“Crazy Rich Asians” is a little bit new … and a lot of old

Updated: May 6


BLU-RAY & 4K ULTA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS

Nick Young (Henry Golding) introduces his girlfriend Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) to family and friends at his grandmother's mansion in Singapore.



“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”


4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital copy; 2018; PG-13 for some suggestive content and profanity; streaming via Amazon Prime (4K), FandangoNOW (4K), Google Play (4K), iTunes (4K), Vudu (4K), YouTube


Best extra: “Crazy Rich Fun”












THE BEST scene in “Crazy Rich Asians” is the opening.


Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor Young of Singapore arrives at the ritzy Calthorpe hotel with her two young children in the middle of a London downpour. The mother and children are well dressed, but soaked to the skin. In perfect English, Mrs. Young asks to be taken to her suite. The snobby manager, with uniformed attendants, refuses to acknowledge her reservation, and suggests she find suitable accommodations in Chinatown.


One phone call later, Mrs. Young owns that hotel. Yeoh owns the screen, too, but it’s the last we see of her until much later. Instead, “Crazy Rich Asians” jumps from 1995 to 2018 and diverts to standard rom-com tropes mixing fantasy with possibility until its happy ending. There’s never any doubt it will happen; it’s just a matter of weeding through the missteps until it gets there.


Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh) triumphs over the restrictions at the Calthorpe hotel in London ...

... while her sister Felicity (Janice Koh), son, Nick and his cousin Astrid look on.


Constance Wu, the tiger-mom in TV's "Fresh Off The Boat," plays first generation American Chinese Rachel Chu. She’s an economics professor in love with Nick Young (Henry Golding), Eleanor's now-grown son. Nick asks Rachel to accompany him home to Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding and meet his family. He has purposely kept his family’s status from Rachel; he prefers the life of an everyday kind of guy instead of the celebrity prestige he deals with at home.


So Rachel finds herself on a big journey of discovery, which should be fun but frequently isn’t, as she meets Nick’s family and friends, and learns about his background. Based on the bestseller of the same name by Kevin Kwan, the audience expects to learn more about the new Chinese – and we do. Except the new Chinese don’t seem much different from the old Americans or English or Spanish or … You get the picture.


Wu’s Rachel is a Disney Princess, pretty and persistently naïve in what is, essentially, a big budget Hallmark movie. She makes new friends who give her a makeover and help her dress to fit into the super-rich crowd. She learns how to make dumplings, and the traditions of mahjong, which harken back to her introductory poker scene. (She’s very good at it.) There are great Chinese covers of standard pop tunes like Madonna’s “Material Girl” and The Beatles’ “Money” (“That’s What I Want”). But we know Mama Young won’t hesitate to do all she can to put an end to this romance nonsense.


Rachel's single mother Kerry Chu (Kheng Hua Tan), helps her daughter choose new clothes for her trip. She tries to explain ways in which traditional Chinese ways differ from Chinese Americans.

The 4K imagery includes HDR10 and Dolby Vision, which provides a richer color palette and more striking clouds from the Singapore waterfront.

Nick and Rachel have dinner with his best friend Colin Khoo (Chris Pang) and his fiancée Araminta Lee (Sonoya Mizuno).

Rachel stays with her old college friend Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina, far right) and her family. She learns here that Nick is from a very rich and influential family.

Nick meets Rachel and Peik Lin as they arrive at his home for a dinner party for his friend, Colin and bride-to-be Araminta.

VIDEO

Warner Brothers chose to release the Ultra 4K only with a limited release on physical disc and streaming everywhere from Amazon Prime to Vudu. The 4K and Blu-ray are sourced from a 4K RAW digital (2.4:1 aspect ratio) and mastered in 4K. We initially received the Blu-ray for review and it looks great with bold, rich color and extremely sharp detail. Contrast is very good; many scenes have a “twilight” atmosphere – filmed at night or in a darkened room with golden light highlighting the subjects. There’s good detail to be found in darkened spaces. Everyone looks picture perfect. The variety of fashion is a delight, just what every rom-com fan expects.


Once we viewed the 4K with HDR it took the viewing experience to a higher level, with its deeper blacks and bright highlights and the richer color palette of greens, blues and reds and natural facial toning.


AUDIO

The six-channel soundtrack delivers clear dialogue and immersive effects. There are several party scenes to bounce sound around the room, as well as a gorgeous wedding. Original music was composed by Brian Tyler of “Iron Man 3” and “The Avengers Age of Ultron,” but the most spirit comes from those Asian reboots.


Rachel makes a good impression on Nick's grandmother, Ah Ma (Lisa Lu).

Rachel joins Nick and friends at his home to make dumplings.

Rachel arrives at Colin and Araminta's wedding ... only to be snubbed by Nick's mother, Eleanor.

The HDR toning is excellent as Rachel and Nick enjoy a moment at his friend's wedding.


EXTRAS

There are four bonus features on Warner’s presentation including a self-congratulatory commentary from Director Jon M. Chu (“Now You See Me 2”) and author Kwan. They’re most happy to have a handsome Asian man in the lead, since gorgeous Asian women usually get the spotlight.


There are five good deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a short making-of feature, “Crazy Rich Fun,” with interviews from Chu, other filmmakers and the actors.

“Crazy Rich Asians” entertains. With added emphasis on scene stealer Yeoh’s character, it could have been more. Shocks (a gutted fish left in a bed) mix in with the laughs and dramatics, even if the film is less than expected. Kind of like that rich, amazing dessert that looks so pretty on the plate, and tastes so bland when consumed.


— Kay Reynolds


Eleanor reveals unsettling news about Rachel's background at the wedding.

Rachel's mother arrives in Singapore to comfort her daughter after she learns the truth about her parents.

Nick follows Rachel aboard the plane bound for the U.S. to propose.

Passengers encourage Rachel to accept Nick's proposal - and she does!



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