The Princess and the Warrior (Krieger und die Kaiserin, Der) (2000) (NTSC)

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Released 16-Oct-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Director
Audio Commentary-Director & Cast
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes-6
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Run Lola Run; Go
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Music Video
Web Links
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 133:11
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (87:42) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Tom Tykwer
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Franka Potente
Benno Fürmann
Joachim Król
Lars Rudolph
Melchior Beslon
Ludger Pistor
Christa Fast
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Reinhold Heil
Johnny Klimek
Tom Tykwer


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Following on from their 1998 world-wide hit Lola Rennt, or Run Lola, Run in English, the combination of German director Tom Tykwer (also 2002’s Heaven) and German actor Franka Potente (also The Bourne Identity, Storytelling, Blow, Anatomie) bring us their latest offering together; Der Krieger und die Kaiserin, or The Princess and the Warrior to you and I. Where Run Lola, Run was a frantic film, set to a pumping techno soundtrack, this one is much slower paced, which is more a good thing than a bad thing. It’s great to see Tykwer trying something a little more deep and mature – and that’s not saying anything bad about Run Lola, Run. Another great thing about both films is the fact that director Tykwer also co-composed the music for both – which is part of the reason I enjoy both films. Although the atmospheric soundtrack for Princess is slowed down to suit the pace of the film, it is no less enjoyable.

    Sissi (Potente) is a young nurse, who works at the Birkenhof asylum. Living a relatively simple life, she enjoys helping her patients in her job. One day a letter arrives from a friend who asks her for a favour - to pick up something from the bank. Whilst on her way, she is involved in an accident, and ends up unconscious beneath a truck. After waking, she is unaware of her whereabouts, and cannot move nor breathe freely. In the nick of time, a man (Bodo – played by Benno Fürmann) appears before her, and proceeds to save her life. After 53 days of recovery, Sissi sets about looking for this mysterious man, whom she has not seen since that day. With the help of her blind friend/patient from the asylum, she meets up with Bodo, who doesn’t want anything to do with her. Believing that it was fate that the two met, Sissi persists, and soon finds herself involved in a bank robbery with Bodo and his brother.

    There is some neat camera work in The Princess and the Warrior, including some complex-looking crane shots, which Tykwer alludes to being easier than they look in the commentary. He’s a very talented man, and it definitely shows in his work. The acting is great from the main cast, including a few of Sissi’s patients in the asylum. If there is any one facet to the film that was a slight let down for me, it was the running time. I feel it could have been more enjoyable had it run for only two hours. Tykwer made mention in the second commentary track how the original running time was 190 minutes. I can’t imagine sitting through that cut, which Tykwer says he preferred to the theatrical edit. Apart from that one factor, I thought it was a great film, from a great filmmaker. If you’re looking for something along the lines of Run Lola, Run, you won’t find it here. But if you’re looking for a solid drama, then give The Princess and the Warrior a spin. I must also make mention that there are a couple of gruesome scenes in the film, with one involving respiratory recovery that is particularly realistic looking.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is an NTSC transfer, complete with FBI copyright warning, encoded for use on Region 4 DVD players. It is still quite a good transfer, if a bit problematic.

    The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is quite good, but there is an obvious amount of edge enhancement used throughout, clearly visible on scenes involving dark colours on light colours and vice versa. It's not the worst case I’ve seen, but it’s still not too good. Shadow detail and black levels were spot on, as they should be for a print this young. Very slight grain was visible on a few shots, but it was never obvious without looking for it.

    The colours were good, aside from being inferior due to being NTSC. There was no bleeding, with good strong bright colours.

    There were quite a few instances of film-to-video artefacts such as aliasing and shimmering throughout, with some bad cases at 8:11, 16:32, 17:25, 30:13, 44:53, 45:20, 46:32, 47:35, 50:05, 67:32, 84:01, 102:37, 120:16, 122:20 and 126:17. Though not severe, I still found them slightly distracting. Aside from that, the print was very clean, and free from film artefacts.

    The subtitles were always easy to read, and were nicely presented in yellow.

    The layer change occurs at 87:42, and is non-obtrusive.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer for The Princess and the Warrior was quite good, if a bit lacking in the surrounds.

    We get the choice of German Dolby Digital 5.1 or German Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtracks. The 5.1 mix is the better of the two, but if 2.0 is your only option, you’ll still be satisfied.

    Dialogue is clear throughout, never becoming unintelligible. There were no problems with audio sync

    The film’s music is co-composed by Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek and director Tom Tykwer (as mentioned earlier). As I stated before, I enjoyed the score, and felt it greatly added to the overall film. It is one of the audio transfer’s strongest points, reaching into all channels at times. Some punchy bass supported the music in the action scenes, which was a nice surprise.

    Surround channel usage was subtle for the most part, coming into play on occasion. The scenes involving action gave the surrounds the most work to do, and as mentioned, they supported the music at times.

    The subwoofer had a bit more to do, and was quite strong at times. Whilst this is not the kind of soundtrack that requires constant bass at all, it still used the sub when necessary.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    Static shot, with part of the score in the background.

Audio Commentary – Director Tom Tykwer

    As expected, Tykwer is a great talker, who knows his craft very well. In this screen-specific track, he provides a good insight into his motivations and inspirations for The Princess and the Warrior, and includes a good amount of technical information. Well worth listening to, and I found his German accent easy to understand.

Audio Commentary – Director Tom Tykwer , actor Franka Potente and actor Benno Fürmann

    This is Tykwer ’s second commentary with Potente (Run Lola, Run), and this time they are joined by Fürmann . Less technical than the director’s solo track, as expected, this commentary focuses more on the actors’ points of view, and is no less interesting. All three are in the same room together, and it is again screen-specific. It goes well with the other track, and I recommend that you listen to both of them.

Featurette-Making Of – (35.39)

    Not a bad featurette, this includes video interviews with assorted members of the cast and crew, and offers a bit of insight. It’s better than most making of featurettes, and offers some video to go with the two commentaries. It has a nice piece on a stunt from the film that almost became dangerous for Franka . This featurette is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

Deleted scenes – (5)

    In an interesting move, which I’d like to see more of, you can watch all the deleted scenes in one clip running for 20:15, with an intro by Tykwer and editor Mathilde Bonnefoy. They then introduce each scene, and comment over the top - then cut back to them talking again. You can also watch the scenes by themselves, and they run for a total of 11:38. All scenes and video commentary are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, and are 16x9 enhanced (the scenes themselves are not in the greatest condition though).

Theatrical Trailers – (3)

Filmographies

    One page each for director Tom Tykwer and actor Franka Potente.

Music Video - (4.02)

    Featuring Skunk Anansie’s lead singer Skin. Presented in non-16x9 enhanced widescreen 1.85:1, with 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.

    This Region 4 NTSC DVD is identical to the Region 1 version, except for the region coding.

Summary

    The Princess and the Warrior is yet another fine foreign film from the past few years, from yet another fine filmmaker. It is also a film fans of foreign films cannot miss, but just don’t go into it expecting something similar to Run Lola, Run, because it is more drawn out and less frantic.

    The video transfer is quite good, but a bit problematic.

    The audio transfer is quite good, if a bit lacking in the surrounds.

    The extra features are also quite good, with two excellent commentary tracks, some good deleted scenes, and a decent making of featurette.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Pockett (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayTeac 82cm 16x9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
Speakers5 Sony speakers; Sherwood 12" 100w Powered Subwoofer

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)

Comments (Add)
Another distributor on the NTSC Region 4 bandwagon ?! - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)