An American Werewolf in Paris (1997)

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Released 15-May-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer-2
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 98:30 (Case: 102)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Anthony Waller
Studio
Distributor

Magna Home Entertainment
Starring Tom Everett Scott
Julie Delpy
Vince Vieluf
Phil Buckman
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Wilbert Hirsch


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

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

Plot Synopsis

    When a sequel to a movie is produced many years after the original (in this case 16 years), it is usually a fairly good indication that it is not really going to be up to the level of the original. If the original was well-liked - in this case, given that the original was An American Werewolf In London, a film that had built up a considerable reputation over those 16 years, generating a staunch following - the expectations for the sequel can be very high (this was largely the problem with the sequel to another John Landis movie - The Blues Brothers). Additionally, when a sequel is that far delayed, it is unlikely to be able to reform the original creative talent of the first movie - in this case the only creative link with the first movie is the title, and a "based on characters created by" credit to John Landis.

    The fact of the matter is that this story is completely removed from An American Werewolf In London, even in the small detail that the first movie dealt with only a single werewolf - it was not really about the attacks of werewolves, but more the effect becoming a werewolf would have on a person - while this movie deals with a wolf pack. The story follows Andy McDermott (Tom Everett Scott) who is travelling through Europe on a daredevil tour with two friends, each performing stunts in the cities they travel to, trying to top the others. When they arrive in Paris, Andy has come up with a stunt to beat all stunts - to bungee jump from the Eiffel Tower. Just as Andy is preparing to jump off, a pretty young woman chooses that moment to attempt suicide by throwing herself off the tower. Andy saves her life by jumping after and catching her (well almost...). After finding her suicide note (ahh...why would a woman who lives alone without a family write a suicide note?), they manage to track her down, and Andy talks her - Serafine (Julie Delpy) - into a date. After things go awry on the date, Andy and friends return to Serafine's house only to meet Claude (Pierre Cosso) who invites them to a party at the Club de la Lune. It is there that the fun really begins.

    My personal opinion is that this movie is a good entry into the "it's so bad it's good" category of schlock horror films. It is quite a ride to be enjoyed, and has all the elements needed for a bad horror movie - stupid decisions by the characters, unintentionally funny moments, gratuitous nudity, really bad special effects, and some decent one-liners. The werewolf effects deserve a special mention - they are mostly digital shots this time around (London created some of the most ground-breaking make up effects), and they are, to put it nicely, utterly pathetic. They have the look and feel of the CGI effects used in episodes of Hercules or Xena, and are really only good for a laugh.

    Those looking for anything like An American Werewolf In London, or anyone looking for a "serious" horror film, should stay away - but as schlock horror goes, this is not too bad.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a rather poor transfer. The major positive in its favour is that while it is quite bad, it is consistently so, with the result that the problems are less noticeable than they may otherwise have been.

    Presented in the slightly cropped aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (the theatrical ratio was 1.85:1), this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is quite soft, and this is not helped by the abundance of grain. Most scenes contain at least moderate amounts of grain, and many fall in to the severe category. There are a few scenes, such as in the hospital from 13:41 to 15:13, where the screen fairly crawls with grain, all but blurring the actors' faces. The result of this problem is that what sharpness there could have been in the transfer is totally destroyed. For the brief times when the grain subsides, the sharpness is all right, without being anything spectacular. The shadow detail is, surprisingly, quite good, and the night-time scenes (of which there are quite a few, this being a werewolf movie and all) look much better than the day-time scenes as the grain becomes less obvious. In fact, the cleanest sequence of the movie is the during the opening credits, as the camera pans down over some gothic architecture at night in the pouring rain. There may well be some low-level noise present, or there may not - the grain levels make it impossible to tell.

    Colours are passable, although a number of the brighter sequences appear to be somewhat washed out. The darker scenes, especially those involving the catacombs, look quite good, but in general it appears as if the brightness was raised overall for the movie - causing the aforementioned problems with the brighter scenes.

    There are a few compression artefacts during the transfer, mostly associated with the high grain levels. The combination of high grain, and rapid strobe lighting causes some rather obvious macro-blocking at 31:54 and again at 34:37. The overall softness of the image, and the high grain levels keep aliasing to a minimum, although despite that there are still a few obvious instances, such as at 37:25-27 on the shelf of the 'fridge, and on the gun at 53:46. Film artefacts are a constant affliction. While there a none that could be considered large, the ones that do occur are certainly not tiny - being quite easily visible at normal running pace - and appear frequently enough to be somewhat annoying.

    There are no subtitles present on this disc.

    This is a single layer disc, and as such is not affected by a layer change.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is considerably better than the video, although the stereo-only nature is quite disappointing.

    There is only a single audio track present on this disc, being the original English dialogue presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. The mixing of score, effects, and dialogue was never a problem and all were in good proportion to each other. This is an especially good effort as there is no dedicated centre channel to anchor the dialogue.

    The score is attributed to Wilbert Hersch, and is a gothic-themed effort that really beats you over the head with its "you're watching a horror movie"-style dark chanting and heavy orchestral nature. It is not at all subtle and is quite obvious, doing a rather poor job. There are also a number of contemporary songs used in the production, and these work a lot better than the score, which is always a worry.

    The stereo separation is very good, giving a good sense of depth from only two channels. There have been a number of 5.1 tracks that were less dynamic and engaging that this stereo effort. While surround use would have added to the atmosphere, the expansiveness of this stereo track is sufficient to almost make up for it.

    The subwoofer received a small amount of redirected bass. Certainly it is not enough to blow you out of your chair, but what is there provides a nice backbone to the audio.

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

Extras

    The extras present here are not exactly plentiful, but still a little is better than nothing.

Menu

    Animated, themed around the movie, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, the menus are 16x9 enhanced.

Trailer 1 (1:55)

    Presented in 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced), and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this trailer is of rather low quality. It also does not do much to sell the movie.

Trailer 2 (1:40)

    Also presented in 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced), and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this trailer does a far more effective job of selling the film. Its quality is no better however.

Special FX Crew (4:57)

    This section presents two interviews, with John Grower (VFX Supervisor) and James Straus (Animation Director) respectively. They are quite interesting, as both men seem to be under the impression that they created believable visual effects, and that their work is on par with ILM's work on Jurassic Park - how wrong they are. The interviews are presented in 1.33:1, are not 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. These two interviews are the last two chapters of a longer interview reel that includes all the clips in the Interviews section as well (in fact, selecting "play all" from the Interviews section will play these two interviews).

Interviews (20:46 - including the 4:57 from above)

    This section presents six interviews (or eight if "play all" is selected), with the director, the two lead actors, and some of the supporting cast. They are presented in 1.33:1, are not 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

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 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     This is a tough call, but as the Region 4 stereo soundtrack is a very good track that can deliver a decent sense of surround, the 16x9 enhancement of the local version may give it the edge. A number of reviews of the Region 1 however suggested that the video may be slightly better than what we have on offer here, and if that is the case, it may be the way to go.

Summary

    An American Werewolf In Paris is a film that is nothing like its so-called predecessor - while An American Werewolf In London is a masterpiece of its genre, this film is simply another schlock horror. Despite that, it is still engaging enough to satisfy those who enjoy films that fall easily into the "so bad it's good" category.

    The video quality is very poor. It suffers from extremely high levels of grain, and contains numerous film artefacts.

    The audio quality is actually very good for a straight stereo track, and delivers a good aural experience.

    The extras are quite limited, consisting of two trailers and a number of interviews, where the interviewees all seem to think they have been involved in the making of a modern masterpiece. Most amusing are the interviews with the visual effects house, who seem keen to build their company based around the effects in this film - pity they are some of the most laughably bad CG effects to ever grace the screen.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Thursday, June 13, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll 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)

Other Reviews
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DVD Net - Terry K
The DVD Bits - Damien M
DVDownUnder - Matt G

Comments (Add)
I loved this movie - amazing special effects -
in response "I loved this movie - amazing special effects - Jose Bay " - trevor
This is actually a "workprint" - chaossphere