My Favourite Martian (My Favorite Martian) (1999)
|Year Of Production||1999|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (55:36)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Donald Petrie|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Perrier and Mars feature prominently in two scenes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
While this Disney production was obviously conceived with children in mind, there are enough obscure references, sight gags, and one-liners to keep attentive adults entertained. My favourite bits include Lizzie asking Tim if he is a Trekkie, and Martin's derogatory remarks about Earthlings: calling us "the amoebas of the universe" and referring to ice cream as "coloured buckets of frozen lard", all of which is delivered with Lloyd's signature eccentricity. The Zoot character in particular benefits from the writer's sharp quill with some hilarious fabric-inspired sequences, such as bathing in a washing machine while drinking detergent from a martini glass, and courting a polyester summer dress in a clothing shop. I also cracked up when Martin drank the lava lamp, due to my flatmate's on-going saga with buying dud lava lamps. In fact, there are too many gems to mention here without ruining the surprises and blowing Michael's webspace allocation.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed My Favourite Martian, both times I watched it. I had very low expectations because of its remake status, and because I was never a fan of the original show. The criminally bland DVD cover artwork (rendered in shades of blue, for god's sake) didn't help either. Critics generally dismissed the film as trite and below Disney's usual standards. My opinion is that the polished script, which includes (or at least attempts) the thread of emotional content common to all Disney films, is worthy of the Disney banner. The uneasy mixture of adult and children's elements rattled some viewer's sensibilities, so be warned that the film earns its PG rating.
Framed at 1.78:1, although clearly composed for 1.85:1, this 16x9 enhanced transfer by Warner Advanced Media Operations is virtually perfect thanks to the pristine source material.
Without any hint of edge enhancement, the image is very sharp indeed. Foreground and background details are utterly photorealistic. Everything from the opening shot of Mars, to clothing textures, CGI special effects composites, hair threads, and crowd shots all scream high resolution.
Shadow detail is immaculate, while preserving solid blacks. There is not much more to say, really. The balance is perfect.
In keeping with the cartoonish approach of the production, the colours are garish without going to excess. There is no colour bleed and skin tones are natural. Liz Hurley's red dress practically jumped off the screen. I saw no kind of distortion around its border, while subtle tones and textures were always apparent. Overall, the colours were strong yet stable.
The icing on the cake is the total lack of film or compression artefacts. WAMO have delivered a brilliant, reference quality transfer. You just don't get the sense that you are watching a 'video' image, and even on the second viewing I fell easily into the story because the glitches I was watching for just didn't eventuate. This is a transparent transfer in the best sense of the word.
The layer change at 55:36 is not disruptive.
Dialogue is crystal clear at all times. Even though ADR was obviously used in many scenes, the recordings always sounded natural. Both spoken word audio and foley effects were in synch with the action.
The generic music score by John Debney is presented cleanly across the front soundstage, regardless of whether the music was classical or closer to rock, which was used mainly during the first reel.
The surrounds were employed selectively to pan helicopter fly-overs from one side of the soundstage to the other, spray bullets past the viewer's head, and to distribute neighbourhood dog barks beyond the Gyprock walls of the lounge room. Generally though, the action is presented across a wide, dynamic front stage.
The low frequency effects channel chipped in to assist the kick drum bass notes, as well as to add punch as Martin's spaceship flew past our point of view.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 DVD, with its flawless video transfer and visceral Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, just misses out on being definitive by the exclusion of a featurette. This may not be a big loss based on past examples of the art, but it is worth considering. My Favourite Martian (note the British spelling) may get special edition treatment down the road. I for one would be tempted by such a package. Until then, this DVD should suffice.
|DVD||Marantz DV-7000 (European model), using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Ergo (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder.|
|Amplification||Arcam AV50 5 x 50W amplifier|
|Speakers||Front: ALR/Jordan Entry 5M, Centre: ALR/Jordan 4M, Rear: ALR/Jordan Entry 2M, Subwoofer: B&W ASW-1000 (active)|