View from the Top (2003)

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Released 7-Jul-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-History Of The Flight Attendant
Featurette-A Journey Inside A View From The Top
Featurette-Music Of A View From The Top
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 83:34
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:13) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bruno Barreto
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow
Christina Applegate
Mark Ruffalo
Candice Bergen
Joshua Malina
Kelly Preston
Rob Lowe
Mike Myers
Marc Blucas
Stacey Dash
Jon Polito
Concetta Tomei
Robyn Peterson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Theodore Shapiro


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.30:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian
Italian Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, outtakes + "We Are Royalty"

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

Plot Synopsis

    Gwyneth Paltrow as trailer trash? Well, you have to admit that it's not something she's done before, and she's running out of roles she hasn't played. There is the obvious question of whether this was a role she needed to play, but let's put that to one side. She was 30 when she made this film, and she looks rather too old to be playing a high school cheerleader (even if it is only for a brief scene). Funnily enough, her early appearances in this film (complete with big hair) remind me most of Lisa Kudrow in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, but Lisa Kudrow played a more convincing high school student in that film, and she was 34!

    Gwyneth Paltrow is Donna Jensen, a young woman who wants to escape from Silver Springs, Nevada, the small town she grew up in. After seeing Sally Weston (Candice Bergen) on a chat show, she gets inspired to get away by becoming a flight attendant. She starts with a small discount airline (5 planes), wearing a hideous shiny uniform. Her first flight doesn't go well. But she persists. However she, and her fellow flight attendants, Sherry (Kelly Preston) and Christine (Christina Applegate), feel put down when they see attendants for a bigger airline. Donna enthuses them into trying out at a job fair for Royalty Airlines — Donna and Christine get in, and attend the Royalty Airlines Learning Centre, where they are instructed by John Whitney (Mike Myers). Donna is inspired — she will get First Class International, she's sure, especially after she speaks to Sally Weston in person...

    Things can't be too simple. She meets a great guy, and she gets the difficult choice of him or the job — no surprise. And she has to fight to get what she feels is her destiny. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Once she gets it, though, she starts to wonder if it is what she really wants. That's perhaps the truest moment in the film. I did like the resolution of the film.

    Watch for a brief appearance from Marc Blucas as Donna's high-school sweetheart — this seems to be about the only roles he gets these days.

    Amusingly, the front cover shows Gwyneth Paltrow in an orange uniform, but she never wears an orange uniform in the film. Christina Applegate does, but Gwyneth Paltrow doesn't. By the way, one climactic moment of the film shouldn't be possible today, given modern security requirements.

    This film is billed as a comedy, and there are plenty of comic moments (fewer of them involving Mike Myers than his ego thinks...), some of them fairly good. But the more serious moments are not bad. It all adds up to a film that's not brilliant, not outstanding, but still a decent way to spend a bit under an hour and a half. I'm not sure that I could recommend this one to buy, but it's worth a rental.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This disc is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. The film was shot in Super35, and printed as anamorphic, so 2.35:1 is the right ratio.

    The image is a touch softer than razor sharp, but I'm growing quite fond of having that touch of softness because it smoothes out the image and reduces problems like aliasing. Shadow detail is limited, but adequate, with darker tones dropping off into black a bit too quickly. Film grain is apparent, but only at a light level. There's no low-level noise.

    Colour is clear and vibrant, but natural, with the bright colours of the various uniforms showing up readily. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are a few tiny film artefacts, but they are infrequent and barely noticeable; I noticed them mostly in what may have been stock shots (New York from the air for example).

    There is some aliasing, but it is mild; there's also a trace of background shimmer once or twice. There's no moiré, and no trace of MPEG artefacts.

    Subtitles are provided in English and Italian, plus English for the Hearing Impaired. I only watched these last; they are clear and legible, surprisingly complete, and well-timed to the dialogue. I spotted a minor error, where the subtitles read "if you route me out", while the dialogue is "if you rat me out", admittedly in a bit of an accent.

    The disc is single-sided and dual-layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change falls at 55:13, and it is quite good; it falls at a natural pause in the middle of a scene. It is pretty much invisible on a fast player, and not particularly noticeable on a slow one.

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

Audio

    There are only two audio tracks on this disc, in English and Italian. Both are Dolby Digital 5.1, 448kbps. I only listened to the English. To be honest, I have no idea why they bothered with 5.1: this soundtrack is totally frontal, with nothing noticeable in the surrounds.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. There are no audio sync issues.

    The score, from Theodore Shapiro, is nice enough, but most of the music in this film is in the form of songs. There are some familiar songs, including Time after Time, but covered by younger female singers. There are also some new songs (some written specifically for this film) by voices like LeAnn Rimes.

    The surrounds get nothing noticeable, but I didn't miss them. The subwoofer gets the occasional sound, such as a jet, but only at a low level.

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

Extras

    There are only a few extras, but they are a bit unusual.

Menu

    The menu is static and silent, but a bit fun, themed around airlines.

Featurette: History of the Flight Attendant (9:55)

    An unusual extra, this is a series of interview grabs telling how the flight attendant evolved, starting in the 1950s as a registered nurse (!). I found this a genuinely interesting piece, and quite appropriate.

Featurette: A Journey Inside View from the Top (6:25)

    This is the least interesting extra: a fairly mundane making-of.

Featurette: Music Of View from the Top (3:01)

    Rather than giving us a stack of music videos, this is a piece featuring Randy Spendlove of Miramax, explaining the rationale they used in choosing songs for this film, and why and where they chose to put certain songs. I liked this, as a quick peek inside the thinking of the music supervisor.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 version of this disc was released late 2003 (well, it couldn't be released much earlier, given that the film was only made in 2003). It has the same extras as this disc, but is reported to be a single layer disc. The transfer doesn't sound much better (if any) than the Region 4, so I think there's probably very little to choose between the two.

Summary

    A so-so comedy, given a decent transfer to DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good, but totally frontal.

    The extras are few, but include some interesting pieces.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, February 08, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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Comments (Add)
not as bad as you might think - worth a look - gRANT (Read my bio, mmm... uncompressed surround audio)
Tony, you'd be surprised how many registered nurses want to be flight attendants, even today! - gRANT (Read my bio, mmm... uncompressed surround audio)