Virtual Sexuality

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer (16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0) (1:59)
Featurette - The Making Of... (6:29)
Featurette - Cast Video Diary (1:11)
Rating ma.gif (1236 bytes)
Year Released 1999
Running Time 88:41 Minutes 
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Nick Hurran
Tristar.gif (3165 bytes)
Columbia Tristar
Starring Laura Fraser
Rupert Penry-Jones
Luke De Lacey
Kieran O'Brien
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $39.95 Music Rupert Gregson-Williams
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9Yes.jpg (4536 bytes)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement Yes, moderately
Action In or After Credits Yes, some narration in the credits

Plot Synopsis

    Around the same time as the theatrical release of Ghostbusters, a film by the name of Weird Science began doing the rounds at the theatres, while its rather irritating theme song became a regular fixture on the young MTV network. The plot was a rather simple one: two nerdy teenagers create a computer program that turns pictures into real-life versions of whatever they might feature. Having defied science in more ways than I could possibly count, they soon decide to use this program to create their ultimate fantasy woman, who was played by none other than Kelly LeBrock. In a nutshell, the British production known as Virtual Sexuality takes this scenario and reverses the genders, with two young women using a computerized defiance of basic physics to create their ideal male. What is surprising to know is that this film is actually based on a novel of the same name by Chloe Rayban, which makes me sit up and wonder exactly why anyone who is capable of writing a full-length novel would bother with this premise. Of course, one could spring to its defense and claim that both the novel and the film are trying to drag this 1980s teenage male fantasy into the present day by telling it from a female perspective, but a female friend of mine who saw fifteen minutes of the film with me reacted to news of the author's gender with a certain surprise mingled with disgust. Considering that this usually signifies the labelling of whomever this reaction is directed at with contempt, I guess we can all guess what this friend thought of the plot snippet she did manage to sit through.

    The film's basic premise runs a little like this: seventeen-year-old Justine (Laura Fraser) goes to a technology fair with a nerdy friend and creates her perfect man in a virtual reality simulator. A freak accident brings the simulated man to life, but he is blessed (or cursed) with having the mind of his designer, which is pretty much the comedic premise of the film. I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking that I've seen this kind of film before, so I think that will leave my synopsis at that. Just once, I would like to see a film or television show that depicts a seventeen-year-old in a realistic fashion. Heaven knows that I have stories about the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth year of my life that would make the blood circulating within the writers of this kind of dreck turn to ice. A clever salesman might try to sell you this film on the fact that it is British, but make no mistake: this is no Trainspotting or Eat The Rich, and it doesn't hold a candle to The Velvet Goldmine, even if it does outdo the last of those three for full-frontal male nudity (those of you who would be offended by this, you have been warned).

    In a nutshell, if you enjoy films like Clueless, or are able to kid yourself that films like The Craft are more than an exercise in self-satire, then this film will sit nicely in your collection. However, if you're like me, and feel offended by such films as The Blair Witch Project because of their resemblance to German World War II propaganda movies, then I strongly advise you give this film a big miss. Bear in mind, however, that you may enjoy this ninety-minute trip if you leave your brain at the door, and also that I am by nature incapable of doing this, as I need my brain there (and stimulated) to enjoy anything.

Transfer Quality


    Regardless of what I might think of the film itself, this transfer can be summed up with with one statement: it's a Columbia Tristar DVD. The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 Enhanced.

    The film is razor sharp throughout, although some shots suffered from softness in areas that weren't focused upon in the photography. The shadow detail is good, but hardly what I would call brilliant. This is forgivable, however, because most of the film is quite brightly lit. There was no low-level noise at any point in the film.

    The colour saturation can best be described as being overly rich, with much of the film looking as if it were lit with spotlights or drawn with a child's crayons. This is not the fault of the transfer, but rather a problem with the set design, the lighting, and photography. The transfer is simply reflective of the way the film was made, with the end result being something like those weird Pentium commercials with the guys in brightly-coloured suits.

    MPEG artefacts were not especially noticeable during the film. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some very mild aliasing in fine lines, but this is so scarce as to not be there at all. Film artefacts were similarly absent.


    The audio transfer is similarly reflective of the lack of substance in the film. The transfer is presented with four soundtracks, all of them in Dolby Digital 5.1: the original English dialogue, and dubs in German, Italian, and Spanish. I listened to the default English, while trying to make some passages seem more tolerable by re-watching them with the Spanish dub.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to make out at all times (more's the pity), and there are no audio sync problems to laugh at, either.

    The music is credited to one Rupert Gregson-Williams, and an especially uninspiring effort it is, too. Not that this is particularly bad, it is just reflective of the film itself. If you're looking for a film with good music based around this subject matter, then there are certainly much better ones available elsewhere.

    The surround channels are frequently active, supporting the music and various ambient sounds. Having said that much, there is nothing particularly spectacular about the surround usage, simply because the film doesn't give them anything particularly inspiring to do. It is perplexing to think that this is a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, because a Dolby Pro-Logic mix could have done the job just as well. The subwoofer was intermittently present, putting a floor on the occasional sound effect and some of the music.



Theatrical Trailer

    Presented in Full Frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, this trailer is obviously not 16x9 Enhanced. This trailer succeeds in giving away most of the film in 119 seconds.

Featurette - Behind The Scenes...

    I can sum this up in a few words: this trailer runs for six and a half minutes. In other words, it is a waste of vital MPEG space on the disc that could be put to much better use. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, as well as Full Frame, without 16x9 Enhancement. The sound is in Dolby Digital 2.0, and the interview segments seem to have some kind of low audio hum in the background. The video quality of the snippets from the film is very ordinary, with a sort of haze-like artefacting seen in many backgrounds.

Featurette - Cast Video Diary

    This is seventy-one seconds of the cast goofing off in front of camera. It is presented in Full Frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     If you can think of anything vaguely interesting about the production of this film that I'd want to read, let me know. I strongly advise buying neither version of this film.


    Virtual Sexuality is a load of garbage, presented on an excellent DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is just above average.

Ratings (out of 5)

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© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
September 21, 2000. 
Review Equipment
DVD Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer