King Ralph (1991)
|Year Of Production||1991|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||David S. Ward|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|RPI||?||Music||James Newton Howard|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Picture a Hollywood executive meeting. They are brainstorming ideas for new movies - they need something new, something fresh: "Terminator 3 - this time with Arnie playing both the good and the bad guy?"; "Five Weddings and Two Funerals?"; "What if an American became King of England? Hey, could we make him a Las Vegas performer?". Well, that's my theory, anyway.
King Ralph is the result (no, it isn't Terminator 3). The entire British Royal family is electrocuted in a photo-taking incident. The closest surviving relative turns out to be Ralph Jones (inventive name!), played by John Goodman. Reluctantly, he is convinced to take the throne of the United Kingdom. It is suggested, delicately, that he might care to choose an appropriate name for use as King ("Edward and George have been popular this century"), but he decides to keep Ralph, hence King Ralph.
This is a classic "fish out of water" story. There is some excellent dry wit, mostly from Peter O'Toole, who plays Cedric Willingham, the private secretary charged with making Ralph into the perfect British sovereign. We get to see some fairly silly training of Ralph, including cricket (not that I recall seeing a monarch play cricket). The training is pretty much a Pygmalion effort.
There is an obligatory love-interest, although it is rather contrived: Miranda Greene, who Ralph meets under less than salubrious circumstances.
There is an obligatory villain. In this case, it's Lord Percival Graves (John Hurt, playing sinister) - he wants Ralph thrown out so his own family line (Stuart) can resume the monarchy - I remember that the Stuarts took over the English throne with James Stuart, James the First of England, but I don't recall when the Windsors took over. Oh, for some reason the royal family is called Wyndham, not Windsor (Hollywood playing it cautious?) in this movie.
The transition of Ralph from brash uncivilised American to somewhat more civilised monarch is not handled very smoothly. The one thing that does show his progress is the increasingly better fit of his clothing.
You've seen this sort of story before. This is not the best version ever made, but it is not the worst, either. It is mildly entertaining, and pretty much inoffensive.
The picture is presented in an aspect ratio of about 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.
The image is softish, but adequately clear, with good shadow detail. There is no low level noise.
Colour is quite reasonable, and adequately saturated.
There are a number of small film artefacts, but they are pretty much negligible. There are frequent instances of aliasing, but nothing screams for attention. There is some moire artefacting on Ralph's jackets, which is a bit distracting. There is some near-constant minor background shimmer, but nothing special.
Subtitles are provided in seven languages, including English for the Hearing Impaired. The subtitles are easy to read and well-timed.
The disc is single-sided, single layer: no layer change.
There are two soundtracks: English Dolby Digital 2.0 and German Dolby Digital 2.0, neither of them surround-encoded. I only listened to the English soundtrack.
The dialogue is easy to understand and there are no audio sync problems, excepting a moment of sloppy ADR of James Villiers.
The score is from James Newton Howard. It is a decent amalgam of royal music (fanfares and whatnot) and rock-and-roll.
The 2.0 soundtrack does not support the surrounds or subwoofer. They are not missed. This is a dialogue-driven movie.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menus are silent and static.
A plain simple trailer.
The Region 1 version of this disc is not widescreen - I cannot discover if it is full-screen or pan-and-scan, but either way, the 16x9 enhanced widescreen version we've received is definitely preferable.
A moderately amusing film, presented adequately on R4 DVD.
The video quality is good enough.
The audio quality is good.
The extra is rudimentary.
|DVD||Arcam DV88, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|