Wildcats (1986) (NTSC)

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Released 11-Jun-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Music Video-(1:03)
Theatrical Trailer-1.78:1, not 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 (1:28)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 105:39 (Case: 107)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4 Directed By Michael Ritchie
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Goldie Hawn
James Keach
Swoosie Kurtz
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Hawk Wolinski
James Newton Howard


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Japanese
Chinese
Indonesian
Thai
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Wildcats is one of those comedies from the 1980's that has been around our house almost as long as the film has been released. Quite how many times I have seen the film, I would not want to hazard a guess. However, one thing is very noticeable over that period of time - the comedy aspect of the film has long since disappeared and it is now a film that simply gets watched.

    Molly McGrath (Goldie Hawn) has a dream - to coach football. Now the likelihood of doing that in a male dominated sport in one of the bastions of the game, namely Chicago, is about as remote a possibility as a politician being honest. Still, this is Hollywood, so the impossible can happen. It does, however, take a slight change in job - from slightly decent Prescott High School to the inner city Central High. Obviously moving from coaching girls track to coaching football is a big enough difference without throwing in the move to the inner city (a.k.a. the ghettos). Naturally, the move does not sit too well with everybody - most notably her former husband who does not like having his life disrupted. It also does not sit well with the team, who need a little encouragement to see the very knowledgeable Coach McGrath really as a coach. The end result is fairly inevitable in the truest Hollywood style.

    You are probably getting fed up with me saying it, but there really is nothing terrific about this story - and really there never was. So clichéd it makes a cliché cringe, this effort chugs along like a toy train stuck on an oval of track - it keeps on going and finally ends when it runs out of steam. With a supporting cast peppered with some names that have gone onto bigger things, this is filmmaking almost by the numbers and with most just going through the motions. The obligatory scene of Goldie Hawn nude is thrown in to keep the rating up but really that fails to be a highlight. Along the way we have to "enjoy" puerile humour that long ago lost its ability to raise a laugh - if it ever did. The direction is nothing to write home about, the cinematography is average and the whole thing leaves an indelible non-mark on the consciousness.

   No longer able to sustain even a smile, the film has long outlived whatever merits it had as a piece of amusement. I once thought this was an okay film but the more I watch it the more it grates.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Red Alert, red alert, shields up... incoming NTSC ALERT! If you cannot handle the accursed Not The Same Colour twice format on your system, read no further because it will be pointless.

    This really is a mish-mash of a transfer in many respects, with some portions being quite excellent and some being not quite so excellent. In fact, at times this really gets quite diabolical looking. Well maybe not diabolical, but certainly nasty looking.

    Given that these accursed NTSC releases often are plagued with Pan and Scan versions of the film, I suppose we should count ourselves extremely fortunate that this one is actually in widescreen format - 1.78:1 to be precise, which is barely different to the release aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Even better - it is 16x9 enhanced. That is the good news pretty much over.

    The transfer varies somewhat being quite sharp and being rather diffuse. At times, the diffuseness takes on a rather blocky look such as at 32:52. On the balance, the good outweighs the bad and certainly the transfer is quite watchable overall. Detail is pretty good throughout which is not quite what I expected, although at a couple of points the film lacks a little in depth of field. Shadow detail is also pretty good, although it has to be said that it really does not come into play that often. There is nothing really in the way of low level noise in the transfer. There is a slightly grainy look to the transfer at times, but usually it is quite fine.

    The colours are also a little inconsistent, although generally tending to slightly underdone. The result is not unnatural looking and reasonably evocative of Chicago in the fall. Notwithstanding the underdone nature of the colours, the transfer is quite vibrant. There are no real issues with oversaturation in the transfer, but owing to the slightly diffuse transfer at times, the colours give the slightest appearance of bleed at times. I don't suppose it really is bleed, but just a result of the diffuse nature of the transfer. The blacks are a little underdone of course, but nothing out of step with the overall transfer.

   There are times when the transfer suffers somewhat from poor resolution in movement, such as at 41:28, which may or may not be inherent in the source material. I will give the transfer the benefit of the doubt, as otherwise there were no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There was a fair deal of aliasing going on in the transfer, usually quite large too - such as in the building at 11:40. It is a tad disruptive at times. The transfer is quite clean in general, but there are just a few floating around that draw attention to themselves.

   This is a single sided, single layered disc.

   There are eight subtitle options on the DVD, but only the English ones have any great meaning to me. There are a few words missing here and there, but nothing really important.

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

Audio

    There are just the two soundtrack options on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack and a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. My choice of listening pleasure was the English option obviously.

    The dialogue comes up pretty well and is generally quite easy to understand. There did not seem to be any audio sync issues with the transfer.

    The score comes from Hawk Wolinski and James Newton-Howard. Maybe it is just me but it really does not do much as far as I can tell and probably would not be missed if it was not there. Even the songs chosen to add into the soundtrack are hardly up there with the best. Thoroughly unmemorable.

    Really and truly there is nothing much to say about the soundtrack. The surround-encoding is nothing really that terrific and it just seems to smooth the sound out across the front channels, removing some of the strident and central nature of the sound that I recall from the VHS tape. Competent and barely much more would be the best description, although it is to be thanked that at least the soundtrack is not blessed with any significant blemishes.

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

Extras

    Given that the film is over 105 minutes long and that the DVD is a single layer effort, we would be really pushing it to expect anything substantive in the way of extras. Still, what we have managed here is hardly likely to get the blood pumping and is a waste of time and space. Yep, I can certainly see people rushing out to buy this DVD on the strength of its extras package...

Menu

    Ho hum.

Filmographies - Cast and Crew

    Ho hum again.

Music Video (1:03)

    Given that the video is basically a straight lift from the film and given that I couldn't even tell you what the name of the song is and who is performing it - ho hum again and again. For the record, 1.33:1 presentation that is not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Colour is pretty mediocre and the image is somewhat diffuse.

Theatrical Trailer (1:28)

    Ho hum ditto. Presented in (not so) glorious 1.78:1 widescreen, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Somewhat affected by film artefacts, otherwise an unremarkable effort.

R4 vs R1

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

    Since this is an accursed NTSC release and multi-region coded, what we have here is obviously the Region 1 release. It probably would not be wise of me to favour one region over the other then, would it? I will point out, however, that given that the Amazon discounted price of USD16.99 equates to an Aussie peso price of about 27 bucks before delivery, we get the DVD cheaper than Region 1. Go figure that!

Summary

    Wildcats does not aspire to any great heights as a film and so consequently does not disappoint for failing to reach any heights. One slight problem is that the description "comedy" does sort of imply that there is some mirth to be had, some amusement to be gained from watching the film. Wrong. Whatever mirth or amusement there once was in the film has well and truly disappeared over the past fifteen years or so. Familiarity is not beneficial to this film. Still, despite the rather banal and totally obvious story, there are plenty worse out there. If you are desperately seeking something new to check out, you could always give this a spin.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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