Neverwas (2005)

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Released 18-Jul-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 98:08
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:52) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Joshua Michael Stern
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Aaron Eckhart
Ian McKellen
William Hurt
Bill Bellamy
Michael Moriarty
Ken Roberts
Case ?
RPI ? Music Philip Glass


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Zachary Riley (Aaron Eckhart) is a highly qualified psychiatrist who has left his prestigious University post to work for the Millwood House psychiatric centre, a mental hospital in a small leafy town in the middle of nowhere. It is also the mental hospital that treated his father, T.L. Pierson (Nick Nolte), 25 years earlier, prior to his suicide. Zachary is still coming to grips with his father's death and is determined to give the patients at Millwood better care than his father received.

    T.L. Pierson was an acclaimed children's author, known for his story Neverwas. Neverwas featured a small child, who was based on Zachary, saving the kingdom of Neverwas from an evil wizard. At Millwood, Zachary's first patient is a man named Gabriel Finch (Ian McKellen) who seems to have a mysterious relationship with Neverwas. Over the course of his sessions with Gabriel, Zachary comes to understand his own relationship with his father and gain some closure to his feelings about his father.

    Zachary also meets, and falls in love with, a childhood friend (Brittany Murphy) who is still obsessed with Neverwas.

    All the ingredients are there for a great drama. The cast is first rate. The basic plot concept is emotional and features a touch of mysticism. Unfortunately, a patchy script and clunky direction leave the film in a bit of a mess.

    The most frustrating thing about the film is the characters. The lead characters are incredibly two dimensional and rather shallow. Enough so that it is hard to like the characters you are supposed to like and consequently it is difficult to feel any emotion for what is going on. The supporting cast is littered with brilliant actors but none are given anything to work with. Leaving the likes of Jessica Lange, William Hurt, Alan Cumming and Vera Farmiga with nothing to work with, and so few scenes to try, is a cinematic crime.

    Under more competent film-making hands Neverwas could have been a memorable experience. The raw materials are there, but the finished product deserves little more than a lunch-time "movie of the week" exhibition.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The quality of the video in this transfer rivals the plot of the film for being the most disappointing aspect of the disc.

    The film is presented in a 16x9 enhanced 1.78:1 aspect ratio, which is significantly cropped from the film's original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Worse still, the opening credits tease the viewer by switching to the correct aspect ratio briefly.

    The image is quite soft throughout the whole film and the transfer does not appear to be well-focussed. There is a moderate level of film grain visible throughout. Black levels and shadow detail are fairly mediocre.

    The most disruptive aspect of the transfer is the colour. Ever frame looks washed out, although the degree varies between scenes. Bright areas have particularly harsh contrast and occasionally suffer a soft colour bleed. There is not a great deal of contrast in the dark areas, but there is enough to identify what is there. Blacks look overly grey in several scenes.

    The video does not suffer from pixelation or noticeable aliasing. Distinct posterization is an issue in a number of scenes, particularly scenes with a particularly bright source of light (eg. the many scenes featuring harsh sunlight coming through horizontal blinds). Only a handful of small film artefacts are visible during the film.

    English subtitles are available. Based on the short portion I sampled, they seem accurate to the spoken word and reasonably well timed.

    This is an RSDL disc and has a noticeable layer change mid scene at 57:52, although it does not disrupt dialogue.

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

Audio

    The audio fares reasonably well and has a better than expected sound design for a conventional drama.

    There is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kbps) soundtrack available.

    The dialogue is quite clear and easy to understand. Overdubbing is noticeable in a number of scenes, but not particularly distracting. The dialogue otherwise appears to be in reasonable sync to the video.

    The score is a rather forgettable, but appropriate, orchestral score that manages to help the film along, but tends to get a little over-the-top during "dramatic" moments.

    There is little surround activity, but it is adequate for the type of movie this is. The subwoofer is used very rarely, but successfully achieves a rather dramatic effect when it is used.

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

Extras

    The disc is devoid of any worthwhile extras.

Trailers

    The disc opens with three forced trailers that cannot be entirely skipped. The trailers are for Music and Lyrics, How to Eat Fried Worms and Arthur and the Invisibles.

Theatrical Trailer

    A fairly routine theatrical trailer for the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 edition of the film purports to be in the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio and features both French and Spanish subtitles. The Region 1 edition appears to be similarly lacking to the Region 4 release in terms of extras. Based on this, the Region 1 edition is the version of choice due to its correct technical presentation.

Summary

    A well-conceived but poorly executed drama set in a mental institute. It features an excellent cast phoning in adequate performances, where they are given the chance. Neverwas would probably be better titled "Nevermind".

    The video transfer is rather poor. The audio is reasonably good. The only extra is a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using S-Video output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
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Aspect ratio - wolfgirv REPLY POSTED