E1 Entertainment // 2011 // 95 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // July 24th, 2011
"The Mystery. The Music. The Magic. Like You've Never Seen it Before."
Michael Flatley brings his Lord of the Dance Irish dancing back to Dublin for a live taping.
This is Michael Flatley's "in your face" to Dublin. He's back with something to prove, having been told all those years ago back when he started Lord of the Dance that he was going to be a failure. He knows exactly how many years, months, and days it's been since he danced on the stage and he's back to get everybody on their feet cheering for him.
It's a good thing it's Lord of The Dance instead of Lord of Many Dances, because I'll be damned if I could tell whether or not they were doing the same dance over and over again. For those unfamiliar with Irish dancing it looks like a combination of tap dancing and ballet, with the upper body mostly remaining still.
There are only two things really tying these series of performances together. The first was the occasional reappearance of a jester-like character who starts off the whole Michael Flatley Returns as Lord of the Dance "awakening" the dancers by throwing glitter at them. Unlike in real life, the dancers wake up happy this has occurred. The second unifying element is the reappearance of other featured dancers in their costumes from other performances. I suppose it intended to portray a whole story, but sadly the nuances went over my head. All I can tell you is some women fought over Michael Flatley before he was supposed to be executed but was magically saved. And something about aliens(?), but that aspect was really sketchy so I could be wrong.
That didn't stop me from enjoying this, although it was a chore to watch the whole thing in one fell swoop. I freely admit it, but at least some of that was due to the switching camera angles. I know it's customary to show an establishing shot so I get an idea of how big the stage is, but aside from that, in a taped performance piece like this I just want to feel like I'm in the best seat in the house. I don't need to know how the stage looks from the scaffolding or the lighting guys' perspective or Section Z Row EEE. I want to feel like I really missed out not being there, not like I understand how crappy some of the views are. But regardless of their seats, the audience was fully into the performance and went especially crazy whenever Flatley made an appearance.
I can fully appreciate the athleticism required to participate in Michael Flatley Returns as Lord of the Dance, especially performing moves I call "High Kick" and "Ankle Breaker." I can barely stay on my toes long enough to reach a high shelf, I can't imagine the stamina necessary to dance on the balls of my feet for an entire show-length performance. Plus there is some serious eye candy, whatever flavor you prefer, which I have no trouble appreciating either.
I may not have understood the full experience, but by the time the show was over saw why Flatley and the rest of the dancers needed to rehearse the show for months upon months. I developed an appreciation for something I had only known as a cultural institution of sorts before this viewing. I don't know how it is for you, but among the people I know whenever someone makes a reference to Irish dancing they call it, "doing that Lord of the Dance stuff."
As far as extras go, they're pretty standard: a BTS featurette (20 min) and some deleted scenes (16min). Two of the deleted scenes were vocalists and I was unsure why these were cut as there were other musical performers within the piece.
The smoke effects interfere with the video at times, creating a filmy look. When the lights are dim the long shots really suffer. Closer is better for sure. The audio however is gorgeous, especially the 2.0 LPCM. The music shares equal billing with the dancing and the sound couldn't be better. It's also perfect for when the only sound is the dancing. The stomping of the dancers' feet, heels clicking away, would be not served half as well from another audio stream.
For those who are expecting Flatley to be in every number, you'll be disappointed. There are a number of solo dancers aside from Flatley, also some musicians who share the spotlight as well.
This is pretty much the definition of good clean family fun. If you've ever been interested in this type of dancing, and Flatley in particular, it's worth watching.
Review content copyright © 2011 Dawn Hunt; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: E1 Entertainment
* 2.40:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated G
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site