Regarding Henry (1991)

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Released 8-Oct-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 102:52
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (60:22) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mike Nichols
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Harrison Ford
Annette Bening
Mikki Allen
Donald Moffat
Bruce Altman
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Hans Zimmer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
English
Finnish
French
German
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Italian
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Serbian
Slovenian
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

“If you’re going to get shot in the head, that’s the way to do it.”

    Successful and high-powered personal injury defence lawyer Henry Turner (Harrison Ford) has just won a big case. He goes home to lecture his daughter Rachel (Mikki Allen) for touching his stuff, and goes to dinner where he treats his wife Sarah (Annette Bening) like an accessory. However, that night he walks into the local drugstore – or what we would call a ‘convenience store’ – to buy a pack of cigarettes and interrupts an armed robbery in process. He gets shot for the effort, once in the head and once in the shoulder. Surprisingly enough, he is not killed. But the trauma to his brain, caused not only by the bullet but also the lack of blood to his brain resulting from a severed artery in his shoulder, means that when he wakes up he has no memory of who he is, or of how to perform simple tasks.

    Regarding Henry is an interesting film on many levels. First of all, it showcases an exceptional performance by Ford who has to evoke a myriad of ranges in his character; from the arrogance of a defence lawyer and unfeeling father, to the childishness of one who awakes with no memory and has to literally restart from zero. Secondly, it focuses more on the life after rehabilitation than the rehabilitation itself, so as to give an impression of a man refinding himself rather than the battle to become what he once was. This is a rather touching tale in many respects, and although it is a little too removed at times, at its core this is still a good movie.

    Potential viewers should be warned, however – this is not a fast-paced Harrison Ford movie, nor is it an obvious tear jerker. It is a fairly slow paced drama. It also has quite a few faults regarding its production. It often feels as if it has been haphazardly edited, as if we are popping in half way through scenes, catching bits of dialogue that don’t quite mesh with the previous or succeeding scene, and then popping out again. This gives the film a kind of formless meandering at times which borders on waffle, the way that an old lecturer just keeps going on and on. These kinds of scenes are generally early on in the film with the result that we never get a particularly good image of Henry before he is crippled and set back to zero. Worse also is the 1980’s style TV camera work, with jerky close-ups and very badly handled panning shots. This is borderline soapie camera-work, the kind of thing you would see on passions, and it is actually more than a little distracting.

    Those criticisms aside, this is still a relatively emotional film, and makes for a good watch while you are coming down on Sunday morning after a hard weekend out all huddled under a blanket on the sofa with a cup of tea. It is an interesting story, and the core moral of the matter is an important theme for many of us who have had crippling set backs in our lives – one particularly good scene involves Henry talking to his physical therapist who has also suffered a life-changing event. Relativist life experience, as someone once put it to me, is a very interesting concept.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is another Paramount release where the original 1.85:1 image is very slightly reduced to a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This is also 16x9 enhanced.

    Colours were pretty good, although lacking in the vibrancy of more modern films. Shadow detail is pretty good, although not excellent, and the image is generally quite sharp and well defined.

    However, where this film is really let down is in its quite apparent graininess. This grain is visible throughout, and is a little distracting at times. Although it does not encroach on the transfer so far as to create artefacts like dot-crawl or egregious low-level noise, it does mar the enjoyment of the film a little as it can get a little harsh on the eyes.

    There were no MPEG artefacts, however, I noticed quite a bit of telecine wobble here and there – a slight shimmer in the picture. Noticeable instances of this are at 45:42 - 46:22 and 74:28 - 76:20.

    There were a few film artefacts floating around, a lot more than you would see in a transfer of a film produced post-1999. Basically, an aberrant hair and fleck of dirt would crop up in the middle of the picture for a fraction of a second and disappear.

    Subtitles are available in just about every language you can name (the full listing is available above). They are white with a grey border and stick mostly to the dialogue – well, the English ones do. I cannot tell for the other ones.

    The dual-layer pause is at 60:22 during a pause in dialogue. While noticeable, it is not really distracting.

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

Audio

    There are a number of soundtracks available here: an English 5.1 Dolby Digital Soundtrack, and tracks in German, Italian, Spanish and French all in 2.0 Dolby Surround. Because the English track is so dialogue driven, it does not make much of a difference here whether it is encoded in 5.1 Dolby Digital and as a result there is little difference between the English and the foreign language tracks in terms of ambience except, of course, for the language barrier.

    Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand. There were no audio sync problems.

    The range is a little flat, I have to say. The score by Hans Zimmer is subtle, perhaps too subtle, and electronically generated (like the soundtrack to a TV show with a small budget). It does not have a great presence and barely manages to rouse the surrounds into action. This is unusual, as Zimmer is actually an excellent composer better known for the rousing Wagneresque scores he did for The Thin Red Line, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down. This film could have done with some strings, but all we get is synthesizer.

    Furthermore, because this film is so dialogue driven, there is very little in the way of surround presence, as to amount to virtually none. I had to go press my ear to the rears to see if they were doing anything, and got nothing much in return. The left and right towers turned themselves off several times during the film for lack of use.

    There was absolutely no subwoofer use that I detected. There was simply not enough of a range to activate it, and the gunshots (all two of them) were picked up by the bass in the surrounds.

    Still, there was no problem understanding what was being said, and that is the important thing in this film. It is a shame there was not more ambience or more depth to the voices even, but you can make do with this.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. They are static and silent.

R4 vs R1

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

    Much like other Paramount releases, the R4 here is pretty much identical except for the vast array of languages available in R4 over those available in R1. Consequently, I am giving this to the R4 as it respects our cosmopolitan society somewhat more.

Summary

    Regarding Henry is an interesting story about a man who learns to like his new life and see his life changing experience as a positive thing rather than a negative. Far from perfect, it still makes a good movie to watch when you need that kind of thing.

    The video is very grainy, but otherwise acceptable.

    The sound is reasonably flat and almost totally dependent on the centre speaker.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Friday, September 26, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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