Madonna: Truth or Dare (Blu-ray Review)

Come on!  Show some love for the “Material Girl.”  If Gene Siskel gave it “Two Thumbs Up!,” then you know this “rock doc” has to be good, right?  Right!  Madonna has sold more than 300 million albums worldwide and is the top-selling female artist of all-time.  And it’s only befitting for me, being the biggest Madonna fan on this site, to not only enjoy this one on the Blu-ray format, but tackle the review too.  I don’t think any of my fellow reviewers will argue that point.  Mute!  Drum roll please…Presented for the very first time in a stunning new 1080p High Definition transfer and 5.1 DTS Master Audio, Madonna: Truth or Dare premieres on Blu-ray April 3rd and thinking back, I remember the 1999 VHS tape like it was yesterday.  Does that make me really old or just someone with a very good memory?  I’m not sure.


The year was 1991.  I was still under my parents’ Blockbuster membership, and unfortunately, still under their roof.  I could only watch “these kind” of movies late at night while the padres were sleeping for obvious reasons (they weren’t as cool and open minded as I was in my youth).  I remember this Truth or Dare (the bottle BJ) as fondly as I do the likes of those other late night rental viewings of Basic Instinct (the legs crossing) or another Madonna classic, Body of Evidence (the candle wax).  Hmm.  I wonder when that one is coming out on the Blu-ray format?  I can’t wait!  But I digress as usual.  LOL.

2012 is shaping up to be the year of Madonna.  Let’s ignore the fact that she is fresh off her recent Golden Globe win for Best Original Song for her directorial feature film, W.E., and that she also previously won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Comedy/Musical) for her role as Eva Peron in Evita.  What about her being named as one of TIME’s “25 Most Powerful Women in the Past Century” and countless other accolades?  Who cares about them?  Madonna is so much more!  This year alone, she is making her way back into the spotlight hot off the trails of her Super Bowl half-time performance, an upcoming new album (March 26th), tour (which is actually coming to Cleveland…hell freezes over once again) and the launch of “Truth or Dare” lifestyle brand.

So getting back to business here, Madonna: Truth or Dare chronicles her life during the 1990 Blond Ambition Tour.  The film was actually well received by the critics and did exceptionally well at the box office for a documentary.  At the time, it was the highest-grossing documentary of all time with a worldwide gross of over $29 million.  It is now number eight.  Still, that’s not bad at all for a film most people are probably laughing at our shunning me for reviewing.  And interestingly enough, the original working title of this doc was Truth or Dare: On the Road, Behind the Scenes and In Bed With Madonna.

The documentary pretty much covers it all from her steamy and controversial simulated masturbation during the performance of “Like a Virgin” to her serenading her father on stage for his birthday.  We are treated to raw (very raw and vulgar at times) behind the scenes footage of Madonna, life with her dancers and everyone else in her life (brother, family friends, Kevin Costner, Antonio Banderas and her entire entourage).  From her friendship/relationship with Warren Beatty and humorous shunning of Kevin Costner to a doctor examining her sore, strained vocal cords, not much is left out here…even bathroom pampering and courtesy flushes.  If you are a Madonna fan, then make no mistake…this title is a MUST-OWN on the Blu-ray format.

But honestly, despite being a huge Madonna fan, I can get bored pretty fast while watching documentaries.  You hear that Shakira?  Even you can bore me if you don’t shake it enough.  I would much prefer a straight concert video or at least more concert footage intertwined within here.  However, beggars can’t be choosers.  I just have to suck it up and be happy with what I have.  I could think of many worse documentaries one could watch.  After all, this is Madonna!  Madonna fans across the world…the Queen of Pop is home again on the Blu-ray format for a second time.  Now…when is The Confessions Tour coming out on Blu?  Huh?  Huh?  God…I can’t wait for that!

Just in case you were wondering, the following concert footage is contained within the 2-hour long documentary.  We are treated to “Oh Father,” “Like a Virgin,” “Express Yourself,” “Holiday,” “Live to Tell,” “Vogue” and “Keep it Together.”  There’s a small excerpt of fan favorite “Like a Prayer,” but sadly, not nearly enough…at least for me.

Now if you are still with me, let’s take a look at why you are here and why you are still reading this…the A/V vitals.


This is a tough one.  How do you judge the video quality of something that is supposed to intentionally look gritty, grainy and found footage-like?  I guess if that is what you are going for, you’re a victor here.  But let’s be honest.  The reason for owning the Blu-ray format is because you want the best and most pristine picture possible and as a former owner of this film on both the VHS and DVD formats, I believe you’re getting the absolute best presentation here, albeit not a pretty one.  This 1080p, 16×9 widescreen (1.85:1) encode is packed with all the nutritional grain your body can ever handle.  This is what dreams are made of when making sandwiches.  You’ve been warned.  It’s not the prettiest looking Blu-ray presentation, but it’s the best this behind-the-scenes documentary has ever looked.  Like the old saying goes, despite how much I hate it, it is what it is.


Again, I had to judge this Lionsgate title for what it brings to the table, which is a raw and unobtrusive look behind the scenes with Madonna, in her most private and ambitious of moments.  It’s not Dark Knight, King Kong or even a full-length, loud and obnoxious Beyonce concert.  It’s a Madonna documentary.  That being said, I think it sounded great, for what it’s worth.  The 5.1 DTS Master Audio surround track always kept the dialog levels clear, intelligible and engaging and the concert performances booming and kicking.  I just wish it had more concert footage to show off.  Dammit!


Sad to say, Madonna is not a winner in every category, namely with the almost complete lack of extras here.  I only give the golden goose egg when there’s absolutely nothing to be found on a disc, so luckily, Madonna: Truth or Dare narrowly escaped that honor.  Search high and low and all that you will find here are two horrible looking, Standard Definition theatrical trailers.  Savior it!  That’s all you get!


So there you have it.  If you are a huge, openly admitted Madonna fan like myself, and raw, natural and inhibitive moments are your thing, then this is the Blu-ray disc for you.  If you’re just a casual fan of the “Material Girl” or mainly curious because of the controversial nature and position it once held back in the early 90’s, then maybe a rental is more suited and suggested for yourself.  I don’t want to take away all your money in this tough economy.  However, if you are planning on buying this, please help support our site by clicking here to pre-order the eighth highest grossing documentary film of all-time.  It’s never looked or sounded this good before, so what are you waiting for?  Pre-order your copy today!

Madonna: Truth or Dare arrives on Blu-ray April 3rd.



Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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