I.Q. (1994)

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Released 12-Nov-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 91:52
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (54:05) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Fred Schepisi
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Tim Robbins
Meg Ryan
Walter Matthau
Lou Jacobi
Gene Saks
Joseph Maher
Stephen Fry
Tony Shalhoub
Frank Whaley
Charles Durning
Keene Curtis
Alice Playten
Danny Zorn
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
German
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Italian
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Serbian
Slovenian
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    If you have read some of my reviews, you may have noticed that I really enjoy a good romantic comedy. That's for a lot of reasons, including the fact that a good romantic comedy is a pleasure that you can enjoy alone or with friends, at (almost) any age, and with minimal harmful effects.

    IQ is a brilliant romantic comedy. Indeed, it's one of my absolute favourite romantic comedies. I was thrilled to see it appear on DVD (I pre-ordered the R1) and now I'm very pleased to see it appear on DVD in Region 4.

    This is the story of the romance between automotive mechanic Ed Walters (Tim Robbins), and mathematician Catherine Boyd (Meg Ryan). It's set in the 1950s, and begins when Catherine and her fiancé James Morland (Stephen Fry) are driving to the advanced study institute at which they work, and their car fails. They pull into a garage, and Ed comes out to look at the car. For him it is love at first sight. For her it is an attraction that she doesn't understand.

    There's a bit of a complication (completely apart from the fact that she is already engaged). Her uncle is Albert Einstein (Walter Matthau) — yep, the Albert Einstein. He, and his three cronies: Boris Podolsky (Gene Saks), Kurt Gödel (Lou Jacobi), and Nathan Liebknecht (Joseph Maher), all care a great deal about Catherine, and they really don't think James Morland deserves her. They meet Ed and immediately take a shine to him.

As an aside, if you have studied advanced mathematics you may well have come across the name Gödel. He is famous for his Incompleteness Theorem, a little gem which destroyed the hopes of many mathematicians by showing that any system of axioms will result in a theoretical space in which there are statements that are true, but which cannot be proved from the axioms. I hadn't heard of the other two, but a little research shows that Podolsky was a physicist who worked with Einstein. Nathan Liebknecht, on the other hand, is not a name I could find. Interestingly, there was a Nathan Rosen, who co-authored a famous paper with Einstein and Podolsky — maybe the scriptwriter took a small liberty? Before you ask, however, no, Einstein did not have a niece called Catherine.

    Anyway, Einstein and his friends decide to help Ed woo Catherine. They do this by helping Ed pretend to be a genius to impress her. Unfortunately, things get a bit carried away, and suddenly Ed is pretending to more than just Catherine...

    The love story is sweet and simple. The comedy varies from rather broad to more subtle. This film pokes gentle fun at minds that are genius in their field, and helpless in real life. It pokes rather more pointed fun at experimental psychologists. It even has a gentle prod at the space race.

    There are some delightful scenes in this film, of which perhaps my favourite is the multiple-choice test — you'll see.

    IQ is a sweet, thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy that will offend no-one (well, maybe experimental psychologists...). Strongly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. That's the original theatrical aspect ratio, so no complaints on that front.

    The picture is clear, and looks quite sharp enough when in motion, but pausing makes it clear that there's a very light layer of grain over the picture. Shadow detail is limited, but acceptable. There is no low-level noise.

    Colour is nicely rendered. The palette is chosen to create the 1950s feel, and does so quite effectively. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    The only film artefacts are small specks and flecks and one short hair. None of them detract from enjoying the film, not even the fine vertical scratches around 69:40.

    There is little in the way of aliasing, but there is a bit of moiré, most noticeable on Catherine's dress in the faculty lounge. There's noticeable background shimmer, but no other MPEG artefacts.

    There are 25 subtitle tracks in 24 languages, including both English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched all of the English subtitles, and sampled the English for the Hearing Impaired extensively. They are mostly accurate, with some rephrasings. They are also well-timed and easy to read. I did spot a couple of anomalies. At 32:33 the dialogue says "we'll run interference", but the subtitle reads "we'll run in defence". At 34:10, the dialogue says "I ran it by the doc", but the subtitle reads "I read about the doc". It is easy to see how these slips could occur.

    The disc is single sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change comes at 54:05, pausing on a shot of Tim Robbins, and is rather obvious on a slow player, but not too noticeable on a fast one.

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

Audio

    There are five audio tracks, being the soundtrack in five languages; I only listened to the English, which is Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps. I have no idea why they bothered with a 5.1 soundtrack, though. This soundtrack is mostly front and centre, with a bit of stereo spread, but nothing of any significance in the surrounds, and nothing at all in the subwoofer. That doesn't mean we can't enjoy the film, though, because it's a dialogue-driven film.

    The dialogue is clear and mostly easy to understand. I saw one error in sync at 61:12, where a line from Einstein is completely out of sync, but it is an error in ADR, rather than in the transfer.

    Jerry Goldsmith gives us a nicely 50's score. Interestingly, it was performed by the Victorian Philharmonic Orchestra and recorded in Melbourne.

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

Extras

    There are absolutely no extras, unfortunately.

Menu

    The menu is static and silent, but easy to operate.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film became available in Region 1 in September 2003. The Region 1 disc is quite similar to this Region 4. The menu design is quite similar. The transfer is quite similar. The lack of extras is identical. Really, the only difference is the languages: the R1 has only English and French.

    Maybe one day we'll see a Collector's Edition with commentary and lots of extras. Until then, we can buy the Region 1 or Region 4 version and get the same thing either way: a bare-bones edition of a marvellous romantic comedy.

Summary

    One of the best romantic comedies ever, presented well on a bare-bones DVD.

    The video quality is quite good, even with a constant light film grain.

    The audio quality is very good, but very much front and centre.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, June 28, 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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