Millions DVD Review
PicturePathe has provided a theatrically correct 1.85:1 aspect anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TVs with an average bitrate of 6.44 Mbps. First thing to say is that there are no original print problems with this film, though there was a very infrequent smattering of film grain. The colours are bold and solid and never bleed or wash. Contrast and brightness are set to give extensive blacks, though there is little need for them. The detail level does fluctuate a little, tending towards the soft in places, but for the most part it is very good; distance, smoke and rain coming off well. Digitally there were no compression problems and I never spotted any edge enhancement on my two viewings. On the whole a very decent picture.
SoundThe film has only an English Dolby digital 5.1 surround track and a very subtle one it is too. Of course this isn't the type of film that needs to gorge itself is immersive surround effect, the rears are really only used to fill out some ambiance noise or the score. But when they do come into play it is with a gentle mix that just adds fullness to the visuals. Not too much of a heavy bass level, everything sits firmly within the midrange, but again not the type of film that needs thumping bass. Most of the effects are centred on the frontal array and there are some nice stereo effects. Dialogue is set to the centre and is always clear and precise free form hiss or distortion. Not an overly exaggerated audio mix but one that sits comfortable with the film.
ExtrasThe fist extra is an audio commentary with Director Danny Boyle and writer Frank Cottrell Boyce. This is a rather subdued affair with plenty of pauses for thought. However once they pair get talking there is some nice information to be had, be it about inspiration, different shots, casting, locations and other filmic trivia. One comment from Boyle about why the film was given a 12 and not a 12A certificate because of is 'proximity' to a railway line and imitable techniques is at odds with the covers description, mind.
The DVD cut down section is a much shortened version of the film set to the title music, still manages to make sense though, just an odd choice as an extra and smacks of filler.
There are nine deleted scenes that can be watched individually or all together with the play all function. Some are scene extensions other removed scenes, whilst there is no actual information as to their excise most look to be due to pacing. There is nothing revolutionary here and nothing adds any more of the film as a whole with the possible exception of more interaction between Dorothy and Ronnie.
There are four featurettes under the umbrella banner behind the scenes feature, thankfully all can be played at once since they were all filmed at the same time and have subsequently been edited into these few minute sound bites. All major cast and crew get a little screen time and talk about the experiences on the film, amongst other nonsense as what they would spend a million pounds on. All rather fluff, but worth a single watch.
As well as the theatrical trailer there are three TV spots for the film, from American TV.
There is a short film by Sharon Colman, graduate of the National Film and TV school, entitled Badgered chosen by Boyle to showcase new talent. It is an animated short about the directors feeling towards nuclear weapons being stored on Scottish soil. Although I applaud Boyle's sentiments I find this another odd extra.
The audition footage is camcorder recordings of all the boys that auditioned for the main parts of the film, I found this intensely boring and didn't get to the end, sorry.
Finally there is the TV ad for the Water Aid campaign, the charity that Dorothy and Damian support.
VerdictThough Millions is a departure from Boyle and Boyce's normal paths, the pair have proved a winning combination in making a film that is touching, poignant, funny and endearing. Not surprising that it has scooped numerous awards. As a DVD package, Pathe has provided a decent disc; good quality picture and sound are backed up by reasonable extras, even if some do smack of filler. A sleeper hit perhaps, but one that deserves a good home.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £17.99
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