The Royal Tenenbaums (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 Drama Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 105:13
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (52:20) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Wes Anderson

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Gene Hackman
Anjelica Huston
Ben Stiller
Gwyneth Paltrow
Luke Wilson
Owen Wilson
Bill Murray
Danny Glover
Kumar Pallana
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Rental Music Mark Mothersbaugh

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French 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
French Titling
Smoking Yes, extensive
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This is a strange movie. It appears, superficially, to be a fairly simple story of a dysfunctional family, told very straight. It's not. It's actually rather funny, in a wry and at times vicious way. Not all of the humour comes off, but there's enough that it is well worth watching. and you are likely to need to watch it again if you want to catch all of the subtleties.

    It helps that this film has been cast with an array of rather good actors (well, I don't have a high opinion of Ben Stiller, but this role doesn't stretch his limited abilities). Gene Hackman clearly relishes the role of Royal Tenebaum, the father of the family, once a rich and powerful lawyer, now destitute. Anjelica Huston looks older, a little sadder, but still impressive as Etheline Tenebaum (I kept thinking that should be spelled "ethylene"), the mother of the family, who raised the children after throwing their father out of the house. The children, Chas (Ben Stiller), Richie (Luke Wilson), and Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow, in an interesting performance) are all former geniuses who have lost their way. There are good supporting performances from Danny Glover, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Kumar Pallana (playing an Indian servant called Pagoda!?).

    The start and end of the story are narrated for us by Alec Baldwin. He relates the early successes of each child in a dry, matter-of-fact voice — you have to listen closely to these sequences, as they are quite funny. Then we discover that we've jumped forward 22 years, and we're introduced to their less-successful older selves.

    I don't want to say any more about the plot — better you let it unfold in front of you. Just allow me to warn you that this is not a riotous slapstick comedy; it is more subtle than that. Don't expect to be rolling on the floor laughing.

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Transfer Quality


    The film is virtually brand-new, and this transfer looks like it.

    The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. That's the original aspect ratio.

    The picture is quite sharp and clear. Shadow detail is excellent. There's no significant grain. There's no low level noise.

    Colour is quite good, although there are some slight differences in colour between inside and outside shots — while this can be attributed to different qualities of the light, other films manage to avoid these discrepancies. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    I didn't notice any film artefacts, and that's to be hoped for in a transfer this recent.

    There weren't many film-to-video artefacts, with most being very slight aliasing (barely visible) in a couple of scenes.

    There are subtitles in seven languages, including English in the form of normal subtitles and Hearing Impaired subtitles. I only watched the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles. They are presented in an attractive font, are easy to read, and are rather accurate, but they frequently shimmer — this shimmer was by far the worst artefact on the entire transfer.

    The disc is single sided, and RSDL-formatted; the layer change is at 52:20, at a natural pause in a scene that gets drawn out by the layer change. A bit noticeable, but not disruptive to the flow of the movie.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are two soundtracks; English and French. The English soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1, although I'm completely mystified as to why — it makes no real use of anything other than the front three speakers.

    The dialogue is quite clear and comprehensible. There are no obvious audio sync glitches.

    The score is by Mark Mothersbaugh (who played three instruments, too); it is quirky, but not obtrusive. There are a lot of songs in the soundtrack as well — it opens with Hey Jude, and uses Dylan, The Rolling Stones and The Clash, as well as a number of artists I've not heard of.

    Neither surrounds nor subwoofer get anything noticeable to do with this soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras at all on this rental disc.


    All the menus are subtly animated (mice!), with music. The main menu offers only Scene Selection (12 scenes), Setup (audio and subtitles), and Play.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 version of this film comes from the Criterion Collection. It is a two disc Special Edition (it's in one of those old-fashioned fat two-disc cases, with a cardboard slip cover). And I'm pitting it against an extra-free rental disc? This ain't gonna be pretty!

    The R4 is missing:

    The R1 is missing:

    Let's hope that the retail version has a few extras....


    An unusual, wry, comedy/drama on a nice clean DVD (so clean it has no extras).

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is good for the film, but one wonders about the choice of 5.1 sound.

    There are no extras on this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, December 08, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS905V, 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 NONE
Comments (Add)
One of the worst movies EVER - Neil (I dont want a fucking bio)
Re: One of the worst movies EVER - Khai L (My biodegradable bio) REPLY POSTED
One of the worst movies ever? - Anonymous
Some of the worst reader comments ever - damnfine
Reply to Tony R - Khai L (My biodegradable bio)
On ya Chockey! - Rodda (This... is my *bioom* stick!) REPLY POSTED
RE One of the worst movies ever? - Anonymous
I'm incresingly of the opinion that interesting, original movies should come with a health warning. - damnfine
RE I'm incresingly of the opinion that interesting, original movies should come with a health... - Anonymous
RE:On ya Chockey! - Rod Cork (This... is my *bioom* stick!) - Anonymous
Entitled to your opinions, but... - klhere
Great movie - Johnny Wadd (i am bionic)