Human Nature (2001)
Main Menu Audio
Interviews-Cast & Crew-5
|Year Of Production||2001|
|Running Time||92:10 (Case: 96)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Michel Gondry|
Magna Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Sometimes they just try too hard. Or maybe they are simply afraid? Whatever the reason, sometimes they go too far, and the result is a mess.
Who are they? Well, in this case it's scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Michel Gondry. And how have they gone too far? Well, Human Nature could have been a very funny comedy, or it could have been biting satire, or an interesting commentary on society and child-rearing, or maybe something else. But they don't seem to have decided what they were trying to do, and ended up with something that is just a disappointment. More than anything, I blame the director he is the one who is responsible for holding the film to a coherent vision. This is his first feature film, but other directors have made excellent films at their first attempt. It is not promising when you hear him open his interview by describing this film as a "hilarious sad comedy".
This film has some of the classic signs of "trying too hard". The first, and most telling, is that all the main characters are quirky and unusual. In a successful film you only need one quirky character (well, maybe a pair) you need straight characters for balance and context. In this film our main characters are:
As if it wasn't enough to have quirky central characters, we have an unusual structure to the story. It opens with a dead body, which we rapidly discover is Nathan's. Then we hear Lila and Puff talking about the death, followed by comments from Nathan. Nathan is shown in a pure white room, with a bullet-hole in his head. Then we get the rest of the story, told in flashbacks.
We see Lila talk Nathan into a hike in the wilderness (which seems awfully close to wherever they live). During that hike, she spots a human form in the underbrush, and charges off after it, shedding clothes as she goes (huh?). She catches up with him. He gets knocked out by mischance. Nathan takes advantage of this, and sees it as his big chance: he will teach manners to this feral human, and become famous. He proceeds to do this, using lots of electric shocks. Nathan's lab assistant, Gabrielle (Miranda Otto), names him Puff.
As if the story isn't complicated enough, we get a variety of love triangles, betrayal, and counter-betrayal. Not to mention the shooting that was given away in the opening scenes...
The most vile part of this film comes when Nathan feels it necessary to train Puff to restrain his sexual urges this reminded me of Clockwork Orange, but with none of that film's mastery. The scenes where Puff is paraded before bunches of academics are reminiscent of The Elephant Man (again, with none of that film's virtues).
The four actors I've mentioned all turn in quite reasonable performances (Patricia Arquette isn't as good as the rest, but she gets the worst lines, and she's made to sing badly), but they can't rescue the disaster that is the script from the lack of direction. With a stronger director this might have been a great film, maybe. A sad waste.
In case you are wondering, no, the MA rating is not for nudity, but rather for the fairly strong coarse language that's used at times.
This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. As far as I can tell, the intended aspect ratio was 1.85:1, so 1.78:1 is quite close.
The image is reasonably sharp, and fairly clear. Shadow detail is quite decent, but not up to the highest standard. Film grain is no problem, and neither is low-level noise.
Colour is well-rendered, and there are no obvious colour artefacts.
There are a few tiny film artefacts, but nothing worth noting down. There is a little aliasing on a progressive system, but rather more on a non-progressive one. There are traces of moiré, but it's never troubling. There are traces of shimmer on backgrounds, but no other MPEG artefacts.
There are no subtitles.
The disc is single-sided and single layered, hence there is no layer change.
The soundtrack is only provided in English, both in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps, and in 2.0 at 224kbps. I only listened to the English 5.1.
The dialogue is clear and comprehensible at all times. There are no visible slips in audio sync.
This film gets a Graeme Revell soundtrack. Not one of his best, but perfectly serviceable. I could have done without the "Lila" songs, but we can't blame Graeme Revell for them; their music was written by Jean-Michel Bernard.
The surrounds are not heavily used, but they do function to deepen the soundstage. The subwoofer is not heavily called upon, but this film is rather short on earthquakes, heavy machinery, and explosions, so it's not missed.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is static with music.
This is a short making-of piece, with chunks lifted out of the interviews. Pretty much negligible.
A reasonable trailer, but with the usual quota of spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 disc is another of those discs with the wide-screen transfer on one side, and full-screen on the other side. Apart from that, the two discs seem to have similar features, and similar decent but not outstanding transfers. Unless you must have a full-screen version, there seems no compelling reason to chose one version over the other.
One of those "what a waste" movies, given a decent presentation on DVD.
The video quality is good.
The audio quality is good.
The extras are fairly basic, but not bad.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|