Freaky Friday (Rental)(2003)
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Mark S. Waters|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Chad Michael Murray
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Over the years there has been a steady stream of films out of Hollywood where the mind of one character ends up in the body of another. These have varied from A Christmas Carol type stories (Bruce Willis in The Kid) through to Science Fiction extravaganzas (Spock sharing space inside Doctor McCoy's mind in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock). In 1977 it was Barbara Harris and her teenage daughter Jodie Foster who exchanged bodies in a fairly popular Walt Disney film, Freaky Friday. Along with this penchant Hollywood has for "walk a mile in my shoes" type films, we have also seen Disney return to old ground recently with a remake of 101 Dalmatians, and now they have turned their attention back to Freaky Friday.
The film begins by introducing us to the mother, psychiatrist Dr Tess Coleman (played this time by Jamie Lee Curtis) as she frantically tries to get her family ready for a new day, and struggles with teenage daughter Anna (nicely played by Lindsay Lohan). Tess has been a widow for three years and is about to be remarried. Anna is not too keen on this idea and is also struggling to cope at school, which of course gets no sympathy from her harried mother. Anna is also in a rock band, and a key audition comes up unexpectedly the next day, which just happens to be the day that her mother is due to have a wedding rehearsal - Anna is meant to be a maid of honour.
The two fight about school, the wedding, the audition, kid brothers and bedroom door removal (you'll have to see that bit to get it) while dining at a Chinese Restaurant. Each complains that the other misunderstands them, and would feel differently if they saw things from each other's perspective. Well, quicker than you can say Chicken Chop Suey, some Chinese magic ensues and the next morning Tess is in Anna's body and Anna is in her mother's. I will leave it to you to work out the comic possibilities inherent in the situation, especially with a wedding due the next day, and Anna now in possession of all of mum's credit cards. In fact, I would be surprised if you have not seen at least one film with a similar plot.
The question then arises - is there anything in this film we have not seen before that would justify the remake? If we are cynical about it we can say that yes, there is; a hot new star on the rise (Lohan) and some bouncy pop music to appeal to a new generation. On one level, that is all there is that is new about this film. On the other hand, most Hollywood movies are repeats either of story or theme, and if the job is well done, why worry - just enjoy. I think that is the best advice I can give this time around; don't worry too much about originality, just enjoy.
I have seen the 1977 version and I must say I prefer this remake (apparently a lot of people agree - it was something of a surprise box-office hit in 2003). The film is energetic, with some excellent jokes and a nice balance between the humour and the usual Disney moralising. Hey, this time the film is rated PG rather than G, and even my teenage wannabe daughter thought it was cool. The soundtrack is a mixture of modern songs and remakes of older songs, so most generations should be happy with it. The pace flags a little in the middle, but picks up nicely towards the end. As I write, the DVD is only available via Rental, possibly the best way to sample it if you have not seen it. If you saw it in the cinema and liked it, rent it now to keep you going until you can buy it.
This is a very recent film, and it looks it, coming to DVD with an excellent transfer that is sure to please.
The aspect ratio is 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced which is the theatrical release ratio.
The transfer is nice and sharp, with no low level noise and excellent shadow detail (see 78:50 for one example of the nicely rendered evening scenes).
The colours throughout are pleasing. While they are not vibrant they are natural, with skin tones looking particularly good and the light through windows looks warm and inviting.
There are virtually no artefacts of any kind. It would be churlish of me to point out the one or two minor examples which you might find if you look closely on a large screen. Once or twice edge enhancement is excessive (see around Anna's hair at 55:36 and her boyfriend Chad's hair at 84:14 for examples), but this is the only minor flaw in the transfer to DVD
There are no subtitles, and there is no layer change (which would make this a single-layered disc then).
The 5.1 audio transfer on the disc is just as impressive as the video transfer, with a nicely developed sound field.
There are two audio tracks present, both in English. The default track is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 448 Kb/s. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track encoded at 224 Kb/s. I listened to the 5.1 track and extensive excerpts from the 2.0 track. I'm not sure why they bothered with the latter, as it is lacklustre compared to the 5.1 transfer. All of my comments on the audio relate to the 5.1 track unless noted otherwise.
The dialogue is nice and clear throughout, though it is recorded at a lower level than the music and effects. It seems to me that I am saying that about a lot of modern films - it is an annoying trend. The audio sync is excellent throughout, except for an occasional lapse when Anna is singing with her band, which appears to be an issue with the original soundtrack and not the transfer.
The music in the film is, well, perky. It has a nice modern feel and includes a number of contemporary songs as well as updates of some old classics. The sample audience at my house ranged from 5 to 47, and all enjoyed it thoroughly. The only minor issue is that at times it overshadowed the dialogue (ignoring one scene where it was meant to do so).
From the opening minutes the sound reaches out and envelops you. The music in particular makes excellent use of the sound field (listen at 73:48 for one example) and gives the film real presence - there is no doubt you are watching a modern film recorded in 5.1 channel sound. The 2.0 mix by comparison sounds very flat, though in Pro Logic mode it is quite acceptable if it is your only option. The subwoofer is mostly engaged in supporting the music (this is not an effects laden movie), but booms nicely when Chad's motorbike roars across the screen.
|Surround Channel Use|
None, zip, nada. This is a rental disc. They must be saving the Extras to try and convince you to buy the retail version.
A static menu allows you to Play the Feature, go to Scene Selection (12 choices), or move to Audio Setup (the default here is 5.1 sound). That's all folks.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 version of the DVD is the 'for sale' version, whereas the Region 4 disc under review is the featureless rental version. The Region 1 version has the following special features:
This is a nicely produced DVD, offering an enjoyable family comedy with excellent video and sound. It is currently a rental-only release, and has no Extras, but makes a good overnight rental.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K350, using Component output|
|Display||SONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Kenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|