Death at a Funeral: Special Edition (2007)

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Released 8-Apr-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary-by director Frank Oz
Audio Commentary-by writer Dean Craig, and actors Alan Tudyk and Andy Nyman
Outtakes-bloopers
Trailer-Dan in Real Life
Trailer-Starter for 10
Trailer-Eagle vs Shark
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 86:49
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (50:07) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Frank Oz
Studio
Distributor

Icon Entertainment
Starring Matthew MacFadyen
Keeley Hawes
Andy Nyman
Ewen Bremner
Daisy Donovan
Alan Tudyk
Jane Asher
Kris Marshall
Rupert Graves
Peter Vaughan
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Murray Gold


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
English dts 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Only an English film could make a sombre funeral service into one of the funniest films of recent times!  Death at a Funeral is 'teddibly' English, complete with mostly English actors, and a lovely English country setting, and is directed by none other than Yoda...or at least his voice. Frank Oz (who has previously directed Stepford Wives and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) has provided us with a film that doesn't fail to entertain during every one of its 86 minutes. The story is essentially all the events that occur involving various guests at the funeral whilst the priest is desperately trying to commence the service and get the funeral under way. I really can't say much more without revealing too much of the 'plot', if you pardon the pun.

    There's a great cast, primarily made up of Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice, Spooks) playing Daniel whose father is the subject of the funeral. The other main characters include Daniel's wife Jane, played by Macfadyen's real-life wife Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes, Spooks), and Daniel's brother Robert who's returned from the US for the funeral. These 3 main characters are fairly 'straight laced' throughout, which act as wonderful anchoring points when all the other cast and situations are going wild. These three are joined by a fine set of other characters who play significant roles such as the classic Simon who is inadvertently drugged, and a cantankerous elderly man in a wheelchair, and perhaps most of all, a vertically challenged character who is out for a piece of the action! 

    Whilst much of the humour in the film is based on characters finding themselves in awkward situations, one of the absolutely funniest sequences involves a vertically-challenged man, and an elderly man in search of a toilet!  Quite literally, some classic toilet humour!

    I felt the film did take a little while to 'build up', but once it was rolling the laughs just keep on coming. The few minutes just before the very ending are surprisingly sombre and it was interesting to hear Frank Oz's comments (in the commentary track) about why he made it so.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in the ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Not quite the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1, but very close, and obviously done so it fits perfectly on 16:9 displays.

    The sharpness is fairly good throughout, though not the razor-sharp image I've seen on some other recent releases.

    Black level and shadow detail are fine.

    The colour is a little muted, especially in the many indoor scenes, although this produces very realistic skin tones.

    There were no visible MPEG artefacts nor any film-to-video artefacts.

    English subtitles were available and these were accurate, presented in a clear white font and placed on the side of the screen nearest the character speaking the words.

    This is a dual-layer disk and the layer change point is at 50:07 and is well executed, resulting in minimal interruption at the end of a scene.

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

Audio

    There are 3 soundtracks on this disk. Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0. There are also 2 audio commentary tracks.

    Surprisingly, I felt the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was far 'richer' sounding than the DTS which sounded a little 'thin' and lacking in bass depth.

    Dialogue quality was clear at all times with no distortion. Audio was never out of sync.

    The music, by Murray Gold (Dr Who, The 10th Man) was pleasant and played by a small-ensemble style, somehow evocative of the English countryside. I felt it suited the style of film just nicely, keeping a certain 'weight' to proceedings.

    The sound is well spread across the front speakers with really only music being piped into the rear surrounds. The subwoofer chips in in support of some low-frequency music and effects.

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

Extras

    Menu Audio

    The DVD itself kicks off with an anti-piracy trailer followed by three movie trailers. The main menu itself shows a still promo shot with music from the film playing in the background.

    Audio Commentary

   The Director, Frank Oz, provides a fairly scene-specific commentary in which talks fairly continuously and covers just about all aspects of filmmaking. He gives much useful background information on actors, characters, story, editing and even the location.

    Audio Commentary

    A more fun oriented commentary track featuring the writer Dean Craig and two of the actors, Alan Tudyk and Andy Nyman. This commentary is more relaxed and almost unstructured, compared to the one by Oz. It feels just like listening to 3 friends enjoying watching a film!

    Bloopers

    A collection of bloopers during filming. Interesting seeing numerous retakes of a scene done in quick succession. Presented 1.78:1 letterboxed. Runtime 7:47

    Trailers

    Three trailers for some fairly low-key films. These appear before the main menu, but are able to be skipped using the remote. They can also be selected from the Extras menu. All three are presented in 1.78:1 ratio and 16x9 enhanced.

    "Dan in Real Life"  (runtime 2:25)

    "Starter for 10" (runtime 2:02)

    "Eagle vs Shark" (runtime 2:07)

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 version appears to be available in 'fullscreen' as well as widescreen versions. And also includes Spanish subtitles.

    The R2 version appears identical to this R4 version.

    Unless you need the Spanish subtitles, or want the fullscreen version, I'd recommend the R4 version.

Summary

    Given that virtually the entire film takes place in and around one house, it would have been hard to sustain the story for much longer than its eventual 86 minute run time. This also helps explain why the whole film only took about 7 weeks to film.

    A very funny film indeed, and one which bears repeated viewing by those who don't mind a touch of black humour in their films. The cast obviously had a great time making this, and it shows in their performances as well as during the audio commentary track.

    The picture quality is good, though I felt it was just a little soft, but that might have been in the original material itself.

    The audio quality was also good and it included a DTS soundtrack, which on this occasion to me sounded inferior to the Dolby Digital one. I was surprised that it was included, as DTS soundtracks usually seem to be on 'big-budget' blockbuster releases.

    The extras were great, with 2 enjoyable commentary tracks, and plenty of bloopers from the making of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Satish Rajah (don't read my bio!)
Monday, May 05, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplaySony KV-XA34M31 80cm. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2801
SpeakersMain: Mission 753; Centre: Mission m7c2; rear: Mission 77DS; Sub: JBL PB10

Other Reviews
Michael D's Region 4 DVD Info Page - A.N.U (read my bio)

Comments (Add)
This film is truly hilarious! -