The Majestic (2001)

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Released 12-Mar-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Movie Within The Movie: Sand Pirates Of The Sahara Complete
Theatrical Trailer
Notes-The Hollywood Blacklist
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 146:28
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (74:55) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Frank Darabont
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jim Carrey
Bob Balaban
Jeffrey DeMunn
Allen Garfield
Hal Holbrook
Laurie Holden
Martin Landau
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Mark Isham


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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 Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Majestic is the story of Peter Appleton (Jim Carey) who is a young screenwriter in Hollywood in the 1950s. His first picture Sand Pirates Of The Sahara has just been released and his second movie is about to start production. His girlfriend is Sandra Sinclair (Amanda Detmer), star of Sand Pirates. Clearly his life is happy and his career is taking off. That is, until everything falls apart after he is accused of having communist sympathies by the House Un-American Activities Committee. In response to these allegations he is blacklisted by the studio and his new picture is cancelled. When his girlfriend hears this she dumps him. Peter decides to drown his sorrows in a local bar and having had more than a few too many decides to take his car for a drive up the coast.

    Crashing his car off a bridge he ends up washed up on a nearby beach lacking any identification and with amnesia. Discovered in a somewhat worse for wear state by a local he is taken to the nearby town of Lawson to be checked over by the Doctor. On the way to see the Doctor (David Ogden Stiers) everyone that Peter meets comments on the fact that he looks strangely familiar to them. That is until he is seen by Harry Trimble (Martin Landau) who immediately identifies him as his son Luke who had been assumed killed in World War II more than nine years before. The town of Lawson lost 62 of its young people to the war and this has cast a sad shadow over the town and robbed the population of their joy so completely that even a decade later the town has not recovered. Harry persuades Luke to help him restore and reopen his movie theatre The Majestic, once the heart and soul of the town. The return of Luke gives the town a new life and before long everyone is helping in the venture.

    On the romance front we discover that Luke was engaged to Adele Stanton (Laurie Holden) and the two set about rediscovering their love. Once again as Luke/Peter's life enters a happy phase things begin to fall apart when he is located by the House Un-American Activities Committee and subpoenaed to appear before them.

In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it.

    From an acting standpoint Martin Landau really shines as the father. Jim Carey, who I have to admit is an actor I generally can't stand, actually carries his role well in a believable performance. Perhaps there's hope for him as an actor in more serious roles where he doesn't have to rely on face-pulling and slap-stick in order to try for a laugh. Laurie Holden is perfectly cast as the love interest.

    Some might consider this movie too sentimental, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed it and would rather characterise it as a heart warming story about the development of a man and the new life his appearance brings to a sad and dying town. As a story it works quite well as both a romance and a drama with equal proportions of both in the mix. All-in-all I can recommend The Majestic as enjoyable evening's entertainment.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    I'm happy to report that this is an excellent transfer.

    The aspect ratio for this 16x9 enhanced transfer is 1.78:1 which is very close, but not identical to, the movie's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    You won't have any complaints about the either the sharpness or shadow detail in this transfer as we have here a very finely detailed image. The picture was free of low level noise. A small amount of edge enhancement has been applied at various times in this transfer. While it is very far from distracting, it can be seen if you look closely.

    From a colour point of view, this is one of the best movies I've seen for a while. On the screen the image is stunning with a full palette on display and deep, rich colours which provide a visual feast for the eyes.

    Except for some very fine grain the image was free of any film artefacts. Note however, that a significant degree of film grain is evident during the clip from The Day The Earth Stood Still and again but at a reduced level during The Sand Pirates Of The Sahara. In the former case this is consistent with the age of the source material and in the latter case this is presumably intentionally introduced. Film-to-video artefacts were limited to some minor aliasing with the only really significant example at 44:36 on the town hall building. MPEG artefacts were also absent.

    Subtitles options on this disc are limited to English For The Hearing Impaired. These are displayed in readable white text, as usual at the bottom of the image, and are well timed with respect to the dialogue. Based on my 15 minute sample these appear fairly accurate but there are word substitutions and changes to some phases, none of which compromise the story.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between chapters 19 and 20, at 91:06. The change occurs on a fade to black while there is no audio. If you blink you'll miss it. Perfect!

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

Audio

    As with the video we again have an excellent audio transfer on this disc.

    A single English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is provided. The dialogue is almost always perfectly clear and always easy to understand however there is the odd mumbled word. There were no apparent problems with the audio sync.

    The music by Mark Isham in lighter moments of the story often had a happy jazz feel to it, and at other times during the sad or more serious moments it was much quieter and had a much more poignant feel. In any case, both styles fitted very well with the movie's theme.

    All of the channels are used at various times. The rear channels are mostly used for the score but also to provide suitable ambience when required. The front 3 channel are used extensively with some nice usage of the right and left channels to carry the voices of off-screen characters during the opening and closing scenes.

    Use of the subwoofer in this mainly dialogue-driven film is naturally limited. It did, however, get to perform in support of the musical score as well as during the thunderstorm.

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

Extras

    Several extras of reasonable quality are provided, including some additional scenes and information on the Hollywood Blacklist.

Menu

    The menu, which is static, is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio is also included.

Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

    The cast page lists 12 cast members but only provides a selected filmography for Jim Carey. The crew page lists 3 names but only provides filmographies for writer Michael Sloane and Producer & Director Frank Darabont. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement. No audio.

Featurette-Movie Within The Movie Sand Pirates Of The Sahara Complete

    This is the extended version of the mini-movie The Sand Pirates Of The Sahara some of which is included in The Majestic. Presented in black and white in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 but without 16x9 enhancement. The audio is Dolby Digital 1.0.

Theatrical Trailer

    Running for 2:22 this is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.

Notes-The Hollywood Blacklist

    Six pages of text gives an overview of the history of the Hollywood Blacklist. This provides some interesting background to the events depicted in the movie. The aspect ratio is 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement. There's no audio.

Additional Scenes

    A collection of 7 additional scenes which if played together run for 9:45. These are all presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 but are unfortunately not 16x9 enhanced. The video quality is very good and except for the lack of 16x9 enhancement the quality is similar to the movie. The audio is Dolby Digital 1.0. The scene titles are: Pete Arrives At Work (1:18), Pete Goes To See The Boss (1:07), Sandra Dumps Pete (1:39), Doc & Harry Discuss Luke's 's Amnesia (1:19), Luke Sees The Lobby (1:19), Adele's First Hicups (1:25) and Discussing The Repairs (1:36).

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 identically featured except for the addition of a French Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track and French subtitles on the Region 1 release. I'd pick the Region 4 disc for the superior resolution of the PAL format.

Summary

    The Majestic is an enjoyable, heart warming film about a man who re-discovers himself and a town that learns to live again.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are satisfactory but an audio commentary would have been a nice addition.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Friday, December 27, 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

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Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Angela A
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)
DVDAnswers - Pete R
region4dvd.net - Daniel R

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