Achilles' Love (2000) (NTSC)

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Released 10-Apr-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 91:12 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Meredith Cole
Studio
Distributor

Select Audio-Visual Distrib
Starring Claudia Besso
Alex Coleman
Eli Ganias
Andre Koslowski
John Mouganis
Mather Zickel
Case PUSH-3 Opaque
RPI ? Music Emmanuel Kiriakou


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

"This is such b******".

    A line from the final reel sums up this movie far more succinctly than my review ever could. Achilles' Love is a by-the-numbers romantic comedy. Unfortunately, it doesn't manage to follow the numbers very well. It is ostensibly a love triangle tale set against the rich cultural backdrop of the Greek community (in Pittsburgh, USA). Unlike the huge hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding, to which the DVD cover draws a comparison, it squanders the opportunity to provide any witty insight into the nature of love, or cultural idiosyncrasy.

     The main characters in this story are Achilles aka Ike (Mather Zickel), an earnest insurance salesman with more morals than common sense and Connan (Robert C. Mouganis) a lawyer with fewer morals than credit cards. The two have been close friends for years (rather improbably as they seem to have little in common and rarely agree on anything), who each meet a new love interest. Unfortunately for all concerned, it just so happens that their love interest happens to be one and the same woman. And so begins this Greek tragedy.

    Lucy Boxwell (Claudia Besso) works as the General Manager of the Steel City dance troupe and earns a crust by drumming up sponsors to keep the prima donnas in Lycra and spandex. Ike meets Lucy when she moves into the apartment opposite his, and Connan meets her at a fund-raising benefit for the arts (where he feels it will be easier to seduce chicks with his deep pockets and shallow personality). Through an overly contrived mix-up, Lucy believes Ike has lost interest in her, and Ike believes that Lucy has stood him up. This of course drives Lucy further into the grasping arms of the slimy Connan.

    The troupe are to participate in the fifth Annual Dance Festival dance contest, however, as it nears the Teutonic lead dancer Pascal defects to the competing "Motion Sensor" dance company, taking the entire cast with him. Lucy begins a frenzied search for a replacement troupe to ensure that they do not have to face the shame of forfeiting the competition. The story is rounded out with a sugary attempt at a happy ending. It is telegraphed well before it arrives and the best aspect of that is that you can sense that the end to this dreck is in sight.

    Achilles' Love features some truly abysmal dialogue. The script and its delivery combine more cheese and ham than one of McDonalds' toasted sandwiches. The pregnant pauses, stilted delivery and wooden mannerisms make this film fairly irritating to watch. The characters are all stereotypes (selfish lawyer, gay PA, camp dance choreographer, wise old Greek men and so on) and the situations they are placed in are all rather clichéd. The main players fail to generate any empathy in the viewer, and I simply did not care how the competition ended, or who got the girl.

    Overall, this movie is rather amateurish. Boom mikes make such a regular appearance that they deserve a title credit in themselves. The essential ingredients for a romantic comedy are humour and chemistry between the lead actors. Unfortunately, this is not a funny film - there is little to raise even a smile, and no sign of wit or comic irony. The lead characters have no charisma as individuals and as for the love story, I have witnessed more chemistry whilst dissolving instant coffee granules. The movie fails overwhelmingly to make any interesting point about the Greek community - they like to dance and drink Ouzo - wow, stop the press! Considering this is the major backdrop to the story, it actually plays very little part in the plot, and the movie could be set in the Highlands of Scotland and achieve the same outcomes. This film fails to impress on every level. Avoid Achilles' Love - it is hardly even worth a rental.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Please note: the video on this disc is in NTSC format. Interestingly, it says on the DVD cover that the disc is "NTSC & PAL Compatible". Quite what this means I am not sure - one would assume that the two systems are mutually exclusive.

    This video transfer is very soft, often seeming to verge on out-of-focus. The larger the display device you choose to view this film on, the more pronounced the video limitations will become. The DVD case states that the movie is presented in both 16x9 and 4:3. Unless I have missed something, it is present as a fullscreen presentation only and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Shadow detail is reasonable but blacks suffer from low level noise (for example at 55:30). Colours are somewhat insipid and washed-out throughout.

    The transfer has some minor MPEG artefacts with pixelization and some low level macro blocking of backgrounds. The major problem with this transfer is the film-to-video artefacts, which are present as significant edge enhancement visible as a halo around characters (surprising given the soft nature of the transfer), and some very annoying aliasing present as a constant shimmer, although often more pronounced (for example the cables at 1:27, the brickwork at 1:49, the boxes at 18:42, the photographs at 29:57 and the gravel at 46:23). Telecine wobble is evident on each of the title cards used to divide the story into chapters.

    The transfer is reasonably clean, but minor film artefacts do crop up from time-to-time.

    There are no subtitles available.

    The disc is a single-sided, single-layered affair (DVD 5).

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

Audio

    The overall audio transfer is rather hollow and ragged around the edges.

    The sole audio track is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at 224 kbps. The surround flag is not enabled.

    The sound is slightly muffled, and fairly quiet overall. There are few major defects but there is a minor dropout at 45:34 - it is just a rather bland soundstage. Audiences (well, this one at least) expect more from DVD releases in 2003. Audio sync was acceptable throughout.

    The original music is credited to Emmanuel Kiriakou and it evokes an authentic Greek feel (if my holidays in Thassos and Corfu are anything to go by). It is, however, neither very prominent nor memorable.

    The soundstage is totally frontal and singularly uninspiring. There is no use made of the surround speakers and a mono soundtrack would serve as well as what is on offer here.

    To paraphrase REM, the subwoofer sleeps tonight.

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

Extras

    This disc presents us with negligible extras.

Menu

    The menu is silent with a still photograph of the DVD cover and the options of playing the movie, choosing one of twelve chapter stops, or selecting the meagre special features.

Filmographies and Biographies

    A short series of text-based screens giving Filmographies for Claudia Besso and Alex Coleman with single page text biographies for the main actors and the director. Lightweight stuff.

Trailer

    This runs for 1:28 and is presented fullscreen (4:3) and not 16x9 enhanced, with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is coded for Regions 1 to 6 so I would guess that all Regions get an identical release. I cannot, however, find details of a Region 1 release, which leaves Region 4 as the version of choice (if you absolutely must).

Summary

    Achilles' Love is a lightweight comedic love story with no laughs, a poor script, clichéd situations and stereotyped characters. It provides little insight into Greek culture, modern love or humour. Avoid.

    The video quality is marred by aliasing and edge enhancement.

    The audio transfer is lacklustre and totally forgettable.

    The extra features are negligible.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Saturday, July 19, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, 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-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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