Mortdecai (Blu-ray Review)

MortdecaiThe witty caper comedy, Mortdecai, arrives on Digital HD and on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) and DVD (plus Digital) from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. In the vein of Austin Powers and Inspector Clouseau before him, Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) leads an impressive ensemble cast on an adventure through the world of black market art dealers to find a missing painting. The film also features Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man trilogy), Ewan McGregor (Star Wars: Episode I-III) and Olivia Munn (HBO’s “The Newsroom”), along with Jeff Goldblum (upcoming Jurassic World) and Paul Bettany (Iron Man trilogy).Based on the novel Don’t Point That Thing at Me from The Mortdecai Trilogy by Kyril Bonfiglioli, the film is directed by David Koepp.

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After a priceless painting is stolen, shady art dealer Charlie Mortdecai is recruited by an old rival to get it back. Mortdecai questions his rival’s intentions, but takes the job for the money and to keep his high-maintenance wife happy. With the help of his manservant, Mortdecai must face terrorists, angry Russians and more in a hilarious globe-trotting chase.

Unpopular opinion; I really liked Mortdecai.  Its a silly movie with a lot of performers giving fun performances.  Everyone look like they’re having a good time.  This movie is notorious for its bombing at the box office and big time critical panning.  However, it looks like one of those movies that the critics made their minds up on before they even saw it.  While I laughed at some bits in the trailer, I admit I wasn’t too high on it.  But after seeing it now, I was pretty charmed by this throwback comedy.

Of course Johnny Depp is silly fun in the movie and is another one of those crazy characters he’s carved his last ten or so years out of playing.  But, this time he looks like he’s enjoying himself a lot more than normal.  Maybe its because he’s in a bunch or real sets on a much less demanding set.  Everyone he plays off of are terrific too.  Another unpopular opinion of mine is that I am a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow and she’s great here.  My favorite of the bunch though was Paul Bettany who I really think steals the movie.  He’s quite hilarious as Mortdecai’s muscle.  This parody character is completely nailed and is sold and written in to perfection.

Someone I’m not high on though is Olivia Munn.  But, I’m always open to people changing my mind and/or improving their craft.  And here, I think she does a pretty solid and convincing job.  I bit my tongue when she was cast as one of my all time favorite X-Men characters in next summer’s Apocalypse mutant adventure.  After this movie, I’m more than open to see her taking on the character and giving us whatever she can give.  In Mortdecai, she’s funny without trying to be, keeping her character locked down and natural.  Its a restraint that takes effort and talent, and she shows it here.

After seeing this I went back to Rotten Tomatoes to see what the final tally ended up being on the movie and I was quite surprised.  I knew it would be low, but damn, 13%?  Maybe people didn’t get what this movie was going for or not appreciative of the genre type of this movie anymore.  Its surprising, because Mortdecai is a fun and enjoyable time.  Its a bit more than its trailers led on and good, carefree time.



Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail:  As is to be expected, Mortdecai carries an outstanding image.  The image is sharp and everything is well defined.  Everything from dirt spots and fingerprints on cars to the pattern of dampness/wetness on black top is accounting for.  Fabrics lend themselves to the revelation of their textures.

Depth:  The image is quite well rounded.  Movement is very smooth, with characters and objects looking free and loose in their environments.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and fair quite well.  No detail is hidden and the levels of shading are appropriate and accurate.  No detail is lost in hair follicles, fabrics or surfaces containing the color.  No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are nice and vibrant.  Any sort of vivid color takes on a bold look without bleeding or becoming a distraction.  Others come off very natural and lifelike.

Flesh Tones: Fleshtones take on whatever look the filter in a scene is conveying.  Most of the time its a very natural looking.  Freckles, stubble, wrinkles, scrapes and scars are all well accounted for no matter the distance of the shot.

Noise/Artifacts: Not a thing to complain about.

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Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  This 7.1 track could seem a bit excessive for a film like Mortdecai, but the film makes the best of it.  The vocals, score and effects are all completely free, loose and like you’re a in a room with them.  The effects all sound distinct and layered.  This track is very loud and involving, giving you a feel for every scene and every environment.

Low Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer definitely puts some enhancement on the score.  Gunshots, car engines and other action effects are given a nice boost from the LFE.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Making use of the 7.1 the rear and side and rear channels take to help plans whoosh by and some ambiance in every scene.  People chatting, bullets ricocheting are a couple things that happen.  The front speakers keep very busy with following the action back and forth as well as having accurate pitch and volume placement in the mix displayed up front.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are loud, crisp and clean.  Voice placement in every scene is natural and accurate.

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Mortdecai comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

Stolen Moments: On The Set Of Mortdecai (HD, 16:34) – Interviews with the actors on why they took the film and their experience working with each other and shooting it.  This also features a lot of behind the scenes footage and outtakes.

The Art Of Noise: Making Music For Mortdecai (HD, 12:25) – The composer goes into a good deal of how he crafted the score for the film.  Features plenty of footage of them recording and rehearsing material.

Theatrical Trailers

  • Teaser Trailer (HD, 1:23) 
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:33) 

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Mortdecai is the case of a film so many were quick to dismiss before they’d even seen the thing just based on the trailer.  Turns out, the film ends up being pretty good.  For me, it looked like a silly fun Pink Panther type film.  And it delivers in that regard.  This Blu-ray has top notch audio and video in its presentation.  Bonus material is interesting enough, but pretty safe.  The striking thing is how cheap the film is for pre-order currently.  Its definitely a nice snag for a blind buy at that.  Due to the film bombing, you’d have thought it would be higher.  Anyhow, for those diving in, you should be pretty happy with this release.



Writer/Reviewer, 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, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

2 Responses to “Mortdecai (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Mike


    That’s why I come here when I want to get a feel for a movie; I’ve always found the reviews here are balanced, and usually end up reflecting mine. IMDB is a great concept when you first hear of it, but… no further comment. As for Rotten Potatoes – well I find they’re more accurate at times, but they also can totally miss the mark just as easily.

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    Paul Bettany rules!