|Category||Drama||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.85:1 non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono|
|Year Released||1998||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||116:07 minutes||Other Extras||Main Menu Animation & Audio|
Fox Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or
Ever After is a modernization of the Cinderella fairy tale. Unlike the original fairy tale, however, Cinderella - Danielle (Drew Barrymore) - is herein portrayed as a feisty, independent-thinking woman. True to the fairy tale, Danielle has two step-sisters - Marguerite (Megan Dodds) and Jacqueline (Melanie Lynsky) - and a step-mother, Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston). Departing from the fairy tale, however, is the fact that Rodmilla's favourite is clearly Marguerite, with Jacqueline a distant second, almost equal to Danielle.
Rodmilla and Marguerite are nasty pieces of work. Their sole goal in life is the wedding of Marguerite to the very eligible Prince Henry (Dougray Scott) of France, thus guaranteeing the family fortune. It is presumed that Danielle will miss out on the easy life if Rodmilla and Marguerite get their way.
Danielle comes to the Prince's attention through a series of misfortunes, but their road to living happily ever after is fraught with difficulties, confusion and scheming step-relatives. What makes this movie better than others of its genre is the strength of the central character, played with great conviction by Drew Barrymore. Danielle is no damsel-in-distress in need of rescue from a fire-breathing dragon. Indeed, I would pity the dragon that attempted to tangle with Danielle - I have no doubt that the dragon would come off second best!
Because the fairy tale is so well known, I don't think I am giving anything away by mentioning the ball towards the end of the movie, since this is the setting for one of the most spectacular reveals I have ever seen on film when we see a radiant Danielle in all her glory. This is a stunning scene, and one that is guaranteed to bring a tear to even the most hardened cynic's eyes. Take my advice - watch this movie with a loved one and in addition to scoring some brownie points for yourself, you'll actually enjoy the movie to boot.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The image is generally very sharp and very clear, though a few long shots of the sky and scenery are a little bit muddied and dirty looking. Nonetheless, for the great majority of the movie, a tremendous amount of detail is revealed by this transfer. I felt that the early part of the movie was a tad dark, and subsequently a little lacking in shadow detail, but the great majority of the movie had superb shadow detail. There was no low level noise intruding upon the image.
The colours cover the full gamut possible with deep, dark, dank blacks and greys contrasting with vibrant greens and reds and blues. The ball itself is an explosion of colour which contrasts with the black and grey of the castle itself immediately preceding. At no time is there even a suggestion of colour bleeding or inconsistency in the colour saturation.
There were no MPEG artefacts detected in the transfer, nor were there any film-to-video artefacts to be seen. A few more film artefacts than I would have expected in such a recent vintage transfer were apparent, but none were particularly distracting. This was one of the reasons this transfer failed to attract a reference rating, however.
This is an RSDL disc with the layer change coming at 56:27, during Chapter 13. This is well-placed and not at all disruptive to the flow of the movie.
Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand. Early on in the movie, the dialogue was poorly integrated spatially with the remainder of the soundtrack and sounded somewhat odd and disconnected, but this improved later on.
There were no definite audio sync problems with this disc, though there were a few spots which bordered on the verge of being out of sync.
The score by George Fenton is lush and lyrical. Predominantly symphonic and choral in nature, it accompanied the on-screen action very nicely indeed, providing an excellent bed upon which the emotions of the movie could be laid.
The surround speakers did very little during the early part of this movie. Later on, the surround presence picked up markedly and the score became considerably more enveloping, from around the half-way point in the movie to the end. For the first half of the movie, the soundscape was strictly a front hemispheric mix with little action in the rear, though considerably more ambience found its way into the rear speakers during the latter part of this movie.
The subwoofer subtly supported the music and the odd firework or two.
The video transfer is excellent.
The audio transfer is good.
The extras are limited.
© Michael Demtschyna
8th March 2000
|DVD||Start SD-2001VNK and Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer|