PictureReleased in cinemas in 1990 this print is nearly 15 years old. The anamorphic print is 1.85:1 and is full of picture perfect imagery. Cinematographer Allen Daviau is to be praised for the rich palette he brings to the piece. Early composites of Sam's arrival in the USA are gorgeous. An overhead shot of Sam walking down a cobbled street that glistens from fresh rainfall and reflects the bright light and fireworks could be a real struggle for the telecine operator, but a sterling job has been done. The colours offer warmth of tones that reflect the nature of the drama. America is all Red, White and Blue; the family scenes are relaxing earth notes. Skin tones therefore take on that healthy tanned look. Detail levels are good, but there is a softness to the picture that I am sure was intentional. This is family history viewed through a soft focus filter. Overall the print quality is very good. There is a modest amount of edge enhancement but this is not discernable at normal viewing distances, other forms of digital artefacts are noticeable only by their absence.
SoundThe soundtrack has limited aspirations being a wordy family drama. Consequently dialogue and score are the only workload for your amplifier. Both are reproduced adequately with is a shame as the score would sound wonderful remixed in 5.1. Dialogue is fine, being audible and fixed to the screen
ExtrasTheatrical trailer and talent bio's. 'Nuff said.
VerdictThis beautiful movie will not appeal to everybody. It has no guns or huge explosions, no quick one-liners or sharp dialogue, but it says so much about family, and true sacrifice, the death of family values and the loss of tradition. It is both thoughtful and thought provoking. It is worth seeing just for the scene where Elijah Wood tries to grasp the concept of the difference between “may” and “can” after asking his formidable teacher “can I go to the toilet”, only to be told “You CAN, but you MAY not”. The perplexing look on his face is priceless.
The movie deserves a better disc but is still a joy even in this ready salted variety.
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