K-PAX (Rental) (2001)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 115:20
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (75:15) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Iain Softley
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Kevin Spacey
Jeff Bridges
Alfre Woodard
Mary McCormack
Peter Gerety
Saul Williams
David Patrick Kelly
Celia Weston
Ajay Naidu
Conchata Ferrell
Mary Mara
John Toles-Bey
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI Rental Music Edward Shearmur


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, keep watching...

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

Plot Synopsis

    Are you in a hurry? If so, I'll save you some time. K-PAX is a magnificent transfer of a superb movie. You will want it, and you will need to watch it more than once.

    Okay, I'm over-simplifying. I should warn you that this movie is not for everyone. I would hesitate to show it to anyone under, perhaps, sixteen years of age (maybe older), because there are some moments that could well disturb children or teenagers. They are absolutely essential to the story - it would fail utterly without them. So don't plan on showing this at a ten-year-old's birthday party. Oh, and don't plan to watch it and forget about it, either - you'll find yourself thinking back over it, and arguing with your friends about it.

    K-PAX is a brilliantly paced movie - it seems to move in slow-motion, but it's never boring. The director has squeezed meaning out of even the simplest of things, like motes of dust floating in a beam of sunlight.

    What is it about? It is about someone who calls himself Prot (Kevin Spacey). He has no hesitation in explaining that he is not from this planet, but rather from a planet called K-PAX, in orbit around a binary star 1,000 light years away, in the constellation Lyra. Naturally enough, this person is brought to the Manhattan Institute of Psychiatry, to psychiatrist Dr Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges). Prot's obviously a complete whacko, right? Maybe. Maybe not. The more Powell looks into this, the more disturbed he becomes. He cannot dismiss this case the way his colleagues do, as a simple psychotic. And he cannot dismiss the effect Prot is having on the other patients...

    We already know that Kevin Spacey is a brilliant actor. But I've never felt the same about Jeff Bridges. This film gives him the chance to shine, and he seizes it - if anything, this is his film more than it is Spacey's. That's impressive. And don't dismiss the supporting cast, either. The other patients, like Howie (David Patrick Kelly) and Ernie (Saul Williams), are important parts of the story. There are no weak performances here.

    You'll remember this movie. But as much as you can, learn as little about this film before you see it - you will enjoy it more.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is one of the best video transfers I've ever seen. Simply superb. Limpidly clear. Beautiful to watch.

    The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is sharp where the picture is focused. The majority of the film has been shot with severely restricted depth of field - this is quite deliberate, forcing our attention to specific elements of the frame, and placing the rest softly out of focus. Shadow detail is rather good, even with the fairly dim lighting of many scenes. There is no low level noise.

    Colour is crucial to this film. Some scenes feature brilliantly vivid colours (the banana is an excellent example). Many scenes feature deliberately muted colours. It seems quite clear that none of the colour is accidental - what we're seeing has been planned.

    There is one film artefact - it is at 86:03, and it's a dark mark a little about the centre of frame - it's not distracting. I saw no other film artefacts, no aliasing (at all), no moiré. There is the faintest touch of background shimmer, but you'll probably not see it. This is a very clean transfer.

    There are subtitles and captions in English. The cover claims there are subtitles in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, and Icelandic - I hope you don't want those, because they don't exist. I watched the English captions - they are quite accurate, well-timed, and easy to read. The only anomaly I noticed was where the speech said "perturbations", but the subtitle reads "protabations". But that word is in quotes, possibly implying that it is a joke.

    The disc is single sided, RSDL. The layer change is at 75:15, in a cut from one shot to another. It is invisible on some players, and barely perceptible on others.

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

Audio

    There is one soundtrack, in English Dolby Digital 5.1. Can you guess what I listened to? No problem - this is an excellent soundtrack.

    Dialogue is very clear, readily understood, even those lines delivered quietly. No audio sync troubles in this transfer.

    The score comes from Edward Shearmur - it is very good, blending with the on-screen action, enhancing the impact. Not every scene is scored, but that's appropriate. The music uses some interesting and unusual instruments in a few places. It stretches into the bass register, but doesn't use the LFE channel - I hope your mains can handle it (or you have bass management enabled).

    The surrounds start work during the music and sound under the opening credits, and never really let up. Quite a bit of the surround sound is at a low level, but it's there.

    There is very little in the LFE channel - a few moments during the film use the subwoofer, particularly some thunder. You'll get more use out of the sub if your front speakers are set to "small", so that bass management routes the lowest octaves into the sub. My fronts can handle the bass, so my sub got little to do. No problem - it wasn't required.

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

Extras

    There are no extras - this is a rental disc, and it shows.

Menu

    The menu is static and silent.

R4 vs R1

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

    Decision time, of sorts. Right now I'm comparing a rental R4 with no extras with a Collector's Edition R1 filled with extras. Sound simple? Hey, wait until you hear the comparison!

    The Region 4 disc is missing:

    The Region 1 disc is missing:

    Sounds like a knockout victory to R1? Nope. The R1 transfer shows limited shadow detail, falling off into black a bit too quickly; it displays a bit too much contrast, too. The R1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is more frontal (less surround activity). I have to recommend the R4 if you want the best transfer for the movie. I hope, very much, that they use this transfer when they release the R4 retail disc. It would be nice to get all the extras, but on a second disc (please), so we still have this superb transfer. Fingers crossed! If that doesn't happen, and this disc gets released as the retail one, I'd strongly recommend you buy the R4 anyway - it's simply superb.

Summary

    A fabulous movie given an excellent transfer to DVD.

    The video quality is reference level.

    The audio quality is reference level.

    There are no extras on this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, September 07, 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

Other Reviews
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Kevin S
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)

Comments (Add)
K-Pax is brilliant - Geoff (read my bio)
I hope R4 gets all the extras too - gRANT (Read my bio, mmm... uncompressed surround audio)
Protabations = Prota = Prot - Jeff Smith