Mrs. Doubtfire: Special Edition (1993)
Featurette-Comments from Chuck Jones (4:25)
Featurette-Original Pencil Test of Animation Sequence (2:16)
Featurette-Final Animation Sequence (4:58)
Featurette-Make-Up Test (4:04)
Featurette-Make-Up Application (3:42)
Theatrical Trailer-1.33:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 (1:59)
Audio Commentary-Chris Columbus (Director)
|Year Of Production||1993|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (17:48)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Chris Columbus|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (96Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Funnily enough I was reminded of this problem with the film by my father when it was announced that I had the DVD for review: "Not a film you can watch too often" he said, and reminded me of the fact that I had not seen it for a while.
That is not to say that it is a bad film, but simply that it is a film that outstays its welcome very quickly in my view. The story is a pretty simple one. Manic but loving father of three and sometime actor Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) has a knack for annoying his busy professional wife Miranda (Sally Field). This is no more evidenced than when he collects his children from school on his son's twelfth birthday and takes them home for a birthday party - a party specifically forbidden by dear old mother - complete with a mobile zoo. Cue one nosey neighbour who drops poor old Daniel in it by telephoning Miranda. Cue the obligatory mid-life marital bust-up and the dreaded D-word. Daniel finds himself in court with a judge passing sentence on him - 90 days to prove he is worthy of joint custody of his children or else: in the interim, Saturday-only visits. Faced with limited options, he gets himself an apartment, gets a job and sets out to impress his case worker. Then, he finds out that Miranda is planning to employ a housekeeper to look after the children and house during the afternoon and evening until Miranda returns from work.
Desperate for more time with his children, Daniel makes the natural choice of gaining the job, which he does by slightly devious means. Thus is born Mrs Doubtfire, the almost perfect housekeeper who miraculously gets everything working almost to perfection, although watching wealthy Stu Dunmire (Pierce Brosnan) muscling in on his ex-wife and children sometimes gets a little too much. The merriment continues as "she" gets the opportunity of a new career at the television station where he works.
Just as Tootsie depended entirely on Dustin Hoffman carrying off the role of the cross-dresser, so Mrs Doubtfire depends pretty much entirely upon Robin Williams carrying off the role of the cross-dresser. Since Robin Williams is an extremely talented actor, even if perhaps not so talented chooser of roles, there was little doubt that he had the ability to carry off the role. However, the film was to a large extent made by the performance of Sally Field playing off Robin Williams, and some of their scenes together are about as good as you can see in comedy. Pretty much the rest of the cast were along for the ride, and it would appear to have been a rather enjoyable ride, with only Harvey Fierstein being completely memorable. The direction of Chris Columbus is pretty taut and this generally is a very decent effort across the board.
Certainly a film to be enjoyed, just not every other day in my view. There might be better around but this is still worthy of consideration.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.
This really is a very typical anamorphically-filmed effort: nice and sharp (without being over-sharp), very well-detailed and with a really nice vibrant look to it. Wonderfully clear, there is little evidence here of any real grain at all. Shadow detail is generally excellent and you can pretty much forget low level noise here. Short, sweet and to the point - excellent stuff.
The colour here is really gorgeous - nice and vibrant. The overall feel is of deep rich tones and a nice natural look about it. Skin tones seem very natural even though they are a little glossy. Blacks are nicely handled so that black dresses definitely look solidly black. There is no indication of oversaturation at all and to suggest colour bleed is to invoke the Pinocchio complex.
There did not appear to be any MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There is a slight but consistent aliasing problem in the usual problematic areas like car trims and radiators, but they are generally not that noticeable. It is a pity that this problem was not kept under control though, for it is about all that denies this transfer reference status. There are no other problems with film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. I honestly don't recall seeing any film artefacts in the transfer, but I am presuming that there were certainly some, and they were just not that noticeable.
This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change coming unusually early at 17:48. Its placement is quite excellent and it sort of aids the film in some respects as it emphasizes the stern, no-nonsense demeanour of the case worker.
Overall, this is the sort of transfer that makes DVD such a brilliant format and this is certainly an effort that I would pull out to show people how much better DVD is.
There are just the two soundtracks on offer on this DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.0 effort as well as an Audio Commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. Again, the choice of a mono soundtrack for the solo audio commentary is not necessarily a bad one by Fox.
The dialogue is generally very clear and easy to understand throughout, and there are no audio sync problems in the transfer - beyond those inherent in animation, which starts the film.
The musical score comes from Howard Shore and a decent enough effort it is too. Whilst not exactly the most individual or memorable effort ever heard, it is nicely supportive of the film and adds the right touches to the more sombre moments of the film.
With the bass channel being absent from the film completely, it is just a matter of sitting back and enjoying a good, if not especially distinctive Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack. The surround channel usage, especially through the rears could perhaps have been a tad more distinctive since there is ample opportunity for ambient sound during most of the film. Still, even that is not a huge worry here as ultimately the entire film rests upon the dialogue and characterizations of the main characters. A nice open sounding effort with nothing in the way of distortions or drop outs to worry the listener.
|Surround Channel Use|
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NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|