My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2001)

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Released 1-Apr-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Egypt
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Audio Commentary-Nia Vardolos, John Corbett & Joel Zwick
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Nia Vardalos-Today Show; ABC Radio National
Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Easter Egg-Tom Hanks / recipes
DVD Credits
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 91:14
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (71:05) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Joel Zwick
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Nia Vardalos
John Corbett
Lainie Kazan
Michael Constantine
Gia Carides
Louis Mandylor
Bess Meisler
Bruce Gray
Fiona Reid
Ian Gomez
Jayne Eastwood
Andrea Martin
Joey Fatone
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Alexander Janko
Chris Wilson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Greek
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

Nice Greek girls are supposed to do three things:
marry Greek boys,
make Greek babies,
and feed everyone until the day they die.

    It's hard to believe that this film wasn't made in Melbourne, but I guess there are other cities with large expatriate Greek communities — this film suggests that Chicago is such a city (although Melbourne is still supposed to have the largest Greek population outside Greece).

    This film is a sweet little story about what it's like to grow up in a family environment that places strong expectations on you. And how expatriate communities tend to cling more strongly to old values, ways, and traditions. And how hard it is to break with tradition. There are no world-shattering events, just some world-shattering loads of guilt; no events that result in a big change to the course of the world, just some that make a big change to a life or two. I like this film — it's a relief not to be worrying about whether the world will end.

    Fundamentally, this is an ugly-duckling story (with an even more dramatic transformation than Strictly Ballroom's Tara Morice), mixed with a clash of cultures story that's told with a lot of affection. That's easy to understand, given that this is really an autobiographical story. Nia Vardalos explains that this story is fundamentally what happened when she met her husband, fell in love, and married. Nia is essentially playing herself. Her husband (Ian Gomez), is playing the best friend of Ian (John Corbett — Nia claims she chose him so she could snog him on-screen). One of the authentically Greek touches to this film is the involvement of family. Producer Rita Wilson hired her brother Chris Wilson for some of the music. Nia's sister did the choreography; Nia's father had a part (he's in the credits, even though his part got cut). And Nia's family provided the extras for the church. You get the idea...

    There are a few stereotypes given a bit of a belting in the film: the scene where they are naming some of the members of the family is one of the funniest (you've heard of Nick the Greek?).

    I must say one thing about an event in the movie. Guys, if you are on a first date with a lady, and she is of a particular ethnic origin, never, ever, suggest eating food of that ethnicity. If you are lucky, she will simply think you are naive (bear in mind — she can eat that kind of food anytime...); if you're unlucky you'll commit some unforgivable gaffe, perhaps eating something the wrong way, or saying the wrong thing. Be smart: if she's Greek, suggest Indonesian food; if she's Thai, suggest Lebanese; this is easier in a city like Melbourne, where there are a huge variety of restaurants, but you get the idea.

    I disliked the cutesy representation of the titles — the Greek letter sigma is used in place of the capital E, but sigma corresponds to S, not E. OK, it might be stylish, but it's wrong.

    Nia Vardalos got really lucky. Her one-woman show was seen by Rita Wilson, who is of Greek extraction, and she identified with the story. She was immediately determined to produce it as a movie — she sent her husband to see the next performance so he could throw his weight behind the project. Her husband being Tom Hanks helped... Nia was lucky in that they weren't determined to re-write her script (they even helped her make the necessary changes), and she was incredibly lucky that they were happy to let her star in it (it was a smart move, though). They went hunting for Greek actors for authenticity — all the main actors playing Greek roles are of Greek origin except for Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin is Armenian). A couple of them are Australian Greeks: you are likely to spot Gia Carides, but did you know Louis Mandylor (who looks very much like his brother Costas) is also from Australia?

    This is a pleasant film, and one you can watch with your whole family. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which is the intended ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is not perfectly sharp — there's a touch of softness to it, which I rather like, because it eliminates aliasing — on a smaller screen it looks plenty sharp enough. Shadow detail is very good. There's film grain in a few shots, but it looks like an artistic choice, rather than a defect. There is a moment of low-level noise at 51:38, which surprised me.

    Colour is rather good, with some rich deep colours on display. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts worth mentioning. There's no significant aliasing, no moire, and no shimmer (even on the film grain). There are no MPEG artefacts. This is a very good transfer, and very clean. I wish more movies came out this well.

    There are subtitles in English and Greek (surprise!). The English are English for the Hearing Impaired, and have plenty of information about Foley and music cues. They are easy to read, fairly accurate, and well-timed to the dialogue. The Greek subtitles are present, but I can't testify to their accuracy.

    The disc is single-sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 71:05, and although it's noticeable on some players, it's not too disruptive.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, but the only sound that uses the subwoofer is the Dolby Digital trailer — it might as well be 5.0. The commentary is Dolby Digital 2.0. I listened to both tracks in full.

    The dialogue is clear, and mostly easy to understand (well, the English is — I don't understand Greek). There are no audio sync problems, but there is one stretch that is obviously ADRed — it is not a mastering problem.

    The music is credited to Alexander Janko and Chris Wilson. I suspect that Alexander Janko composed most of the score, as well as orchestrating and conducting. There is quite a bit of identifiably Greek music, and it fits well into this story.

    The surround speakers aren't given much to do, and what they do get is rather subtle, adding a little front-to-back depth to the sound, rather than anything specific in the way of directional sound.

    The subwoofer goes to sleep after the Dolby Digital trailer, and doesn't wake up until the digital mastering trailer.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu has a nice transition, gentle animation, and music.

Audio Commentary

    This commentary features the writer, the two stars, and the director, all in three people. Nia Vardalos was the one I wanted to hear from, and she has quite a bit to say. John Corbett chimes in on occasion, as does Joel Zwick (director). There are a number of silences during the commentary, but that's OK. They do convey a lot about the making of the film. Well worth a listen.

Interviews with Nia Vardalos

    This is a nice touch — they've managed to gather some interviews with Nia Vardalos when she came to Australia to promote the film.

Theatrical Trailer (2:08)

    A nicely made trailer that doesn't spoil the plot too much.

Cast and Crew Biographies (10 bios, 52 pages)

Easter Eggs

    There is a sort-of Easter Egg on the front menu, where you can move the cursor down to highlight the barely noticeable Roadshow Entertainment V logo (the V seems inappropriate now they are no longer Village Roadshow) — press Enter and you'll bring up the DVD credits.

    There's a real Easter Egg on the Special Features menu. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) If you move the cursor left onto the Windex bottle, then press Enter you'll get a brief piece of Tom Hanks talking about Greek food, followed by recipes for five Greek dishes. The recipes are mostly in US terms (things like "all-purpose flour" instead of "plain flour"), except that the weight of a lamb is given as 23kg.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 disc was released mid-February 2003. I picked up a copy on the day of release.

    The Region 4 disc is missing:

    The Region 1 disc is missing:

    Note that the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is 448kbps on the Region 4 disc, but only 384kbps on the Region 1.

    The front cover artwork for the two versions is almost identical, save for the rating, DVD, and Roadshow logos. The back covers are totally different.

    I suspect the two discs were taken from the same hi-def transfer, because there's a tiny black dot appearing on Toula's face at 7:52 on the R1, and 7:43 on the R4. Yes, I know that doesn't quite work out, but the R1 starts with a PG banner, and the R4 doesn't. It is the same frame in both versions, anyway. The strange thing is that the R1 version looks a tiny bit sharper, but shows a tiny bit more aliasing — I wonder if it has been compressed more than the R4 to get it to fit with the full-screen version.

    The Region 1 disc is rated PG (for sensuality and language), but the Region 4 is rated G. This is not due to any differences in the film, but rather to differences in the rating systems between US and Australia.

    Unless you're desperate for French or Spanish subtitles, or a full-screen transfer, I'd recommend the Region 4 disc.

Summary

    My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a pleasant film presented well on DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, March 02, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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Comments (Add)
A Terrific Movie - Geoff (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
Bought R4? - Cat on a PC© REPLY POSTED