Lake Placid (1999)

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Released 5-Sep-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette
TV Spots-3
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 78:41
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Steve Miner
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Bill Pullman
Bridget Fonda
Oliver Platt
Brendan Gleeson
Betty White
Case Six-Sided Star Clamp
RPI $36.95 Music John Ottman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Everyone remembers the old joke where someone asks if it is dangerous in a particular area because of bears. The expert answers that there are no bears. Then, in a lower voice, add "the crocs ate all the bears". Well, David E. Kelley has written an entire film based around this joke. Now don't get me wrong, I really liked this film. It is a good comedy film.

    To be honest I don't remember Lake Placid appearing at the cinema and I suspect that it did not do too well. I have a theory on why this happened. One of the extras on this disc is a series of three 'TV Spots', basically 30 second commercials for the film. All three of these commercials present the film as a serious film of the Jaws genre. If you went to see this film with that in mind, you would be seriously disappointed - it is a comedy, and a take-off of this type of film. Now either the adds are a big mistake, or they wanted to make a 'real' film and got it very wrong. I don't know whether this matters. As long as you are in the correct frame of mind for this type of film you will enjoy yourself.

    David E. Kelley has been responsible for some very good TV shows including Chicago Hope, Picket Fences, The Practice and Ally McBeal. While there is a 30ft crocodile in this film, the real strength is the dialogue. It is extremely well written. It has a similar feel to some of the more quirky parts of the abovementioned shows.

    To create this film they have put together just about every silly plot mechanism that we see in the scary monster/animal eats people genre. If you were at a lake with a 30ft crocodile, would you go out in a small boat and stand next to the edge? Well, our leading lady does. It is not a question of if she is going in the water, just when.

    This film also includes some of my favourite popcorn film actors. We have the "president of America" Bill Pullman (ID4) playing a park ranger along with one of the "Disney Musketeers" Oliver Platt (The Three Musketeers) playing a rich madman that likes to swim with crocodiles. We also have Bridget Fonda and Brendan Gleeson and Betty White (I) from The Golden Girls. Yes, the characterisation is all over the place, but my take is that this is again a spoof on the characters that normally appear in this sort of film.

    I won't outline too much of the plot as there is so little of it. Anything further that I say would probably be a spoiler. This is a standard scary creature plot but with the added spice that the group of people threatened are a very quirky bunch. This is a spoof, intentional or not, and a great night's entertainment.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    I was a little concerned when I saw that this was a single layer disc. Thankfully, due the the short running time (78:41), and the lack of extras there was enough space to give us a reasonable transfer.

    We are presented with a 2.35:1 transfer that is 16x9 enhanced. This appears to be the original ratio for this film.

    Sharpness in the foreground is quite good. Objects in the background are not quite as sharp and distance shots suffer as well. The shadow detail is good and there is no low level noise.

    There are no problems with the colours. The saturation is good and there are some vibrant colours. The skin tones are slightly affected by posterization, particularly in the early part of the film, although this seems to clear up after the first third of the film.

    The film has been compressed onto a single layer, which has lead to some very subtle macro blocking. At no stage was there an example you could plainly point to, but it was more a subliminal impression that we were just on the edge of breaking out into macro-blocking. This was most noticeable in the slight loss of sharpness in the backgrounds. There are some clear examples of posterization such as at 16:49 on the girl's cheek. There is a small amount of aliasing present such as on the edge of the boat at 31:42. They have also applied a small amount of edge enhancement visible in ringing on sharp luminance transitions. This can be seen at 39:06 on the left side of the actor.

    The film master used for this transfer is near-perfect with very few marks or spots visible and no scratches.

    The subtitles are listed as 'English for the Hearing Impaired'. They were easy to read and reasonably accurate, though they sometimes had trouble keeping up with the quick banter between the characters. They also included some sound cue descriptions.

    As mentioned, this is a single layered disc.

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

Audio

    There is only a single English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on this disc.

    The dialogue was easy to understand at all times and the audio was in sync with the on-screen action.

   While the audio track was nothing spectacular, it works perfectly for this film. They have managed to produce a spoof of the music normally associated with this type of film. I found this very clever and it added to the overall comedy.

    The surrounds were present but not at any really noticeable level. They drew the soundtrack out of the front soundstage a little and there were a few surround effects. Not as good as we have come to expect from recent films.

    The subwoofer received some redirected bass. This was a missed opportunity in my opinion, though perhaps I expected too much considering that this is a spoof.

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

Extras

    The packaging claims that the Original Theatrical Trailer is included in the extras, I could not find this anywhere on the disc.

Menu

    A static 1.78:1 menu that is 16x9 enhanced with no audio.

Featurette

    Basically a 5:25 trailer with a few interviews thrown in. This gives a far better impression of the film than the TV Spots.

TV Spots

    Three 32-33 second TV commercials. I have no idea why they would present the film in this light.

Biography: Cast and Crew

    The usual information but presented slightly differently. As you select each bio you are presented with an instruction screen that informs you to use the chapter skip button to access each subsequent page.

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 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    I believe that the 16x9 enhancement far outweighs any of the extras on the Region 1 disc, giving us a clear Region 4 winner.

   

Summary

    You must keep in mind the type of film this is. We are talking about a 30ft crocodile, in a remote lake in Maine.... that eats helicopters.

    The video is good considering the level of compression.

    The audio is acceptable

    The extras are really just afterthoughts.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Friday, November 16, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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