|Rating||Other Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - DVD Teaser #1|
|Year Released||1995||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||109:43 minutes||Other Extras||None|
|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 2.0 ,
English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Angela Bennett (Sandra Bullock) is a systems analyst who works from home in Los Angeles. One day she is sent a disc containing a little something that somebody really does not want anyone to see or know about. They want to make sure that they get the disc back and to eliminate anyone who has knowledge of what it contains. First person to expire is a colleague of Angela's who just happens to die in a plane accident on his way to see Angela before she goes on holiday. They hire a charming assassin by the name of Jack Devlin (Jeremy Northam) to locate Angela, recover the disc and permanently eliminate Angela. Angela is located on the beach at Cozumel in Mexico, where a suitably contrived purse snatch results in Devlin reclaiming - albeit temporarily - the disc. He of course loses it again after a night of passion with Angela and an unfortunate run in with a champagne bottle. What follows is a ride that sees Angela lose her identity, her house, her job and the only person she trusts, her ex-shrink Alan Champion (Dennis Miller) as They try to recover the disc and eliminate Angela. They turns out to be a conspiracy involving a computer software company and a computer security program called The Gatekeeper which turns out to be anything less than secure and gives it developers access to highly confidential government files. Angela in her determination to reclaim her life discovers the conspiracy, downloads the details onto a single floppy disc, then e-mails it all to the FBI. All of which results in her getting everything back and the founder of the company responsible for The Gatekeeper being arrested for various charges.
And if the plot sounds a little corny, you ought to see what these people can do with quite basic software! And quite what it has to do with the Internet I have no idea. This really was conceived as a way of gaining maximum exposure from the golden girl of the moment Sandra Bullock. Now don't get me wrong, but when the highlight of the film is Sandra Bullock lounging on a beach in a bikini, you know the film has got some problems. Believability is stretched to the limit at times. Jeremy Northam does a reasonable job as the bad guy here but the rest of the cast leave indelible blanks on the mind. This does really come across as if it was conceived on the back of serviette at an extended studio lunch. Definitely not one of the better efforts from Irwin Winkler.
The transfer is not at all sharp and really lacks any sort of consistent definition. It is not an especially clear transfer and lacks the sort of clarity necessary to give some visual spark to the image. It is a dark transfer and at times shadow detail is quite shockingly poor.
This is not a vibrant transfer at all, and the colours come up with quite a dark tone to them: skin tones are especially poor. At least the colours have been consistently rendered and some of the darkness could be removed by adjusting your display contrast, but that really defeats the purpose of DVD. There is a hint of oversaturation of colours at times, probably not aided by the dark transfer, but nothing too serious, and bleeding was not a problem at all.
There were a number of MPEG artefacts noted, mainly the loss of resolution in some panning shots. Film-to-video artefacts were not too prevalent, although one section between 5:30 and 5:50 was noticeably suffering from shimmer. Film artefacts were also quite prevalent during the film, although these were never especially intrusive.
There is a subtitle glitch in that the English subtitles default to on.
There are four audio tracks on the disc: the default English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack and a French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.
The dialogue was not especially clear nor easy to understand, and I needed to adjust the audio level up a little to hear what was being said throughout the film.
Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with the transfer.
The music score comes from Mark Isham although it does not sound like his usual fare. The music supports the on-screen action quite well and does aid the overall film presentation.
Whilst this is a 5.1 soundtrack, at times it sounded more like a 2.0 soundtrack. It seemed a little recessed, and the surround channels were not especially well used; indeed a lot of the time it almost sounded as if the surround channels were not being used at all. There is very little detail out of the rear channels. This is not an especially convincing sound picture at all.
The bass channel got minimal use, mainly during action scenes. However the contribution of the bass channel was very limited even when it was expected.
The video quality is very average indeed.
The audio quality is good, if a little lacking in the 5.1 mix.
There are no extras to speak of.
© Ian Morris
2nd November 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. 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 EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|