Like Mike (2002)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 17-Jun-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-John Schultz, Lil Bow Wow & Jonathan Lipnicki
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes-3 +/- director's commentary
Music Video-Basketball
Trailer-Soundtrack CD
Featurette-Off The Hook & On The Set
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 95:55 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Schultz
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Lil' Bow Wow
Jonathan Lipnicki
Morris Chestnut
Brenda Song
Jesse Plemons
Crispin Glover
Eugene Levy
Julius Ritter
Case ?
RPI $26.95 Music Lil' Bow Wow
Richard Gibbs
Jason Frederick


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 Croatian
Czech
Danish
English
Finnish
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Sprite and the NBA
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Like Mike is a fun children's movie starring Jonathan Lipnicki as Murph (Jerry Maguire, Stuart Little) and Lil' Bow Wow (the diminutive American rap star) as Calvin - two young tykes living at the Chesterfield Group Home Orphanage.

    Creepy Crispin Glover is Stan Bittleman, their self-serving and exploitative guardian at the Home who has no issues with making the kids sell chocolates outside the Staples Center (sic) during late-night basketball games. Life takes a miraculous turn for the thirteen year-old Calvin Cambridge (Bow Wow) when he inherits a pair of beaten old basketball sneakers via the Salvation Army. The sneakers have the initials MJ written inside, and the Nun who provides them vaguely remembers being told that they used to belong to a famous basketball star when he was a kid...could it be Michael Jordan?

    The resident bully Ox, simply to spite him, throws Calvin's new treasure over a power cable way beyond his reach. Out of sight is not out of mind however, and later that night, during a fierce rainstorm Calvin determines to retrieve his basketball boots via a nearby tree. A lightning strike just as Calvin touches the sneakers results in his falling from the tree...and a magical crackle of electricity shimmers through the battered Nikes.

    Having been given five free tickets to watch the Knights, fate deals Calvin another trump card. He is selected from the crowd to play one-on-one against Tracy Reynolds during a break in the main game. Wearing his new-found sneakers, Calvin prays to be just "like Mike" as he begins his five minutes of fame. Incredibly, Calvin manages to beat Tracy three times, causing the crowd to crumble into a stunned silence as he scores his miraculous third basket. Not being one to miss a chance at increased ticket sales, the General Manager of the team decides the youngster is too good a marketing opportunity to miss. Calvin is signed to attend the next few games as a crowd-puller, and then ultimately to play for the team - an opportunity beyond his wildest dreams. The remainder of the story follows Calvin as he tours with the team and forms a famous friendship with Tracy. Calvin learns about basketball, life and geometry, whilst Tracy learns some life lessons of his own. I suspect you can guess there may just be a happy ending involved...

    From time to time the acting is a little limited from the young stars, with a somewhat stilted delivery. I was a teeny bit disappointed with Lipnicki's acting at times, and this outing does not show him in as positive a light as Stuart Little. Still, we all have our slightly off days and overall the youngsters are quite charming and at least none of them has those awful pageboy haircuts which crop up so frequently in American kids' movies. The adult cast offers all the necessary support and contains a couple of fun performances from Morris Chestnut as Calvin's mentor Tracy and the always excellent Eugene Levy (Jim's father in American Pie) as the GM of the LA Knights. Numerous genuine basketball stars crop up during the game scenes although thankfully they are not required to act too much. For fans of the sport, I am sure many of them will be well recognised. The most conspicuous - by his absence - is Michael Jordan...what a missed opportunity!

     Like Mike is a highly enjoyable kids film. There are some quite funny gags to be enjoyed, as well as a number slightly cringe-worthy moments ("orphan movies" do tend to have them!). Lil' Bow Wow certainly has some potential as an actor and self-evidently seems to be able to play basketball too. He looks far more relaxed in the cheeky, jive-talkin scenes however, and should probably steer clear of the more emotional scenes until he hones his skills a little more. The minor characters are fairly cookie-cutter, particularly Ox (Jesse Plemons) the bully, and the basic "orphan finds love" premise of the film has been played out many times before. The basketball twist is novel and fun however. My six-year old son enjoyed this film greatly and to be honest, so did I.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall video transfer of this disc is very good, being bold, bright and lively with no major defects.

    The film is presented in a 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1 which is identical to the original theatrical aspect ratio.

    The transfer is generally free from grain and is very bright and clear with very good sharpness levels throughout.

     Occasionally shadows become fully black a touch too quickly, but in general shadow detail is very good and blacks are solid and deep with no hint of low-level noise to be seen. Colours are wonderfully rendered, fully saturated and clean with no colour bleeding, despite the heavy use of some deep reds in the Knights' strip. Skin tones are excellent at all times.

    There are no significant MPEG artefacts and the occasional edge enhancement (for example at 36:21 and 59:35) is minor and not distracting. Aliasing was virtually absent (but see the window frames at 16:43 or the lamp at 53:12) and never annoying. There is some minor pixelisation evident from time to time (for example on the basketball stadium scenes or the sky at 19:00), but this is, again, not a major issue.

    Fox have done a great job with this transfer and there are no significant film artefacts.

    Amongst the multitude of available subtitle tracks, the English ones I sampled (actually captions for the Hearing Impaired) were very well timed, clear and followed the dialogue closely with only minor edits for brevity.

    This is an RSDL disc, but I could not pinpoint the layer change.

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

Audio

    The overall audio quality of this disc is very good with a highly active surround presence. There are no major audio defects present. For a family comedy, this is pretty much a reference quality audio track.

    There is a single English audio track available for the main feature which is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 384 kbps.

    Dialogue was always clear, excluding the occasional issue with Bow Wow's thick accent, and audio synch was just fine.

    The original music is credited to various artists including Lil' Bow Wow himself. Richard Gibbs composed most of the non-pop score, which is functional and unobtrusive. Interestingly, he was a member of the rather quirky band Oingo Boingo, which featured composer Danny Elfman (Batman, Spider-Man, Red Dragon et cetera) as lead singer and songwriter.

    The soundstage is surprisingly enveloping for a comedy movie. There is some good panning and separation across the front speakers whilst the surrounds are active for the music score and environmental effects such as the thunderstorm and particularly the scenes in the basketball stadium.

    The subwoofer was used quite frequently and sometimes quite volubly to carry bass from the musical score but also provided some LFE activity, particularly during the basketball scenes.

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

Extras

    There are several quality extras on this disc.

Menu

    The menu is a very colourful, lively, animated and sound-filled affair. It allows the options of playing the movie, language selection (including subtitles), selecting of one of twenty-eight chapter stops or the following special features:

Commentary

    Featuring director John Schultz, Lil' Bow Wow and Jonathan Lipnicki this is a hugely enjoyable listen. The kids provide a great insight into what it is like being a movie star at such a tender age, and Schultz does a great job in asking all the right questions whilst giving his own anecdotes around the film. Lipnicki seems totally honest and self-effacing with a mouth full of lollies and Lil' Bow Wow actually excuses himself to go to the bathroom about nineteen minutes in! With a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround soundtrack encoded at 192kbps, this is one of the most genuine and enjoyable commentary tracks I have ever listened to.

Making of Featurette

    Running for 6:00 and presented full screen with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192kbps. This is a bit of a boot-licking session for Lil' Bow Wow and how he is apparently quite a talented ball player. The legions of screaming female fans attest to his real popularity as a recording artist. I suspect this is the extra referred to as Lil' Bow Wow's Bow on the Region 1 disc.

Deleted Scenes

    Presented with an optional director's commentary, you are able to choose the following scenes which are all presented letterboxed with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps:

Music Promo

    A rather pointless eighteen second promo for the single featured in the next extra.

Basketball Music Video

    Presented full screen with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps, this is an opportunity to hear Lil' Bow Wow strut his musical stuff for 3:35 - not my scene, but he seems quite talented.

Off the Hook and On the Set

    Running for 20:49 and presented in varying full screen and letterboxed (non 16x9 enhanced) ratios with frequently blurry transfer, this is a genuinely interesting extra. It is a "behind the scenes" affair, featuring Schultz directing the cast, but it also contains some more original insights such as the development of the younger stars through the eyes of their acting coach. It is well put together and carefully explains the movie-making process including some less-frequently addressed areas such as ADR - for a young audience this is very informative. This doco has a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps.

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 version of this movie is presented with both an anamorphically enhanced transfer at 1.85:1 and (on the other side of the DVD 10 disc) an open matte 1.33:1 version. The extras seem to be the same as ours, with the exception of an additional trailer - for the movie Daredevil. Unlike the Region 1 disc, all the Region 4 extras are fitted onto the same side of the disc. Unless you particularly yearn for a full-screen transfer in addition to the OAR, I would call this a draw.

Summary

    Like Mike is a funny and quite heart-warming family film. Whilst basketball playing pre-teens will surely love it, there is plenty to keep most kids entertained for the duration. The video and audio quality are very high, the story setting is quite novel and the cast are all pretty likeable. The commentary track is almost as much fun as the movie - Jonathan Lipnicki sounds as charming as the young characters he typically portrays. Lil' Bow Wow is pretty darned capable in his first major movie. Good stuff!

    The video quality is very good, with only very minor blemishes.

    The audio quality is very good, particularly for a family film.

    The extras are quite extensive and well put together, with an excellent commentary track and an overall package which seems to be targeted to its young audience without being at all patronising.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Friday, June 20, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationONKYO TX-DS484
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - Allan H
DVD Net - Jules F

Comments (Add) NONE