Danny Deckchair (2003)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (87:43)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Jeff Balsmeyer|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I'm an averred fan of Rhys Ifans - I was particularly charmed by his performance in The Shipping News, so I was prepared to overlook the negative press I'd read about Danny Deckchair, and give it a go for myself.
And I'm pleased to report that Rhys did not disappoint. He characterises that likeable Sydneysider bloke very well. The film itself though, has as much substance as the helium that fills Danny's balloons.
As an amiable, aimless drifter, Danny is plagued by an ambitious and carping girlfriend, Trudy (Justine Clarke) who is hinting less than subtly that their relationship's star is on the wane.
As a barbeque lark, Danny and his mates attach a stack of helium filled giant balloons to a folding garden chair. Imagine everyone's surprise when he actually takes off! (This is actually an Australianisation of a true event that occurred in the US to one Larry Walters of Los Angeles in 1982. For the real story, click here.)
For our Danny, this is a seminal event, as he lands in the quiet town of Clarence, in the backyard of parking enforcer, Glenda (Miranda Otto). Glenda has troubles of her own, but soon enough, Danny's affable manner works its charm on her.
From here, the story takes a distinct and deep bow to Peter Sellars' Being There character, Chancey Gardener, as his innocent musings take profound effect on the locals, resulting in Danny being swirled into local politics and the orbit of Clarence's power brokers.
This film doesn't quite hit its target. Otto, Ifans and the cast perform well, but the scripting is a little leaden and the plot too meandering and unfocused to make it truly satisfying. It comes across as a little thick and heavy handed, and lacks the charm required for us to willingly suspend our criticism of the plot holes.
The photography is quite good, although the CGI aerial scenes look a little clumsy at times. It is a friendly little piece of film, but is no serious contender for the mantle of classic Aussie comedy. The Working Dog production company can rest easy.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced which appears true to its original presentation.
There is no low level noise present in this transfer and the shadow detail is generally good. However, it misses out on full crispness, and minor compression problems steal some of its dimension.
The colours are well rendered and are very rich and pleasing. There is no significant halation to impair the vision.
With the exception of minor film to video artefacts, the print is clean of major problems.
The subtitles are clean, clear, timely and easy to read.
This disc is an RSDL disc but I did not detect a layer change, so it must have been well obscured between chapters.
There is one audio track available - an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.
The dialogue was always clear, easy to understand and well modulated in the speakers. There were times where the audio sync seemed just ever so slightly out - but overall, it was not distracting.
The musical score by David Donaldson, Steve Roche and Janet Roddick was not overly remarkable. It did its duty but was not particularly memorable.
The surround channels were very busily used for ambience, music and special effects. This had the effect of keeping one feeling right in the midst of the action.
The subwoofer was highly active during various sequences, and placed an excellent base on the film.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu design is animated and includes an introductory clip from the film and theme music from the soundtrack.
18:36 lovefest from all the people who worked on the film.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This appears to be the only release available, so R4 is the winner.
Light, bright and potentially harmless - good for an idle afternoon.
|DVD||Singer SGD-001, using S-Video output|
|Display||Teac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Teac 5.1 integrated system|
|Speakers||Teac 5.1 integrated system|