Forces of Nature (1999)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 7-Feb-2001

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Behind-The-Scenes
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 101:34 (Case: 106)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (57:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bronwen Hughes
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Sandra Bullock
Ben Affleck
Maura Tierney
Steve Zahn
Blythe Danner
Ronny Cox
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $36.95 Music John Powell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Finnish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Ben Holmes (Ben Affleck) is at his Buck's Night two days before he is to fly to Savannah to marry Bridget (Maura Tierney). Out comes the stripper who dances her way through the crowd, which includes Ben's grandfather. Alas for this gentleman, his heart isn't quite up to the excitement and he collapses. Ben decides to delay his departure for a day to spend some more time with his grandfather and to write his wedding vows. This is the beginning of the end for Ben as from this moment on, his normally steady and well organized life gets turned upside down. Things really start to go wrong when his best man forgets the rings and has to return to New York leaving Ben, a nervous flyer, to catch the plane alone.

    As he waits for the plane to take off he meets Sarah (Sandra Bullock) a free-spirited woman who challenges his safe, conservative ways. Now fate really begins to take over, as during take off, one of the plane's engines digests a seagull with dramatic effect. The plane fails to take off and instead runs off the end of the runway and into a large billboard. Luckily no one is seriously hurt but Sarah is knocked unconscious and is carried by Ben to the terminal for treatment. She is, of course, very grateful for Ben's help and while they are talking it is revealed that she too is heading to Savannah. The incident has so shaken Ben that he will not even entertain the thought of catching another plane and instead decides to hire a car and drive. Due to the crash, no aircraft can leave the airport and so everyone has the same idea which leaves Ben and Sarah without any chance of getting a car. Sarah finds a man who has managed to get a vehicle and who is willing to take them with him to Savannah. So begins Ben's turbulent but life-changing journey to the altar.

   This film is a light-hearted romantic comedy that is solid, unchallenging viewing. This is the sort of film you watch on a lazy day when all you want to do is relax. It managed to raise a few hearty laughs from me and I didn't once check to see how much time remained.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is 16x9 enhanced and has an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. This is not quite the same as the theatrical aspect ratio, which was 1.85:1 and is the preferred option, but it is not a major problem.

    The sharpness of this transfer is good but is a little less impressive than some of the other Dreamworks discs released recently, particularly The Haunting. Nevertheless, there is a pleasing level of detail revealed throughout the film. Edge enhancement has been used and examples of this can be seen at 13:05-13:10 and 13:31-13:38.

    This is a high contrast film and while the black level is excellent the amount of shadow detail is reduced because of this. I didn't however find this annoying as the the actors never refer to anything that could not be resolved nor was there a scene in which an object in shadow was the main focus of attention.

    The colour saturation of this film is very high but this is not a problem with the transfer - rather, it is a deliberate choice on the part of the filmmakers. Skin tones are slightly variable with them having an orange look for a lot of the film. See 10:56-12:46, 13:05-13:17 and 40:23-40:36 for good examples of this. This transfer also has sections which are dull and lifeless. An example of this can be found at 8:45-9:54 which is a scene that takes part outside the airport.

    MPEG artefacts are a minor problem at times and take the form of pixelization. I've noted three examples of pixelization all of which are minor but noticeable nonetheless. See 18:14-18:27, 18:50-18:54 and 19:06-19:40. Film grain is generally fine, see 17:58-18:27 for an example, but during 19:53-19:55 the grain is very pronounced. The good news is that this example is only visible for approximately 2 seconds.

    I found  several occurrences of film-to-video artefacts but none were obvious enough to annoy me. There are two film-to-video artefacts; aliasing and moiré effects. Examples of aliasing are located at 4:26-6:08, 13:17-13:19, 26:26-26:35 and 80:42-80:46. Examples of moiré effects can be found at 30:38-31:06 and 32:52-33:04.

    Film artefacts are present throughout but are generally small and unobtrusive.

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring at 57:00. Eek! This layer change is placed right in the middle of a scene when Bridget stands up while talking with her parents.

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

Audio

    There are two audio tracks present on this disc. One is in English and the other German. Both are Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks encoded at the maximum Dolby Digital bit rate of 448 Kb/s. I listened to the main English track.

    There are no problems with this soundtrack but nothing to get excited about either.

    All dialogue is clear and easy to understand with no sign of sync problems.

    The score on this film is by John Powell, who has crafted an appropriate and sometimes quirky score which is well featured by this transfer. It always has a presence in the surrounds which helps keep you involved in the movie. A good example of this can be found at 9:49-10:55.

    The surround channels also carry ambient sounds with examples of this available at 15:53-16:27, 22:45-23:39, 34:06-34:12 and 34:14-35:10. Split channel effects are present but are subtle and infrequent. I've noted three examples for you to sample. Go to 14:17-15:26, 25:44-25:46 and 82:27-82:37.

   The subwoofer is used effectively to support the score and in a lesser role to support some of the ambient sounds such as the storm. I've noted a number of examples of its use supporting the score. These examples can be heard at 8:32-08:47, 17:25-17:33, 19:42-20:00 and 34:27-34:50.

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

Extras

    Alas there is only a mediocre collection of extras on this disc.

Featurette - Behind-The-Scenes (03:41)

    Presented in Full Frame video with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, this featurette is very short and contains nothing of interest. It is your usual promotional piece with scenes from the film cut together with short interview segments and some behind-the-scenes footage. Totally forgettable.

    The video quality of this featurette is good although some pixelization is evident.

    The audio appears to have the surround flag set although in this mode, my receiver only passed information to the centre channel. In stereo mode a fuller sound was revealed but no stereo effects were noted.

Deleted Scenes (05:38)

    This video in this section is NOT 16x9 enhanced and has an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1. The audio is  Dolby Digital 2.0.

    This section contains scenes that are essentially slight re-works of scenes that appear in the film. Four scenes are featured:

    The video quality of these scenes is pretty poor. They are of low resolution and have a digital look about them.

    The audio quality is acceptable although the fidelity of the sound is lacking and some minor hiss is evident.

Original Theatrical Trailer (02:16)

     The release trailer is 16x9 enhanced and has an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1. The audio is Dolby Digital Surround.

    The video quality is very good and is almost on par with the film itself.

   The sound quality is also good with no distortion or other problems noted.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is available in Region 1 and judging by the two reviews I read is similar in quality to our own disc.

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:      I don't feel that the missing extras are particularly special and would therefore recommend the local product. It should be of higher resolution, due to PAL and be missing the 3:2 pull down artefacts of its Region 1 sibling.

Summary

     Forces Of Nature is a pleasant romantic comedy that would fill in a lazy afternoon nicely.

    The video transfer is good although some may find the higher than normal contrast and exaggerated colours off-putting.

    The audio transfer is also good if unremarkable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Richardson (read my bio)
Friday, February 16, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayGrundig MW82-50/8. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2801
SpeakersMains and Rears: Tannoy Mercury M1. Centre: Tannoy Mercury MC. Subwoofer: Aaton SUB-120.

Other Reviews
Web Wombat - James A
The DVD Bits - Dean B
DVD Net - Amy F
Cassandra Nunn DVD Reviews - Cassandra N

Comments (Add)
Nice one but it will be better if more info is present, 3 -