Dear John (2010)

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Released 29-Jun-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romance Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes-Alternate Ending
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Stars & Director
Featurette-Transforming Charleston
Featurette-Military in Movie Featurette
Featurette-Mr Tyree, The Mule and Benny Dietz
Featurette-The Story of Braeden Reed
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 103:17
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (78:26) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Lasse Hallström
Studio
Distributor
Relativity Media
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Channing Tatum
Amanda Seyfried
Richard Jenkins
Henry Thomas
D.J. Cotrona
Cullen Moss
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $34.95 Music Deborah Lurie


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     It seems that Nicholas Sparks is becoming the Philip K Dick of the romance genre; every other film in the genre seems to be based on his work, only the results in his case seem to be far more consistently mediocre. Six of his novels have landed on the silver screen in the last decade or so and the only critical success has been sleeper hit The Notebook; even then it is an arguable claim (it sits around the 50% mark on review aggregator www.rottentomatoes.com). No prizes for guessing why they keep making them, despite any critical disapproval; they are typically inexpensive to produce and they consistently make a bucket load of money. Dear John is no exception.

     Dear John tells the story of a soldier (Channing Tatum), named John (duh!), who comes home on leave to visit his coin collecting, obsessive-compulsive father (Richard Jenkins). John falls in love with a mature, caring college girl Savannah (Amanda Seyfried), living a ways down the beach during her spring break. A rocky romance ensues between these two kids from the opposite ends of the tracks, particularly when Savannah suggests John's old man might have autism shortly before he heads back out to active duty. Whilst on duty, John and Savannah continue their relationship through letters, although the romance takes a number of turns, particularly after John extends his enlistment following the September 11 attacks.

     The first two thirds of the film is actually quite decent, although as the story steadily paints itself into a corner it begins to take silly, frustrating and downright unlikeable turns. On the upside, once acclaimed now all but forgotten director Lasse Hallstrom does a good, albeit a little workmanlike, job of presenting the material. The acting is generally quite good.

     Fans of the actors involved could do a lot worse than giving this one a hire, though certainly rent this one before thinking about buying it. History will probably only ever remember Dear John as the movie that knocked Avatar from the top of the US box office, rather than deserving of anything in its own right.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The video looks decent, though not particularly spectacular. The image is reasonably sharp, with fairly mild grain visible throughout. There is a reasonable level of shadow detail in the image, although the base colour level looks a little bright and very slightly washed out. There is no sign of compression artefacts or film artefacts in the video.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available. Based on the portion sampled they appear to be accurate and well timed.

     This is a RSDL disc with a layer break occurring mid scene at 78:26.

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

Audio

    The film features English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) and 2.0 (224Kbps) audio tracks and an English descriptive audio for the visually impaired Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kbps). The audio is decent without being anything to write home about. The dialogue is placed at a good level in the mix and is reasonably clear and easy to discern. Save for a few obvious ADR points, the audio is well synchronised to the video.

     The film features a fitting but forgettable string-heavy orchestral score composed by Deborah Lurie.

     The surrounds are put to reasonable use for environmental effects. The subwoofer is all but forgotten, adding a little bottom end to the score and mostly background rumble to the war-set scenes.

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

Extras

A conversation with Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried and Lasse Hallstrom (5:12)

     The director and two stars fawn over each other for five minutes. Lip service for fans and nothing more.

Transforming Charleston Featurette (14:16)

     By far the most interesting extra on the disc, this one has a look at how the filmmaker's managed to recreate all kinds of environments (including Afghan deserts and East Coast beaches) in and around small-town South Carolina. All done, of course, to meet the requirements of tax-offsets!

Military in Movie Featurette (10:37)

     The film used a military advisor. Being in the armed forces is important and we should all either serve ourselves or respect the awesomeness of those who do - that seems to be the message at any rate!

Mr Tyree, The Mule and Benny Dietz Featurette (4:41)

     A featurette that looks into the facts around the coin collecting sub-plot in the film.

The Story of Braeden Reed Featurette (23:34)

     An awfully long featurette that congratulates a real-life autistic kid who plays an autistic kid in the movie for existing, and lavishes warm fuzzies over the filmmakers for having the bravery to cast the child in question. Ugh.

Alternate Ending (3:33)

     A bittersweet alternate ending, which is apparently true to the book rather than the Hollywood-ending tacked onto the final 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 4 edition misses out on a 2 and a half minute long collection of outtakes that are featured on the Region 1 edition, although few will find this a compelling reason to import rather than buy locally.

Summary

     A frustrating romantic drama about a soldier's long distance romance with a do-gooding college lass.

     The video and audio are decent without being anything of particular note. The extras are reasonable in number and duration, but in many cases are little more than padding.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
DisplayOptoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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