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The Tourist Blu-ray Review

by March 21, 2011
The Tourist Blu-ray Review

The Tourist Blu-ray Review

  • Starring: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp
  • The TouristDirector: Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: March 22, 2011
  • Run Time: 103 minutes

The Movie

The Tourist is a lighthearted caper film complete with Interpol vans, overtones of romance and international espionage. Starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, it features beautiful people in beautiful, exotic locales being chased by the kind of generic baddies that were rejected from a James Bond movie. There – you’ve just decided if you’ll like this film or not and you’re almost certainly right. Despite its wide berth of mixed reviews, The Tourist is neither a great movie nor an abomination of modern filmmaking. I found The Tourist surprisingly entertaining if equally forgettable.

There’s a lot of hate across the Internet for this movie and I think it’s largely undeserved. It’s possible that the kind of people who write movie and DVD reviews are the very kind of people this movie is not targeted to. The Tourist was directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the mind behind the German language film, Lives of Others - one of the best movies of 2006. We might have expected more from von Donnersmarck, but here he falls well short of Lives of Others’ brilliance.

Johnny Depp plays Frank, a school teacher from Wisconsin on a train from France to Italy. He meets the mysterious Elise, the former lover of a high-profile thief who is being sought by British Secret Intelligence Service and Interpol. As Frank, Depp gives us a slightly morose fish out of water routine, more Edward Scissorhands than the Cary Grant that might have made his role shine. Jolie gives us an adequate modern take on the mystery woman role that in another era might have been played by the likes of Grace Kelly or Eva Marie Saint.

These are beautiful, professional actors in a playful cat-and-mouse thriller that takes us from pristine vineyards of France to the breathtaking vistas of Venice, Italy – all lovingly captured on film. Style over substance, yes! But not the kind of style-over-substance films we’re used to these days, saturated with CGI and over-the-top special effects. This light and somewhat predictable story contains fun moments and stunning visuals, it’s main draw is it’s deft camerawork that captures a Venice, Italy so tantalizing you want to crawl into your flat screen and feel the Italian sunshine on your face while taking a bite of fresh fruit from the street market – before the fruit-cart is overturned by character hijinks.


  • 1080P/ AVC Mpeg-4
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French Spanish

The brilliant detail and stunning visuals of The Tourist are its forte. It captures Paris and especially Venice like few films have. The love for the locales is evident in every frame as the camera takes advantage of opportunities to pan across the city and the characters interact with its distinctive features. While the sun-soaked scenes are brilliant and a credit to the 1080P format, even the nighttime scenes are crisp and un-muddied. What the somewhat predictable story lacks, the film makes up for in a visual feast.


  • Audio Languages: English, French 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio, English audio description track 5.1 Dolby Digital

The Tourist isn’t exactly an action film. There are few opportunities to boom and blast, with bullets ricocheting off your rear speakers. But the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is clear, audible and articulate, particularly in scenes with subtle or whispered conversation, which are so important to this genre. The few times action does explode on screen, the acoustics are up to the challenge. When the tension and excitement are finally ratcheted up, the film’s vanilla score is adequate - no surprises, but no major disappointments.

Special FeaturesThe Tourist, Venice Hotel

  • Featurettes:
    • A Gala Affair: (HD 7 mins)
    • Bringing Glamour Back: (HD 9 mins)
    • Action in Vencie: (HD 6 mins)
    • Canal Chats: (HD 6 mins)
    • Tourist Destination Travel the Canals of Venice: (HD 3mins)
    • Alternate Animated Title Sequence
    • Director Commentary
    • Outtake Reel
    • movieIQ+Sync: This is Sony’s Internet-connected movie-viewing mode for access to the latest inside info. It makes watching a movie more like watching a movie with a laptop nearby that has IMDB loaded. Personally, I find it annoying and had difficulty getting it to work. This is no way to watch a movie, but I have to admit I am guilty of occasionally looking up info on IMDB while viewing a movie because it kills me not to know who an actor is and what movie I saw him in before.
    • BD-Live

OverallThe Tourist, Parisian Express

The Tourist will be released on Blu-ray this week and if you’re remotely interested in a fun-filled, inoffensive, uncontroversial movie suitable to all, you won’t go wrong here. With a Tomatometer of only 20%, it fared better on MRQE at 47%. The mixed opinions on this movie make it the oatmeal of international espionage caper films.

One way to judge a movie is if my father gets through it. Yes, my curmudgeonly dear old dad loves movies, but feels they haven’t made a good one since Citizen Kane. One afternoon while I stepped away for a while, he sat down in my home theater room to watch The Tourist on his own. He got all the way through, which says a lot. I even stepped in while he was watching to bring him a cup of coffee and noticed he cracked a smile during one scene. Of course when asked afterward if he liked the movie, he said no. But honestly, I doubt he regrets the 103-minute investment of his time.


About the author:
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Wayde is a tech-writer and content marketing consultant in Canada s tech hub Waterloo, Ontario and Editorialist for Audioholics.com. He's a big hockey fan as you'd expect from a Canadian. Wayde is also US Army veteran, but his favorite title is just "Dad".

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