G.I. Jane (1997)
|Year Of Production||1997|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (66:31)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Ridley Scott|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Daniel von Bargen
John Michael Higgins
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I remember catching G.I. Jane at the cinema several years back. The publicity surrounding this film was quite intense due to the sheer physical effort that lead Demi Moore put in to prepare for her role as Lt. Jordan O'Neill (she's the G.I. Jane of the corny title). Moore apparently spent many weeks training and pumping iron for the demanding role, and it certainly shows, with biceps bristling and a six-pack Danny Green would be proud of.
Directed by Ridley Scott, this is not your average run-of-the-mill military training school story, with a hard-as-nails instructor making every one's life hell, before the flawed and petulant hero finally comes through and saves everyone's lives. Well, ok so maybe that's exactly what it is, but the big difference here is the hero in question is actually a heroine, and she is striving to become the first ever female to face front-line combat in the United States military.
Affirmative action and equal opportunity have enabled many (but not all) minority groups, including those hampered by age-old prejudices (read women), to attain almost every job and role throughout industry, government, and the military in most western civilised countries. Of course the last two bastions remaining in the United States are the job of President and front-line military action. While it must only be a matter of time before a female sits in the oval office, the role of women in front-line combat is still a thorny issue. When a persuasive and powerful female senator, with a personal agenda at stake, decides the military needs a shake-up and starts putting the wheels in motion for females to join the front line, feathers are going to be ruffled. Narrowed down from a dozen candidates, intelligence-analyst Lt Jordan O'Neill (Moore) is selected to take part in the gruelling 12-week Navy SEALS training program. Nobody gives her any chance of passing the course. There is a sixty per cent dropout rate among the regulars guys, all tough and hardened soldiers. What hope does a woman have? The group is led by the almost psychotic, yet poetry-inspired leader and master chief Urgayle (a very thin Viggo Mortensen, well before he shot to mega-stardom as Aragorn). He can barely hide his contempt for the addition of a woman in his group, but ever the military disciplinarian he hides his displeasure and gets on with the job, figuring she will not last the first day. The same discipline cannot be said for O'Neill's fellow trainees, who at every opportunity make known their hatred and contempt for what they see as the weak link in their chain.
As the training gets tougher and recruits start dropping out, O'Neill battles on. When she discovers she is getting special allowances and time considerations for the fact she is a woman, she is determined to seek equality. Moving into the same barracks, sharing the same showers, and running the same obstacle course without aid are the only ways she can prove her worth to the SEALS. This of course results in the famous haircut scene, where Moore shaves off her long black locks and joins the group with a number-one crew-cut.
Like every good military training film before it (An Officer and A Gentleman or even Stripes God help us!), the completion of the gruelling training course is cause for celebration. I won't spoil anything else here, only to say that when O'Neill's training is almost complete, her group will suddenly find out how the novelty and ease of boot camp ends and the real battle begins. The group will also come to look at Lt Jordan O'Neill in a different way by the end of it all, after she finally proves she can make the grade on the front line.
While we are at least blessed with a proper ratio and 16x9 enhanced image, this video transfer leaves a lot to be desired.
It is presented in its original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 and is also 16x9 enhanced.
The level of sharpness is acceptable, but only just, with several scenes offering a definite below-average effort in sharpness terms. The biggest problem is shadow detail, which is compromised on several occasions. This is a film with many scenes occurring in either very dark interiors or at night in poorly lit bush or jungle areas. There is also a great deal of smoke and grime applied to many of the scenes which also does not aid the clarity of the image very much. Probably the worst example of the lack of shadow detail is at 43:17. Grain is handled quite well considering the opportunities for it to become a distraction. There is no dominant low level noise.
Colours are really quite dull for the most part, with plenty of the action taking place at night or in poorly lit interiors such as the bunk-houses. As a result, expect little in the way of vibrancy and you won't be too disappointed.
Overall there are no compression artefacts, but there is a rather strange problem at 12:19 when Jordan O'Neill's boyfriend is talking to her in the bathtub. The centre of his face, running from the middle of the forehead to just below his nose distorts and wobbles slightly. I can't determine whether this is a compression artefact or is inherent in the source, but it is quite obvious and distracting. Film-to-video artefacts are quite limited in appearance, with a tiny bit of aliasing on a couple of surfaces. Film artefacts are present, though thankfully almost all are small enough to not be a concern.
There are only a couple of subtitle options. The English variety are accurate enough without being completely perfect.
This is a dual layered disc complete with RSDL formatting. The layer change occurs at 66:31 and is well placed.
Despite the problems with the video transfer, the audio has scrubbed up rather well and is certainly the highlight of this disc.
There are two audio soundtracks available, with Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in English and French being the selection.
The is plenty of front channel separation, all of which creates a wide and solid soundstage experience. Low end response is excellent, as is the clarity of the dialogue. There are no obvious audio sync problems.
The score by Trevor Jones is fairly typical of your military training/combat/action warfare film.
There is ample surround channel activity during the many training drills and obstacle course events in the first half of the film and again during the climax in Libya.
The subwoofer also receives a decent work out, especially during the early obstacle course drill where several explosions are going off.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras on this disc.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 disc has been available for some time now, but appears to suffer from a worse video transfer than the Region 4 disc.
The Region 4 disc misses out on:
The Region 1 disc misses out on:
A fairly obvious choice here, even though the Region 4 anamorphic transfer is not that great.
G.J. Jane offers plenty of promise, especially during the early training and drill scenes, which will leave you feeling quite exhausted by the end. Demi Moore puts in a solid performance as Lt O'Neill, but unfortunately the story tends to run out of steam and the last 30 minutes is somewhat spoiled by a highly contrived subplot.
The video transfer is quite disappointing, being rather dark and gloomy at times, with poor shadow detail.
The audio transfer is excellent, with plenty of surround and low-end activity.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|