Overall | Once Were Warriors (1994) | What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (1999)

Once Were Warriors/What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (1994)

Once Were Warriors/What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (1994)

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Released 12-Sep-2001

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Overall Package

    These are challenging films. You cannot watch them without being affected. There's more violence in other films, but here it is brutal and shocking. There is a glimmer of hope in each film, but you have to survive a lot to get to it. I strongly recommend you get the box set, because What Becomes of the Broken Hearted is not available separately, and you really should see both films.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, September 21, 2001
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Once Were Warriors (1994) | What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (1999)

Once Were Warriors (1994)

Once Were Warriors (1994)

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Released 20-Aug-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Lee Tamahori (Director)
Theatrical Trailer-Music Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Interviews-Cast
Biographies-Cast
Music Video-6
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 98:26 (Case: 102)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (72:56) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Lee Tamahori
Studio
Distributor
Communicado
Magna Home Entertainment
Starring Rena Owen
Temuera Morrison
Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell
Case Click
RPI $14.95 Music Murray Grindlay
Murray McNabb


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 (96Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, pervasive
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I can't say I wasn't warned. And neither can you. Once Were Warriors is a strong film, one which will test your sensitivities, your empathy, and which may hurt you. But I am going to recommend that you watch it, and think about what it is saying. Do not watch this film if you are feeling vulnerable or depressed - go watch something heart-warming, or uplifting, or even mindless. Only watch this film when you are feeling strong and resilient.

    This film, superficially, is talking about New Zealand, and the problems of the Maori trapped at the bottom of its socio-economic scale. If that helps you cope with it, so be it. Close your eyes to the fact that the problems are here, too, and that they are not isolated to Maori (here endeth the political comment).

    There is some brutal violence in this film. Lots of coarse language. And some sexual violence, including rape. Like I said - you can't say you weren't warned.

    I am not going to reveal any of the plot. I knew nothing of the plot beforehand, and it hit me hard. You deserve the same! Suffice it to say that the plot doesn't pull any punches (you'll get the pun afterwards). Let me just say that the actors give an astounding performance, and the film deserves every award it received (12 international awards so far).

    The music in the movie is very much to my liking, even though I can't describe it well. The theme tune feels like Hendrix (this is not a coincidence). There are chunks of hip-hop, reggae, Polynesian rhythms, and rock music, plus some traditional Maori sounds including a haka. (A haka looks rather more impressive when it is not being performed in rugby strip.)

    Oh, I wanted to mention that I think the front cover artwork has been reversed, because it has the tattoos on the wrong side of Nig's face, and the eyebrow scar on the wrong side of Jake's face. The Region 2 version of the cover has the same photo, but reversed - I think they have it the correct way around.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of about 1.66:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. It isn't evenly cropped - the top seems a bit ragged (it dips in the centre, too), and the bottom black bar is much wider than the top one. Moreover, there are moments during the film when a bright spot at the top or bottom of the frame will bleed into the black bar (see 37:14 for example). During the final credits, the red bars the credits are on extend to the top and bottom. I don't know exactly what is going on here, but I suspect a low quality telecine transfer is at least partly to blame. The film appears to have been cropped slightly on the right side - the reel change markings are cut in half vertically. There may have been some slight cropping on the left, too, but it looks less than the right.

    The picture is generally quite sharp, although there are a few scenes which are imperfectly focussed. During the commentary, the director admits to choosing a shot with poor focus for one scene because it was the best performance - it's hard to argue with that. Shadow detail is mostly very good. There is little to no low-level noise in most scenes, but some crops up in darker shots.

    Colour is awesome in the very first shot, then it is reduced slightly to emphasise the sombre situation. I don't think there's another fully-saturated colour in the rest of the film.

    There's some aliasing, but it is quite minor. There's some shimmer, too, but again quite minor. The biggest trouble is film artefacts. I suspect this transfer was made from a commercial copy of the film, because it has reel change markings every 20 minutes. These markings are not neat and uniform; they are ragged and blotchy - possibly scratched on the print with a blunt object. They have been cut in half by the cropping, but there's still plenty to object to. In addition, on either side of the reel-changes the level of film artefacts is higher - the ends of each reel are a little more prone to damage. We get flecks, scratches, and blobs. One blob (4:24) appears above the frame, in the black bar - I've never seen that before.

    There are a couple of interesting MPEG artefacts in the music videos - I'll describe them later, under extras.

    There are no subtitles at all.

    The disc is RSDL-formatted. The layer change occurs at 72:56, and it is horrible. A guy is singing and moving, and he freezes during the layer change. It stands out like the proverbial.

    All things considered, the video quality is not good. The funny thing is, I think it fits. I think it is right that this movie, this story, has less than perfect video.



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

Audio

    There are three soundtracks to choose from, all English. The film soundtrack is available in both 5.1 and 2.0 stereo; there's a mono audio commentary track, too. I chose to listen to the 5.1 and the commentary.

    Dialogue is quite clear, Kiwi accent and all. I thought I noticed a single slip of audio sync, but I could not decide for sure. 

    The score is a selection of music, all contemporary, mostly by Maori artists. There's quite a selection of styles, and it works extremely well. Interestingly, the director has chosen to flag some of the important characters with music or sounds of their own. Jake is flagged, for example, with a Maori equivalent of a bullroarer (for our international readers, that's the Australian name for a thing you whirl around your head on a string). I noticed this, but didn't twig that it was deliberate until listening to the commentary.

    The surround speakers are mostly used for score, but they are quite effective in this. The subwoofer is used extensively to support the low octaves of the sound. I listened to a little of the soundtrack on a TV, and it was most definitely inferior - they have done a nice job on the 5.1 mix.



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

Extras

    The extras are rather good. This is not a fully-loaded Ultimate Edition, but it has plenty to offer.

Menu

    The main menu has the movie's theme tune playing. The main menu has the following entries:

    Strangely, they've chosen to put "audio set-up" in the "special features" menu - I would not expect to find it there. The special features menu contains:

    Also a little strangely, the only place there's any indication of the presence of the audio commentary is in the audio setup menu, where you get to choose between the three soundtracks.

Audio Commentary - Director

    This is an excellent commentary, revealing a lot about the process of making the film, and about the people involved. I gained considerable insight by listening to it. I really recommend it. The director has a lot to say, and rarely pauses. He continues talking from the first frame to the very last - I suspect the only thing that stopped him was the end of the credits.

Music Trailer

    This trailer is presented in the same aspect ratio as the movie, but with substantially noisier video. It runs 1:53 minutes, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. 

International Trailer

    This trailer runs 1:52 minutes, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It has a strong voice-over, which appears only in the left speaker.

Interviews - Cast Members

    This is one piece of footage, running 6:50 minutes, in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It shows Rena Owen, and Temuera Morrison, speaking separately. In both cases, their voices are mixed solely into the left speaker.

Biographies - Cast Members

    There are biographies for Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison, and Mamengaroa Kerr-Bell. I found it difficult to navigate from one page to the next - the cursor did not appear to move to the obvious Next / Back buttons. I managed to look at the pages using the chapter skip buttons , but I don't think this was the intended way to do it.

Music Videos (6)

    These are music videos. They are:

Two of these videos show a strange single frame MPEG error - a strip across the middle of the frame breaks up into a host of fine vertical lines. It looks odd, but the sound is not affected, and the video is only affected for a single frame, so it's not too bad.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film does not appear to be released on DVD in Region 1, as yet. It is available in Region 2. There are reports of some problems in releasing it in New Zealand - perhaps our Kiwi readers will have to order it from Australia?

Summary

    Once Were Warriors is a powerful and disturbing movie, presented imperfectly on DVD. 

    The video quality is not good. Strangely, the video imperfections feel appropriate to the film.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, August 16, 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
The DVD Bits - Dean B
DVD Net - Shaun B
Michael D's Region 4 DVD Info Page - Stefan M

Comments (Add)
about the movie from my eyes - ben p grl

Overall | Once Were Warriors (1994) | What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (1999)

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (1999)

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (1999)

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Released 12-Sep-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo
TV Spots-2
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 98:34 (Case: 91)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:10) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ian Mune
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Temuera Morrison
Clint Eruera
Nancy Brunning
Rena Owen
Tammy Davis
Edna Stirling
Case Brackley-Trans-No Lip
RPI $36.95 Music David Hirschfelder


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Once Were Warriors is a kick in the guts of a film. What Becomes of the Broken Hearted is its sequel, set five years later. Is it as good? Could it be? Probably not - movies like Once Were Warriors are one-offs. This movie is different, in some interesting ways. I think it is successful at what it tries to do, but that does not include outdoing Once Were Warriors.

    Once Were Warriors was about the entire Heke family, but Beth Heke (Rene Owen) was the real focus. Beth was the person whose decisions shaped the story. This movie is not about Beth - she is happier, living with a welfare officer in middle-class conditions - we hardly see her. What Becomes of the Broken Hearted is about Jake (Temuera Morrison). It is about him confronting his problems, including realising that he has problems. It also shows him making friends, a different kind of friends. I love the scene where he meets two guys after he has a blow-out - these two burly Maoris blithely lift the back of the car to allow him to change the tyre

    The movie is divided into two strands, two threads of narrative that we follow, switching frequently - it may sound hard to follow, but it isn't. One thread follows Jake, beginning with him in the pub, almost exactly where we left him last time. The other thread follows Sonny, his son. Sonny did not appear in Once Were Warriors (I suspect he didn't exist then, although he is clearly the eldest of the family - they needed another adult member of the family). It isn't until almost the end of the film that the two threads are drawn together, with a bang. It's an unusual means of storytelling, and very effective here.

    This film is just as violent as Once Were Warriors, in fact more so in its use of firearms. It is just as uncompromising about showing people at their lowest ebb. It is not quite as raw around the edges, but it, too, will kick you in the guts.

    Do not even consider seeing this film without seeing Once Were Warriors first. If you have seen Once Were Warriors you don't have to see this film, but I strongly urge you to do so. Interestingly, the distributors agree with this assessment - you can buy Once Were Warriors separately, but What Becomes of the Broken Hearted is only available in a double pack with Once Were Warriors. What a combination! I would recommend not watching both on the same night unless you are extremely strong emotionally, or utterly insensitive - no insult intended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio that looks about 1.66:1, not 16x9 enhanced. There are thin black bars above and below the image, which are not intruded upon (unlike Once Were Warriors).

    The picture is rather sharp, with good shadow detail, even at night - in the "making of", one of the production designers comments on some of the issues of filming dark-skinned people with dark facial tattoos wearing black leather at night. There's no visible low-level noise - blacks are unadulterated black. This is a much better quality image than Once Were Warriors.

    There's not a lot of colour, but that is very definitely a design choice. Where there is colour, it shows well and is properly saturated, but much of this movie involves dull, down-trodden colours.

    Unlike Once Were Warriors, this transfer was clearly not made from a release print. I did see some film artefacts at 58:21, but they were minor. There is some minor aliasing (including guitar strings), and some noticeable moire at 24:59 on a weatherboard house. We get Gibbs effect on the credits, for completeness. But there are no other MPEG artefacts, and none of the film-to-video artefacts are objectionable. All up, this is a far cleaner transfer.

    The subtitles are on or off - lots of choice. They are in English, and appear to be intended as subtitles for the hearing impaired, because they mention the music and sound effects. Where there's a single line of subtitles they are placed in the black bar below the picture. Where there are two lines, the upper line impinges on the image, but not to a large extent. They are white with a black border, and in a clear font.

    The disc is RSDL-formatted. The layer change is at 67:10, concealed in a cut between scenes and is only noticeable because of a pause in the music.

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

Audio

    There are two soundtracks, both in English; one in Dolby Digital 5.1, and one in Dolby 2.0 surround-encoded. I listened to the 5.1 soundtrack, and sampled a little of the 2.0. The 2.0 is OK, but the 5.1 is impressive.

    Dialogue is mostly clear, but you'd have to expect the occasional unintelligible word considering the amount of gang footage. I saw no audio sync problems.

    David Hirshfelder's score is dramatic, and excellent at adding to the atmosphere. Some moody pieces concentrate on the bass register, others are quite discordant. There's a shock at the beginning of the movie where some gentle music is interrupted by a blast of sound as a train goes by. A lot of thought has clearly gone into the sound of this movie. No one is going to sleep through this.

    This is a 5.1 soundtrack. The surrounds are used effectively, but only occasionally do we get some real rear directionality - they are mostly atmospheric. The subwoofer gets plenty of work - some of the score is very bass heavy, and it sounds good. The 2.0 soundtrack does have surround encoding, but this is a chance to give your 5.1 decoder something to get its teeth into.

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

Extras

    The extras are quite good, although we don't get a commentary like Once Were Warriors.

Menu

    The menus are animated, with moody music. All the menus are animated, including something I haven't seen before. The scene selection menu has animation for each of the scenes you can choose (seen that before), but the sound you hear depends on which scene is selected - I don't know how they managed to achieve that.

Trailer (1:49)

    This is a short trailer. I don't know why it isn't on the Special Features menu with the other extras. Don't watch it before the movie - it gives away some things you don't want to know in advance.

Featurette - Making Of (21:49)

    This is better than average. It starts with a fair whack of footage from the movie, which isn't promising, but improves rapidly after that. We hear from the director and quite a few of the crew, plus some of the actors. There's the interesting comment that Ian Mune, although a pakeha, understands a lot of Maori culture and history. He is clearly respected.

    I rather liked hearing from the tattoo artist - he mentioned that gang members have copied all of the tattoo designs they developed for Once Were Warriors, and he fully expects them to copy the ones developed for this movie, too. He had plenty of work to do in this movie.

Music Video (3:36)

    Um, it's a music video. There's no indication of the artist, or the song, so I can't tell you anything more than that. Oh, it is presented in about 1.78:1, and the bars above and below, which are normally black, are decorated - that's a nice touch.

Photo Gallery

    There are 20 still photos in this collection.

TV ad 1 (0:32) / TV ad 2 (0:32)

    These are not identical, but cover much the same ground. Just like the trailer, they give away a bit more than you'd want to know before seeing the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    As far as we can discover, this movie is not yet released in any other region. Even the VHS tapes available at Amazon are Australian (PAL).

Summary

    What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted is a challenging movie, presented well on DVD. It makes a satisfying addition to Once Were Warriors.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good, more for the music than the dialogue, though.

    The extras are good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, September 20, 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
The DVD Bits - Dean B
Web Wombat - James A
DVD Net - Shaun B

Comments (Add)
shi one - maran