War of The Roses (1989)

© 20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.
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Released:  Friday, December 8, 1989  
Length:  117 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Genre: Comedy
Rating: War of The Roses is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaUnder 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.


War of The Roses © 20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.
In this blackest of comedies, a perfect 18-year marriage suddenly becomes unglued and the gleefully evil Barbara (Kathleen Turner) and Oliver (Michael Douglas) Rose single-mindedly inflict as much misery as possible on each other. Rather than just get divorced, they declare war, fighting to the bitter end over their huge mansion and every possession in it. Not even the calculating guidance of Oliver's lawyer (Danny DeVito) can stop this uncompromisingly nasty two some as their vicious battle sends them on an increasingly dark and dangerous path.

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War of the Roses: Filmmaker Signature Series Blu-ray Review

With a blast from the past The War of the Roses has returned on Blu-ray Disc.  Although it's billed as a comedy, most of the on screen time involves the drama that takes place between the three main actors.  Slow moving in parts, the character build up to a remarkable finale is worth the wait.
The film centers on the Roses, Oliver (Michael Douglas) and Barbara (Kathleen Turner) a married couple with two children who on the outside look like a normal successful family. When they met years ago at an auction gallery the two became steamy lovers and later sealed the deal. Putting all his energy in becoming the best lawyer ever, Oliver loses sight of what makes his family happy. On the other side of the coin his wife Barbara imagined herself having a career that never developed due to raising the children.
Then one day Oliver experiences what turns out to be a false alarm heart attack. Barbara provides no sympathy tending to ignore the situation and causing Oliver to reevaluate his outlook on their marriage.  With divorce being an imminent choice the two seek legal counsel.   When their best friend and lawyer Gaven (Danny DeVito) sees the fight between the two over property and rights escalate, there's no stopping the feud without irreparable damage.
Douglas and Turner get more intimidating here then their first meeting in the jungles in the film Romancing the Stone.  In Stone it was a tussle; here it's all out war.  The two make their characters scathingly devious in their actions leading up to a stinging battle. I like the way DeVito gets his actors to show the ferocity of their confrontations.  Both actors are really on their game here and if you didn't know it was just acting, you'd think they were actually a married couple at the end of their ropes.  
Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito are cast together for the third time in War of the Roses.  They first appeared together in a big hit romantic comedy Adventure Romancing the Stone in 1984 then got together again to make the sequel The Jewel of the Nile the following year.  DeVito didn't seem to lose touch with the pair and brought back their chemistry for The War of the Roses under his direction. High hopes for a good box-office in 1989 with Roses, the film made off with around $84 million.  By today's standards of inflation however, that total would have been a lot more. Considering what it had cost to make Romancing on location in the Mexican jungles and Jewel in French Morocco, this film certainly made more revenue.
The Video Quality is extremely good not showing any loss of transfer from the original film to Blu-ray.  Not as sharp as today's HD features, but with the subject matter I'm glad it came out with softer edges.  The widescreen allows a full view of the whole film and the colors are standard quality as with most films remastered from their storage condition.
The Sound Quality using the DTS-HD Master Audio has an excellent delivery though my Blu-ray to my surround sound television speakers.  Not really necessary in surround, but some dialogue took be by surprise from the sides of my room.  I found no flaws or gaps in the presentation of the dialogue.
The War of Roses has some very good bonus features as follows:
Commentary by Director/Actor Danny DeVito- If you know how Danny can deliver funny dialogue, you can imagine his take on how he set up his scenes, etc.  You should at least try his commentary when replaying the ‘fight' scenes.
Danny DeVito and Producer James L. Brooks: Revisiting The War of the Roses. It's been a long time since Brooks produced this film and he had many a motion picture in between now and then including Jerry Maguire, Bottle Rockett and As Good As It Gets.  His revisit gets quite interesting and informative to say the least.
The Music of War of the Roses: A conversation between Danny DeVito and Composer David Newman. To give you some background on the composer his film scores range from 1986's Critters to 2011's Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son encompassing 96 film and TV titles.
Deleted Scenes Montage
Production Gallery
Filmmakers Signature series with a 28 page book inside.
FINAL ANALYSIS:  If you like dark comedy than this is your cup of tea. (B)


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War of The Roses images © 20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.