Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

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Released 17-Apr-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-9:39
Featurette-11:08
Theatrical Trailer-0:30
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 112:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (98:07) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mike Newell
Studio
Distributor

Magna Home Entertainment
Starring Hugh Grant
Andie MacDowell
Kristin Scott Thomas
Simon Callow
James Fleet
Charlotte Coleman
John Hannah
David Bower
Colin Redgrave
Rowan Atkinson
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music Richard Rodney Bennett


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Most readers will have seen Four Weddings and A Funeral at least once. It seems to be one of those films that everyone has seen, perhaps on a plane, on TV, or even on VHS. One common thread about all those places - the movie will have been "trimmed" to fit onto the (soon-to-be-defunct) standard TV aspect ratio of 1.33:1. So you probably came here, expecting me to tell you that you can finally see this movie in all its widescreen glory... Sorry, no can do. This DVD is just as "reformatted" as all the others. Well, almost - the opening credits are in widescreen (not 16x9 enhanced, naturally) - just enough so we know what we're missing. Ah, well, it doesn't hurt this movie as much as it might have. 

    If you approach this movie simply as a movie (rather than as the movie that inflicted Hugh Grant on the world), it has something to offer. It is quite entertaining, and has some witty repartee (I am not referring to Hugh Grant's opening lines, which consist of one word, repeated many times). The writer has been kind to Hugh Grant, if not to his character - there is some real malice in placing a character at a table at a wedding reception with 4 ex-girlfriends. Hugh Grant gets some good lines, including his speech as best man at the first wedding.

    Some of the supporting actors are delightful - James Fleet's Tom (rich, but stupid) stands out, but John Hannah's Matthew is very good, too. Kristin Scott-Thomas is quite gorgeous, and she acts well, too. Although the blurb on the back cover makes a big thing about Rowan Atkinson, he only gets a few minutes.

    This movie covers 18 months in the life of Charles (Hugh Grant), starting at one wedding, and ending at another, while proceeding through two other weddings and a funeral (yup, the title is accurate). There's only really one sequence which does not take place immediately before, during, or after a wedding or a funeral, and that sequence is mostly about buying a wedding present, so I think we can excuse them. The main thread of the plot begins when Charles sees a woman (Andie McDowell) at a wedding, and is immediately smitten.

    Perhaps the thing that makes this movie ring true to many of us is the fact that Charles, although capable of delivering a decent speech as best man, is incapable of expressing himself to the woman he really likes. He's not a complete blithering idiot, but he messes up what he's trying to say. That feels real. The aforementioned scene at a table filled with ex-girlfriends doesn't feel real, but it closely resembles nightmares I've had. 

    I could get philosophical, and claim that the point of comedy is to hold up a mirror to life, and make us glad that someone else has things worse than we do, but instead I will simply say that most of the jokes in this film work, and it is a mostly pleasant way to spend some time.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This film, like most, would have been better presented in the original aspect ratio. Still, what we have here is better than a VHS tape (just not a lot better).

    The image is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. The opening credits are letterboxed at roughly 1.85:1, but it switches to 1.33:1 the moment the opening credits finish.

    The picture is soft, but mostly clear. Shadow detail is not strong. Some scenes, particularly the sequence where Fiona confesses her love (around 73:40), have almost no shadow detail - the shadows are completely black. Earlier shots appear to have some low-level noise, but I think that it is actually fine film grain. There's quite a bit of film grain - mostly it just softens the image.

    Colour is fine - strong and fully saturated. Scarlett (Charlotte Coleman) gives us some vivid colours to look at.

    We have a bit of aliasing, but not enough to worry about. There are numerous film artefacts, mostly quite tiny and undisturbing. I didn't notice any MPEG artefacts. I did see what I think is an interesting optical effect, though - if you look around 68:10 you will see "echoes" of each of the flickering flames of the torches.

    There are no subtitles provided, which is a shame in a movie in which a deaf actor (and sign language) figure significantly. We get subtitles for all of the sign language (which might be the only part a hearing-impaired person might understand) - I cannot testify to the accuracy of the subtitles, because I do not understand the sign language in use. 

    The disc is single-sided, and dual layered. The layer change is at 98:07, at a scene change without music. On my Arcam DVD player I didn't see the layer change at all; on a Sony DVP-S336 player I found the layer change discernible, but only barely - your mileage may vary.



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

Audio

    There is exactly one soundtrack - English Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded. The credits mention that this movie featured Dolby Stereo in selected cinemas, so it looks like we have the original soundtrack.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. That's important in a dialogue-driven comedy. I didn't see any problems with audio sync.

    The score is credited to Richard Rodney Bennett, but most of the significant musical moments are familiar songs - I rather liked the idea of the bridal waltz at the first wedding being to the tune Crocodile Rock. Elton John appears more than once.

    The surrounds and subwoofer did not get an invitation, and so declined to participate.



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

Extras

    In keeping with the movie, all of the extras are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Menu

    The main menu is animated with music - unlike some, the sound extends for the full length of the song.

Behind The Scenes (9:39)

    This is a short piece, of variable focus. Not particularly interesting, although we do get to see Kristin Scott Thomas break up during rehearsal.

Production Feature (11:08)

    I don't really see why this is separate from the previous featurette. It has slightly strange sound - the voice-over appears on the right, while the voices of the actors and crew appear on the left.

Theatrical Trailer (0:30)

    This is a short trailer - almost a teaser spot. 

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is coded for every region except Region 1. This movie has been released twice in R1, once by Polygram, and once by MGM. Both R1 discs are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, but are not 16x9 enhanced. My personal preference would be for an R1 disc in this case - I really prefer to see a movie presented in its original aspect ratio.

Summary

    This is an enjoyable movie, and the disc has a few advantages over a videotape - random access, and a few extras, plus greater durability and no need to rewind.

    The video is not good.

    The audio is fine.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, August 21, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, 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 and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Kevin S
region4dvd.net - Darren R (read my bio (fun for the whole family))

Comments (Add)
New version on way? - cztery
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