My Giant (1998)
|Year Of Production||1998|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Michael Lehmann|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Romanian born Gheorghe Muresan isn't actually an actor, but is rather a sportsman. He played basketball in the NBA and when you first see him in this film it's easy to see why. Standing some 231cm or 7'7" in the old scale, Muresan is of course the giant of the title. You could say as an actor, he makes a great basketballer, but truth be told, he doesn't do a bad job here (though I get the idea he is basically playing himself).
Compared to the gentle giant, the main star of the film, Billy Crystal is a complete midget. Crystal is Sammy Kammin, a movie agent who is currently a little down on his luck with only one client of any note (sounds a bit like Jerry Maguire doesn't it?). Sammy's life is heading down the proverbial toilet bowl, when he finds out his wife wants to leave him and move with their son to Chicago. It seems that Sammy is focused on his job at the expense of the family and he looks like paying the ultimate price. Unfortunately for Sammy things are not about to get any better, at least in the short term. He has to travel to Romania to visit his one remaining client who is filming an action flick there. But things turn sour when his up-and-coming young star decides he's had enough of Sammy and fires him. Dismayed at the direction life is taking, Sammy doesn't watch where he is going in his hire car and crashes it into a river. Just when it looks like he is about to drown, two enormous hands reach into the car and pluck him to safety.
When Sammy comes around he finds himself in a monastery, surrounded by monks who cannot speak English. He also discovers the identity of his saviour, a giant of a man named Max (Gheorghe Muresan). Max is your typical giant. Gentle, sweet, and prone to reciting Shakespeare at every opportunity. He also has a broken heart and pines for the love of his life, a young girl he once kissed some 22 years ago, before she and her family moved to America.
Of course we can all see where this is now heading, even after just 20 minutes. Sammy, ever the hustler, sees a perfect opportunity to get his career back on track, and begins trying to convince Max that he should leave Romania and travel with him back to America where he will become a giant star. Sammy uses the lure of a possible meeting with Max's lost love as an incentive to get the gentle giant to agree to his proposal.
What follows is a series of humorous situations, as Sammy and Max travel to Cleveland, Chicago, and finally Las Vegas, in a desperate attempt to land a role in the latest Steven Seagal blockbuster. Said action man with pony-tail even makes a half-decent cameo, playing himself, and allowing the Mickey to be taken out of his acting ability (or lack thereof) big time. But this isn't just a comedy, and the third act finally delivers the goods on what is effectively a tale of self-discovery and a moral tale focusing on putting the needs and wants of others in advance of your own desires (like I said, a bit like Jerry Maguire). The ending is warm and fuzzy but will also leave you feeling a little sad.
With this being another of the budget Warner Home Video titles, I am getting more and more impressed by the quality of the transfers on offer. In terms of bang for your bucks, you will certainly find little to complain about here. This is a clean, artefact free and really great looking transfer. For less than $15 , this is superb value for money.
It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is also 16x9 enhanced. This is close enough to the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1.
The transfer is above average in terms of sharpness, with only a mild case of edge enhancement popping up on some of the dimmer scenes in the monastery. There is no grain of any note worth mentioning and there is no low level noise.
Colours are well saturated and vibrant when needed. The lush surroundings of the Romanian countryside are portrayed with fine detail and superb saturation, as are the gaudy streetscapes of Las Vegas. Skin tones look pretty much spot on and black levels are perfect.
There are no apparent compression problems. There are no instances of film-to-video artefacts such as aliasing. Film artefacts are present, but in extremely small numbers and size, so much so it is barely worth mentioning them.
There are only two English subtitle streams available, these being of the standard and Hearing Impaired variety. They are as accurate as can be expected, with only a few words missed every now and then.
This is a single layered disc, so there is no layer change to navigate.
There is only the one soundtrack on this disc. It is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track in English, encoded at the lower bitrate of 384 kb/s.
This is a fairly decent soundtrack, that while containing only a few crash and bang moments to get the subwoofer rocking, does contain ample front channel separation and even a smattering of rear channel action to create a wide and spacious sound presence.
The dialogue is clear at all times and I witnessed no audio sync problems.
The score is by Marc Shaiman and evokes some of the fun and emotion contained in the story. Especially towards the climax of the film, the score comes into its own and really does tug at the old heartstrings.
As mentioned, there is only minimal sustained surround activity, mostly used to fill in streetscapes and in the early scenes during a major thunderstorm.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras on this budget disc.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 disc misses out on;
The Region 1 disc misses out on;
A technical win to the Region 1 disc on content, but when you consider the Region 4 disc can be picked up for less than $15 it is really hard to go past the local product despite missing a couple of very minor extras.
Billy Crystal is up to his usual smart-mouthed antics as a self-absorbed movie agent in this heart-warming tale. While several of the sub-plots serve only to pad out the story, the main theme of a man trying to do right by others and placing their needs before his own is nicely conveyed.
The video quality is excellent for such a budget title.
The audio is solid and dynamic with some surround activity.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|