Return to Me (2000)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 15-Jan-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Bonnie Hunt (Dir/S'Writer) & Don Lake (S'Writer)
Music Video-What If I Loved You
Deleted Scenes-1
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 111:09
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bonnie Hunt
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring David Duchovny
Minnie Driver
Carroll O'Connor
Robert Loggia
David Alan Grier
Bonnie Hunt
Joely Richardson
James Belushi
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Nicholas Pike


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
German
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Polish
Greek
Hungarian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, at start of credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    For those who love a good romantic comedy and haven't seen this heart-warming and heartbreaking movie, rush out and rent Return To Me as soon as it is released, as it is almost guaranteed to please. If you liked You've Got Mail, Meet Joe Black and Shakespeare In Love, then I'd say you've got about a 99% chance of really enjoying this film.

    I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that David Duchovny (The X-Files) can convincingly play a character other than a FBI agent. Both David Duchovny and Minnie Driver play their parts superbly and with the great supporting cast, which includes Joely Richardson, James Belushi, Bonnie Hunt, Robert Loggia and many other recognizable faces, I was effortlessly transported into the world of Return To Me.

    From the back cover blurb: "It took a lot of cajoling to get Bob Rueland (Duchovny), a recently widowed architect, to go on a blind date at a quirky Irish-Italian eatery. Once there, he's instantly smitten not with his date, but with the cheeky waitress, Grace (Driver)".

    As luck or fate would have it (you choose whichever term you prefer), Bob leaves his phone at the restaurant, which creates the perfect excuse for him to go back to get it and hopefully see Grace again.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    By far the most annoying problem with this transfer is the grain. If wasn't for this problem, this would have been a superb transfer.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. This disc is also encoded with Auto Pan & Scan Information, which is great to see.

    Foreground sharpness and detail is very good, especially on the close-up shots. In a lot of instances, the background detail is disrupted by film grain (more on that anon), so it loses a little of its sharpness and detail. Shadow detail is basically perfect and no low level noise, edge enhancement nor edge bleeding was noticed.

    The colours were vibrant and deeply saturated, and were pretty much perfect. There were a couple of scenes where the skin tones seemed just a tad over-red, but really this is being unnecessarily picky.

    Now, about that grain... Grain is everywhere, and I'm not talking about some minor barely noticeable stuff either. There is hardly a scene in the entire movie that is totally free of grain. In the rare instances where a scene was totally grain-free, the picture looked superb. The grain seemed to be more prevalent in well-lit scenes, which unfortunately there were plenty of. For those of you who are bothered by grain (like myself) it will certainly take much of the shine off this otherwise excellent transfer. I do, however, have a vague recollection that this film was pretty grainy at the cinema too, but I can't be sure, so I cannot say for certain that the grain wasn't induced during the transfer process. Pixelization (MPEG compression artefacting) which can look very similar to film grain, did not seem to be the main cause of the grain in this case. I did however, notice a couple of scenes that definitely suffered from some trivial or minor pixelization, which is not totally surprising, given the amount of maximum bandwidth left for the video stream on this DVD - see the Audio section for more details on this issue. A couple of the more noticeable instances of grain and pixelization can be found at 7:46 - 7:49, 7:57 - 8:06 (pixelization) and 22:17. There are several more, but I stopped writing them down after this point. On my 68cm TV this grain and pixelization was far less bothersome and only the worst instances still stood out enough to be distracting.

    Only one other minor MPEG artefact was seen and it was during the end credits, at 108:12 - 108:18. It is hard to describe, but it is minor and won't detract from your enjoyment of the film in the slightest. There are a couple of instances of noticeable moiré and aliasing artefacts which were distracting, such as at 32:22, 56:17, 76:30, 84:05 - 84:20 and 106:28.

    There is a light sprinkling of tiny film artefacts throughout the film, with only two being big enough to warrant mentioning; a big vertical scratch or pen mark at 21:52 and a hollow white circle in the centre of the screen at 58:49.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 65:00 in Chapter 20, on a scene change. It is perfectly placed and does not disrupt the flow of the movie at all.

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

Audio

    There are no less than five 448Kb/s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks - English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, plus a 192Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 Director's Commentary on this DVD. I want to congratulate and praise MGM for using the superior 448Kb/s audio streams here and I heartily encourage MGM to continue to use them. The down side to having so many high bitrate soundtracks present is that they take up a lot of the DVDs 10Mb/s maximum bandwidth, around 2.5Mb/s. This only leaves a maximum of around 7.5Mb/s for the video stream, which I feel is just a little on the low side for excellent picture quality, but to MGM's credit, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there weren't any serious MPEG compression artefacts present. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and then to the Director's Commentary track.

    No audio sync problems were noticed with this transfer and dialogue was well integrated into the soundstage.

    At 7:46 - 8:10 there is some low-level hiss present in each of the five Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, indicating that this is inherent in the source material.

    The musical score is by Nicolas Pike and it suits the movie well.

    The surround channels are subtly used throughout the film to create an enveloping sound field. They are mostly used for musical ambience, but there are some good sound effects too. Surround sound highlights are at 14:37, 30:58, 67:36, 103:45 and 106:28. The frontal sound is nicely spread across the front speakers with good sound placement, creating an open and pleasing front soundstage.

    The subwoofer is lightly but nicely used to enhance and add depth to the music, which in turn further complements the movie's soundtrack.

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

Extras

    There is a pretty reasonable selection of extras present, but the picture quality is slightly lacking on two of them.

Menu

    The Main Menu is 16x9 enhanced and has a video clip made up of highlights from the movie set to the movie's theme music. The Main Menu selections are; Play, Scene Selections (32), Special Features and Language Options.

    The Scene Selection menu has an index, which makes jumping to any chapter a breeze.

Director's Commentary - Bonnie Hunt (Director/Screenwriter) and Don Lake (Screenwriter)

    This commentary features Bonnie Hunt (Director/Screenwriter) and Don Lake (Screenwriter) in the centre channel speaking over the film's 192Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Don does not say very much and if you do actually listen to this commentary you will probably work out why, but I don't recommend it. I found the commentary to be essentially lacking in informative and interesting information about the making of Return To Me. Of course, there are several reasonably interesting pieces of information offered, but they hardly justify listening to Bonnie Hunt for two hours. There are plenty of gaps in the audio commentary, but none that drag on for too long. Another off-putting aspect of this audio commentary were several brazen and unnecessarily argumentative comments made by Bonnie Hunt. Many seemed to be triggered just by Don speaking - it was almost like Bonnie hated Don Lake. I wasn't actually going to mention these comments, but the final straw came during the sign-off at 107:50. It started off beautifully, but then turned very ugly. I was actually disgusted at what Bonnie said and how she conducted herself on this and several other occasions throughout the commentary. On a more positive note, one of the more interesting and amusing tidbits on this commentary can be found at 102:52 - 102:56, which is about the actors that play the three nuns near the end of the movie.

Music Video Clip-"What If I Loved You" by Joey Gian (2:20 minutes)

    The overall picture quality is reasonable, but the 1.33:1 video material has patchy colour, some MPEG compression artefacts and is very grainy, whereas the film excerpts are of very good quality and are presented in the non-16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.80:1. The audio soundtrack is a 192Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack of good quality.

Deleted Scene (3:28 minutes)

    The picture is of acceptable but average quality. I did not find this scene to be very interesting at all, but it is a welcome extra nonetheless. I just wish there had been a couple more deleted scenes to go with it. The deleted scene is presented in the non-16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with a 192Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The picture quality is average because of the washed out colour and its medium sharpness.

Theatrical Trailer (2:13 minutes)

    The picture quality is very good and is equal to the movie's quality. It is presented in the 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with a 192Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. It's nice to see the use of 16x9 enhancement on the theatrical trailer.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The R4 DVD is the easy choice here, as it has an additional extra and appears to have the same limitations as the R1 version, plus it does not suffer from 3:2 Pull-down artefacts because it uses the PAL format.

Summary

    I loved Return To Me. I found it to be funny, sad and entertaining, helped along by some great acting and a solid storyline.

    Overall the video quality is good. It would have been excellent, if it hadn't been for the abundant and distracting grain.

    The audio quality is great.

    There is a pretty reasonable selection of extras present.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Paul Williams (read Paul's biography)
Friday, January 26, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-725, using Component output
DisplaySony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SV919THX
SpeakersFronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)

Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - Dean B
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Kevin S

Comments (Add) NONE