Alfie: Special Collector's Edition (2004)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Charles Shyer (Writer/Director) & Padraic McKinley ( Editor)
Audio Commentary-Charles Shyer (Writer/Director) & Elaine Pope (Writer/Prod.)
Featurette-Round Table Of Alfie
Featurette-The World Of Alfie
Featurette-The Women Of Alfie
Featurette-Deconstruction Of A Scene
Featurette-Gedde Watanabe Dance Footage, With Optional Commentary
Featurette-Let The Music In
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Commentary
|Year Of Production||2004|
|Running Time||101:16 (Case: 106)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (40:36)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Charles Shyer|
Paramount Home Entertainment
David A. Stewart
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Alfie is the pointless remake of a 1960s classic. Designed to be a vehicle for its star, Jude Law, 40 years later, this Alfie lacks the impact and timeliness of the original film.
While the 1966 original, starring Michael Caine, was a statement about London in the swinging 60s, the sexual revolution, and the Women's Lib movement, this weak remake relocates a cockney (and much softer) Alfie (Jude Law) to a post 9/11 Manhattan, NY. It appears merely to be a male Sex and the City that tells us that women are from Venus, and Alfie's from Mars. So what?
This modern-day hedonistic Alfie works as a NYC limo driver, and carouses until the early hours of the morning, enjoying the company of various and beautiful "birds". Alfie also spends a large part of the film talking directly to the camera, sharing with us his philosophy on life, and some tips for pursuing guilt-free sexual conquests.
"My priorities are wine, women and ... well, that's about it."
Jude Law, armed with his cheeky smile, metrosexual swagger, and very chic wardrobe, is great as Alfie. In many ways, this movie is a Star looking for a Script. The performances by the women in the film, who are presented as Alfie's victims - even in 2005 - are well realised by Jane Krakowski, Marissa Tomei, Nia Long and Sienna Miller. Susan Sarandon steps into Shelley Winters' shoes as the older, wealthy, and wiser woman, who Alfies Alfie.
Yawn . . .
Overall, the transfer is quite good, as one would expect of a recent film.
The widescreen transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The sharpness, black level, and shadow detail are all good. For example, consider the detail in the scene in the dark bar at 19:37.
The colour is excellent, and well saturated. The skin tones are accurate.
There are no problems with MPEG artefacts, but unfortunately, film-to-video artefacts appear in the form of aliasing, such as the shimmer on Alfie's Vesper's grille at 14:06 or the overhead cables at 26:14.
Tiny film artefacts appear infrequently throughout. At times, there appears to be some slight edge enhancement, but I never found it distracting.
Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Greek, English, Hebrew, Croatian, Icelandic, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovenian, Serbian, Finnish, Swedish, English for the Hearing Impaired, English Audio Commentary, and English Audio Commentary 2 subtitles are provided, and the English subtitles are accurate.
This is a single-sided, dual-layer disc, with the layer change placed at 40:36. It is a little disruptive, as it is placed in the middle of a scene of dialogue.
There are a few audio options: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).
The dialogue quality and audio sync are generally excellent on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. There are a few moments of ADR that occur without a character speaking, but these are very easily missed. An example is when Alfie is on his Vesper and says "I lost the signal for a moment". Interestingly, in the commentary, the Director explained that at test screenings, some of the audience were confused at certain points, and so little phrases were added here and there. In the preceding example, some of the audience didn't realise that Alfie was speaking on a mobile phone, so the line was added in post-production. It is exceptionally well done, and not noticeable at all.
The one outstanding feature of the film is the bluesy and heartfelt soundtrack, resulting from a musical collaboration between the legendary Mick Jagger and former Eurhythmics singer/song-writer, Dave Stewart. In addition, Joss Stone provides a wonderful blues version of the Bacharach-David theme song over the closing credits.
As a dialogue-based comedy/drama, I wasn't expecting much in the way of surround presence or LFE activity; And to be honest, the film could quite happily work with a Dolby Digital stereo surround-encoded audio track. Anyway, as expected, the surround sound mix is front-heavy, but the rear speakers are used at times to help carry the score and provide ambience, such as the music at 9:58 or the rain at 19:18. This maintains a nice soundfield while keeping the viewer firmly focussed on the screen.
The subwoofer is also utilised very subtly, and very rarely, such as the thunder at 20:05 and 62:35.
|Surround Channel Use|
For a relatively small film, I was surprised that the DVD comes loaded with plenty of extras. Unless stated otherwise, all extras are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo surround-encoded audio.
Animated with audio
Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), Charles Shyer (Writer/Director) & Padraic McKinley ( Editor) provide a chatty, screen-specific commentary, focussing on elements of the story, difficulties of the production based on budgetary and time constraints, and the symbolism of many of the movie's images.
Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), Charles Shyer (Writer/Director) & Elaine Pope (Writer/Prod.) provide a screen-specific commentary, focussing more on the characters of the film, and how this story differs from the original.
Charles Shyer (Writer/Director) hosts a discussion on the film, with Padraic McKinley ( Editor), Ashley Rowe (DOP), and Sophie Beechly (Designer).
With plenty of behind-the-scenes footage, key cast and crew go to great lengths to justify and promote their remake.
This provides a direct comparison of the female characters between the original film and the remake. As 40 years have passed, this was the area that had the most updating between films.
Padraic McKinley ( Editor) walks us through how the opening scene, set in Manhattan, was done, with their very limited time and budgetary constraints.
A 30 second joke that runs for over two minutes. Here one of the actors dances with his movie-prop crutch.
A look at Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart writing and recording together in Abbey Road studios.
10 deleted scenes, with/out commentary by Charles Shyer (Writer/Director).
A series of stills relating to:
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, non-16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo surround-encoded audio.
Alfie has been released on DVD in Region 1.
The Region 4 DVD misses out on:
The Region 1 DVD misses out on:
It's pretty even, but I would favour the local release for its superior PAL image.
If you want an entertaining film about a single, predatory male discovering the emptiness of his meaningless sexual exploits, rent About a Boy instead.
The video quality is very good, but for the aliasing.
The audio quality is very good albeit quite front-heavy.
The extras are plentiful, and genuine.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|