(not 92 minutes as stated on packaging)
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||English (Dolby Digital 5.0, 384
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
We once again find ourselves in the Banks household, trying to find sympathy for that increasingly pathetic excuse for a man, George Banks (Steve Martin). The fates have this time decided to bless this man with the news that his daughter Annie Banks-MacKenzie (Kimberly Williams) is pregnant and he is to be a grandfather. In a fit of pique, as he is too young to be a grandfather, George decides to get what in female terms is a "makeover" and prove to his increasingly suffering wife Nina (Diane Keaton) that they are indeed too young to be grandparents. The result of this is that, in short order, Nina becomes pregnant herself and George sells their beloved house. Things then of course take a bit of a downturn, as can only happen in the Banks household. Firstly they meet up with the annoying Franck Egglehoffer (Martin Short) after discovering the pregnancy and so end up with him organizing a double baby shower. This occurs right after George has paid $100,000 to buy back their home so that his new kid will grow up in "his" home. Naturally the mad organizer then decides that they need a baby suite and proceeds to demolish and rebuild the entire attic area of the house. As we progress rather predictably towards the inevitable conclusion we have to endure the ongoing ravings of both Franck and George, together with the obligatory bust-up and make-up in the Banks-MacKenzie household, before the inevitable birth of the two babies.
I will now once again ponder exactly what was so great about the first film that necessitated us being inflicted with a sequel. Judging by the performances here, I would guess that most of the cast were probably thinking the same thing. The end result is that I can find nothing that would provide an adequate enough reason to produce a sequel to Father Of The Bride. Steve Martin attacks the entire thing as if in a daze, and even when the rare opportunity arises for him to show his genuine talent, it simply goes begging. Diane Keaton certainly seems to be going through the motions and carries off the role of the pregnant grandmother-to-be with about as much conviction as a politician's claims to be honest. Far from glowing, she is barely better than muted. Martin Short is not much short of a disaster and even he seems to have tired of the Franck character rather quickly. Kimberly Williams at least looks pretty good, but George Newbern does not even have that to save him from direct comparisons with Keanu Reeves in the acting department. Yes, the whole think reeks of a bad idea gong nowhere really slowly. I guess Charles Shyer simply managed to be too slow in ducking when it came to the finger-pointing exercise to pick the director whose name was going to sink with this film. Whilst I would not go as far as to suggest that this is an unmitigated disaster, I would certainly suggest that the collection of talent here should have come up with something a heck of a lot better than this.
A sadly misguided sequel going nowhere slowly, but at least it is a widescreen sequel going nowhere slowly. I can name a dozen better family entertainment films out on DVD that you could watch in preference to this effort.
The transfer is at least presented in a 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.78:1. That is, as they say, the good news. The bad news is that there is not much nice to say about this amazingly inconsistent transfer. In fact this is so inconsistent that the problem in all probability lies in the source material, but since I thankfully avoided this at the cinema, I cannot say this for sure.
The opening title sequence sets the tone straight away: it looks distinctly overexposed with far too bright a look to it, which serves to drown any detail that might have been present and tends to make the opening credits themselves quite difficult to read. The film then switches to indoor shots that are quite rich in tone and certainly have a distinctly darker tone to them. The only real consistency here is the fact that the transfer does not have any really great sharpness and distinction to it. The overall feel is quite flat and there is a distinct lack of depth noticeable throughout a number of sequences in the film. Shadow detail borders on being atrocious at times and is more reminiscent of a film that is twenty or thirty years older than this. The film is also plagued with mild amounts of grain throughout, which leaves the overall impression of this being a dirty-looking film. At least there did not seem to be any problem with low level noise in the transfer. This is a problematic transfer that really looks far older than it is.
The next major problem is the distinct lack of vibrancy in the colours. Indeed, the overall palette here is very muted and the result is something that does not look at all natural. The only time that there is any degree of vibrancy in the colours is during the scenes just before George buys back his house, when one of the lawns shows up in a stunning vibrant green. The rest of it is almost undersaturated in comparison. Even the interior shots which have that rich tone really do not shine as much as I would have expected. Colour oversaturation and colour bleed are not issues to be concerned with here.
There are no significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although one or two pan shots seem to be a little less focused than perhaps they should have been. To make up for this however, there is a very nice collection of film-to-video artefacts, including noticeable shimmer and cross colouration problems in clothing and aliasing in the usual straight horizontal lines. Had these been minor, irregular issues, they could perhaps have been ignored, but their sheer consistency makes the effect very difficult to ignore. There was not much of problem with film artefacts, but they are present even if not too intrusive.
The packaging claims that there are four subtitle
options on the disc, which indeed there are. However, playing around with
the subtitle button actually reveals five additional subtitle options,
albeit four of the additional ones being English, and flagged as such.
The fifth additional one, I simply cannot identify even though it is flagged
as English, which it patently is not. It almost looks like gibberish, but
I am probably wrong. Whatever the language, this plethora of unnecessary
subtitle tracks is something of a concern as regards the quality of the
authoring and mastering used by Buena Vista.
Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand, other than the inevitable problems with the atrocious accent of Franck. There did not appear to be any problems with audio sync in the transfer.
The music score comes from Alan Silvestri, and once again it is not an especially memorable effort at all. But then again, the film would hardly have inspired someone with his talents to any great heights at all.
Since this is notionally a Dolby Digital 5.0 effort,
you can guess that the bass channel is out of action throughout. However,
5.0 would indicate to me that there would be action out of the two front
surround channels and the centre channel, as well as the two rear channels.
I will give you the tip - if there is any action at all out of the rear
channels, I completely missed it this time around, and on every previous
occasion I have watched the DVD. If the rear channels are actually there,
they are most definitely silent in my view. Indeed so bad a 5.0 soundtrack
is this, I would swear that most if not all the action is out of the front
surround channels with minimal action in the centre channel. At least it
is a clean sounding effort with no distortion to mar the effect.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
16th 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|