50 First Dates (2004)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer
Audio Commentary-Drew Barrymore And Peter Segal (Director)
Featurette-The Dating Scene
Featurette-Comedy Central's Reel Comedy
Featurette-Sandler's New Album
Deleted Scenes-5, With Optional Commentary
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Mona Lisa Smile, Mr Deeds, Groundhog Day
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (50:31)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||Peter Segal|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, SPAM!!!|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
But never let it be said that Hollywood has passed up on a "guaranteed thing" - industry types devised a way to get people to come back for more of the same, even though it isn't really (the same, that is). Take the two leads from a previously successful romantic comedy, put them into a new movie with new characters, and the audiences will come back to watch them fall in love all over again. The "spiritual sequel" is not new - Rock Hudson and Doris Day made a successful tactic out of it in the late 50's and early 60's, and since then there have been many partnerships, not the least of which have been Meg Ryan with both Billy Crystal and Tom Hanks, and Hugh Grant with his foppish hair-do (okay, maybe not). The latest pairing to come back for a second helping is Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Hitting the big-time with the 1998 effort, The Wedding Singer, which cruised to a frighteningly large box-office, the pair have never really had the same level of success in their own right since (even Drew Barrymore's driving role behind the Charlie's Angels franchise has still left her third in the interest stakes behind her two more high-profile co-stars). When the script for 50 First Dates presented a chance for the two to work together again and try their hand at regaining some of the magic that made their first film so successful, who were they (or their agents) to pass it up?
50 First Dates sees Adam Sandler playing Henry Roth, an Hawaiian veterinarian working at a sea-creature theme park (the kind with dancing dolphins and the like), making the most of Hawaii's status as a premier tourist destination to have a series of short-term relationships with beautiful women looking for some fun on their holidays. One day his ideal world is thrown into turmoil when he meets local girl Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore) in a beach-side cafe, and instantly falls for her. Wrestling with his twin desires to see Lucy again yet remain uncommitted, he heads back to the cafe for a second date the next morning - only to find that Lucy has no recollection of him at all. Lucy suffered a head injury and can no longer form short term memories. Every night while she sleeps, she forgets everything she did that day (don't laugh - a psychologist friend of mine tells me with good authority that it is an entirely real possibility for someone to lose their short-term memory, if not for it to be conveniently cleaned each night). Not deterred, Henry resolves to win Lucy over each and every day, and in the process begins to gradually win over her family too. While everything seems to be going well, Lucy is concerned about the stress she is placing on other peoples' lives due to her condition, and starts thinking about going away to a home. Henry, needless to say, is against the idea, and needs to try even harder if he is to hold onto the woman he loves.
The obvious thing that 50 First Dates does is to invite comparisons to The Wedding Singer, especially as the latter was used in the advertising for the new film. Unfortunately, it is a comparison that does not flatter 50 First Dates. While a competent film, it cannot hold a candle to the earlier pairing of Sandler and Barrymore. On the upside, that is probably the worst thing that can be said about this new film from the two. The first thing to be aware of with 50 First Dates is that as a film it is presented in two parts - a relatively comedic first half, and a more dramatic second half. It is by far not a typical Adam Sandler comedy, with only one gross-out gag in the whole thing. All that is not so surprising when considering the script started life as a pure drama, and only became a comedy when Adam Sandler came on board and decided to re-write it. The two-tone nature actually does suit the film, and coupled with a brilliant performance from Barrymore as the internally conflicted girl with a memory problem, really does tug at the emotional heart-strings in the latter stages. Those prone to becoming emotionally engaged with a movie may find themselves shedding a tear or two - which make the final smiles all the more rewarding in the long run. The film provides good rewatch value, and will likely keep viewers from both genders happy.
Whether this movie will be enough to prompt Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore to join forces for a third time only time will tell, but for now, those looking for a romantic night in, or even just an enjoyable hour and a half with one of Hollywood's most engaging female stars, and an outrageous funny-man in "subtle" mode will find 50 First Dates to be an enjoyable diversion, and a highly recommended rental. A blind purchase is a little riskier, and although fans of Drew Barrymore will probably be satisfied, Adam Sandler fans are advised to rent first.
Presented at close to the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is at 2.40:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
The image is nicely sharp, with plenty of fine detail. Despite this it retains quite a smooth look, which is a pleasure to watch. Grain is non-existent, even on large landscape shots - an impressive feat that really helps bring the spectacular scenery into the film. Shadow detail is excellent with darker scenes showing good depth, never disappearing into murk. There is no shadow detail present.
Colours are excellent. The lush green Hawaiian vegetation is, well, lush and green, while the colourful clothes are bright and vibrant. Colour is always good, even in outdoor shots with mixed sunlight.
There are no compression artefacts in this transfer, nor are there any film artefacts. The only issues come with the relatively infrequent occurrences of aliasing. Unfortunately when it does occur it can be quite obvious, such as on the road and safety railing at 39:28, or on Sean Astin's shirt at 38:08 and 50:15 (had he taken Dan Aykroyd's advice and put on a shirt with no holes in it, aliasing would be even less of a problem). The instances of aliasing are quite infrequent and for that reason do not really detract too much from the transfer.
Subtitles are not completely accurate. They convey the general meaning of the dialogue well enough, but not to the extent of being word-for-word. Unfortunately, many of the comedic aspects of this film will be lost in subtitles, although the more dramatic moments will still carry well enough.
This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 50:31 during chapter 11. It is reasonably well placed, coming on a scene change, but is still noticeable due to the audio drop-out.
There are four audio tracks present on this disc. The first three are the original English dialogue track, and dubs in Czech and Hungarian, all presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 kbps), while the final track is the English audio commentary track presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (at 192 kbps).
Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. Audio sync is spot on throughout the movie and never causes a problem. These are two quite impressive feats, as the film has numerous location scenes, many of which must have been dubbed, yet the sync is excellent and the dialogue always crystal clear.
As with most films in this genre, the musical contributions come in two forms - a collection of contemporary music, and the score. The score is provided by Teddy Castellucci and it is a solid effort. It will certainly not leave any lasting impressions, but it is light and breezy and perfectly suited to the mood of the movie. The contemporary music fits in well with the score, and works effectively with the story.
The surround channels are not exactly aggressive, however they work well enough for the task they are assigned, carrying a reasonable amount of ambient sound, and much of the score. While nothing really to write home about when considered in the scope of the DVD format as a whole, the surround channel use is still far better than in most other films in this genre.
Like the surround channel use, the subwoofer use is not going to win any awards, but is still provides a pleasing amount of bass, and does far more than most other romantic comedies even dream of doing.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is superb, presenting the stunning Hawaiian scenery and the even more expensive Hollywood talent with crystal clarity and great colour.
The audio is more than sufficient, with more surround and subwoofer activity than is usual for films in this genre.
The extras do seem a little small in number, but they generally make up for that in entertainment value, making a nice bonus package - and could there really have been anything else to say about a film like this anyway?
|DVD||Pioneer DV-555K, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||Rochester Audio Animato Series (2xSAF-02, SAC-02, 3xSAB-01) + 12" Sub (150WRMS)|