Hope Floats (1998)
|Year Of Production||1998|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Forest Whitaker|
Twentieth Century Fox
Harry Connick, Jr.
Mona Lee Fultz
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Many of you reading this probably think that DVD reviewing is a pretty cushy gig. You get to watch all the latest DVDs and all you have to do is throw a few words on a screen. Well, let me tell you, reviewing has its hidden dangers. One of the most dangerous aspects is your wife seeing what's on the available DVDs list. If this happens she is likely to indicate a movie that's "really good" and that "you must get - for me, please?". And so it was that, in the interests of marital harmony, I found myself sitting down to watch Hope Floats.
I will be honest with you from the outset, dear reader; Hope Floats is not really the kind of movie I prefer to watch. If I stumble across movies of this genre on TV, I tend to quickly channel walk and, if compelled to watch them, I am often chastised for holding them up to ridicule. However, in fairness to those two or three people who may actually read my meandering verbiage, I set out to watch Hope Floats with an open mind and without prejudice.
Birdee Pruitt (Sandra Bullock) finds her world collapses when she appears on a national TV Jerry Springer style show believing she is to get a free make-over, when in fact she is to be told that her best friend and her husband are having an affair. Devastated by the affair she takes her daughter and returns to live with her mother in the small Texas town where she grew up.
Birdee finds that moving back to her old life is difficult. She left as one of the "in" crowd, a Prom Queen and married to the football quarterback, destined to have a successful life, but has returned humiliated as the whole town saw her marriage break up on TV. Many in the town see this as an opportunity to delight in her fall as she had been unkind to them at school. Some just pity her and only one, Justin Matisse (Harry Connick, Jr), a former would-be boyfriend who was not "cool" enough for her during high school, seems to just accept her and be genuinely interested in her.
Of course the movie progresses formulaically and predictably. You almost know from the opening titles how the film will end, it is just a matter of how you will get there. And getting there is not fast. The movie moves at a stately pace, never rushing you, just plodding surely down its well-worn plot track. It gives very few surprises and is designed to provide that feel-good experience by the time the credits roll.
Performances are good, but not Academy Award material, with Sandra Bullock providing a solid characterisation of Birdee Priutt. Harry Connick, Jr proves that, as an actor, he makes a fine musician. He never looks comfortable in his role and, while he is supposed to be the perfect man for Birdee, you can't help, like Birdee, wishing that the annoying twerp would just leave. It's not a bad performance, just a little wooden and awkward.
The standout performance of the film belongs to juvenile actor Mae Whitman, who plays Birdee's daughter Bernice. What a great performance from a child. Her character is neither precocious nor saccharine, but believable and likeable.
This is one of those DVDs that is difficult to write much about. The transfer is 1.78:1, which is close to its original 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. It is not the sort of transfer that makes you go 'wow", but then it does nothing wrong.
There are no major artefacts to comment on, perhaps just a little low level noise on occasion, but that is being picky. Shadow detail and colour are good, without being excellent, and there was no MPEG blocking, as you would expect on such a lightly utilised disc.
In short a nice transfer that is easy to watch.
Like the video, the audio is good without being exceptional. Dolby Digital 5.1 is provided and is well used for a movie of this type.
Being a dialogue-based film, there is little for the surround sound to do. Most of the sound is very much centre front with a bit of left and right separation from time to time. Rear speaker use is limited to some ambient noise and the sub-woofer never makes itself stand out, limited to providing depth to the music.
The music is one area that does bear some comment. Normally used for atmosphere and background, the score generally sits nicely in the background. On a couple of occasions, such as at the dance, the music is required to be in the audio foreground. On these occasions the volume is raised to a level that is not in keeping with the overall audio level. It was almost as if, during the mixing stage, someone said "Hey, we've got Dolby Digital here, we should use it." I found it slightly annoying, and my wife complained about it.
Aside from this, there is nothing to complain about and nothing to praise.
|Surround Channel Use|
Extras? What extras? A static, single page menu with no audio is provided and - that's it!
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 release is bulging with extras compared to Region 4. It gets a theatrical trailer! That's it. The other differences are in audio, where Region 1 only gets Spanish and French in Dolby Digital 2.0 in addition to the Dolby Digital 5.1 English track, and subtitles, where Region 1 only gets English and Spanish.
So, Region 4 is loaded with audio and subtitle options compared to Region 1, but misses out on the trailer. Lets say it's a tie.
Hope Floats is not my kind of movie, but it is one of the better examples of its genre. It plays the middle ground well, taking no risks but safely following the formula. Those that love movies that are all about self-discovery, relationships and families will probably enjoy this light drama - my wife certainly rates it highly. The rest of us will have to dust off our old copies of Rambo to build our testosterone levels back up.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-1200Y, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TH-42PV500A 42" HD Plasma. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Richter Wizard fronts, Richter Lynx centre, Richter Hydra rears, Velodyne CT-100 sub-woofer|