In the movie's defense, it does have a decent span where the actual heist takes place. But the heist itself also serves to magnify a couple of other problems. First off, it happens fairly quickly. The movie really draws out its setup and planning phases, which are the least interesting sections of the formula, making the movie just feel top-heavy. But more striking is that a decent heist is pulled off by a group the movie has belabored as a pack of, well, idiots. Somehow they all pull it together at the last minute, after the tedious setup that these people are comically inept at this type of thing. It's movie logic, mixed with an unbelievable amount of coincidence and candy-coated plot holes.
But the main problem with Tower Heist is that it easily could have been a lot better. This is a winning cast. In fact it's the kind of cast most movies would Generic Murder Plot #17 kill for. Not only that, but the movie looks fantastic. There is some excellent cinematography at work, and the picture and sound quality are first-rate. But it's all wasted on a script that never rises above dollar-theater fare. And that's the real robbery here.
I may have been a bit down on the film itself, but I have nothing but good things to say about Universal's picture quality for this Blu-ray. This is a fantastic looking release, aided tremendously by director of photography Dante Spinotti's camerawork. There is a very rich look to the film, where colors are balanced, but veer towards warm and natural instead of cold and modern. Detail is sharp, as the many character close-ups reveal. But the best part are the magnificent sets in the film. Everything from the intricate Tower lobby, to Shaw's modernist penthouse, and even the dive bar are wonderfully shot. The high-definition encode treats everything with respectful care.
The audio side is also top-notch. The Blu-ray uses a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, and it is well utilized. Given the action bent of this comedy, there are ample opportunities for ear candy, and everything is delivered cleanly, powerfully and with a generous surround field. Dialogue is always clear and crisp, and the overall mix is very well balanced. But just as important is the music element. Christophe Beck's score marries more traditional orchestration with some added 70s action movie flavor. Horns are plenty, and the slight nod towards funk gives the soundtrack some swagger.
There are a few different supplemental ways to watch the movie, if you're interested in taking it in a few times. First up is the commentary track featuring director Brett Ratner, editor Mark Helfrich and co-writers Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson. The group obviously enjoyed working on the project, and it's hard not to pick up a small amount of their enthusiasm. In addition there's also Universal's "U-Control", that either lets you watch the film with a scant amount of picture-in-picture extras, or with some brief music cue information (pop up text). Finally, there is the "pocket Blu" app for tablets, which is actually quite slick. It detects the Blu-ray if you have a network-connected player, and then lets you interact with and control the movie from its touchscreen.