Raising Helen (2004)
Audio Commentary-Director And Writers
Music Video-'Extraordinary' By Liz Phair
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (75:36)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||Garry Marshall|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish Audio Commentary
Portuguese Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Icelandic Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Garry Marshall is very good at making fluffy little comic confections and Raising Helen is no exception to his ability. Featuring the glorious Kate Hudson in the title role of Helen, it's a gentle ode to love, family and New York. Helen has it all. She's a bright, bubbly resourceful creature who's making a name for herself in the fashion world, solving problems seamlessly for her stone-chiselled boss Dominique (Helen Mirren). She is adored by her nieces and nephews, the children of her two sisters, Lindsay (Felicity Huffman) and Jenny (Joan Cusack), creating little indulgences for them, and being privy to all their secret kids' business. But tragedy strikes swiftly, killing Lindsay and her husband in an accident, and, in a surprise move, Lindsay eschews the obvious choice of Jenny for guardianship of her children, instead charging Helen with the responsibility of caring for teenaged Audrey (Hayden Panettiere), sporty Henry (Spencer Breslin) and teeny tiny Sarah (Abigail Breslin). In their pain and grief, the children are in no shape to deal with the monumental changes going on, and Helen is hardly any better able to cope than they are.
Concerned about Audrey's obsession with boys, she attempts to find a decent school which can accommodate all three of the siblings - one preferably that doesn't require security guards at the door. Her prayers are answered, literally, with the discovery of St Barbara's Lutheran School. Not only is it a great school, the principal is the rather dishy Pastor Dan (John Corbett). In chaotic fashion, Helen and the kids learn to adjust to each other, though nothing is particularly smooth. Helen hates to be disliked so fails miserably at discipline, in spite of the fact that the children are clearly searching for their boundaries. None of this escapes the disapproving gaze of sister Jenny, who Cusack plays with remarkable sensitivity. Although she is a master at the unhinged, deranged and disappointed character roles, her Jenny has plenty of vulnerability under her authoritative crust. Helen's life is further complicated by the ardour of Pastor Dan.
Essentially this is a coming-of-age film, with Helen having to learn to make major adjustments in order to adapt to her new life. There are scenes which appear a little redundant and there's a hefty layer of sugar coating over its surface, but the film is an agreeable diversion played with a mostly light touch by Hudson et al. Corbett never quite seems to fit his role somehow, but the plot drives inexorably to formulaic close, so everyone's let off the hook relatively quickly and cleanly.
A bit of good natured fun.
This disc is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced.
The presentation is crisp, sharp and bright, like its subject matter. There are no compression problems, only the mildest of low level noise and very little aliasing.
The colour range is beautiful and warm with great detail in blacks and sharp bright whites. Skin tones are excellent throughout.
There are no significant artefacts or transfer sins to report.
This is an RSDL disc, but the layer change at 75:36 is virtually seamless.
The soundtrack is delivered in English Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 and with an English Audio Commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0.
The dialogue is crisp, clean and easily audible, with no sync problems evident. The subtitles were clean, clear and accurate.
The original music is okay but not particularly outstanding.
The surround speakers provide some sense of soundscape, although the subwoofer was basically out of the equation.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is animated with theme music from the film.
Not particularly illuminating, but these kind of extras seem to be a real favourite of Marshall's.
Marshall seems to insist on introducing each and every scene with his little commentary. Without the option of being able to view or not view these intros, I found this quite annoying.
It's all very chummy and chatty I suppose, but Marshall has a voice that could rasp iron and it gets a bit enervating after a while.
Catchy little tune I suppose, but really, once is enough.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Both versions appear to offer identical extras so the PAL R4 version wins.
It's lighter than candy floss and twice as sweet, but it's reasonably cheery and warm. A bit of fun.
|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||fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie|