Mannequin (Blu-ray Review)

Mannequin1987 was a fantastic year for movies.  Lots of great stuff came out; Robocop, Lethal Weapon and The Princess Bride all debuted in ’87.  Some other stuff came out too, the highest grossing film was Three Men & A Baby…and that’s more along the lines of where we could probably fit Mannequin into in terms of quality.  Mannequin itself was a pretty big success.  Not only did it go “over the top” of Stallone’s film that debuted the same weekend (yok yok yok), it finished out with $42 million on a mere $6 million budget.  The film also sold a good chunk of soundtrack records too.  After a delay, Mannequin is finally making its debut on Blu-ray from Olive Films.  The second one already beat it to the punch, but this is the one people were more than likely waiting for and probably didn’t want to have the delay.


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A young artist, searching for his vocation, makes a mannequin so perfect he falls in love with it. Finding the mannequin in a store window, he gets a job there and his creation comes to life.  And these two can build this dream together, stand strong forever.  And if this world runs out of lovers, these two will still have each other.  Nothing’s going to stop them now.

When Mannequin dropped, I was 5 years old.  While I couldn’t remember a whole detailed affair about the film prior to the retrospective, I do remember wanting to see it.  Why?  I was 5, I couldn’t tell you.  Pretty sure Kim Cattrall and Andrew McCarthy weren’t household names for me in 1987.  Kim sure did look stunning when I saw the trailers though.  It had a sort of fantastical “only in the movies” element to it that may have tugged at my childish imagination as well.  Plus this movie had a killer song attached to it.

Mannequin is a film that could only possibly ever ever exist in the time it was made.  Its super duper 80s.  I’m not just talking about the styles or the music.  Just the type of movie it is would only happen if some sort of production turned into a disaster.  This film was competently and confidently made back in the 80s.  Its just that films, comedies in general, were done different…and in turn, accepted in a different fashion.  The romantic comedy was something else, too as we were 2 years away from When Harry Met Sally changing things up.

The film doesn’t really have much to say and struggles when trying to figure out how to extend and fill the movie with the basic premise.  It doesn’t really look for much conflict and doesn’t dig as deep as it could with the main point.  Not to say it has to go super dramatic or anything, it wouldn’t be a comedy then, but there’s more that could be done and ancillary characters that could have had things to do or more involvement with the plot than just existing.

While the film takes place in a modern day Philadelphia, this is more than a fantasy world than it is reality.  The situations that arise are over the top silly or weird.  Also the characters in the film don’t really act or make decisions like any human being would.  Its more of a cartoon world than a real one in Mannequin.  Yet, with all that said, there is a good deal done with Switcher and Emmy, showing that there’s more to them than just his lust for a dream girl blonde.  Plenty of their relationship has to do with them working together and making success out of his employment.

With Mannequin comes a lot of cliches and stereotypes, though I’m not sure if they’re more present looking back at the film after almost 30 years or if they were there in the beginning.  Our protagonist is one done over and over again.  We also get the stereotype rom-com overly flamboyant gay friend (play by the late Meshach Taylor).  Then there’s the nice kind business owner, the skeezy guy in power (reuniting McCarthy and James Spader post Pretty In Pink) and the character from another movie playing the same character with a different name in this one (GW Bailey playing Harris from Police Academy all over again).

Somewhere lost in this movie, which is not a good one, I found some sort of charm to it.  Maybe its a nostalgia, but the film was one of those bad ones that I found to be somewhat watchable.  For this first time in over a couple decades of seeing it last, it wasn’t a ton of torture I was putting upon myself.  Maybe its that damn Starship song at the end of the movie that makes it feel so much better while you’re watching the cliche’d freeze frame with credits that make you feel upbeat after watching it?  Which, if you want a good movie with that song, check out The Skeleton Twins, which utilizes it even better than Mannequin which birthed it.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Easily, this is the best Mannequin has ever looked.  Colors are pretty well saturated.  The image has a real 80s look to it.  Its pretty sharp, with a good amount of detail.  McCarthy’s leather jacket he wears in the film is pretty impressive, documented cracks and patterns in it.  Much of the clothing is well detailed here showing patterns, textures and dirt.  Fans of Mannequin should be happy with how it looks here, given that its a film that nobody was sure would ever see a Blu-ray release in the first place.

Depth:  Solid depth work.  Most of the movie takes place inside, and the mall interiors and characters/objects have a good separation and idea of space for the most part.  Movements are cinematic with minimal blur.

Black Levels:  Blacks bring about a bit of good shading but also taking away from some detail in spots.  No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  There is a good palette with different tints and shades of colors on display in this 80s films.  Blues, reds and purples pop and show a sense of vividness with restraint at the same time.  Sometimes things like a pink dress Kim Cattrall wears may pop a bit much and take away some detail, but it never really bleeds or anything.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are bit warm and consistent throughout.  Facial detail on close-up shots is pretty good, showcases make-up lines, wrinkles, stubble, lip texture and the like.  Medium shots and further can be a mixed bag of detail with a smooth look happening at times and at a couple intervals some pink/red looking moments.

Noise/Artifacts:  Film grain and some dirt specs throughout.  No real serious compression or blocking issues.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  This 2.0 mix does a solid job and has some impressive moments, but its balance is a little off.  Vocals are set a bit low.  The score is much louder as well as most sound effects.  The score, luckily, does sound quite lovely and Starship kills just right here.  Effects sound well rounded and full.  

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are lower in the mix.  They tend to sound a bit muffled as well.  You’re fine to get through the movie, but its a little bit of a disappointment.

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Trailer (HD, 1:36)

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Mannequin was a film better served during its time, that’s for sure.  But for those who grew up in the era or were around and enjoyed this movie back when it was released in theaters or when you rented the VHS, its hard not to get caught up in the nostalgia of its silliness.  The film just wants to have fun and that’s ok.  Still, not a very good film, but its a very watchable one.  This Blu-ray gives you a a very nice presentation of both the audio and video transfer.  And thank the good people at Olive Films for being the ones to bite on this movie and get it to survive another format jump.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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