Ned (2003)

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Released 9-Sep-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Director And Actors
Featurette-Making Of
Short Film-Computer Boy
Trailer-Short Film: Liquid Blue
Music Video-Jazibel - I Can See Clearly Now
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer
Deleted Scenes-7
Alternate Ending
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 78:41 (Case: 80)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (64:36) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Abe Forsythe
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Abe Forsythe
Felix Williamson
Nick Flint
Damon Herriman
Josef Ber
Michala Banas
Caitlin McDougall
Jeremy Sims
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Gerry Hale
Willy Zygier


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary 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 None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, outtakes roll for almost the entire credits.

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

Plot Synopsis

    Ned Kelly. An Australian legend, and the subject matter of what was considered to be the world's first ever feature length motion picture. Since that time there have been many attempts to capture the story of Ned Kelly on film...but none quite like this. Ned takes more liberties with this story than ever before, all in the name of comedy.

    The comedy of Ned is neither witty nor intelligent - this is toilet humour. Now there is nothing wrong with toilet humour if it is done well, and Ned is not too bad in comparison to the rest of the genre - there is plenty of potential here, and at least it's Australian. Written, directed by, and starring Abe Forsythe (noted for winning the Tropicana award at Tropfest when he was just 16 years old), Ned tells the story of how a young Ned Kelly - son of Irish immigrants - wanted nothing more than to become a famous magician. In pursuit of his dream, he leaves his family home and travels to Glenrowan where he joins the Hughes gang in order to finance his magic show. The Hughes gang is a dysfunctional group of men, lead by Dan Hughes (Nick Flint) who suffers from a combination of syphilis and a major inferiority complex. In addition there are Joe Byrne (Josef Ber), a crossdresser who dreams of having a sex-change operation, and Steve Hart (Damon Herriman), a violent man with many issues (and a strong desire to be shot in the face). Ned and the gang proceed to rob the Glenrowan bank (many times), and attract the attention of the tyrannical Irish hating (and hamster obsessed) Governor Sinclair (Felix Williamson) who sets off with his posse of henchmen and the strangest Aboriginal tracker ever in an attempt to capture Ned Kelly and his gang (or is it Dan Hughes' gang?) once and for all.

    This film is not bad for what it is, but cannot avoid becoming very much a hit-and-miss affair. There are some jokes that are laugh out loud funny, while others are so far over the line of decency that it isn't even in sight any more. There are those to whom this style of humour will appeal, and for them this film will be even funnier. What Ned does show however, is plenty of potential. In the time that I have been reviewing for this site, I have looked at plenty of movies based on bad-taste humour (among them: The Animal; Dude, Where's My Car?; The Hot Chick; Me, Myself & Irene; Muggers; Not Another Teen Movie; Say It Isn't So; and the execrable Tomcats) and Ned stands up rather well against them. It may not have the polish of some of those films, but the potential of the content is there. This effort is really Abe Forsythe finding his feet in the world of feature film-making, but if Ned is anything to go by, Australian toilet humour has a bright future.

    The only real downside to Ned is the number of extended flat spots. There are many jokes that just don't fire, and while those who enjoy the more deranged side of life will probably accept these, the majority will find them simply not funny. Not that everything here is obvious and in-your-face - there are a few jokes that are rather subtle (such as the ghost who doesn't disappear, and the boy-band posing of the Governor's henchmen), and these moments can be quite rewarding for those who are paying attention (watch for the hamster as the Governor and his henchmen approach the leprechaun - it's priceless). It should be made plain that this film's MA rating (for sexual references) is very much deserved - there is plenty of swearing, and the sexual references can be quite crude. Additionally, there are many, many, gay references in this film - as Abe Forsythe says during the commentary "every character in this film is gay", and he's right on the money as far as their behaviour is concerned. Those who may find themselves offended by that sort of portrayal (from either perspective) are advised to stay away. Aside from that, if you feel as if you could do with some low-brow humour, and want to simply enjoy yourself, then you could do much worse than Ned. Those who really enjoy toilet humour will love it, while fans of "stupid" comedy will like it. Others be warned - this is probably not your cup of tea.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer presented for Ned is very good indeed, which is pleasing to see for a relatively low-budget local offering. It is especially good considering the majority of it was shot on 16mm film.

    Presented at 1.78:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced. I was unable to locate any information on the original theatrical aspect ratio of the film, but from the framing it would seem reasonable to assume it was 1.85:1.

    Sharpness is good, providing more than enough fine detail, although the image still retains a smoothness to it which is not necessarily a bad thing. There is plenty of background grain, but it is almost always light, and only really becomes obvious on a few occasions, such as at 9:26. Shadow detail is excellent, giving the night-time scenes a very good depth, while still holding deep, rich blacks. There is no low-level noise present.

    Colour representation is a little washed out in bright light, or dull in normal light, but this is entirely on purpose as the director and cinematographer both talk about wanting to make the look of the film "dirty" and "real" so the humour would be all the more obvious.

    There is a small amount of pixelization in the background during a very few periods of grain, but for the most part there are no compression artefacts, film-to-video artefacts, or film artefacts at all. This is easily one of the cleanest transfers I have seen. The only downside is that there is quite a bit of edge enhancement with fairly obvious halos for much of the film (an example can be seen at 25:44). This is compounded by the decision to shoot much of the night-time action with very bright backlighting, leading to further haloing (and this time not induced by any post processing).

    There are no subtitles on this disc.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 64:36 during Chapter 8. It is very well placed, coming right on a static image with no sound. Only the fact that the image seems to pause for a hair too long gives away its placement.

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

Audio

    While not quite as good as the video, this audio transfer is still well above average.

    There are three audio tracks present on this disc. The first two are the original English dialogue, in both Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 Kbps) and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (at 224 Kbps). The third is the English audio commentary track, in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (at 192 Kbps). Note that the 2.0 stereo soundtrack is not flagged for surround decoding, but can definitely take advantage of it.

    Dialog is clear and easy to understand at all times. Audio sync does slip out occasionally, but is only obviously poor close to the start at 8:08.

    The music is a combination of score from Gerry Hale and Willy Zygier and a number of most definitely non-period pieces (well, unless Human Nature were actually formed in the late 1800s). The score is quite good, and does its job well, while the use of rather anachronistic pieces from time to time are generally for more comedic value, coming off with mixed success.

    Surround presence is fairly good, containing plenty of score, and quite often directional sound effects. The surrounds do tend to go quiet from time to time, and carry little in the way of ambience, but all up, this is a pretty good effort.

    The subwoofer is well used where needed, and never overstays its welcome.

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

Extras

    The selection of extras presented here is surprisingly large, and for the most part of at least some interest (if a little unprofessional at times).

Menu

    The menu is animated, 16x9 enhanced, themed around the movie, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Audio Commentary - Abe Forsythe (Director/Writer/Actor), Nick Flint, Damon Herriman, Josef Ber, Felix Williamson (Actors)

    This commentary is a rather good one. There are a few attempts at humour that fall flat (the phone calls to various cast members being the worst offenders), but for the most part it is amusing, interesting, and a little cleaner than the film itself. Well worth a listen.

Theatrical Trailer (2:06)

    Presented at 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, this is the full theatrical trailer for Ned, and it gives a fairly good impression as to what the film will be like. It also uses most of the film's good moments, so is probably better left until after watching the film itself.

Teaser Trailer (1:23)

    Presented at 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, this trailer also suggests quite succinctly that there isn't going to be much in the way of intellectual stimulation to be found in Ned.

Computer Boy - Short Film (6:40)

    Originally intended to be a 15 minute re-edit of Abe Forsythe's breakthrough no budget Matrix spoof, this 6 minute version runs more like a theatrical trailer. It raises only a couple of chuckles, but is impressive for the effort that was put into producing it. It includes an introduction by Abe Forsythe, and is presented at approximately 1.78:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Liquid Blue - Short Film Trailer (1:06)

    Again with an introduction by Abe Forsythe, this is the trailer for his puppet based TV detective show pilot. Presented at 1.78:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Music Video - Jazibel: I Can See Clearly Now

    This is a music video. The song is yet another cover of I Can See Clearly Now. I prefer the Hothouse Flowers version. But that's just me. Presented at 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this video contains some rather heavy grain.

Featurette - The Making Of (14:18)

    A short piece on the making of the movie. Surprisingly for one this short, it is mostly interesting, and worth watching. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Deleted Scenes (14:25)

    This section presents 8 deleted scenes. These can be selected individually from a menu, or watched all at once, which is always a nice provision. Each scene is prefaced by a short introduction in which Forsythe explains the reason for it being cut - it is difficult to tell if these interviews are simply really bad, or if they are trying to be funny and are just not succeeding. Despite that, the introduction followed by scene approach to explaining deleted scenes is the better way to go (as opposed to optional commentary), and works well again here. The scenes are presented at 1.85:1, are not 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

R4 vs R1

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

    This is an exclusive - this DVD is not available anywhere else in the world, which isn't really all that surprising (although given The Castle is available in the US but not here, you never know).

Summary

    Ned is a rather hit-and-miss toilet humour/low-brow comedy. There are elements that work, and a few laugh-out-loud moments, but far too much of the time is just flat (although lovers of toilet humour will probably find more to like). Nonetheless, it is a promising start from a young Australian talent, and it will be interesting to see where Abe Forsythe goes from here.

    The video quality is excellent, with only a little too much grain, and an oversupply of enhanced edges causing any issues.

    The audio quality is also very good, although the soundtrack does compress down to be very frontal from time to time.

    The extras are numerous, and surprisingly quite interesting. A worthwhile package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Friday, November 28, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-555K, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersRochester Audio Animato Series (2xSAF-02, SAC-02, 3xSAB-01) + 12" Sub (150WRMS)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
"Ball bouncingly funny" - Wright3