The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993)

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Released 6-Mar-2000

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 103:10
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stephen Sommers
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Elijah Wood
Courtney B. Vance
Robbie Coltrane
Jason Robards
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $36.95 Music Bill Conti


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    I first saw a portion of The Adventures Of Huck Finn several years ago on TV. It caught my eye one day when I was busy doing something else, with a most impressive combination of cast, look and sound. I probably only got to watch around 25% of the movie at that stage, but it did whet my appetite to see this one at the next opportunity that presented itself. So, when this title came up for review, I was more than happy to check it out.

    The Adventures Of Huck Finn is based on Mark Twain's classic Huckleberry Finn, a literary classic that has somehow passed me by over the years. Huck (Elijah Wood) is a bit of a rough-and-tumble child, being more-or-less abandoned by his drunkard father, played with aplomb by Ron Perlman. Huck concocts a plan to fake his own death and escape from his abusive father. As he makes his escape, he is joined by a runaway slave, Jim (Courtney B. Vance). They resolve to make their way down the Mississippi River to Cairo, where Jim can escape to the free states, where black men are no longer slaves.

    Their journey is not without incident. Indeed, the whole premise of the movie revolves around the characters of Huck and Jim and how Huck's sense of morality is turned topsy-turvy as a result of his friendship with Jim, and the things they experience both together and separately on their epic journey.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is generally a good video transfer that is significantly let down in a number of places.

    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. The framing appears as if this is a Full Frame transfer rather than a Pan & Scan transfer, but in the absence of a widescreen version to compare it to, this is impossible to say for sure.

    This transfer is quite variably sharp. A significant number of shots are very soft indeed and lack definition, and others are acceptable. Shadow detail is often lacking, with many of the darker shots simply diving into undefined areas of blackness. Low level noise, or possibly grain inherent in the source material was present quite markedly from 96:19 - 96:36.

    Colours were also quite variable, ranging from vibrant and bright to dull to oversaturated. There appeared to be significant chroma noise in the background blue from 54:03 - 54:51, though it would not surprise me to learn that this was inherent in the original image, as there are many strongly blue-lit sequences in this movie and all of the rest of them come up very cleanly indeed..

    There was some minor MPEG macro-blocking evident whilst the ship on which Jim finds Huck's father is sinking, but other than this isolated incident, the transfer appeared free of this artefact, despite there being a significant number of smoke-filled scenes. Aliasing was problematic at times for this transfer, plaguing the sharper parts of the image. Film artefacts were kept at an acceptable level, but certainly made themselves noticeable from time to time.

    Subtitles defaulted to ON.

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

Audio

    There are three audio tracks on this DVD; English, French and Italian, all Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded. I listened to the English soundtrack.

    Dialogue was a little difficult to make out at times, and was a little harder to understand than I expected. There were a number of lines that were clearly ADR processed, with the spoken words not matching the actors' lip movements.

    The score by Bill Conti is most unusual in that it is orchestral and nearly omnipresent, clearly a deliberate stylistic choice to give this movie the feel of a timeless classic or a musical. It is nicely married to the on-screen action, and provides an excellent backdrop on which the movie's visuals can be laid.

    The surround presence is somewhat limited, with only music and some ambience later in the movie making it into the rear surround channel. The great majority of the movie's sound is found in the front hemisphere, with dialogue front-and-center, and music mixed into the left and right front channels.

    The .1 channel was not specifically encoded, though plenty of bass was directed to it.

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

Extras

    There are no extras.

Menu

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD is not available in Region 1.

Summary

    The Adventures Of Huck Finn is a decent movie, on a middling DVD.

    The video quality is just passable.

    The audio quality is passable.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Tuesday, April 25, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDStart SD-2010VNK-C, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Amplification2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer

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