Kate & Leopold (2001)

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Released 29-Jan-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Seamless Branching-Director's Cut
Featurette-On The Set
Deleted Scenes-8
Audio Commentary-James Mangold (Director)
Gallery-Photo
Featurette-Costumes
Music Video-Until-Sting
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 117:52 (Case: 113)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (72:40) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Version Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By James Mangold
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Meg Ryan
Hugh Jackman
Liev Schreiber
Breckin Meyer
Natasha Lyonne
Bradley Whitford
Philip Bosco
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $36.95 Music Rolfe Kent


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian
Italian Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

        Kate & Leopold is an improbable story, but as long as you can overlook the problems with the concept of time travel then it's not a bad romantic comedy. While I found the comedy humorous, it didn't provoke any out-loud laughing. From a romance point of view, this movie is squarely in the "chick flick" category but all the guys amongst you shouldn't have any problem as you do get to enjoy almost two hours with Meg Ryan.

    Stuart Besser (Liev Schreiber) discovers a time portal that can be used to transport people back and forwards through time between New York in 1876 and the present day. The portal is accessed by jumping off a specific point on the Brooklyn Bridge which certainly must require a huge leap of faith (sorry, couldn't resist) by anyone desperate enough to want to travel through time.

    Having travelled back in time, Stuart is spotted by Leopold, the Duke of Albany, (Hugh Jackman) using modern equipment in the form of a biro and a miniature camera. Being a bit of an inventor himself, Leopold gives chase to Stuart who avoids apprehension as he obviously wants to avoid explaining his modern gadgets. Later at a party in which Leopold is expected to choose a wife and announce his engagement (he is a penniless Duke who has been brought to New York by his uncle to marry into money) he once again spots Stuart, and after a chase through the streets of New York they both end up falling off the Brooklyn Bridge, through the portal, to land in present-day New York

    Stuart lives in an apartment which is over that of  Kate McKay (Meg Ryan), his ex-girlfriend, a senior executive at a market research company. After Stuart falls down an elevator shaft he is hospitalised, and Leopold is left to fend for himself in modern New York having only received a brief explanation of how he got there and no explanation of modern life. Naturally, circumstances (specifically the retrieval of a Palm Pilot) bring Leopold and Kate together but she doesn't believe for one minute that he is really from 1876 but rather that he is an eccentric actor who is playing the character of an English nobleman. The only question now is can a modern woman fall for a chivalrous 19th century bachelor. I doubt I'm giving anything away if I tell you she can.

    Sting's song Until was nominated for both Academy and Golden Globe Awards in the category of Best Original Song, winning the Golden Globe. Hugh Jackman was also nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy.

    I had a few problems playing this disc. Initially, I assumed that the copy I had was faulty but on obtaining a second copy I found it to exhibit the same problems in the same places. Based on the fact that I played the disc problem-free on my Pioneer DVD ROM and that other reviews of the disc don't mention any problems, I'm going to assume that the difficulties I had were DVD player dependant. Specifically, I noticed either a brief pause in both the video and audio or a complete freeze at the following places: 5:51, 7:51, 18:32, 31:58, 37:28, 38:41, 67:48, and 68:45. All of these times relate to the longer Director's Cut of the movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent with only some minor problems. The disc contains both the original Theatrical Cut as well as the slightly longer Director's Cut which includes an additional scene. I watched the Director's Cut when listening to both the soundtrack and the director's commentary.

    This transfer has been produced in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. This aspect ratio is very similar to, but not identical to, its original ratio of 1.85:1.

    The image was very sharp and exhibited good shadow detail. There was no low level noise evident but there was some edge enhancement visible at times. The edge enhancement was thankfully reasonable minor and will probably go unnoticed by most people.

    Once again we have a movie which utilises a full colour palette and I'm happy to say that it has been faithfully captured in the transfer and is accurately rendered on the screen. Note that the parts of the story dealing with the 1800s have an intentional warm amber cast. Skin tones were also natural. There was no sign of any colour bleeding.

    While no MPEG artefacts were apparent, there were some film to video artefacts in the form of mild aliasing noticed on several occasions. Except for a couple of very small marks, the transfer was free any significant film artefacts which is just as it should be for such a recent film. Some mild grain was apparent, particularly during the various scenes that were shot in low light conditions.

    I'm happy to report that based on my 10 minute sample of the English and the English For The Hearing Impaired subtitles that these were word perfect. They were also well timed in respect to the dialogue and displayed in easily read white text. Italian and Italian Audio Commentary subtitles are also present on the disc.

    This is an RSDL disc. In the Director's Cut, the layer change occurs at 72:40 between Chapters 12 and 13. It is quite well placed and very quick so it's not likely to significantly disturb your enjoyment of the movie. In the Theatrical Cut, the layer change occurs slightly earlier at 68:05 which is the same point in the movie.

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

Audio

    I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track as well as the Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track. The disc also provides an Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 track.

    The dialogue was clear at all times and there didn't appear to be any problems with the audio sync.

    In his commentary, the director explains that the music by Rolfe Kent is an intentional tip of the hat to Henry Mancini and the jazzy and playful score that he wrote for many comedies.

    For the most part, the surrounds are used only subtly to provide ambience but they do come to life more powerfully in support of the musical score.

    The subwoofer gets to do a bit of work, primarily being used to support the musical score which it does without really calling attention to itself. It is very effectively and much more noticeably used to support the sound of the horses' thundering hooves and for thunder during the storm.

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

Extras

    There is a reasonable selection of extras provided on this disc.

Menu

    The menu is displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. There's an animated sequence prior to the menu that allows selection between the Theatrical and Director's Cuts of the movie. This selection menu also has Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, however all the other menus including the Main Menu have neither sound nor animation.

Seamless Branching-Director's Cut

    This disc uses seamless branching to provide two versions of the movie. You can choose to watch either the original theatrical version or the slightly longer Director's Cut via the menu. A nice feature which should be used much more often.

Featurette-On The Set: Kate & Leopold (14:31)

    This is displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is therefore not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded. In this featurette the Director, Producer and actors talk about making the movie, the story, the characters and other typical behind the scenes topics.

Deleted Scenes-7 (Total time 9:07)

    These seven deleted scenes are nicely presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1. It was nice to see that these were all finished scenes that exhibited the same sort of audio and video quality as the main feature and were presumably cut from the movie at the last minute. There is also a Director's Commentary in which he explains where these scenes fitted into the movie and the reasons for cutting them. Italian subtitles are provided for the dialogue but not the commentary.

Audio Commentary-James Mangold (Director)

    The director and co-writer James Mangold talks about the actors, the characters, how the story was developed and the contrast between the world of the late 19th century and the modern day. The commentary is full of detail and wide ranging in its coverage. If you want to delve into the detail behind this movie and get some insight into the director's views on modern life versus that of the 19th century then this commentary is for you.

Gallery-Photo

    Approximately 80 stills from the movie, behind the scenes shots as well as costume and set design sketches. These are displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are 16x9 enhanced. There is no audio.

Featurette-Costumes (2:54)

    Donna Zakowski, the costume designer, talks about the inspiration for her designs, the challenges she faced and the look she was trying to create. This is displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. There's Italian subtitles if you need them.

Music Video-Until-Sting (3:11)

    Sting performs the movies theme song Until. This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 but is not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.

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 and Region 1 discs are identical.

Summary

    Kate & Leopold is a quaint little modern fairytale. As long as you can overlook the problems with the science related to time travel and can view this strictly as a romantic comedy then you might find it not a bad way to while away a couple of hours.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are very satisfactory.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Thursday, December 12, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

Other Reviews
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DVD Net - Amy F

Comments (Add)
R1 Version - CatonaPC© (read my bio)
Product placement - BigEv
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