|Category||Romantic Comedy||Theatrical Trailer (1.33:1, Dolby
Behind The Scenes Featurette (6:20, 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0)
Audio Commentary (Nora Ephron-Director/Co-Writer & Delia Ephron-Assistant Producer/Screenwriter)
Cast & Crew Biographies
|Running Time||100:51 minutes|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 ,
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score (Dolby Digital 3.0 L-C-R, 448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
French Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I have now seen this movie a number of times, as it remains one of my wife's favourites, but what struck me this time around was just how convincing Tom Hanks is in his role as the grieving husband coming to terms with the death of his wife. You truly believe in his pain and misery.
Tom Hanks plays Sam Baldwin, a loving husband to Maggie and father to Jonah (Ross Malinger). The movie opens at Maggie's funeral, and we quickly realize that Sam needs to move away from Chicago, the town in which his wife died, which he does. He moves to Seattle.
Meg Ryan plays Annie Reed, a reporter working in Baltimore. She is engaged to the predictable and allergy-ridden Walter, played to perfection by Bill Pullman.
Time passes, and it is Christmas. Jonah rings a national talk show host because he is worried about his father's melancholy demeanour. Sam is cajoled onto the air, where he gives a heartfelt statement about the reasons why he loved his wife so much. American women across the country, including Annie, hear his pain and respond with a flood of letters to Sam, but Jonah picks Annie as the woman for his father. Now all Jonah has to do is to get the two of them together...
Personally, my favourite scene in this movie, and one which I learned something new about from the audio commentary on this disc, is the hilarious scene immediately following Rita Wilson's teary description of the end of An Affair To Remember when Tom Hanks and Victor Garber describe The Dirty Dozen. This has me rolling around on the floor in laughter every time I see it. Another favourite scene of mine is when Tom Hanks decides to get back into the dating scene. The Gene Autrey song chosen to underscore this scene is hysterical.
The transfer is reasonably sharp and reasonably clear without being outstanding in any of these respects. Brightly lit scenes in particular are filled with detail, whereas lower lit scenes lack detail. The area where this transfer falls down, most likely due to the way the original film was shot, is in shadow detail. The great majority of the first half of this film is quite low-lit, and shadow detail is markedly lacking, without the fine gradations of detail and blackness that contemporary transfers often show. Instead, all we get is indistinct blackness. A good example of this lack of detail can be seen at approximately 7 minutes into the movie, where Meg Ryan's red velvet dress is more-or-less completely lacking in fine detail rather than being finely rendered. Thankfully, no low level noise marred the blackness.
The colours were generally muted, in keeping with the overall theme of the movie. Having said that, darker scenes tended towards oversaturation, particularly early on in the movie. Occasional splashes of vibrant colour, such as the bright yellow of New York taxicabs, never exhibited any suggestion of colour bleeding. A small amount of chroma noise affected the blue of the opening titles map.
There were no MPEG artefacts nor aliasing seen, and film artefacts were all but absent.
The disc is dual layered,
with the layer change coming at 54:33,
during Chapter 17. It is minimally disruptive.
The dialogue was generally easy to make out, albeit somewhat compressed and boxy-sounding at times. Some dialogue peaks distorted, and occasional hiss intruded into the dialogue mix. There were no audio sync problems.
The score by Marc Shaiman in conjunction with the now-traditional standards that Nora Ephron is well-known for including in her movies beautifully set the mood for this movie, and are a shining example of how to do this sort of thing right. Having said that, the rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow at 20:50 onwards had a heavily-processed metallic edge about it which was quite unpleasant to listen to.
The surround channel had very limited use. The only specific surround activity that I noticed was some rear ambience during a rainstorm midway through the movie. Otherwise, it remained essentially silent. The music was generally presented mixed across the front soundstage, with a tiny amount of reverberation in the rear channels, but at its heart, this was little beyond a stereo music mix with mono dialogue.
The .1 channel was not specifically encoded, and
my subwoofer had little to do during this movie except to subtly support
|Surround Channel Use|
© Michael Demtschyna
(read my bio)
6th October 2000
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD/SAST AEP-803, using RGB/S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the RGB/S-Video inputs. 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; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer|