The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 9-May-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Audio Commentary-Director Gabriele Muccino
Featurette-Making Of-"Making Pursuit" - behind-the-scenes featurette
Featurette-"Father and Son: On Screen and Off" featurette
Featurette-"The Man Behind the Movie"
Audio-Only Track-"I Can" performed by BeBe Winans
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 112:42 (Case: 117)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:04) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gabriele Muccino
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Will Smith
Jaden Smith
Thandie Newton
Brian Howe
James Karen
Dan Castellaneta
Kurt Fuller
Takayo Fischer
Kevin West
George Cheung
David Michael Silverman
Domenic Bove
Geoff Callan
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Andrea Guerra


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish
Portuguese
Hindi
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

   Will Smith stars in this based-on-a-true-story tale about a man stricken with poverty who despite plummeting to the depths of homelessness, claws his way back to the very pinnacle of success in business. It is the classic rags to riches tale that thankfully goes easy on the sentiment for a change.

    In his Oscar nominated role, Smith is Chris Gardner, who, in 1981, is scraping out a meagre living in San Francisco as a lowly door-to-door salesman trying to flog off rarely wanted bone density scanners to local doctors. Working on commission, Chris doesn't sell enough machines to get by and so his wife Linda (Thandie Newton), is working extra shifts at a sweatshop laundry to help the couple make ends meet. But the ends aren't anywhere near meeting and as their expenses grow, so to does their frustration with each other. It's a common response to a common problem that is still very much in evidence around the world today when Linda finally has enough and walks out. Chris is left to battle on his own, selling his scanners and caring for their son Christopher (played by Will Smith's son in real life Jayden). Things are looking bleaker when the landlord comes looking for the monthly rent.

    Chris's life soon plummets to rock bottom. Though he is selling barely any scanners, the theft of a machine cuts deep. He is then arrested for failing to pay a parking fine and the ultimate insult arrives when he is thrown out of his rented apartment and onto the street. Forced to live in homeless shelters (or in probably the most touching scene - a public toilet when the shelters are full) Chris's life can't get any worse. But Chris is an optimist - and always maintains that happiness is something that can be attained. He keeps his head up and when he spots a well-dressed exec hopping out of a shiny new, red Ferrari, Chris is inspired. He wants to know from this obviously wealthy man what he does and how he does it. When he learns all this wealth can come from stockbroking Chris applies for an internship at the Dean-Witter broking firm. Amazingly, after stunning one of the partners with a display of Rubik's cube solving, Chris is accepted for a role and while the job doesn't pay anything - it is a big foot in the door.

    Will Chris make the most of his opportunity or will he tire of the menial tasks he is ordered to do in the early days of his internship? I think you know the answer to that one. While the outcome of this uplifting tale is pretty well signposted from the outset there is little sentiment layered onto the story. Will Smith is excellent in his role as the down-on-his-luck father struggling to prove to his son he is worth something and certainly deserving of his Oscar nomination.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a terrific looking transfer. It is extremely bright, vivid, and clear. I can't ask for anything else and this one is really enjoyable to watch.

    The transfer is presented in the original theatrical aspect of 2.40:1 and it is of course 16x9 enhanced.

    The image overall is beautifully sharp and clear, with no edge enhancement present in any scene at all. Shadow detail is not stretched too much as much of this is shot in really quite bright light. Grain is not present and there is no low level noise.

    Colours are vibrant when needed, yet can be drab and depressing when required. All up there is a rich and wide palette on offer. There are no instances of colour bleed or oversaturation. Skin tones are perfectly natural.

    There are no MPEG artefacts present. The transfer is virtually free of any film-to-video artefacts and there are no film artefacts of any consequence. It's clean, it's crisp, and it's vivid.

    Several sets of subtitles are present. Sampling the English flavour produced no real problems.

    This is a dual layered disc that is RSDL formatted. The layer change occurs at 55:04.

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

Audio

    There are four audio soundtracks on this disc with three English and one Spanish (befitting the Region 4 status of the disc). The main film is served by either an English or Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks , while for those requiring assistance there is a nicely delivered Descriptive soundtrack. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track from the director rounding out the selection. Listening to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track I was struck by how vibrant and fully-textured this soundtrack is. There is stacks of directional effects and fill-in surround effects used throughout. Many of the busy streetscapes spring to life with the surrounds in constant use. A great soundtrack all up and one that will make full use of all your speakers.

    There are no dialogue problems. Dialogue is always clear and prominent. There are no audio sync issues
   
    The musical score is excellent with plenty of emotional cues used throughout.

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

Extras

Audio Commentary - Gabriele Muccino (Director)

    A feature-length commentary from the heavily Italian-accented director who focuses mostly on the technical side of the production. As a result of this its a little one-dimensional but still interesting enough.

Featurette-Making Of

    This is a pretty standard making of that runs for a healthy 17:33. It looks at the selection of Italian director Gabriele Muccino (picked by Will Smith after he saw two of Muccino's Italian films) plus a stack of other behind the scenes images. Worth a look.

Featurette - Father and Son

    A 7:29 look at the selection of Will Smith's real son Jayden Christopher Syre Smith  to play the role of Chris Gardner's son in the film.

Featurette - The Man Behind the Movie

    An interview with the real Chris Gardner. This is quite interesting as it explains the motivations of the real person the story is based on. Runs for a decent 13:00.

Featurette - Inside the Rubik's Cube

    That annoying chunk of plastic from the early 1980s plays a key role in the film and scores its own featurette here. Running for just over six minutes this is a look at the phenomenon of the 80s.

Audio Track

    Not a music video but rather an audio only track. This is the song I Can by Bebe Winans and Dave Koz.

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 disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 disc misses out on;

    Unless you have a need for an alternate language I'll call this a draw.

Summary

    The Pursuit Of Happyness is a genuinely inspirational story, with some decent acting from an often underrated Will Smith - a deserved Oscar nominee. The DVD is of uniform excellent quality.

    The video quality is excellent with no flaws.

    The audio is also superb.

    The extras are plentiful and add significantly to the overall package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Monday, September 17, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-42PX600A 42" Plasma. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE