|Year Released||1997||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||100:31 minutes||Other Extras||None|
Warner Home Video
David Ogden Stiers
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, mildly|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Michael Cromwell (Tim Allen) is a workaholic commodity broker (I can relate to that having been one) from New York, whose wife left him thirteen years ago after one year of marriage, and who now wants to remarry. Only problem is, they never formalized a divorce and the impending nuptials are thirty days away. So he drops everything to head off to the Amazon rain forest to find his wife Patricia (Jobeth Williams) to get her to sign the divorce papers. Naturally he finds her, but also discovers that he has a son, Mimi-Siku (Sam Huntington) that he never knew about. Mimi is just about to become a man in the tribe he and his mother live with, and the tribal chief sets him a fairly simple task for his rite of passage - bring the flame from the Statue of Liberty. So Mimi and Michael return to New York and a whole heap of trouble. It does not help that Michael's fiancee Charlotte (Lolita Davidovich) does not exactly like Mimi or his pet tarantula and that Michael's partner Robert Kempster (Martin Short) is a bit of a neurotic character, with a penchant for doing deals with the Russian mafia. Suffice to say, Mimi gets into a deal of trouble adjusting and goes back to the Amazon, shortly to be followed by a reformed Michael, plus Robert and his family, whose daughter Karen (LeeLee Sobiesky) Mimi has taken a shine too.
Okay, this is a fairly typical syrupy Walt Disney story, but who can knock the dollars they have made out of these sorts of syrupy stories? Just don't ask about the quality of the filmmaking. As for being a comedy, well that is probably stretching it a little - and to be honest I have never found Tim Allen especially funny, even in the enormously successful Home Improvement. Indeed, the funniest moment in this film actually involves Charlotte's cat with Tim Allen as the sidekick - but then again I may be a little weird. Martin Short actually does a fine job here and Lolita Davidovich is totally believable as the self absorbed Charlotte. The rest are just typically Disney, in other words far too syrupy for their own good.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.
This is generally a very clear and a very sharp transfer throughout, with just a hint of edge enhancement on a couple of occasions during scenes in New York. Shadow detail is good throughout.
The colours were consistently rendered, albeit not overly vibrant. I felt that this was a little too muted and could have done with bringing up the vibrancy of the colours, especially in the Amazon scenes, just a little. There was no oversaturation of colour at all and colour bleed was not a problem.
There were no MPEG artefacts noted, and there were no significant video artefacts noted either - just the odd hint of a shimmer is about it, and I doubt that many would even notice it. The film was surprisingly free of film artefacts.
There are two soundtracks on the DVD, both being Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks: the default English and Italian. I listened to the English default.
Dialogue was generally easy to understand and clear, although there were a couple of times where the level of the audio seemed to drop which made the dialogue briefly a little difficult to follow.
There did not appear to be any audio sync problems with the transfer.
The score by Michael Convertino was completely unmemorable and had little effect upon the film.
The balance and detail in the surround channels was a little inconsistent, at times very good but at other times sounding as if the surround channels had dropped out completely, being quite recessed. In general, I would have to say that this is a flawed soundtrack and I would have expected better in a 5.1 soundtrack.
The bass channel was aggressively used during a few scenes, especially those involving music or action in New York, and was quite unnaturally balanced as a result. This really detracted from the film in my view, although I know my tastes regarding bass differ from most.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is good, albeit inconsistent.
The extras are huge, over the top efforts that you will miss completely on our Region 4 release.
|Extras||10,000,000 New Yorkers?|
© Ian Morris
19th October 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|