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The late Whitney Houston's crowd-pleasing blockbuster gets a rushed high-def edition, but is it worth the upgrade....?
Warner / 129 Minutes / 1992 / Rated R / Street Date: March 27, 2012
Poor Whitney. That's all that went through my mind as I attempted to slog through The Bodyguard on Blu-ray. After the performer's death in a Hollywood bathtub - on Grammy weekend, no less - the pop music world has been in a state of mourning, lamenting the fact that arguably the biggest breakout R&B star of the 1980s and 1990s never had a chance to stage the full comeback many said was right around the corner for her.
So, as was the case in the aftermath of MJ's passing a few years back, Hollywood is repackaging and re-releasing as much material as it can to capitalize upon this newfound Whitney-mania. I know this sounds exploitative, but as pop culture sponges, we're all participants: If there's anything American consumers love more than a shooting star, it's a shooting star cut down in her or his prime. And so we have the rushed Blu-ray debut of The Bodyguard, the surprise blockbuster with Whitney and Kevin Costner that hinted at a potential on-screen career for Houston and launched one of the biggest soundtracks in cinema history.
And boy is this a terrible movie. I mean no disrespect to the recently departed, but even the most accepting rom-com aficionados must recognize the agonizing blandness of this thing. Whitney as a star with a scary stalker, Kevin as the ex-Secret-Service dude assigned to protect her, the unlikely bonds they form - every narrative element of The Bodyguard is clearly visible a hundred miles away. This is bland, predictable entertainment at its least unique.
But, as it so often happens, sometimes audiences aren't interested in dramatic nuance or filmic creativity: More often than not, megaplex patrons want to watch pretty people say romantic things to one another with lush, fancy backdrops behind them, and in this capacity,. The Bodyguard is a perfect fit. It's a mess of a picture, but it has a classic-Hollywood sheen to it that is a testament to Whitney's star power.
Shoop through those pearly gates, Whitney. We'll miss you.