbeat and eager to talk about the merits of the cast and crew and director "Mr. Clint Eastwood." It might come as something of a disappointment, then, to discover that Jersey Boys only got a mixed reception from critics and moviegoers.

Of course, good PR is part of the purpose of putting featurettes on DVD and Blu-ray releases but once in a while it would be nice to see an honest after-the-fact appraisal that says, "Yeah, we did our best but this didn't quite work out the way we hoped." That is not what you get with the limited special features on Warner Home Video's BD release of Jersey Boys. To be fair, though, the material that is provided isn't all self-congratulatory.

JerseyBoysExtras3.jpgThe highlight among the extras is the 23-minute featurette "From Broadway to the Big Screen," which recounts how the script was adapted from the stage production and written to accommodate the different perspectives of the members of the Four Seasons. As described in this interesting account, the four seasons of a year were taken as metaphors to describe the group's rise, its successes, and its eventual decline. Each of the group's members was given one season to tell part of the story.

Another nice aspect of this featurette is that it gives the largely unknown lead actors ample time to describe their reactions to being cast in the film and who their characters are. Three out of the four of them had played their role on the stage and all seem thrilled to have the opportunity to repeat the experience before film cameras. Ironically, perhaps, it is refreshing to hear them talking mostly about themselves and they all seem genuine in their enthusiasm and their praise for each other.

Unfortunately, there is not a lot else to see or hear among the extras aside from this. An audio commentary would have been welcome but instead the disc only includes two other short featurettes in the same vein as "From Broadway to the Big Screen." "Too Good to be True" features Donnie Kehr discussing his delight at playing mob money lender Norm Waxman, while '”Oh, What a Night to Remember" focuses on the choreography for the musical grand finale, which Eastwood intended as a nod to the final bow that an audience would see in a theater. Each of these extras is around five minutes long.

Despite its energetic musical numbers, fine acting and great production values, Jersey Boys didn't live up to expectations when it was released on the big screen. The same can be said for the special features that come bundled with its HD home release. The content is interesting enough but with only a single item of any  substance, this Blu-ray won't top any charts.

The Blu-ray release reviewed here is the Canadian version and comes in a Combo-Pack that includes the film in HD on Blu-ray, in SD on DVD and in Digital HD format for download or streaming via UltraViolet.

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Michael Simpson is a freelance writer, editor, presenter, researcher, instructor, gadget freak and sci-tech consultant based in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Formerly from the UK, he’s converted from tea to coffee and written and presented on film, TV, science, nature, technology,…

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