|Category||Comedy||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.78:1, Dolby Digital 2.0|
|Year Released||1992||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||96:58 Minutes||Other Extras||Cast & Crew Filmographies|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Dolby Digital||2.0|
||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 ,
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||A very clever reference to Caddyshack.
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This might sound like a somewhat limited scenario to bring into a film, but screenwriter Danny Rubin and director Harold Ramis (who also participated in the writing of the screenplay) put together this film in a wonderful manner. Bill Murray is in fine form as the hapless victim of a weird perpetually repeating time-warp, and even Andie MacDowell is a lot better than her usual self. The only real weak point of this film is that there may as well not be a cast in this film besides them, but this is of little consequence when you absorb the amount of character development that was put into their roles. Phil Connors is a very believable portraiture of a man who is living each day like there really is no tomorrow, which is very good considering the entire film revolves around him. The film moves slowly, in careful and moderate steps, but the characters make it seem fast-paced. Both of the principal characters in the film are so well-constructed that you hardly notice the fact that the rest of the cast merely exists to give them something to interact with. Bill Murray is so convincing in his portrayal of Phil Connors that even I began to really feel for him. I see a huge number of films all the time where I can poke a million holes in the plot, but this one is so well put together that I cannot even make a solid criticism of the way Connors' psychology is affected by his situation. There's even an excellent reference to one of the best pieces of dialogue from one of Harold Ramis' earliest directorial efforts, Caddyshack ("be the hat"), which has to qualify as being the single most non-annoying product placement I've ever seen in a film. If you're after a great comedy with a heart, soul, and meaning, then you cannot go far wrong with Groundhog Day. Why it didn't win any awards for at least the screenwriting is a mystery to me.
Colour saturation was slightly bright in some sequences, most notably the sequence in which Phil attempts to convince Rita of the truth behind his situation. I believe this was also an artistic choice designed to highlight the weirdness of Phil's situation. MPEG artefacts were completely absent from the transfer, which is quite excellent when you consider that the bit rate was constantly varied between four and seven Mb/s and that a lot of sequences involve snow or water in some other state. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some very minor aliasing in car chrome and windows from time to time, but you would have to look at the picture with a magnifying glass to notice most of it. If there is one thing that denies this transfer reference status, however, it is the abundance of film artefacts, which came fast and thick during the first and last few minutes of the film. During ninety of the film's ninety-seven minutes, they settled to an acceptable rate, but they were found in an amount that makes the film look seventeen years old instead of seven. Understand that these black and white marks were not obtrusive, but they were present often enough to be noticed in spite of it. If not for this fact, the video transfer would almost certainly be of reference quality. Sadly, RSDL formatting would not have helped this situation at all.
The music score was by George Fenton, and it did a masterful job of augmenting the feel of every sequence that it accompanied. It was consistently subtle and integrated into the film, giving a sense of Connors' emotions in each sequence. The first time that Connors repeats Groundhog Day is especially well-carried in the score music, with a suitably low-key and "something's not quite right here" sound coming through. Most of the music consists of subtle arrangements of strings and synthesizers, with an excellent jazz number towards the end of the film. It's a pity I haven't heard any more of Fenton's work, although I believe I may have heard it in some other Ramis film without remembering.
The overall surround presence is somewhat monophonic in nature, with the majority of the dialogue and sound effects coming out of the stereo channels in equal amounts. Occasionally, the surrounds would be called upon to support the music and some ambient sounds, but these moments were few and far between. The sound field is very effective in spite of the limited use of the channels. The subwoofer was called upon once in a while to support some moments in the film, mainly revolving around Connors' suicidal behaviour.
The video quality is good, but there is an abundance of film artefacts.
The audio quality is true to the source material, and given the importance of the dialogue, is very good.
The extras are limited.
© Dean McIntosh (my
bio sucks... read it anyway)
March 30, 2000.
|DVD||Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|