One Chance (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 28-Mar-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Black Comedy/Drama Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Simon Cowell Featurette (3:13)
Theatrical Trailer-Free Birds (2:19): 1.78:1, 1080p.
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 103:17
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Frankel
Studio
Distributor
Weinstein Company
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring James Corden
Julie Walters
Colm Meaney
Alexandra Roach
Mackenzie Crook
Jemima Rooper
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $34.95 Music Theodore Shapiro


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Most of us enjoy a feel-good movie, cheering and probably weeping for the little battler who finally wins against all odds. Audiences were almost on their feet for the underdogs of Billy Elliott and Kinky Boots. (An aside : why is there never any reference to Chiwetel Ejiofor's excellent performance in Kinky Boots. Would the association tarnish the artistic integrity of 12 Years a Slave? Odd that I have never heard it mentioned since the actor has found his current fame).

     The Weinsteins have given us yet another heart-warming opus, with this particular underdog becoming the eventual winner of the first series of Britain's Got Talent, the TV talent quest that was the brainchild of Simon Cowell. Though the film is "based on a true story", the actual facts of the "struggle" of this little guy are a mite distorted. However, it is the film that we are looking at here and this rags to riches tale is effective and entertaining.

     Paul Potts is a tubby little Welsh schoolboy who is teased and bullied by his fellow pupils. His one solace is found singing in the church choir, encouraged by his mother (Julie Walters) and denigrated by his father (Colm Meaney). As he grows older the often pathetic Paul seeks companionship on the internet. His co-worker at The Carphone Warehouse, Braddon (Mackenzie Crook), arranges a face-to-face meeting between Paul and his internet girlfriend, "Julz" (Alexandra Roach). Encouraged by the compassionate Julz, Paul raises the cash to go to Italy to study singing, even being in a master class held by his idol Pavarotti. Through highs and lows we follow Paul through the years. He and Julz marry, there is a bike accident, a major operation, success and acceptance with a local opera company and finally the chance to compete in Britain's Got Talent.

     The film is competently directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) from a screenplay by Justin Vackman (The Bucket List). The production is greatly enhanced by the photography of Florian Ballhaus (The Book Thief), particularly in depicting the comparatively drab environment of Paul's Welsh beginnings. The sequences in Venice are pretty, but rather lacklustre when one thinks of other films such as Summertime and Don't Look Now. Surprisingly little is made of the music, with most extracts extremely truncated. It is also a very odd decision to have the end titles accompanied by Taylor Swift's Sweeter than Fiction rather than some soaring operatic piece. Acting performances from those portraying the Potts family are only adequate, with James Corden just a bit too ingratiating. Perhaps it was the director's fault, or the actor's problem into shifting gear from stage - he won the Tony last year - to screen. Here's hoping he fares better in the film version of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. Julie Walters manages a few touching moments, but loses credibility elsewhere, as in the horrendous wedding sequence. Colm Meaney is a meany with little else to the role, script and direction sinking to caricature. The supporting players fare better. Mackenzie Crook ( Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) deftly avoids the obvious and manages to create a real character, and Jemima Rooper (Kinky Boots) impresses as his girl, Hydrangea. Best of all is Alexandra Roach, the young actress whom we saw as the young Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Roach is totally without artifice and makes the relationship between Potts and his girl something we really care about. Evidently Katy Perry turned down this role. There's a stroke of luck!

     Despite the misgivings, this is still a pleasant and effective tale of yet another little chap surmounting obstacles to reach the pinnacle - of sorts. The vulgarities, such as the Potts parents, and the clichés, prevent the story and characters from really involving us - or me, at least. Films are made with a target audience in mind, and undoubtedly the producers of this venture were very sure of their target. Those who love these TV talent reality shows will no doubt love One Chance - even Taylor Swift's warblings over the end credits. For me the film misses the mark, both dramatically and musically. But then, I don't watch TV talent contests.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     One Chance comes to us with a very attractive high definition transfer.

     The film is presented at the aspect ratio of 2.40:1, the original theatrical ratio.

     The movie benefits greatly from the camerawork of Florian Ballhaus (The Book Thief / The Devil Wears Prada), even though his Venice sequences are less than I would have hoped. The widescreen frame regularly presents very attractively composed images. These images throughout are sharp and clear, with terrific detail. This is evident in the panoramic shots of industrial Wales, the cityscapes, the canals of Venice as well as the close-ups. There is very little in the film that is not brightly lit, but shadow detail is fine when the scene allows, as in the early night scenes in Paul's home town. The colour is pleasing, though there is an emphasis on blues, particularly in these early Welsh scenes. The palette is rather drab as the film starts, appropriately so, but there is more colour as the story progresses beyond this locale. Skin tones are pleasing.

     Subtitles accurately convey the dialogue and effects, all in basic white centred at the foot of the screen.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There are two audio streams: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 encoded at 48 kHz and English with Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired option in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded at 48 kHz.

     This is not a dynamic film as far as the audio is concerned, though it could have been a more exciting musical experience. There is, however, plenty of action across the fronts, with the rears providing ambient life in all the right places, whether it is a wedding party or the canals of Venice. The music throughout is given excellent distribution around the sound field. This includes the classical offerings, from the likes of Mozart, Puccini, Leoncavello, Chopin, Grieg and Verdi, as well as contributions from The Village People and Rick Astley, amongst others. The dialogue is front and centred, brilliantly clear and without any sync problems. I would not say that there are "problems" as such with the miming by James Condon of the Paul Potts vocals, but the commendable efforts are not totally successful. Incidentally, the film opens with some horrendous face pulling by the youngest of the Paul's miming in the church choir. It gets better after that. The subwoofer adds the required bass to the music, but gets minimal use otherwise.

     There is a nicely delivered Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired from the usual male reader. I wondered what word would be used to describe the considerably overweight young Paul. It was "chubby". Nice choice.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The simple menu screen consists of a combination of stills and a montage of scenes, plus a poppy version of an aria used in the film.

Featurette : The Simon Cowell Featurette (3:13)

     By any standards the one extra accompanying this feature is paltry indeed. Considering the amount of TV footage that must be available of the real Paul Potts and his triumph at Britain's Got Talent, the lack of any of this material seems ludicrous. Instead this is a mix of talking head shots of the less than retiring Cowell (1.78:1) and snippets from the film (2.40:1), all presented in high definition. The same old stuff about the ordinary little man coming on stage, the "judges" expecting a fiasco, and then the over-the-top reactions as they are wowed by the performance.

Startup Trailer: Free Birds (2:19)

    A very good trailer presented in stunning high definition.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There is no Region 1 release at present, and our release appears to identical to the UK release.

Summary

     This film will undoubtedly delight you if you enjoy TV talent contests. I found myself uninvolved with the central character, and underwhelmed by the musical offerings as performed within the screenplay. There is a delightful performance from Alexandra Roach as the hero's girl, and fine support from Mackenzie Crook and Jemima Rooper. Julie Walters and Colm Meaney ham it up as the parents. The scenery is attractive and everything, from industrial Wales to Venice, looks very fine indeed in this high definition transfer. The only extra is a featurette giving us three minutes of Simon Cowell. Actually, three minutes is more than enough.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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