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Details At A Glance

Category Adventure Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1991 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 104:05 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Joe Johnston

Warner Home Video
Starring Bill Campbell
Alan Arkin
Jennifer Connelly
Paul Sorvino
Timothy Dalton
RRP $34.95 Music James Horner

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.0, 384Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement Yes, slightly
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Rocketeer is a film in the action/adventure tradition of Indiana Jones, with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. The special effects seem quite dated by today's standards, but it is still a very enjoyable film, with bad guys that are very bad, and good guys that are very good.

    Cliff (Bill Campbell) is a pilot. He is all set to enter a flying speed competition when misfortune strikes and his plane is destroyed. All is not lost, however, as one of the bad guys hides an experimental rocket-pack in one of Cliff's older planes. Cliff finds it, and intends to use it for a while to earn some money to buy a new plane. The bad guys, however, want it back.

    What follows are relatively standard good guy vs bad guy antics, with both Cliff's sidekick/mechanic Peevy (Alan Arkin) and his girlfriend Jenny (Jennifer Connelly) becoming embroiled in the action.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is relatively softly focussed and certainly could not be described as crystal clear or razor sharp. Having said that, there isn't anything particularly wrong with this transfer, it just isn't all that sharp. Shadow detail is acceptable whilst not being outstanding, and there is no low level noise.

    The colours were very strongly rendered, almost to the point of oversaturation, with some marginal colour bleeding of some of the deep reds.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. There were no film-to-video artefacts seen. Film artefacts were very rarely seen.

    On a Toshiba 2109, the Dutch subtitles defaulted to ON.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD; the default English Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack and an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack.

    The dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.

    Audio sync was not a problem at all with the Toshiba 2109 DVD player.

    The musical score by James Horner is lush and lyrical in nature, and adds nicely to the 1930s atmosphere.

    The surround channels were used moderately by this movie with not a lot of detail in the rear. Overall, the effect was of a mainly front hemispheric mix with occasional use of the surrounds. No split surround effects were used

    The subwoofer was not used by this soundtrack.


    There are no extras on this disc.


R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 4 version of this disc is clearly the version of choice - the Region 1 version of this disc has been universally criticized as being of quite poor image quality.


    Rocketeer is an enjoyable movie.

    The video quality is acceptable, though somewhat soft.

    The audio quality is average.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Extras nil

© Michael Demtschyna
19th November 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 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
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer