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Ultra HD : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: November 7th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1983

Trading Places - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

After a three year wait between releases, John Landis’ holiday comedy classic Trading Places finally makes the leap to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. The film is still hilarious fortye years later and makes for a fine 4K Dolby Vision release but perhaps not enough of an improvement over the most recent Blu-ray to warrant another purchase. Audio is still great and the bonus features are decent. If you need it for the collection, this is the way to go, but as far as an upgrade it might be a harder sell - Recommended

The very rich and extremely greedy Duke Brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy) wager a bet over whether “born-loser” Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) could become as successful as the priggish Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Akroyd) if circumstances were reversed. So begins one of the funniest, most outrageous comedies of the 80s, cementing Eddie Murphy’s superstar status. Alongside the street-smarts of Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis), Winthorpe and Valentine are a trio ready for a riotous revenge that culminates on the commodities trading floor in New York City. Trading Places is presented here for the first time in 4K UHD, under the supervision of director John Landis.

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Length:
116
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.78:1
Audio Formats:
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date:
November 7th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

From our Paramount Presents Blu-ray Review

Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) gets by living on the streets of Philadelphia as a hustler pretending to be a wounded vet. Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) lives in a stately brownstone working as a commodities broker for Duke & Duke. The two men's lives are about to crash into each other when Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy) and his brother Mortimer (Don Ameche) make a wager about the intricacies of breeding versus environment.

Trading Places isn't really a new plot if you break down what it's getting at. The Three Stooges essentially ran the same game in one of their 1935 short Hoi Polloi - and then again in 1947's Half-Wits Holiday. And then again in 1958 with Pies and Guys. A riff on Pygmalion - this film pits an upper-crust do-gooder against a street-wise hustler at the whim of two crooked brothers with more money than they can ever use in life fully believing they're better than anyone. John Landis, screenwriters Timothy Harris, and Herschel Weingrod, and this excellent cast featuring a rising star Eddie Murphy, a pre-Ghostbusters Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Paul Gleason on top of classic film vets Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche that makes this movie great. 

It's also a Holiday Classic. In my house, you can't go through Christmas without at least one viewing of Trading Places - and even then it's also a New Years movie so you get another excuse to give it a spin. I first saw this movie on HBO when I was in my teens and old enough that my mom couldn't really object to the content of the movies I was watching anymore. Plus, as much as she'd hate to admit it at the time - she laughed at this one too. This movie is a pitch-perfect situational comedy. The antics just keep piling on top of each other until a fitting crescendo. Even when the movie is at its most ridiculous it never overplays its hand. Each gag just gets funnier and in true classic comedy form, it's always funny. Even the best lines still crack me up again and again. "Five dollars!" - Every time I hear someone being a cheap ass I roll that line out. 

This movie has been around so long now with a devoted legion of fans, there's really no point in my talking any more about it. If you love the movie, it's the best time of the year to watch it. If you've never seen it, it's time to pop some corn, turn the lights down, and check-in for one of the best holiday comedies - let alone one of the best comedies of the 80s.  

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
After living on Blu-ray when it should have come out to 4K from the outset, Paramount finally bets the dollar for a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Trading Places. This set offers up a BD-66 for the 4K version of the film with the 1080p disc repeating the previous disc and bonus features. Both discs are housed in a standard black case with slipcover and digital copy. Each disc loads to a static image main menu with basic navigation options. 

Video Review

Ranking:

After enjoying one hell of an upgrade to Blu-ray as part of the Paramount Presents line, Trading Places upgrades to 2160p Dolby Vision disc, and the results are damned impressive - but perhaps not as notable a leap from one disc to the next. The most immediate improvement I could see was texture clarity. Now for scenes with optical effects or the opening credits, it does look as if some “Paramounting” was employed so those first seconds are not a great indicator of what’s to come. Once the main film really gets going, the clarity, texture detail, and natural-appearing film grain come roaring back to life. Flipping between discs, it is an appreciable improvement. Dolby Vision HDR does a fine job of enhancing black levels, refining whites, and giving those primaries the extra care and attention they need. This is a dreary wintery film so its a lot of gray skies and heavy browns, but this HDR grading manages everything beautifully. I also thought the grading gave a little more care to flesh tones over the last disc. So while definitely a better presentation, the improvements are incremental and may be a harder sell for people to double dip or even triple dip for this one title.

Audio Review

Ranking:

While not earning as massive an improvement as the video, Trading Places gets a bump with a new Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix that manages to sideline the old Dolby Digital 5.1 track. This mix just feels much more alive. The film itself is still very front/center focused given its conversational nature, but I felt like key locations in the Philly streets or the stock exchange floor had much more range and presence to them with a very satisfying surround experience. Throughout dialog is clean and clear without issue. Again it may not be a leaps and bounds improvement but you can feel the difference where it counts most. 

Special Features

Ranking:

All of the extra features are on the included Blu-ray disc.

  • Filmmaker Focus - Interview with John Landis
  • Isolated Score Track
  • Insider Trading: The Making of Trading Places
  • Trading Stories
  • The Deleted Scene
  • Dressing The Part
  • The Trade in Trading Places
  • Theatrical Trailer 

In keeping with so many recent catalog releases of the last two or three years, Trading Places finally sees its 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc release. The film is a genuine comedy classic - as well as being one of the funniest holiday films. Aykroyd and Murphy were in perfect post-SNL form with Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliot, Don Ameche, and Ralph Bellamy turning in perfect supporting performances. Landis was in peak form for this film and it’s held up remarkably for 40 years. Now on 4K, the film enjoys an appreciable upgrade in 2160p with Dolby Vision HDR - but perhaps not enough of one to fully warrant another upgrade given that we just got really great Blu-ray just a couple of years ago. That Paramount Presents disc was already pretty great so a double or even a triple dip is a hard sell. If you need Trading Places in the collection, absolutely this is the way to go. However, if you already have the last disc, this one is ultimately Recommended but no need to rush to upgrade without a favorable price point to your advantage.

Order your copy of Trading Places on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray