The best thing about running a movie site is being forced out of your movie comfort zone. I never used to be a big fan of musicals. Then through this site I was coerced by my wife to watch Moulin Rouge and discovered I had been missing out. Even though I now watch them without grimacing, like anything else, there are good musicals and bad ones.
Thankfully, In the Heights is one of the good ones. Actually, it is one of the great ones. Based on the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, which was based on the book Quiara Alegria Hudes, the story follows a group of Latino characters as they survive in the Nuevo York suburb of Washington Heights.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is in the movie, but in a tiny part compared to his role in the off-and-on Broadway stage show. He was Usnavi, who is now played by the charismatic Anthony Ramos. Ramos, of course, was in the Broadway play Hamilton with Lin-Manuel. His performance is captivating. You want to see where his story goes even though he is the one telling it throughout the movie.
There is a great ensemble that surrounds our lead, with Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera and Gregory Diaz carrying a lot of the load, but Abuela Olga Merediz is the heart of this movie. Everyone gravitates around her.
There is an odd sort of romance being interwoven into the story as the neighbourhood is struggling to survive. Even though the outcome is predictable, the ride to get there is fun as it zips in and out of the tightly knit community’s struggles and successes.
The musical sequences are amazing and, if anything, Jon M. Chu’s direction has pushed the film to greater heights (no pun intended). Lin-Manuel Miranda is not only insanely talented in writing music, but is a lyrical genius.
In the Heights has a great soundtrack and, as my oldest likes to remind me, she’s been listening to it since Hamilton became a phenomenon. She knew all the music, and still loved the movie.
Sharp. Vivid. Beautiful. Those are the words I’d use to describe this Dolby Vision transfer. WB absolutely knocked it out of the park. The color palette is extremely vibrant for most of the movie and those colours pop off the screen in a visual feast for the eyes.
The indoor scenes are wonderfully lit and once we reach the blackout portion you get a true taste of what darks should look like. Moonlight, candles and flashlights help light the scenes to capture the details required.
Obviously, this isn’t a high-octane action movie and you might be wondering why it has a Dolby Atmos track. Well, it accentuates the incredible musical numbers as the music streams from all channels. Everything from paper rustling to the street sweeping comes through right where you’d expect it to be.
Dialog is crystal clear especially when interwoven in song. There are absolutely zero complaints here. This is a top audio transfer, of that, there is no doubt.
There are nearly an hour of extras here.
The bulk of the extras are in Paciencia y Fe: Making In The Heights which runs for almost 45-minutes. It’s broken into six different parts from pre-production to casting to the songs. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jon M. Chu and the cast all weigh in. We need more of this to be included in extras. It was fantastic to watch.
The rest of the extras surround the musical numbers including 2-different sing-along options and an option to just select the musical numbers in the movie.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
If you’re a musical fan this is a must own. WB did a marvelous job on transferring this movie to physical media. The audio/video transfer really helps the vivid visual and strong musical numbers really shine. There’s not a lot of extras, but the quality is what matters here. Truly a must own, in my opinion.