Wondrous Oblivion (Warner) (2003)

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Released 16-Mar-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Coming-Of-Age Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Paul Morrison (Director)
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 101:11
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Paul Morrison
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Sam Smith
Delro Lindo
Stanley Townsend
Emily Woof
Leonie Elliott
Yasmin Paige
Richard Ashton
Carol MacReady
Stanley Townsend
Osnat Schmool
Mark Penfold
Tom Roberts
Philip Whitchurch
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Ilona Sekacz


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    So, are Test Matches better than one-dayers? What about the new Twenty-Twenty format? Is Richie a better commentator than Mark Taylor? Was Garfield Sobers a better player than Don Bradman? By now you are probably thinking Wondrous Oblivion must be a strange name for a new Cricket DVD...

    Wondrous Oblivion is in fact a movie which happens to be based around cricket and the love of it, but that's not really what it's about. It's a coming-of-age story set in England in the late 1950s involving a young Jewish boy who is a recent migrant to England after the Second World War from Eastern Europe. The boy, David Wiseman (Sam Smith), has fallen in love with the game of cricket but has absolutely no skill or talent for the game. He plays at school, but because he has received very little coaching he lives in a world of 'wondrous oblivion', according to one of the masters. This means that he has no idea about how bad he is at the game and loves it anyway. He lives with his father, Victor (Stanley Townsend), who is a bit overbearing and cold but has a good heart and his young, pretty mother Ruth (Emily Woof), who is slightly repressed and stuck in a marriage which does not really sustain her emotionally. They live in a working class neighbourhood in London, surrounded by people who look down on them because they are Jewish. When their neighbours move out, a Jamaican family move in much to the horror of the local residents. Suddenly Jews start to seem much better to the local community and they start to pressure the Wisemans to treat their new neighbours badly. The new neighbours are led by the father, Dennis Wiseman (Delroy Lindo), a gentle and kind man, who has a passion for cricket which he shares with his daughter, Judy (Leonie Elliott). As soon as they move in they turn their small suburban backyard into a cricket net, with the help of friends. David is immediately very interested in the new neighbours and quickly gets invited to join them for some cricket. Dennis quickly realises that David, despite being well equipped, has no skill at all when it comes to cricket. Dennis takes him under his wing and begins to teach him how to play cricket. David soon becomes firm friends with Judy.

    Of course, some drama needs to enter the story and it takes a number of forms. Firstly, the racial tension rises as David spends more time with Dennis. Also, as David gets better at cricket and is more accepted at school, he has trouble combining his friendship with Judy with that of the boys from his school. Victor becomes concerned that his son is too involved with the Jamaican family and Ruth begins to develop feelings for Dennis. All of these stories play out over the course of this gentle, charming story. The combination of comedic and dramatic elements work well together to keep the tone reasonably light, however, there is certainly some dramatic tension.

    The film is an English production, written and directed by Paul Morrison and according to his commentary at least some of the details and ideas are autobiographical. It is well put together and tells its story well. The acting is of high quality throughout and the child actors are not vaguely annoying, which is a relief.

    This is a good film but similar in many respects to other films such as Billy Elliott, which tell a similar story of an outsider coming-of-age in England. Overall, I enjoyed it and it will appeal to fans of these sort of films. Having said that, it is not a film which I would tell everyone I know to rush out and see immediately.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good but seems to have been transferred in the wrong ratio.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is not the original aspect ratio accordingly to the IMDB, where it is listed as 2.35:1.According to our site policy I will remove 1 star from the overall video rating for this. I did not notice any major issues caused by this change.

    The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise, although you could not really call it crisp. The shadow detail was excellent.

    The colour was excellent with wonderful rich and warm colour tones. The use of colour in the costumes and sets was also excellent.

    The only artefact of any kind which I noticed was some very mild aliasing on a wall at 22:05.

    There are subtitles in 16 languages including English. The subtitles were clear, easy to read and very close to the spoken word.

    There is no layer change.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is very good but front focused.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Ilona Sekacz was quite good, however, the real star and a major contributor to the feel of the piece was the great collection of Ska, Calypso and other Jamaican music used throughout the film.

    The surround speakers were not used overtly however they did add some atmosphere. To be fair, this style of film does not require a lot of surround effects.

    The subwoofer added bass to the music but was not particularly noticeable otherwise.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu was designed around a nice cricket motif including stumps, bails and balls. Also, some of the menus included cricket sounds such as willow hitting leather. The main menu included music and motion.

Commentary by Writer/Director Paul Morrison

    This is a decent commentary without really hitting any great heights. It includes some interesting information about character development, casting, where the various ideas came from, the crew, technical details such as camera placement, sets, colour design and the music and editing choices made. The only real issue with it is that his voice is rather dull and he does not really sound very interested.

Theatrical Trailer (2:00)

    A good quality trailer which shows off the strengths of the film including the music and the comedic elements.

Featurette (9:51)

    A short promo piece including scenes from the film, on set footage and interviews with the main cast & crew. Annoyingly, it does not include graphics to tell you who is who when they are being interviewed.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film has been released in the same format in Region 2 and has not been released in Region 1.

Summary

    A good but not outstanding coming-of-age comedy-drama revolving around the game of cricket.

    The video quality is very good but not in the original theatrical ratio.

    The audio quality is very good but very front focused.

    The disc has a small selection of reasonable extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
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