Chasing Amy (1996)

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Released 8-Aug-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Menu Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 108:30 (Case: 105)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Kevin Smith
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring Ben Affleck
Joey Lauren Adams
Jason Lee
Dwight Ewell
Jason Mewes
Kevin Smith
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music David Pirner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, incessant
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Chasing Amy is a marvellous movie that is not for everyone - you have to be reasonably open-minded, and more than a little tolerant. This disc is rated MA, and it earns that rating in two ways: strong language (I'm not sure there is a scene that doesn't contain some strong language), and for scenes containing explicit sexual references.

    Cool, now that we've scared off the people this movie is not intended for, let's talk about the film. It is funny and sad, and romantic. The first time I saw it, it stuck in my mind for days. It made me so angry! Now I've seen this disc, it makes me twice as angry. The original reason it makes me angry remains (but I can't tell you without spoiling it for those who haven't seen it), and I'm even more angry with what Siren have done with it. I was really looking forward to this disc, because I was hoping there'd be a more affordable way to buy this movie (I wanted to buy copies to give to friends) - more of that later.

    Basically, I cannot tell you much about the plot without blowing it for you, so I'm going to say almost nothing, except that you must not read the blurb on the back cover - it will spoil the movie for you. Buy it, watch it, and then read the back cover. OK? You have your instructions - go do it. Oh, hang on, before you do, let me tell you why you must go buy the Region 1 version, even though it is rather more expensive.

    You may have heard of Kevin Smith; writer, director, actor. He does movies which are strange, but compelling. I reviewed Mallrats (one of his less-regarded movies) here. I enjoyed Mallrats, but Chasing Amy is a far better film. It is set in his ViewAskew universe, which looks very much like ours, except that strange people live there. I suppose it is only fair to warn you that Kevin Smith is quite addictive. Watching this film may force you to seek out all his other work, and that can be frustrating, because someone here in Region 4 seems determined to present his work in less than perfect editions. Mallrats is given to us without most of the extras that are on the R1; Clerks, and now Chasing Amy are pan-and-scan. Fortunately, you can always visit Region 1 and buy decent versions.

    Tell you what: I'm not going to tell you anything about the plot, except to say that if you think you may be offended by two people trying to top each other in telling stories about injuries they have suffered in performing oral sex upon women, then you probably better not buy this movie. If you are not open-minded about homosexuality, you definitely shouldn't buy this movie. If you are likely to blush at strong language, perhaps not. But if you can laugh at some of this, and you want something that's bitter-sweet, then I strongly recommend it. Just read the rest of the review before you decide which version to get. But don't read the back cover!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and hence is not 16x9 enhanced. This is not the original theatrical ratio. The film was made for an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    The image is soft, like bad VHS tape. The shadow detail varies from reasonable to poor - scenes filmed in lower light fall off into black far too quickly. There appears to be some low-level noise, but this may be mosquito noise.

    Colour seems fine - certainly it is perfectly reasonable by comparison with everything else wrong with this disc.

    There is no aliasing to be seen, probably because the picture is so soft. There's MPEG shimmer in the background of almost every scene, but it is not particularly distracting. There's lots of mosquito noise. The real problems here are film artefacts. I could not record every tiny fleck - all I noted down were some of the significant ones (and it nearly gave me writer's cramp):

    In addition to all of this, there are constant tiny flecks, spots, and noise. There's some flicker and moire, just to add to the mix.

    There are no subtitles.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered. Thus, there is no layer change, but as a result the transfer probably required rather more compression than the optimum.

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

Audio

    There is one soundtrack: English, Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded, at 224 kbps. In quieter moments there is quite a bit of background hiss, and a bit of crackle.

    Dialogue is mostly easy to understand, but there are a few moments that are a little unclear. Audio sync is fine.

    The David Pirner score features a lot of songs, many of them perfectly chosen for the events on screen.

    This is a straight stereo soundtrack - surrounds and subwoofer not required.

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

Extras

    There are no extras.

Menu

    The menus are static with music. There's not a lot to them - the main menu lists:

    Clearly an attempt (unsuccessful) to make it look like there's more to this disc than the movie and the menu.

R4 vs R1

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

    I don't believe I have had a comparison as extreme as this one before. The Region 1 version of Chasing Amy is a Criterion Collection disc. Criterion Collection discs are a premium range of DVDs, intended to present great films well. Their version of Chasing Amy is an excellent example.

    The Region 4 disc is missing:

    The Region 1 disc is missing:

    The image quality of the Criterion disc is much higher - it is sharp and detailed, in the correct aspect ratio, with ample shadow detail, and rather fewer film artefacts - oh, there are still some film artefacts (small ones), and mosquito noise on some backgrounds, but it's much cleaner. The 5.1 soundtrack is excellent.

    It's really easy this time around. If you want the cheapest possible version, then by all means get the Region 4 - the Criterion version has an RRP of US $39.99. Otherwise, get the Criterion version.

Summary

    This is a poor presentation on DVD of an excellent movie.

    The video quality is poor.

    The audio quality is below average.

    The extras are utterly non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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Comments (Add)
new version - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
What? - grug (there is no bio.) REPLY POSTED
Clerks/Chasing Amy boxed set - cztery
re:Clerks/Chasing Amy boxed set - cztery
Re: Clerks/Chasing Amy boxed set - cztery