The Man from Snowy River II (1988)

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Released 5-Aug-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Alternate Ending
Gallery-Photo
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Man From Snowy River
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 97:48
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:22) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Geoff Burrowes
Studio
Distributor
Burrowes Film Group
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Tom Burlinson
Sigrid Thornton
Brian Dennehy
Nicholas Eadie
Mark Hembrow
Bryan Marshall
Rhys McConnochie
Peter Cummins
Cornelia Frances
Tony Barry
Wyn Roberts
Alec Wilson
Peter Browne
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Bruce Rowland


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/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 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

    The Man From Snowy River was one of the most successful and well received films ever made in Australia and has since gone on to become one of our most loved iconic films of all time. Of course based on the public adulation and success it enjoyed, had it been made in the United States, a sequel would have probably been commissioned almost immediately. But since this is Australia and funds for such a large scale production are obviously in short supply, it would take some six years before this sequel, imaginatively titled The Man From Snowy River II, arrived in 1988. The original film's producer Geoff Burrowes would take the director's hat this time in addition to producing. The film sees Tom Burlinson return as "The Man" Jim Craig, and Sigrid Thornton reprises her role as Jessica Harrison. Key cast members from the original film such as Jack Thompson as Clancy and Kirk Douglas as old man Harrison did not reappear (the latter role is now filled by Brian Dennehy).

    The original film is a much loved classic that has taken a long time to appear on Region 4 DVD. Thankfully a significant amount of work went into the restoration and remastering of that disc (have a read of the original The Man From Snowy River review if you wish), and thankfully the same effort went into restoring this lesser known and appreciated sequel.

    The film kicks off a number of years after the closing scenes of Snowy I. Despite winning the hand of the fair maiden Jessica, Jim Craig heads bush, basically losing himself in the high country and not making contact with his true love. He's off rounding up brumbies, in the hope that capturing several quality mares will help set him and Jessica up for a quality life on the land. She of course hasn't heard from him for a while and is beginning to have some doubts about where his affections really lie. To make matters more confusing, her father Harrison (Brian Dennehy) is in the midst of brokering a deal with a wealthy land holder who also happens to have an eligible bachelor son Alistair (Nicholas Eadie) and sees the possibility of offering Jessica's hand in marriage as a key bargaining chip. The dashing Alistair is instantly smitten with the lovely Jessica and so does not take too kindly to Jim when he suddenly reappears during a horse race event at Harrison's property. Old man Harrison is also not particularly impressed with the vagrant Jim Craig and forbids Jessica to see him. She of course does not take kindly to being told what to do and from here tensions mount. Will Jessica disobey her father and head off with Jim, or will her family ties see her agree to her father's wishes and accept the hand of Alistair?

    There isn't a whole lot of originality in this offering. In fact it's a fairly plodding story that really does fail to capture the imagination in any way like the original film did. While the original offering did not exactly boast the most complex of tales, it was at least based on the famous Andrew 'Banjo' Patterson poem with which we are all so familiar and which provided the scope for a few dramatic set pieces, such as the famous brumby chase sequence. This film falls flat for the first 80 minutes with no overly dramatic moments, until the climax which tries to replicate the brumby scene but really ends up delivering a rather contrived and slightly camp fight scene between Jim Craig and Alistair.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The same restoration effort that occurred with the original film happened for this transfer and there can be absolutely no doubt that this is the best it has looked since its original run in cinemas in 1988. There has again been a significant amount of work performed on this transfer, with the team at Digital Pictures in Melbourne obviously paying great attention to detail. Colour correction has again been applied across the board, resulting in a balanced and more even looking image with deep solid saturation. Sharpness levels are excellent, with no edge enhancement present. The level of shadow detail is excellent at all times and thankfully the black levels are much better than they were on the original film due to the brightness being cranked up a couple of notches. Grain is again non-existent making the image look an absolute joy and there is no low level noise present.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. If you have only ever seen the VHS pan and scan version before, this widescreen image captures all the space and magnificence of the Snowy River high country to perfection. Just as was said for the review of the original disc, there is no other way to enjoy a film like this.

    Colours are consistent and well rendered throughout, although this film does not contain quite the same range of colours as are found in the original and certainly not the same number of deeply saturated hues. As mentioned there has again been considerable colour correction performed across the whole picture which has resulted in a much better and more consistent looking picture. Skin tones are natural and blacks are deep and true.

    There are no compression artefacts. Aliasing is also absent. Just like the original film there are some film artefacts present, with most being just the average white spot or fleck.

    There are only English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles available. They are well placed on screen, though not 100 per cent accurate.

    The disc is presented as a single sided dual layered picture disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change occurs at 56:22 and is well placed.

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

Audio

    It was stated in the review for the original film that the audio transfer on that disc was the best sounding remastered surround sound audio soundtrack I have ever heard. The same efforts by the same people went into the remastering of the audio for this film and as a result of newer source material and the availability of the original multi-track master recording elements, this soundtrack probably just outdoes the original in terms of sonic quality, but unfortunately the actual story and audio used in the film doesn't do the magnificent remastering job as much justice as it did on the first disc.

    Just as it did with the original film the audio soundtrack benefited from a complete remaster and remix. The crew at Soundfirm in Melbourne have taken the original stereo recording and turned it into something quite special that will again make the most of even a modest 5.1 surround setup.

     There are two soundtracks on the disc, both English. While there is no sign of the original stereo soundtrack like there was on the first disc, what we are spoilt with here is a fully remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and better still a beautiful dts 5.1 soundtrack albeit encoded at the lower bitrate of 768 Kb/s. The latter was my soundtrack of choice, but both 5.1 soundtracks are really quite remarkable. There is clear and solid separation across the front speakers and plenty of rear channel activity. Just like it was for the first film, this channel separation is not the weak and limp sort of leakage effect that merely dribbles across to the front or rear speakers either. This is solid, dynamic, and very well produced imaging across all the speakers which creates an incredibly well-balanced and enveloping sound experience. During the early horse race scene or when the chase sequence occurs towards the climax of the film there is consistent use of all channels around the room placing you smack bang in the middle of the pursuit, with whips cracking and brumbies squealing. It really does sound quite remarkable and adds much enjoyment to the viewing.

    Dialogue was the weakest aspect of the soundtrack in the first film, with it a little lacking sometimes in fidelity. Thankfully those problems are not evident here. This is a superbly clear and easily understood soundtrack for all dialogue and there is not a trace of audio sync problems.

    The score was again composed by Bruce Rowland and mirrors much of what was evident in the original film. I said at the time that the score was arguably the most recognisable and enjoyable Australian score ever composed and the score here is very similar and equally as enjoyable. It again evokes images of wide open plains, misty high country, rambling horse trails, and the flight of wild brumbies. It is exciting, emotive, and an absolute pleasure to listen to.

    As mentioned there is significant surround use throughout the whole soundtrack, probably more and certainly more precise sounding than the soundtrack for the original film. They are used quite solidly for everything from the early horse race scene to the flight and chase during the climax.

    The subwoofer is also used on many occasions throughout, most notably the thunderous use during the climactic chase sequence.



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

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

Menu Animation & Audio

Dolby Digital Trailer

Alternate Ending

    This is the original ending for the film as was seen in cinemas, which is basically the same as the version of the film we see on this disc minus the wedding scene, which has been added in for this release. Running time is 5:28.

Gallery-Photo

    Running for 3:50 this is an automatically running photo gallery with some 37 photos and six publicity style pieces (mainly promotional movie posters and press kit scans). Decent size colour photos are accompanied by part of the film score.

Theatrical Trailer

    Running for 2:26, this trailer for The Man From Snowy River II is the same one that appeared on The Man From Snowy River I disc.

Trailer

    Running for 1:41 this is a trailer for the original 1982 The Man From Snowy River and is the same one that was on the original film's disc.

R4 vs R1

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

    Quite remarkably The Man From Snowy River II is available in Region 1 (where it is referred to as Return To Snowy River). Alas that version comes in a butchered 1.33:1 pan and scan version only and most surely does not benefit from the recent remastering of both audio and video. A clear win to the new Region 4 version without a shred of doubt.

Summary

    The Man From Snowy River II is certainly not a patch on the sweeping grand tale that was so successfully delivered in 1982 with the original film. While the visuals are just as striking with the sweeping expanse of the Victorian high country again captured to perfection, the story is just too plodding and dialogue just too contrived to fully capture the magic so evident in the first film.

    Having said that, the restored and remastered video and audio transfers put this film in a whole new light and deliver it in probably the best way it has ever been shown, so if you have only seen this sequel previously on VHS tape, it is highly recommended that you at the very least check this new DVD out to just witness how the film was originally intended to be seen.

    Like the original film and its newly restored version, the lack of quality extras is disappointing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Monday, August 16, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Man from Snowy River 2, or The return to Snowy River. - Neville Weston