Audio Commentary-Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, et al
Featurette-Script To Screen Workshop-Creating Scene 71 (The Bed Scene)
Trailer-Soundtrack Advertising Spot
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (80:21)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Barry Levinson|
Twentieth Century Fox
Billy Bob Thornton
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan Encoded||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, they only drink Pepsi.|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, the final scenes play through most of the credits.|
Bandits is the story of Joe Blake (Bruce Willis) and Terry Collins (Billy Bob Thornton), who together become famous as the "sleepover bandits". They are bank robbers whose M.O. is to kidnap the bank manager the night before and go with them to the bank in the morning to take the money before the bank opens, and when there are none of those pesky customers to get in the way. All is going well until a woman named Kate Wheeler (Cate Blanchett) runs (literally) into Terry. The major problem with this movie is that its focus is too widely spread. It looks at how the introduction of Kate (who becomes their full-time hostage) affects the relationship of Joe and Terry. It looks at the heists that Joe and Terry pull. It looks at the way a group of criminals behave when they become famous fugitives.
The saving grace for Bandits is that it is, above all, good fun. The major cast members obviously get along well together (as is confirmed by the fact that Bruce Willis invited Billy Bob Thornton onto the project, who in turn invited Cate Blanchett along), and the circumstances the characters find themselves in are always amusing on some level. Bruce Willis moves through this movie with his typical "I know more than I'm letting on" smile, while Billy Bob Thornton is always amusingly overanalysing situations. The supporting cast are always very good - especially early on when the hostages really do not know what to make of the criminals who are treating them more civilly than most fast-food employees would. An interesting side note is that the daughters of the first hostage family - the Millers - are played by Bruce Willis's daughters, and the belch issued by the older girl is apparently all her own work.
Bandits is actually based (very) loosely on two real-life criminals from the early-to-mid seventies who robbed banks in the same way that the two characters in the movie do. In fact, the movie was initially supposed to be about them, not based on them, but the decision was made to only use their story as a premise (the real life bandits first names are Joe and Terry, but their surnames have been changed for the movie). A number of situations in the movie are actually taken from the story of the real sleepover bandits, but their eventual fate is not at all connected.
Overall, this is a good, fun, movie that just tries a bit too hard to cover too many bases. It is still worth seeing however, if only to see the star power of Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett playing off each other.
Presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.
This is easily the sharpest transfer I have yet seen on DVD. The detail is fine enough, and the edges sharp enough, to easily slice through old leather. There is almost no grain present, even during scenes that are normally prone to obvious grain, such as shots of open sky. The shadow detail is almost as impressive as the sharpness, and is shown off to good effect during the many darker scenes in the movie. In fact, in terms of sharpness and shadow detail, this movie looks better than now on DVD than it ever did during its theatrical run.
The colours are perfect - and this film makes considerable use of colour to portray both characters and mood. The blue lighting of the bar late in the film is easily shown, as are the forest greens, and the clean brightness of the Alamo bank.
The major downfall for this transfer comes in terms of artefacts. A small positive is that the transfer contains no compression artefacts at all, but that is certainly made up for by both film and film-to-video artefacts. In terms of film-to-video artefacts, there is no telecine wobble, but the amount of aliasing present in this transfer is, quite frankly, worrying. Almost every shot contains at least some light aliasing, with many shots containing extremely obvious aliasing, such as on the bars of the swing from 19:28 to 19:40. With so much aliasing present in the transfer, some of the instances occur in areas that don't normally cause aliasing, such as on Cate Blanchett's finger at 47:23, Bruce Willis' shoulder from 60:15 to 60:20, and on the air vents at the back of a computer monitor at 87:49. Probably the worst single instance of aliasing however occurs from 95:33 to 95:37 on the neon lights in front of the bar. Film artefacts are also a big problem, as the entire length of the transfer is flecked with them. It would not be possible to take a ten minute section of the transfer and find it completely free of film artefacts and usually there would be many in any such section. The vast majority of the artefacts are white, and stand out very obviously in the darker portions of the transfer. The worst film artefact present in this transfer is at 2:27, and is three large white blobs in the lower right corner of the image. The fact that the aliasing and the film artefacts are the only problems with the transfer is what makes it so disappointing.
The subtitles are well paced, easy to read, and generally reflect the spoken dialogue. They do drop the occasional word, however the edits do not generally change the intended effect of the dialogue.
This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place during Chapter 12 at 80:21. This change is quite noticeable as it occurs mid scene, and the audio dropout makes it even more obvious. As this movie contains numerous fades to black, it could very easily have been placed better - yet another disappointment.
There are two audio tracks present on the disc, being the original English dialogue presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 Kbps), and an audio commentary track presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (at 192 Kbps).
Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. There are never any problems with the mixing levels of the effects, or the score. The only real problem with the soundtrack is a low-frequency popping sound that occurs over the end sequence between 106:00 and 107:00. There are also a few more pops during the credits between 116:48 and 116:50. While these sounds are not overly distracting, they never should have been allowed onto the soundtrack in the first place.
Audio sync is not a problem at all with this transfer.
The score for Bandits consists of cinematic score music by Christopher Young and a collection of contemporary songs. The score does its job well and does not draw attention to itself. The contemporary songs are quite effective in this movie, as the bigger budget (Bandits is an $80 million US film) meant that any song necessary could be bought, and so they fit the scenes very well.
The surround channels get a decent, although not spectacular, workout during this transfer. The more action-oriented elements of the movie make good use of the surround channels for both enveloping sound and for directional sound effects. When the movie is less action-oriented - being the vast majority of the film - the surrounds are used to carry score, and occasionally for ambient effects. The use of the surrounds for ambient effects is not very consistent, as some scenes contain good ambient surround, but others do not. For what is primarily a dialogue-driven movie, however, the surround use is still very good.
The subwoofer gets a good workout here from both the score and the sound effects. As Bandits is part road movie, there are plenty of engine rumbles for the sub to help out with, and the more action-oriented aspects of the film (explosions and the like) are well backed up by the subwoofer.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is very disappointing, as it could have been perfect if not for excessive aliasing, and abundant film artefacts.
The audio quality is very good, although the occasional popping sounds in the track should never have made the DVD.
The extras are interesting, and contain more than the usual marketing hype. We even get a commentary track that is not present on the Region 1 version of this disc.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|