101 Dalmatians (Live Action) (1996)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Childrens None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 98:49
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stephen Herek
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Glenn Close
Jeff Daniels
Joely Richardson
Joan Plowright
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $31.95 Music Michael Kamen


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Not content with generating superdollars from their wonderful catalogue of animated classics, Walt Disney Pictures decided to remake one of their best into a live action film. The result? Actually, pretty d*** good family entertainment, and thankfully not a complete rip off of the animated classic.

    The broad plot is very similar to the animated classic, but for those few people who may never have seen the animated version, here we go (albeit somewhat updated from that version). Roger Dearly (Jeff Daniel) is a struggling designer of video games, and the proud owner of one Dalmatian named Pongo. Anita Campbell-Green (Joely Richardson) is a fashion designer with the House of De Vil, and the proud owner of one Dalmatian named Perdita. After one slightly disappointing design pitch, Roger is about to cycle off through the park with Pongo when Perdita happens by with her owner in tow. Pongo is immediately smitten and heads off in pursuit of Perdita, through which Anita and Roger meet, fall in love and get married (in the space of seven minutes of film time - an all time record?). Meantime, Anita's boss has fallen in love with a design done by Anita that requires the fur of a significant number of Dalmatian puppies to make. Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close) wants the 15 Dearly puppies from the Pongo/Perdita relationship and will stop at nothing to get them - along with 84 others. She gets hold of them, but the slightly incompetent help she has manages to lose them. Of course, since this is a Disney family film, everything works out happily ever after.

    The live action update works well, and Glenn Close is very good as one of Disney's most famous villains. Whilst there is a tendency to compare the film with the animated classic, it really should be avoided as they are two totally different films from two different eras. If you look at this in its own right, it is actually a good piece of family entertainment, well put together by Stephen Herek.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Well, this is a transfer that will take a little getting used to, although in general it is a good transfer.

    Presented in a Pan & Scan format, this is not 16x9 enhanced. It is a great pity that we have not been blessed with a widescreen release of the film.

    The transfer is reasonably sharp and has a very good definition to it, although the transfer has an almost cartoonish style to it at times. Shadow detail is very good indeed, although the style of the transfer does help this.

    The colours are something of a mixed bag, because of the way the film was made. In general, the colours are very vibrant. However, the colours of London town are done in something a a bluey tint, and are quite muted - which actually suits London in winter quite well. Park colours and others are very vibrant, making a quite vivid contrast that some may have difficulty adjusting to.

   There was a hint of MPEG artefacts during panned shots, where there seemed to be a lack of focus. The overall transfer improved after the first twenty or so minutes in this regard. There did not seem to be any video artefacts. Film artefacts were quite prevalent during the film, but were not overly distracting to the film.

Audio

   The audio transfer is quite good given that this has not been given a 5.1 remaster.

   There are four audio tracks on the DVD, all being Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtracks: the default English, French, Italian and Portuguese. I listened to the English default.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with the transfer at all..

    The musical score by Michael Kamen was very good, and contributes well to the film. It is very reminiscent of a Danny Elfman score, but has enough individuality to be distinctive.

    The surround channels were reasonably well balanced, although there was pretty well nothing at all out of the rear channels - which is where the lack of a full 5.1 soundtrack is missed the most.

    The subwoofer was not used at all during the film.

Extras

    Does anyone have a new way of saying nothing at all?

Menu

    Yes, it has one but doubt that many will use it.

R4 vs R1

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

    Region 4 misses out on:     The lack of a widescreen version, even if not 16x9 enhanced, is a powerful argument in favour of Region 1.

Summary

    101 Dalmatians is a good, entertaining family film that is worth a least a rental by all. Overall though, it does make you miss the animated version on DVD, and certainly the lack of a widescreen version of the film.

    The overall video quality is good.

    The overall audio quality is reasonably good.

    Again we have no extras whatsoever.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Saturday, September 18, 1999
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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