(not 96 minutes as stated on packaging)
Warner Home Video
Doug E. Doug
Rawle D. Lewis
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 ,
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, rather annoying|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The story starts with the annual push-cart championships during which one Sanka Coffie (Doug E. Doug) once again proves himself the best on the island. The only problem is that Sanka is a man lacking ambition and a man very contented with the relaxed rasta lifestyle of the island. Derice Bannock (Leon) on the other hand is a man on a mission - to represent Jamaica in the 100 metre sprint at the Summer Olympics, just as his father once did. And so at the Olympic trials, things are looking good, at least until Junior Bevil (Rawle D. Lewis) precipitates the elimination of not only Derice but also one Yul Brenner (Malik Yoba). When Derice cannot convince the Jamaican Olympic Committee to re-run the trial, he heads off in search of a former associate of his father, one Irwin Blitzer (John Candy), a former two time gold medal winner in the real Jamaican sport of bobsled. Twenty years ago, Irwin tried to convince Derice's old man to switch to the bobsled - and now he has to ward off the efforts of Derice, and Sanka, to do the same. Since that would end the film after about ten minutes, obviously Derice convinces Irwin and a meeting is set up to conscript two other members to the Jamaican Bobsled team. Plenty turn up to the meeting, but after a few visuals the crowd reduces to a gathering of - none. But naturally two other members are found and they are of course - Junior and Yul. And so we then indulge in the antics of the team as they come to grips with the bobsled, cold weather (and believe me it can get very cold in Alberta), antagonism, inexperience and nerves as they pursue their Olympic dream in the ideal, and truly Caribbean, climate of Calgary, Alberta in the middle of winter.
As is quite typical for a comedy from this source, the story is not exactly riveting but is more than passable and reasonably amusing. For instance, having experienced some pretty cold weather in my time, the scene as the intrepid bobsledders leave the warmth of the airport in Calgary always produces mild amusement. The rather predictable aspect of the story is the rather clichéd portrayal of Jamaicans as rasta devotees, and in this respect Doug E. Doug makes a fair turn, but one that hardly raises above the level of decent. Thankfully, the rasta aspect is toned down in the three other characterizations, but they still sort of capture some of the other clichés of the island - little, spoilt man-child of wealthy Jamaican made good, athlete with the sole intent of making the Olympics and the Jamaican who wants nothing more than to get off the island. In that respect Rawle D. Lewis, Leon and Malik Yoba all capture the characterizations pretty well. But as ever it is the late and sadly missed John Candy that steals the show here. His effort as the former athlete turned down-on-his-luck bookie may not be the best thing he has ever done, but it is certainly a highlight here. Cool Runnings is another film under the direction of Jon Turteltaub that may not rank amongst the true classics of cinema, but ends up making its way into my player reasonably regularly for the very simple reason that it is an enjoyable piece of entertainment. In other words, exactly the reason why we watch films.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is quite sharp and well-detailed throughout, although once again there are just a few odd lapses here and there. They do not however really attract too much attention to themselves. Clarity was in general excellent, and there did not seem to be any problem with grain here at all. Shadow detail was generally very good. There did not seem to be any low level noise problems with the transfer.
The colours come up pretty well here, although I do have to say that I really was anticipating a much brighter image than what we actually got. This has always been the problem with this transfer. I noticed it the very first time I watched this DVD and it always strikes me every time that I sit and rewatch it. I guess it is simply because that as good as the colours are, they just give the impression of being a little on the flattish side. Greens do not have the sort of rich vibrancy that made, say, Mighty Joe Young shine, the reds simply do not have the brightness that was anticipated and so on. A good effort, but one that really should have been a lot better in my view. At least there is a general consistency in the saturation of the colours, although the odd occurrence of oversaturation is noted - most especially at around the 73:45 mark where Junior's red pants really get a bit ghastly-looking. The rare oversaturation does create just the odd issue with colour bleeding.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts
in the transfer. There were some very minor problems with aliasing in the
transfer, but nothing that really disrupts the film. There did not seem
to be any problems with film artefacts.
Dialogue is clear and generally easy to understand throughout.
There did not appear to be any problem with audio sync problems with the transfer.
The musical score comes from Hans Zimmer, and it has to be said that it is not exactly a really memorable effort - it is decently complementary to the film and the theme is reasonably memorable enough, but it just lacks a little of the rhythm of the islands.
In general, for a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded
soundtrack, this sounds as good as can be expected. There was some nice
use of the surround channel, with a reasonable amount of ambience thrown
into the mix. Naturally it does not have the same zing as a full 5.1 soundtrack,
which at times is just a little too obvious - the crash of the bobsled
being one obvious example. Still, the sound is quite open and there is
never any feeling of congestion, nor any problems with distortion. The
bass channel obviously does not get any run here at all.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
2nd October 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|