Danny Deckchair (Rental) (2003)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 96:59
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jeff Balsmeyer
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Rhys Ifans
Miranda Otto
Justine Clarke
Rhys Muldoon
Case ?
RPI Rental Music David Donaldson
Steve Roche
Janet Roddick


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Danny Deckchair is one of those films which Australian filmmakers do so well. It presents a quirky tale with a gentle sense of humour, and no pretension. This is a film which, whilst it doesn't possess the immediate humour of say, The Castle, does have the homespun charm of other Australian offerings such as The Dish or Swimming Upstream.

    Danny Morgan (Rhys Ifans, Notting Hill) is a concrete worker who is generally happy with his lot in life. Sure, he occasionally has a crazy idea or two - like his ill-fated human-slingshot experiment - but who doesn't? Unfortunately, his girlfriend Trudy (Justine Clarke) aspires to bigger things and forces him to cancel their camping holiday, so that she can wine and dine local TV celebrity Sandy Upman (Rhys Muldoon). When Danny discovers her deception, he becomes increasingly keen to escape from his mundane existence but isn't quite sure how. A seemingly innocuous meeting with an old school friend brings Danny into the possession of a box of oversized balloons. During an afternoon BBQ for friends, Danny inflates the balloons with helium (which in a continuity error later explode) and ties them to a deckchair, idly wondering if they could actually lift him off the ground. Much to his amazement, they can...and do.

    Drifting on air currents high above Sydney, Danny is whisked away to the Northern Rivers region of NSW before crash landing in the small town of Clarence. His fiery descent takes him into the arms of local parking warden Glenda Lake (Miranda Otto) and the two soon form a deep friendship. Free from the social constraints of his home life, Danny in fact manages to form a friendship with almost everyone in the town. Before you know it, he has become a heartthrob, a politician and an all-round good bloke. Meanwhile in Sydney, the media are in a frenzy, determined to find the body of the poor lost Aussie battler, who is assumed to have met an untimely demise.

    Danny discovers that his life in Clarence with Glenda is far preferable to the existence he left far behind in Sydney. When the news coverage of his disappearance spreads across the state, even the residents of Clarence realise that the charming stranger in their midst is none other than the missing Sydney man. It seems Danny has to make a choice - should he return to Trudy in Sydney, or remain in Clarence with his new friends and Glenda?

    The film features some beautiful location shots of Clarence - the idyllic lifestyle is quite likely to inspire wanderlust or the need for a "Seachange" in many an urban dweller. The humour is gentle and very Aussie - unsophisticated, wry and charming. Danny Deckchair is at heart a simple love story. It is also a story about finding yourself and choosing your destiny in life. Overall it is a highly enjoyable film which, whilst it may not actually change your life, may give you pause for thought. Warm, funny and touching, it is well worth a rental and for many people it will even be worth a purchase. Recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality of this transfer is very good.

    The video is presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.85:1 which I assume is the original theatrical aspect ratio. The overall transfer is acceptably sharp in the foreground, but there is a slightly excessive softness to the middle-ground, which gives the overall film a less than perfect appearance. This is a fairly minor quibble however, and the rest of the transfer is pretty well spot on. There is some minor pixelization present on occasion in the background, but again this is not disturbing.

    Black levels are fairly deep and solid with shadow detail that is always perfectly acceptable (for example in the attic scene at 10:20 or in the night time shots in Clarence). Colours are generally vivid and solidly rendered, with no evidence of colour bleeding. The shots in and around Clarence allow for some wonderful greens and nice bright primary colours to be used and they all come across very well. Skin tones look perfectly natural.

    The only real compression artefact is the occasional presence of pixelization, evident in some backgrounds (such as the plants at 6:25), as mentioned above. Edge enhancement was not a significant problem on my system. Aliasing was never noticeable. Film artefacts are rare, which is unsurprising given the very recent vintage of the film.

    The English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are presented in a clear font. They follow the dialogue closely, are well timed and include appropriate audio cues and attribution for dialogue which occurs off screen.

    This disc is single sided and dual layered (RSDL formatted) but I did not notice the layer change on my system.

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

Audio

    The overall audio transfer is of surprisingly good quality for a romantic comedy, and has no major defects in the way of hiss, clicks or pops.

    The sole audio track is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 448 kbps. The dialogue is always clear, and I noticed no problems with audio sync.

    The original music is credited to David Donaldson, Steve Roche and Janet Roddick, who have worked together previously on The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring and Saving Grace. The original music is fairly unremarkable and is complemented by a few modern pop songs - all in all a serviceable but forgettable musical effort.

    The soundstage is often surprisingly immersive. The front speakers are nicely used to deliver the dialogue and they occasionally provide some very satisfying separation across the front soundstage (for example when Danny takes out the garbage at 15:43). There are some decent front to rear panning effects too, such as the plane fly-by at 2:02 or the car drive-by at 70:08.

    The surround speakers get quite a decent workout, although they rarely draw too much attention to themselves - they are nicely integrated and help fill out the soundstage in a well-mannered way. There are the obvious effects such as an immersive rain shower at 22:53 and the obligatory musical support (for example at 15:00) but also some surprisingly vivid directional sounds during the fireworks display at 24:13. Most of the time however, the surrounds are content to carry the ambient traffic noise in Sydney, or the ambient cricket noise in Clarence. For a romantic comedy the soundstage is pleasingly full.

    The subwoofer carries some bass from the musical numbers and the odd bass effect such as when Danny falls through the tree at 25:05, or when fire trucks and motorbikes are on screen, but in general true low frequency effects are not a significant feature of the soundtrack. This is not a surprise given the nature of the film.

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

Extras

    There are no extras on this rental disc - perhaps on the sell-through release?

Menu

    The silent and static main menu allows the selection of playing the movie, choosing one of twenty chapter stops and activating the subtitles.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film does not yet appear to be available on DVD in Region 1.

Summary

    Danny Deckchair is a good old fashioned romantic comedy. It will provide a few gentle laughs and is ideal for a quiet night in with the one you love. It may not be a classic, but it is perfectly pleasant couple of hours entertainment. Recommended for fans of the genre, or fans of Australian films in general.

    The video quality is rather good.

    The audio transfer is surprisingly good for a romantic comedy.

    There are no extras present on this rental release.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Monday, December 29, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
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

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Jules F
The DVD Bits - Adam D

Comments (Add) NONE