THAT THING YOU DO Blu-ray Review
That Thing You Do is a bubble gum flavored blast from the past, that is also often underrated. Tom Hanks wrote and directed the film that features a fantastic cast of young stars, which includes Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn, Ethan Embry, Charlize Theron, Giovanni Ribisi, and Tom Hanks. Out for the first time on Blu-ray the disc is slim on special features, but looks and sounds great.
Everyone is familiar with a one-hit-wonder, There are so many bands that have been a flash in the pan and then evaporated away into the air waves. The comedy tells the tale of such a band. The Wonders are a band from Pennsylvania in 1964 who have a hit single on their hands. They are soon signed by Play-Tone Records and their manager (played wonderfully by Hanks) helps propel their music career as long and as far as it will go.
They start out on a Play-Tone State Fair tour, with That Thing You Do becoming one of the fastest rising singles on the Billboard Music chart. They quickly become too big for the fair tour, and catch a jet plane to sunny California where they will either make it or brake it as a band.
What makes the film special is the song that the film is titled after. That Thing You Do was written by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne. It is such a catchy song, and one that is enjoyable to listen to this day. The rest of the music is right out of the 60’s, so if you are love music then this film is great for that alone.
The film is a great character piece, so the cast is very important. Each band member is perfectly cast, and believable. It helps that they interact well and have wonderful chemistry. I especially like Everett Scott and Zahn the most. Zahn is the comedic fuel that helps keep the pacing move along. He steals a lot of the scenes, and is very memorable.
This is one of the first times I remember seeing Theron in a film. She stands out because of her beauty mainly in this film, and is not a major cast member. Tyler as Faye is the Yoko Ono of the band as Faye, but she is not responsible for breaking up the band. Tyler’s speech to her boyfriend Schaech is very sad and powerful, and is also a shining moment for her.
Hanks is solid behind the camera, and is obviously fantastic in front of the camera. He did a great job of casting this film, it is really his baby. He did an equally solid job with the script. The story is timeless, the plot strong, and the overall flow solid. You can relate to the characters.
The disc features both a theatrical version, and an extended cut. I have never seen the extended version and was very happy that I checked it out. The two cuts do not differ too much, but there are some cool cameos in the extended version. They technically would be supporting cast members, but Howie Long and Bryan Cranston are in the film. Long plays Lloyd, a friend of Hanks’ character Mr. White. Cranston has the awesome role of playing astronaut Gus Grissom. I did a double take when I saw them in the film, so it was cool to see.
The picture and sound quality is not what you might hope for on Blu-ray. It is good, and looks better than I recall seeing on HBO. The video looks to have only been transferred from the same used for an earlier video release. Where the video quality is not great, the sound is very solid. The DTS Master Audio 5.1 track is perfect for the music based film.
As I stated earlier, the disc is a little low on special features. The reason is that the features are not new, they were brought over from the DVD release and are not in HD. Below is a listing of the features:
- The Wonders! Big in Japan!
- The Story of The Wonders
- Making That Thing You Do!
- That Thing You Do! Reunion
- HBO First Look: The Making of That Thing You Do!
- “Feel Alright” Music Video
- Trailers and TV Spot
If you are looking for a fun move that will transport you back the golden years of music, has a great cast, and Tom Hanks directing, then this is definitely a Blu-ray for you.