Two Brothers (2004)

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Released 1-Mar-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Jean-Jacques Annaud (Director)
Gallery-Call Of The Wild (Montage)
Featurette-Wild About Tigers
Featurette-Tiger Brothers
Featurette-Tiger Trainers
Featurette-Tiger Tech
Featurette-Tiger Cam
Featurette-Location Scouting
Gallery-Costume Design
Storyboard Comparisons
Credits
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 100:39
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jean-Jacques Annaud
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Guy Pearce
Jean-Claude Dreyfus
Freddie Highmore
Oanh Nguyen
Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu
Moussa Maaskri
Vincent Scarito
Maď Anh Le
Jaran Phetjareon
Stéphanie Lagarde
Bernard Flavien
Annop Varapanya
David Gant
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Stephen Warbeck


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
Hungarian
Icelandic
Hebrew
English Audio Commentary
Hungarian Audio Commentary
Icelandic Audio Commentary
Hebrew Audio Commentary
English Titling
Hungarian Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Save the tigers information after the film

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Writer/Director Jean-Jacques Annaud has an extensive filmography of critically acclaimed work, films of the calibre of The Name of the Rose, Seven Years in Tibet and Enemy at the Gates. He is also very much a conservationist, and loves working with animals, this being his second feature where the animals, not humans, are the stars.

    His first foray into working with animals on a large scale was with his 1988 film, The Bear. Many of the lessons that were learned with that production were used to enhance the overall experience of this film, Two Brothers.

    In the early 1900's there were over 100,000 tigers living in the wild. These tigers were big game for trophy hunters like Aiden McRory (Guy Pearce). Aiden is an adventurer and author who is also in the business of plundering sacred sites for treasures. While scavenging through a site, his party encounters a family of tigers. Aiden shoots and kills the male tiger and takes one of the cubs (Kumal), while the female and other cub (Sangha) escape. The life journey of these two cubs becomes the main focus of the film.

    When the mother tiger is nearly killed in an organised hunt for His Excellency (Oanh Nguyen), she retreats into the jungle, and as a consequence abandons Sangha. He is found by the Administrator's (Jean-Claude Dreyfus') son, Raoul (Freddie Highmore), who keeps him as a pet. These scenes between Raoul and the Sangha are clearly the most endearing of the film.

    The two brothers are growing up and aren't as easy to manage. Kumal is sold to a circus and eventually Sangha is taken away from Raoul and placed into the hands of His Excellency, who has the desire to re-enact a bygone ceremony, in which two tigers fight in an caged arena. Sangha is trained as one of his fighters. A scout is sent by His Excellency to find a suitable opponent. The scout soon finds his way to the circus and, for a considerable sum, Kumal is purchased for that purpose. The two brothers are placed into battle, but what happens from here is best reserved for your own eyes and ears.

    The tigers are indeed the stars in this film. Their names appear before any human in the credits, and thus, human character development is also secondary, but I don't believe many people will care too much in this instance. The film is very enjoyable if you just flow with it, and don't worry too much about the technicalities.

    The footage involving the tigers is simply brilliant, and is worth seeing for this fact alone, especially if you consider that only a couple of scenes used CGI effects and animatronics.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is very impressive. The filmmakers used a combination of High Definition Video and 35mm film in  the filming process. Although some of the video footage has a soft blur during quick pans, I believe the two formats have been used together exceptionally well in Two Brothers.

   The film is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

   The transfer is very sharp and clear for the most part. Blacks were very crisp and clean, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was also quite exceptional.

    Colours were beautifully rendered, with every scene appearing very natural. There was no obvious oversaturation of colour, and skin tones appeared to be spot on.

    I found no MPEG artefacts. The only film-to-video artefact I found was some very minor edge enhancement occasionally. This, however, is being very pedantic. I found no film artefacts.

    The subtitles available on the DVD are; English for the hearing impaired, Hungarian, Icelandic and Hebrew. These same subtitles are also available for the director's audio commentary.

    This is a single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change is very well placed at 67:53, and is not at all easy to notice.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is also quite superb.

    There are three audio tracks available on this DVD. They are; English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s), Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s) and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). All these tracks are of outstanding quality.

    Dialogue quality was crystal clear throughout. There was some very brief lapses with audio sync, but nothing that was overly noticeable.

    The original music score by Stephen Warbeck was perfectly suited to the film. Most of the music has an Asian influence, and ranges from playfully upbeat, to very dramatic, to soft and moody.

    The surround channels are used to great effect for ambience and music. Subtle jungle noises are perfectly divided amongst the channels to put the viewer in the centre of the action. The surrounds were also used with precision occasionally to enhance directional effects, such as objects moving directly across the sound stage.

    The subwoofer was well used to subtly highlight certain bass elements of the soundtrack. Some of the more dramatic moments in the film score were highlighted by the subwoofer, as were dramatic scenes. Examples of this are an explosion at 13:39 and fire in the jungle at 85:15.

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

Extras

    Two Brothers is presented with an excellent selection of relevant extras under four different categories. These categories include The Director, The Cast, Fun With The Tigers and Production.

    The menu design is well themed around the film, and is 16x9 enhanced. The main menu is static, with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio. This audio consists of looped music from the film.

The Director

Director's Commentary - Jean-Jacques Annaud (Director)

    This is a first class audio commentary, which gives us a huge insight into many behind-the-scenes aspects of the film. Jean-Jacques Annaud provides us with highly relevant information, hardly pausing throughout the film. He is not afraid to give up the secrets to many of the wonderful scenes in the film. Any fan of the film will find this commentary totally absorbing.

The Cast

Featurette - Tiger Brothers (3:41)

    Interviews with the cast and crew, focusing on the tigers in the film. Some thirty tigers were used in the making of Two Brothers.

Featurette- Tiger Trainers (4:36)

    Basically part two of the above extra. This time the focus is on the tiger trainer, Thierry Le Portier, and his methods.

Fun With The Tigers

Featurette - Call of the Wild (0:48)

    A fun little montage of tiger roars, with not all the noise coming from the tigers.

Featurette- Wild About Tigers (35:44)

    This documentary is narrated by Guy Pearce, and has nothing to do with the film directly. It is however an outstanding inclusion on this DVD. It claims to be the ultimate guide to tigers, and is simply loaded with interesting facts and figures on tigers. It traces their evolution through to their possible extinction.

Production 

Featurette - Tiger Tech (2:35)

    An interesting look at a few scenes where animatronics were used instead of real tigers. These instances are quite rare in the film.

Featurette - Tiger Cam (3:21)

    As I mentioned earlier, both 35mm film and High Definition Video were used in the making of the film. This featurette focuses on how they were used to capture tiger action, and the use of remote control cameras.

Featurette - Location Scouting (2:48)

    Jean-Jacques Annaud searching for locations in Cambodia. He narrates over a series of photos of chosen locations.

Costume Design (1:52)

    Artists' drawings of costumes used in the film, matched against actual footage, so a comparison can be made.

Story Boards (4:54)

    Three different scenes are shown as sketched story boards, while the final film corresponding to these sketches is displayed in the bottom corner of the screen. It is interesting to notice just how accurately these story boards are followed.

Credits (1:03)

    The credits for the above extras.

R4 vs R1

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

    Both versions appear to have identical features and extras, with the only exceptions listed below.

    The  R1 version misses on:

    The R4 version misses on:

    Unless the presence of a French or Spanish audio track and subtitles is an issue, I would stick with the R4 version for the superior PAL transfer.

Summary

    Two Brothers is a beautiful film with a message that should appeal to all ages.

    The video and audio transfers are excellent.

    The selection of extras is outstanding and they are highly relevant to the film. It's nice to get the same extras as the R1 version, without the need for a "special edition".

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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