Hope Springs (2003)

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Released 7-Jul-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 88:23
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:57) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Mark Herman

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Colin Firth
Heather Graham
Minnie Driver
Oliver Platt
Frank Collison
Mary Steenburgen
Mary Black
Chad Faust
Tony Alcantar
Bethoe Shirkoff
Alan Giles
Dolores Drake
Howard Storey
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music John Altman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
Spanish Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    When I first noticed this DVD available for review I thought: What? A romantic comedy starring Colin Firth, Heather Graham and Minnie Driver? How come I've never heard of it before?

    After watching it, I realise why. The blurb on the back cover states: "HOPE SPRINGS is a delightful and engaging comedy ...". I think the exact opposite to "delightful and engaging" would have been more appropriate. On the plus side, there are some witty lines in the script, however they kind of stand out rather than blend in with the plot.

    A British artist, Colin Ware (Colin Firth), takes a plane and a bus from London to the small town of Hope, Massachusetts. He is devastated when his fiancée Vera (Minnie Driver) announces she is going to marry someone else by sending him the wedding invitation. He hopes to forget his pain by sketching a series of portraits of the local inhabitants.

    He meets a well-meaning but slightly kooky girl called Mandy (Heather Graham) and soon they fall in love. However, a surprise is in store when Vera suddenly shows up and wants to reunite with Colin. Who will he choose?

    (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Well, the answer should be obvious once you realise what a b**** Vera is. In fact, the mystery is why Colin could even have contemplated marrying her in the first place. The rest of the film merely prolongs the inevitable.

    In the meantime, we get to meet some of the delightfully eccentric individuals in the town: mayor Doug Reed (Oliver Platt), the motel manager Joanie (Mary Steenburgen) and her husband Fisher (Frank Collison).

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is in a widescreen aspect ratio of approximately 2.30:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The intended aspect ratio is 2.35:1, based on a 35mm film source.

    The video transfer quality is average, which is a bit disappointing given that this is such a recent film.

    There are no obvious problems, and no sign of compression artefacts, but the overall look is a bit on the soft side and colours are a bit dull in places (I found out later by watching the making of documentary that many of the scenes were shot in the rain which may explain a lot).

    There are a number of subtitle tracks on the disc: English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Arabic, Danish, Estonian, Spanish, Croatian, Norwegian, Slovenian, Finnish, Swedish, and Spanish Titling. Both English subtitle tracks seem similar apart from the addition of transcription of non-dialogue sounds in the latter track.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs in Chapter 7 at 53:57. It occurs during a pause on Colin sitting on a couch so is not too noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are two audio tracks on this disc: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    The audio transfer quality is average, with no particularly good or bad aspects of the audio worthy of mention.

    Occasionally, the dialogue was a bit difficult to understand due to mumbling of words, but otherwise there were no issues. Audio appears to be synchronized throughout except for a few instances of sloppy ADR.

    The background music is a mixture of original music by John Altman and various pop songs that seem vaguely recognisable. Standard romantic comedy fare.

    The surround channels are not actively utilized except for background music ambience and the very occasional Foley effect (such as the sound of the car driving off to the rear speakers around 30:52-30:57).

    The subwoofer channel appears to be only lightly utilized.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    This is currently a rental only release. The only extra is a short making of documentary.


    All menus are 16x9 enhanced and include background audio. In addition, the main menu is animated. There are also animated menu transitions. The menus are available in several languages.

Featurette-Making Of (7:05)

    This is presented in full frame and with Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio. This features cast and crew interviews, along with behind the scenes footage and excerpts from the film.

    Interviews include:

    It is revealed that the film is based on a book called New Cardiff written by Charles Webb (who also wrote The Graduate). In addition, it rained constantly whilst shooting the film, which may explain the slightly washed-up look of the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title is yet to be released in Region 1.


    Hope Springs is a romantic comedy about a British painter (Colin Firth) who runs away to a small New England town called Hope in the hope of forgetting about his fiancée (Minnie Driver) who intends to marry another. He falls in love with a local girl (Heather Graham) but then his fiancée arrives ...

    The video transfer quality is average.

    The audio transfer quality is also average.

    The only extra is a short making of featurette.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Sunday, February 15, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDCustom HTPC (Asus A7N266-VM, Athlon XP 2400+, 512MB, LiteOn LTD-165S, WinXP, WinDVD5 Platinum), using RGB output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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