Overall | 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) | Green Card (1990)

Essential Gerard Depardieu (1990)

Essential Gerard Depardieu (1990)

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Released 3-Apr-2007

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Overall Package

Gerard Depardieu, the immensely popular two time César winner and Oscar nominated French actor, producer and director is one of the best actors of his generation. Depardieu will be 60 years old in 2008 and his career is still thriving and illustrious; Depardieu’s latest bitter-sweet performance in Quand j'étais chanteur (2006) has been widely celebrated, as was his engaging directorial effort with Frédéric Auburtin in Paris, je t'aime (2006).

Depardieu is a continuously relevant actor as he is unfazed by international film productions and foreign languages and his natural acting ability transcends genre and the continuing art form of filmmaking. Depardieu has was worked with a number of renowned and diverse directors such as Jacques Deray, José Giovanni, Bernardo Bertolucci, Barbet Schroeder, François Truffaut, Francis Veber, Alain Corneau, Daniel Vigne, Bruno Nuytten, Bertrand Blier, Alain Resnais, Jean Becker, Norman Jewison, Claude Zidi, Pitof, Matt Dillon, Jean-Paul Rappeneau and Olivier Dahan. In his stellar career Depardieu remains an audience favorite with his on screen charisma and his honest and heartfelt performances.

Shock DVD has collected two of Depardieu’s well-known English language productions for the Essential Gerard Depardieu collection, Green Card, the romantic comedy directed by Peter Weir and 1492: Conquest of Paradise an adventure drama directed by Ridley Scott. Both these titles are re-issues of the previous Region 4 releases. The selection of films reinforce the importance and significance of Depardieu as one of cinema’s most enduring icons. Depardieu received the Golden Lion Honorary Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1997 for career achievement.

1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) and Green Card (1990) were originally released on R4 DVD in 2003 and 2004 respectively, and both these titles remain superior in comparison to R1 and R2 releases, due to additional extras and 16x9 enhanced transfers.

The reissue of these titles housed together at a discounted price, also makes the local region appealing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Monday, May 14, 2007
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) | Green Card (1990)

1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

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Released 14-Feb-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Bagdad Cafe; Cinema Paradiso
Trailer-My Beautiful Laundrette; Red Rock West
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 149:00 (Case: 156)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (112:06) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Ridley Scott
Studio
Distributor
Odyssey Distributors
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Sigourney Weaver
Gerard Depardieu
Michael Wincott
Armand Assante
Frank Langella
Loren Dean
Angela Molina
Fernando Rey
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Vangelis


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I must confess that I did not see this film in the cinema when it was originally released in 1992 (to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the famous journey). I don't know why, since I admire the films of Ridley Scott and the music of Vangelis, and I've certainly enjoyed other films starring Gérard Depardieu.

    Maybe it's because I could never warm to the subject matter. I was afraid it was going to be sickeningly sentimental or dumbed down for American audiences. I guess I should just learn to trust Ridley Scott, for watching bits of it on TV had since convinced me that it was finally time to settle down and watch it in full on our "big screen."

    This film chronicles the life of one Christopher Columbus - an Italian who emigrated to Spain, from his days in a monastery to him as an old, broken, man. In between, of course, he made history by being the first European to cross the Atlantic to reach the New World.

    Christopher (Gérard Depardieu) was a navigator who was convinced he would become rich and famous as the first man to discover a "third" route to Asia - the way via the Southern tip of Africa was too long, and the way by land was blocked by Turkey. His method was to sail west and cross the Atlantic and he seemed to think the journey would take a mere seven weeks.

    Of course nobody believed him, least of all the scholars at the University of Salamanca. However, some influential people, including another navigator and a banker, managed to get him an audience with Isabel, the Queen of Spain (Sigourney Weaver). Somehow, he managed to persuade the Queen to let him sail with three ships: the Pinta, the Nina and the Santa Maria. The rest, as they say, is history.

    The islands that he discovered off the coast of South America were populated by a group of islanders whose simple lives gave Christopher and his men the impression that they had stumbled upon an earthly paradise (hence the title of the film). Christopher must have been an avid Star Trek fan, because he handled First Contact with such finesse that I'm sure Captain Picard would have beamed with pride. However, they did not find the gold and riches that Christopher was hoping for.

    Christopher returned back to Spain where he was given a hero's welcome. He was given a much larger budget to colonize the islands in the name of Spain. However, his greed, arrogance and nepotism soon incurred many enemies amongst the nobility.

    When he returned to the islands, everything started to go wrong. The men he left behind from the first journey had all been killed by the natives, and attempts to build a city were met with one disaster after another.

    Of course, if you remember your history lessons, you will know what to expect but this is still a grand epic worth telling, so I won't spoil it any further.

    Curiously, this title has never been released in Region 1, but it has been released in Region 2. The Region 4 release is by independent distributor Umbrella Entertainment and The AV Channel.

    No, don't run away! The quality of the transfer (video and audio) is excellent, as we shall soon find out!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Unlike the UK, where the film was released on DVD with a non 16x9 enhanced transfer, we get an excellent widescreen transfer, 16x9 enhanced, in the intended aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The film was originally shot on 35mm film stock using anamorphic lenses.

    The transfer seems to be identical to the German R2 DVD release. In fact, the film title during the opening titles is in German: "1492: Die Eroberung Des Paradieses."

    This is a very good transfer, sourced from a very clean film print with minimal film marks. Detail and colour are excellent, and grain is minimal (except during dark and murky scenes in the last half an hour of the film).

    Surprisingly, for such a long film (and wait till you count the length of the extras), there are minimal compression artefacts apart from some posterization and very minor pixelization.

    Moderate edge enhancement is present in the transfer. I also noticed a lot of shimmering in the closing titles.

    There are no subtitle tracks on this single sided dual layered (RSDL) disc. The layer change occurs at 112:06 in the middle of a scene and is rather disruptive.

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

Audio

    There is only one audio track: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). In comparison, the German R2 release includes four audio tracks corresponding to 5.1 and 2.0 versions in English and German.

    I was really impressed with the quality of this audio track, which I would consider to be reference quality even by today's standards, and exceptional for a film that is over ten years old. It sounds as if the soundtrack has been remixed from the original stems into a full discrete surround mix.

    The sound is highly immersive and enveloping throughout, with lots of activity spread across all channels. Indeed, I noticed not only sound positioning and panning across front channels, but across rear channels as well as front to rear. An example of rear surround imaging and panning occurs at the beginning of the film, as I can clearly hear waves crashing on the shore behind me.

    I am not sure if the soundtrack is THX 6.1 EX surround encoded, but enabling THX Ultra 2 Cinema mode provided some activity in the surround back channels (particularly during the opening titles) without narrowing the surround soundstage at all. There is a scene in the film where you can hear a bullet being fired from the front centre to the rear slightly to the left - this was so well rendered that I flinched when I heard it and my body involuntarily tried to dodge the bullet!

    There are some extremely deep low frequencies present in the soundtrack in all channels, which were well supported by the LFE track.

    Dialogue was clear at all times and I did not notice any issues with audio synchronization.

    The original music score is by Vangelis and seems to be a mixture of angelic chants, a vaguely "world music" and primordial sound and stirring orchestral (enhanced by electronics) music.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is 16x9 enhanced. It is static but includes background audio. There is a menu introduction which is the Umbrella Entertainment logo.

Theatrical Trailer (1:41)

    This is presented in Pan & Scan and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

Interviews-Cast & Crew

    I was expecting very short interview segments, so imagine my surprise when I discovered over an hour of additional footage. These seem to be largely unedited (or loosely edited) raw interview footage shot by an (unknown) Australian television crew during the marketing campaign promoting the film's initial theatrical release. Interviews include

    All interviews are presented in full frame (1.33:1) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). Both Alain Goldman and Ridley Scott is interviewed by an unseen person whom I suspect is Margaret Pomeranz of the SBS Movie Show.

    The interview with Gérald Depardieu appears to have been captured on several cameras during a media press conference at the Park Hyatt hotel in Australia. Gérald mostly speaks in French, which is translated by an interpreter. He is also accompanied by Alain and the distribution manager for Hoyts Entertainment. There seems to be a glitch around 3:36 as we change camera angles.

    Ridley Scott appears to be interviewed at the Cannes beachside.

Trailer - Bagdad Cafe (1:42); Cinema Paradiso (1:28); My Beautiful Laundrette (1:56); Red Rock West (1:50)

    These are a set of trailers for other Umbrella Entertainment titles on DVD. They are presented in various aspect ratios and audio configurations:

R4 vs R1

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

    This title has not yet been released in Region 1, although there are rumours of a special edition forthcoming. Well, until that appears, the R4 appears to be a winner.

    In comparison to the UK Region 2 release, the Region 4 version has a 16x9 enhanced video transfer and a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. The UK version has a non 16x9 enhanced video transfer and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio. The R4 version also has a number of additional extras (the UK version only has a trailer).

    In comparison to the German Region 2 release, the Region 4 release only has one audio track, but it also has a number of extras, including interviews with cast & crew. The German version has four audio tracks (German and English Dolby Digital 5.1/2.0) and German subtitles.

Summary

    1492: Conquest of Paradise is a big-budget multi-national retelling of the life and times of Christopher Columbus and the circumstances surrounding his crossing of the Atlantic to discover the New World.

    The video transfer is excellent.

    The audio transfer is of reference quality.

    Extras include raw interview footage and trailers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RP82, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

Other Reviews
MovieHole - Clint M
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)
The DVD Bits - Damien M
impulsegamer.com - Dean Malandrini

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But that layer change.......... - wolfgirv
Layer Change - Trigger Mike (The Bio Of An Egomaniac)

Overall | 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) | Green Card (1990)

Green Card (1990)

Green Card (1990)

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Released 10-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Interviews-Cast & Crew- Peter Weir (Director) and Gerard Depardieu
Featurette-Interview With Cast And Crew
Trailer-The Cars That Ate Paris, The Plumber
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 102:32
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Weir
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Gérard Depardieu
Andie MacDowell
Bebe Neuwirth
Gregg Edelman
Robert Prosky
Jessie Keosian
Ethan Phillips
Mary Louise Wilson
Lois Smith
Conrad McLaren
Ronald Guttman
Danny Dennis
Stephen Pearlman
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Hans Zimmer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I know there are some that do not like this particular film, as they regard it as formulaic and in some places not well acted. I have to disagree with these people. Yes, the basic storyline has been covered in many forms quite a few times before: princess/upper class girl slowly falls in love with strong man that just happens to be a peasant/lower class chap. There is also usually a wimpy upper class man that is supposed to be the correct match for the girl.

    This particular version I think is done very well. Gerard Depardieu plays his part very well (no surprise, as it was written for him). Depardieu has been in some great films in the past - the highlight of his career for me is his brilliant portrayal of Cyrano de Bergerac. Matched against Andie MacDowell this is unashamedly a feel-good film, a romantic comedy with the main parts both played by good solid comedic actors.

    Georges (Gerard Depardieu) is an illegal alien in the United States. One way to gain the coveted 'green card' that will allow him to get employment in the US and make a living is to get married. Bronte (Andie MacDowell) requires a husband to be eligible for a particularly nice apartment. It would appear that the rental market is particularly tight and this particular apartment has a wonderful atrium full of plants, one of the loves of Bronte's life. This seems to be a match made if not in heaven at least in convenience. The problem arises when the immigration department suspects that this marriage may not be for love but for immigration purposes. This brings the two married strangers back together, as they must pass a marriage test, one that probes into every corner of their lives together. While they are learning everything about each other they begin to see past their first impressions and start to fall in love.

    While Bronte's character is a little shallow this is probably intentional, reflecting the lack of depth in her life. Georges has a rich and interesting history that is interesting as it is revealed. The comedy is good and arises from the situation that both characters find themselves in. It is handled well by both leads.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Overall this is not a bad transfer.

    The film is presented at its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image could be sharper and evidences some softness throughout the film. Shadow detail is good and there is little low level noise. There is a slight drabness to the transfer, both in contrast and in colour saturation.

    Colours are clear of any noise but are not particularly bright.

    There are no obvious MPEG artefacts visible in the image. There is some visible grain and the occasional white fleck but nothing major.

    Unfortunately, there are no subtitles on this disc.

    This is an RSDL disc but there is no layer change during the main feature. I assume that the movie is all on one layer and the special features on the other.

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

Audio

     There is a single English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on this disc.

    Both dialogue quality and audio sync are good.

    The music sound stage has been expanded by using the surrounds but there is little other activity present in the surround channels.

    There is little for the subwoofer to do in this film.

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

Extras

     I think there has been a small mastering error on this disc. The menu entries for the two featurettes have been reversed.

Menu

    A nice 16x9 menu with a static image surrounding a moving montage of images from the film, accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Theatrical Trailer (2:15)

    Presented at 1.33:1 they have saved a few bytes in the encoding of this trailer which, along with a questionable source master leaves us with a picture that is less than the best. There are the usual film artefacts including some quite large pieces of dust as well as encoding problems such as pixelization and blurred scene changes. The trailer itself is a fair representation of the film, and although I am not a particular fan of trailers that play clips out of order from the film it works reasonably well in this case.

Interview featurette with cast and crew (8:23)

    The usual pay TV extended trailer intercutting short interviews with footage from the film along with a voiceover talking about the film. There are some interesting sections during the interviews. Of about the same quality as the trailer though there are less film artefacts.

Interview with director and Depardieu (12:34)

    A more in-depth talk about the film. Depardieu's English is a little shaky, highlighting the fact that this was his first English language film. Better quality video than the previous features.

Umbrella Propaganda

    Consists of two film trailers. The Cars That Ate Paris (3:28) is presented letterboxed at 1.85:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. This clip is in poor condition with a lot of film artefacts. The second trailer is for The Plumber (2:20), presented at 1.33:1 and also accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. In better condition that the first clip but still showing its age.

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 of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    This gives us a clear R4 winner.

Summary

    A great film to grab when you and your partner wish to snuggle up on the couch and have a quiet evening at home.

    The video is good.

    The audio is good.

    The extras are a nice inclusion.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR800
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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