The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

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Released 8-Mar-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Booklet
Theatrical Trailer
Audio Commentary
Music Video-Windmills Of Your Mind-Sting
Featurette-Making Of-The Making of a Masterpiece
Menu Animation & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 108:38
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (70:38) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John McTiernan
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Pierce Brosnan
Rene Russo
Denis Leary
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Bill Conti


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (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
English for the Hearing Impaired
German
German for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Polish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Michael D summed up this movie's plot so well that I decided (with Michael's permission) to base my Plot Synopsis around his. I have made plenty of changes to the content, so even though the basic flow is the same, the comments reflect my own feelings and impressions of the plot.

    The Thomas Crown Affair is a remake of the 1968 movie of the same name, however, it has had many updates and changes made to the story to bring into the 90s.

    Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan) is a wealthy financier with little in his life that challenges him. He wants for nothing, and so for kicks he decides to plan the perfect robbery from a New York Art Museum. A rather stylish theft sequence follows, during which a Monet worth $100 million dollars is stolen from the museum.

    As the insurance underwriters have no desire to pay out for the theft of this painting, they send in Catherine Banning (Rene Russo) to locate and retrieve the painting. The FBI investigator in charge of the investigation, Michael McCann (Denis Leary), allows Catherine complete access to the investigation and they work together in order to solve the crime. Actually, Michael continually plays catch up with Catherine, as it is Catherine that predominantly figures out the who, how and why of this crime.

    An attraction develops between Thomas and Catherine, and the remainder of the movie consists of a three-way cat-and-mouse game between Thomas, Catherine and the FBI, all very stylishly executed on-screen, set to a wonderful soundtrack. Rene Russo just sizzles in her role, as does Pierce Brosnan.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is extremely clear and sharp at all times, which unfortunately does lead to frequent but minor aliasing, but more on that later. Shadow detail is excellent. Many scenes take place in low light conditions, and yet there is a veritable feast of detail contained in the shadows which adds real depth to the picture.

    No instances of low-level noise, edge bleeding or edge enhancement were seen.

    The colour can only be described as superb, and the skin tones are perfect - rather important for this movie, since we do get to see quite a bit of bare skin, both male and female!

    There are a couple of scenes where some pixel crawl or pixel shake was noticed, but it is minor. The most noticeable occurrence of this was on a shot of a tall stone building. There is a slight grain in many of the brighter scenes. If you pause the movie on any reasonably bright scene, you should be able to see the grain that I'm talking about.

    Some very minor MPEG artefacts can be seen during the zooming down onto the city from above (near the start of the movie). The writing is also affected, but again this is very minor.

    There are quite a few small film artefacts present, in fact far too many for a film of this age. Thankfully, most are small and unobtrusive, with only a small number being larger and more noticeable, such as at 87:26. There are a couple of scenes that are really plagued by a large number of small black film artefacts. Some examples of this can be found at 62:42, 63:07 and 64:13 - 64:18.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between Chapters 25 and 26, at 70:38 on a scene change. There is a reasonably short pause, but due to the audio stopping it makes the layer change somewhat noticeable. Overall, however, it is not too disruptive to the flow of the movie, so I must say that it is a pretty good layer change.

Non-Progressive Scan DVD Player

    Aliasing is reasonably frequent but is always minor, except in one instance where a severe case of aliasing/moiré occurs at 50:43 - 50:59. I won't tell you where on the screen it occurs just in case you don't notice it, because once you've seen it you always see it. Some of the more noticeable examples of aliasing can be found at 42:47, 43:16, 60:06 (on the paper), 64:41, 64:53, 65:35 and 80:28.

Progressive Scan DVD Player

    Aliasing…what aliasing? It basically gets wiped out, with only two scenes still exhibiting some trivial aliasing. The severe case of aliasing/moire at 50:43 - 50:59 is one of these, but you have to be looking right at the affected area to even notice it. The progressive scan output could not fix the couple of instances of pixel crawl or the grain problems, but this is no great surprise.

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

Audio

    There are three audio tracks plus a director's commentary on this DVD. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. The other audio tracks are a German Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and the director's commentary.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand, and no audio sync problems were noticed with this transfer.

    Bill Conti’s musical score is wonderful to say the least. It sets the mood of the movie, it's catchy and it is captivating.

    The surround channels were mostly used for music with a few ambient sounds and special effects. Overall, I felt it was very good, since this is a dialogue and music driven movie.

    The subwoofer gets plenty of use supporting the music.

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

Extras

    There are a good selection of extras.

Menu

    The main menu is 16x9 enhanced, and features animation and movie footage as well as Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound. While the DVD waits for you to enter your menu selections the camera pans around a room with painted pictures on the walls. These pictures briefly morph into actual movie footage and then back into a still painting again. This is very nicely done, and this is one of the most imaginative and interesting menus I have ever seen, all set to the movie's theme music. On the down side, the aliasing in the menus is quite bad when being played on a non-progressive scan player.

    The menu selections are; Play, Scene Selections (36), Language Options and Special Features.

Audio Commentary - John McTiernan  (Director)

    This is by no means one of the greatest commentaries I have ever heard, but there are some interesting facts presented. John McTiernan speaks infrequently and he even managed to spoil one scene for me. He did this by specifically drawing attention to how the scene was filmed. I am speaking of the first scene where we meet the FBI detectives at the museum after the robbery, with all the floodlights. I would suggest you fast forward till you get to the panning shot of Rene Russo's leg, so hopefully you will avoid the annoyance I now suffer when watching this movie.

Featurette-Making Of (23:54 minutes)

    The Thomas Crown Affair - The Making Of The Masterpiece is a reasonably interesting 24 minute featurette which compares and contrasts the two versions of this movie and discusses some of the choices made. It is presented in a combination of 1.78:1 and 1.33:1 non-16x9 enhanced aspect ratios with a 192Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack.

Promotional Music Video - Windmills Of Your Mind – Sting (4:02 minutes)

    This is a great song, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and non-16x9 enhanced with a 192Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack. The video quality can only be described as acceptable, as it suffers from excessive pixelization and grain.

Theatrical Trailer (2:09 minutes)

    This is of excellent quality, and is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack.

Booklet

    This is the typical booklet that comes with MGM DVDs, containing production notes.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version misses out on;     The Region 1 version misses out on;     Unless you want the additional Pan & Scan version and/or the original 1968, Thomas Crown Affair theatrical trailer, the R4 version is an easy choice.

Summary

    The picture quality is terrific, but it is tarnished by the frequency of the minor aliasing and the occasional grainy scene.

    The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) has a great audio transfer that is faithful to the original film's soundtrack.

    There are a good selection of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Paul Williams (read Paul's biography)
Saturday, July 22, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-725, using Component output
DisplaySony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SV919THX
SpeakersFronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)

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