Coming to America (30th Anniversary Edition) – Blu-ray Review

Coming to America - Theatrical Poster

Eddie Murphy was the king of comedians back in the 80s. But his most popular film from that time is easily Coming to America. It’s so popular that some people even dressed up as some of the characters during the opening weekend of Black Panther. It easy to see why when you first watch the film too. Not only is Coming to America really funny but it has a lot of heart too.

Much of that has to do with the film’s Cinderella-esque storyline. Prince Akeem searching for true love is a trait that everyone can relate to. He may be the prince of the richest country in Africa but he feels so grounded. If you think about it, this storyline is very progressive for a film from the 80s. But if the Cinderella storyline brought the heart then the fish-out-of-water storyline definitely brings the laughs. Seeing Akeem and Semmi go from the palace to the ghetto neighborhoods of Queens is just hilarious to watch.

Not to mention, the ensemble cast is amazing all around. It’s an amazing feat considering some of them are barely in the film. But when there are so many memorable moments and lines in the film, it’s easy to stand out. Also, the comedic timing of the cast is impeccable.

But it’s Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall that shine the brightest in this film. Murphy shows his versatility, not just as a comedic actor, but as a dramatic actor as well. He plays the kind of earnest prince that’ll make you connect with him. But let’s not forget that Murphy got to play multiple characters in the film too. Like Murphy, Arsenio Hall showcased a lot of talent in his first big Hollywood role. And like Murphy, he’s able to bring a lot of memorable characters to life without realizing that it’s them. Truly, Coming to America is a great showcase of Murphy and Hall’s talents.

Overall, Coming to America is a classic that millions of people still enjoy today. Although it’s a product of the 80s, the film doesn’t feel that dated. Be that as it may, jheri curls are probably something that should be left back in the 80s…

Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Video
Coming to America - Eddie Murphy

The Coming to America 30th Anniversary Edition hits Blu-ray with a 1080P MPEG-4 AVC encoded video and a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. First off, this is the same transfer from the 2007 Blu-ray release. But for a film that’s 30 years old, the film looks like its age. There are scenes where there is a slight flicker in the video. There is also a good amount of grain in some scenes too. Not to mention, there’s some crushing found in the shadow detail. However, the detail clarity of the film is superb. Plus the whites and colors are vivid and bright. They just pop off the screen. The skin tones are natural looking too. Overall, the video is inconsistent. It looks dated at times and other times it looks pristine.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

Audio
Coming to America - Eddie Murphy & Arsenio Hall

The Coming to America 30th Anniversary Edition hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 Dolby Digital track. Similar to the video transfer, the audio mix is the same as the 2007 Blu-ray release. Considering this is a comedy, there isn’t much immersion in this film. The mix doesn’t make good use of the surround channels and immersing you in the busy New York streets. When the mix does make use of the surround channels, it’s spacious and engaging.

The music is easily the highlight of the mix as it blares through the soundstage with clarity. Unfortunately, there is a lack of oomph in this mix as the LFE is totally ignored here. As you can imagine, the dialogue is crisply delivered in the front channel speakers. Overall, it’s not a disappointing mix but it does lack the immersion found in more modern anniversary releases.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Special Features
Coming to America - Shari Headley & Eddie Murphy

The Coming to America 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray disc has the following special features on the release:

  • Prince-ipal Photography: The Coming Together of America
  • Fit For Akeem: The Costumes of Coming to America
  • Character Building: The Many Faces of Rick Baker
  • Composing America: The Musical Talents of Nile Rodgers
  • A Vintage Sit-Down With Eddie & Arsenio
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

For a milestone anniversary, this Blu-ray release is extremely lacking. In other words, all of the special features are the same as the 1999 DVD release. Not only are they dated but they’re also in the original 4:3 format. Nevertheless, the featurettes do cover a wide array of topics. In addition, each featurette is both insightful and interesting. Hearing all of the stories from the cast and crew are just pleasing to listen to. It’s just a shame that there isn’t some sort of modern retrospective about the film from the cast and crew. After all, this is an important film to plenty of people.

Special Features Rating: 2.5/5 atoms


Overall, Coming to America is an instant comedic classic. It takes the tropes that we’ve seen from 80s films and turn them upside down. Not to mention, it’s a film that’s not only funny but also has a lot of heart. The video and audio presentations are solid but it’s a shame that we didn’t get a brand new transfer for the 30th anniversary release. At the same time, it’s a shame that we haven’t gotten any new special features for this release either. After all, these special features date back all the way to 1999. Nevertheless, these special features are still really insightful watches.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1272 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.