Muriel's Wedding: 10th Anniversary Special Edition (1994)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Audio Commentary-P. J. Hogan (Director) And Toni Collette
Interviews-Cast & Crew-On Set Interviews - 1994
Featurette-The Wedding Video
Interviews-Cast-With Rachel Griffiths, on Enough Rope With Andrew Denton
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo-Muriel's wedding Album
|Year Of Production||1994|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (71:20)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||P.J. Hogan|
House & Moorhouse
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.75:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.66:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Muriel's Wedding is another of those iconic Australian movies which was given a fairly mediocre initial release on DVD. Much like that other 1990s icon, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, it has thankfully been re-released as a Special 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition. Most Aussies over the age of fifteen or so would probably be aware of this film - and their parents almost certainly would. Nevertheless, here's a brief rundown on the poignant, beautifully scripted plot.
Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, About a Boy) plays Muriel Heslop, a downtrodden, unmotivated dag in a family of of layabouts who live their lives solely through the reputation of their father, Councillor Bill Heslop (Bill Hunter, Priscilla, Finding Nemo and Tom White). Bill is a bitter man, living on past glories as a local councillor but never able to forget that he almost made it into State politics - if it wasn't for his lazy family and that damned postal vote (or so he believes). His bitterness is manifest by the way he treats his entire family. His wife and children are considered as useless, and his constant verbal abuse serves to constantly erode Muriel's self-worth.
By the time the film starts, the overweight and dowdy Muriel has been unemployed in the two years since leaving school (and secretarial college). Her only outlets in life are the b****y clique of so-called friends who allow her to hang out with them, if only to provide a contrast to their overly made-up beauty, and her love of ABBA music. The only positive outcome she can foresee in her life is that she can find a man to love - and most importantly - marry her, and remove her from her repressed life in the coastal town of Porpoise Spit.
When she takes a trip to Hibiscus Island, funded by money she has illegally taken from Bill's bank account, she meets up with another girl from her old school. Rhonda Epinstalk (Rachel Griffiths) is the polar opposite of Muriel - outgoing, confident and attractive. Rhonda is one of the few people in the film who see Muriel's inner beauty, and the two form an immediate friendship. When the holiday comes to an end, Muriel's return to Porpoise Spit is short lived, and she travels to Sydney to share a flat with the irrepressible Rhonda. Will she be able to find herself in Sydney? More importantly for Muriel, will she be able to find a man to love her...and most importantly of all, will she be able to find the perfect wedding dress?
Toni Collette gives a truly outstanding performance in this great movie. Her transformation from overweight dag to almost stunning beauty is truly amazing, and not in the usual Hollywood "let's remove her thick specs and let her hair down" way. The way her character matures and attains a level of self-esteem which seemed impossible at the start of the film is testament to the marvellous script as much as her brilliant performance (and striking weight loss). Rachel Griffiths too, delivers an utterly credible performance as the headstrong, live-life-to-the-max Rhonda. Bill Hunter's performance is so well textured that the hateful despot is also totally believable as the sad, lonely man with a deep sense of melancholy he becomes by the end of the film. Last, but by no means least, Muriel's mother (Jeannie Drynan) as the mentally ill woman who is little more than a slave to her family, and who dotes on her lecherous husband, is one of the most downtrodden characters you are ever likely to see on film.
The music and costume design are spot on, delivering a vivid flashback to the early nineties that will send a shiver down your spine. This movie is deservedly regarded as one of the best ever to come out of Australia, and for anyone who has not seen it I can wholeheartedly recommend it. The film is at times painful and deeply saddening, but ultimately delivers an incredibly uplifting experience. The mix of pathos and humour is balanced perfectly to provide a movie which not only withstands the test of time, but becomes stronger with every passing crappy, lightweight, Hollywood rom-com. Marvellous stuff, utterly recommended. I challenge the most hard-hearted of you not to tear up when you watch this beautiful film!
The video quality of this transfer is probably as good as it is ever going to get.
The visuals are presented 16x9 enhanced at a measured ratio of 1.73:1 which is different to the original theatrical aspect ratio (variously stated as 1.78:1, 1.85:1 and 1.66:1 by different sources). Interestingly, it is certainly cropped on the sides when compared to the previous release which was transferred at 1.78:1. The previous release was, however, encoded at an average bit rate of 5.72 Mbps on a DVD 5 disc - this latest incarnation has been given a much kinder treatment on a dual layered DVD 9 disc, and is encoded at an average bit rate of 7.22 Mbps. It shows.
Sharpness is generally satisfactory, although it does waver from time to time. There is little in the way of significant grain to spoil the image, but there are instances of minor pixelization in backgrounds from time to time. The dark scenes show reasonably solid blacks with a little low level noise evident. Shadow detail is a tad variable but generally adequate. Colours are still surprisingly vivid with some shocking primaries, for instance in the Hibiscus Island (actually the Gold Coast's Seaworld resort) scenes. Whilst there is only minor occasional colour bleeding evident, skin tones can tend towards orange at times, and there is a general oversaturation of the colour overall.
The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts, but there are some minor instances of pixelization as mentioned above. Edge enhancement is present sporadically, noticeable as a slight halo around black objects such as suits and electrical cables. There are also a couple of scenes where backlighting might be mistaken as edge enhancement, due to the halo it produces around the characters. Aliasing was not noticed on my (progressive scan) system. Telecine wobble is evident during the start and end titles, and occasionally during the movie itself but is not significant enough to become a real distraction.
There are several noticeable, but quite fleeting film artefacts present. These are both positive and negative artefacts, and although reasonably common, are not really big enough to be a major distraction. Overall the transfer is as clean as we can expect for a ten year old, relatively low budget movie.
There is a very solid English subtitle track for the Hearing Impaired, with the dialogue well timed and with only small edits for brevity. There is attribution for off-screen dialogue, audio effects and even the song lyrics are included.
This disc is dual layered with a very noticeable, slightly jarring, layer change occurring at 71:20 at a scene change. This sticks out like a sore thumb as it causes an obvious jump in the audio stream.
The overall audio transfer is very good and there are no significant flaws.
The distributors have provided the old Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps, and this is complemented by a quite lively Dolby Digital 5.1 mix encoded at 448 kbps. Both of these audio tracks are satisfactory, but the 2.0 version sounds a little "hissy" and low-fi in places - obviously the surround mix delivers a preferable soundstage. The previous release had a surround mix encoded at the lesser rate of 384 kbps. There is a little more life to the new audio transfer, but the differences are certainly not huge.
The sound is generally clean throughout, with dialogue always clear and the ABBA music beautifully blended into the mix. Audio sync was spot on throughout.
Music plays a very major part throughout the film and the ABBA fans amongst us will delight in revisiting those fantastic kitsch tunes which play such a prominent role in the pivotal scenes of the movie. Original music is credited to South Australia's Peter Best and it does a fine job, although for most fans it merely serves as ambient filler until the next rousing burst of ABBA magic appears. Toe-tapping, feel-good fun.
The front speakers provide good separation with dialogue well delivered by the centre channel. The surround speakers do provide some ambience, with chattering of crowds and traffic noises where appropriate. They get a more substantial job in supporting the lively musical numbers however, and some of the ABBA songs make significant use of the rear channels. There is not too much in the way of localised effects or directional panning, but the soundstage is well suited to the overall feel of the film.
The subwoofer is used to support the music (especially the disco beats at the nightclub around 36:35 for instance) but it doesn't draw too much attention to itself in general. Those without a subwoofer will not be missing too much here. This is not really surprising given the character driven nature of the flick.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras available on this Special 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition disc add some welcome extra value to the DVD.
The main menu is a suitably festive design, with falling confetti but no musical support. It allows the selection of playing the movie, choosing one of twenty-eight chapter stops, audio and subtitle set-up, or access to the following extras:
A lively, fun and informative commentary from writer/director P J Hogan and Toni Collette. The two gel very well and seem to genuinely enjoy revisiting the film after ten years. Humorous and chatty, this is a very worthwhile addition for fans.
A short slideshow of stills from the movie, presented as a photo album and running for 1:27. It is 16x9 enhanced, but silent. Ho-hum.
A short collection of behind the scenes footage running for 2:50. Presented not 16x9 enhanced at 1.33:1 with the audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 224 kbps.
There are numerous interview clips on offer, each presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps. I hate this format - text slides showing the question, followed by the interviewees answering...
An excerpt of the Andrew Denton - Enough Rope show, with Rachel Griffiths being interviewed, and Toni Collette watching from the audience. Running for 4:36 and presented 16x9 enhanced in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps.
Silent text-based screens (presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.78:1) covering the careers of seven of the main actors and P J Hogan.
The original trailer, running for 2:31 and presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.73:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Special 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition does not appear to be available in either Region 1 or 2 yet. Buy the Region 4 release now. The review of the previous Region 4 release, and the comparison with the existing Region 1 release can be found here
Muriel's Wedding: Special 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition is a sad, touching, hilarious, joyful film. It features some great characters, a solidly realised script and a great period feel. This is without a doubt one of the best Australian films - period. A must see, particularly for fans of ABBA, this will have you alternately on the verge of tears and holding your sides. Very highly recommended.
The video quality is pretty good for a relatively low budget movie, particularly at the new higher bit rate.
The audio transfer is good enough - without being exceptional.
The extras are a worthwhile addition to the movie - particularly the commentary track and interviews.
|DVD||Momitsu V880 upconverting DVI player, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|