"Trading Places" goes down in history as one of Eddie Murphy's best flicks of all time. Back in the 80's Eddie Murphy was basically a guaranteed success. However, with flicks like "Daddy Day Care" and "Norbit" I'm not so sure anymore. Thankfully Eddie has proven himself again with the recent "Dreamgirls" and hopefully he will go back to his acting roots.
Eddie Murphy plays a street-smart homeless man, Billy Ray Valentine, who happens to literally run into the extremely snooty and successful commodities broker Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd). Louis overreacts and has Billy thrown in jail for assault. The two heads of Duke & Duke (the company Louis works for) wager a bet that they can take a common criminal like Billy, place him in a position of power and prestige, and see if he keeps his old ways or becomes 'good.' On the flip side, they take Louis's mansion and money, and set him up for crimes he didn't commit, to see if he would keep to a life to crime after losing everything he thought was important. With the bet in place Louis and Billy trade places. Louis is branded a thief and drug dealer, loses his fiancée, is kicked out of his home, and has all his money stripped of him. Billy is sprung from jail by Duke & Duke, moves into Louis's old mansion, is waited upon, and becomes a commodities broker at Duke and Duke. How all we have to do is watch and see how the experiment plays out!
The idea of "Trading Places" is so out there that it is impossible to believe that it could ever happen. It is also what makes "Trading Places" a lot of fun. Eddie Murphy is at the beginning of his career and truly makes a name for himself in this film. His character is completely loveable and believable.
"Trading Places" pulls out all the stops with restoring a fun and entertaining flick. The video quality was quite surprising. The flesh tones are fantastic, the colors pop, and detail is great. I couldn't believe that I was watching such an old film because it has been restored that well. There are a couple spots that are not perfect; the black levels are a little off and there is a little bit of grain. This should definitely not stop you from enjoying this transfer. Yes, it does have it flaws, but overall "Trading Places" is a great transfer that brings a wonderful flick back to life with a new picture.
"Trading Places" unfortunately doesn't get such a nice treatment with the audio quality on this disc. We have a 5.1 Dolby Digital track, but overall I was not impressed. The dialogue was quiet, while the soundtrack was blaring. I honestly almost felt as if I was watching a 2.1 track with almost nothing coming out of the surrounds. Thankfully "Trading Places" is extremely dialogue heavy and relies on its comedy to move the movie along and not the sound quality.
Trivia Pop-ups: We are getting used to these as mind-numbing factoids that continue to pop up during our film and annoy us. Well...that is exactly what these are. Sometimes we get some nice interesting facts about the movie and history, but most of the time it is facts that no one even cares about.
Insider Trading: Making of Trading Places: Here we get a very nice feature with cast and crew interviews ranging from Director John Landis to Eddie Murphy. We get some fun facts about casting, especially the switch of actors from Gene Wilder and Richard Prior to Dan Akroyd & Eddie Murphy. This is definitely worth a look to get some more in-depth details about actors and the characters they play.
Trading Stories: This is a small feature that consists of excerpts from interviews for publicity of "Trading Places" in Great Britain.
Deleted Scene: With Executive Producer George Folsey Jr.: This is just one scene with Paul Gleason's character drugging a guard. Nothing special.
Dressing the Part: Deborah Nadoolman, Costume Designer: Pretty standard feature that is all about costume design and fitting the characters correctly.
The Trade in Trading Places: A small feature that explains the process of trading commodities.
Industry Promo Piece: A piece for Show West that Akroyd and Murphy ad-lib for.
"Trading Places" is a classic Eddie Murphy film with a lot of extremely funny parts. Sure, it is not a perfect film, but is easy to watch multiple times and still continue to laugh. The picture quality was better than expected, but unfortunately the audio quality is not great. With a well-rounded set of extras, "Trading Places" is an easy Recommend for anyone looking for an enjoyable night at the movies.