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A review of Joe Vs. the Volcano

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A review of Joe Vs. the Volcano

Old 04-03-02, 01:27 PM
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A review of Joe Vs. the Volcano

I don't know why it took so long for this movie to come out on DVD! Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in their first movie together. Academy Award Nominated/Winning director/writer (won for screenplay, nominated for directing...Moonstruck--another lackluster DVD, by the way). And so damn quotable!

It's a fairtale adventure about a man's quest for his soul. A thinking man's Office Space with some flights of fancy, if you will. Joe Banks is an ex-Firefighter who is now stuck in a dead end job living a dead end life. He's become a hypochondriac who finally learns that there really is something wrong with him...he's got a brain cloud that will kill him in six months. And so begins his journey, his Odyssey , if you will. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks both turn in capable performances, though it's early in their careers and you can tell they're not at the top of their game yet, but moments of greatness shine through.

I always thought that the film dragged a bit in the third act, but it still works for me.

I don't have an anamorphic TV, so all I can say is that on my 50" RPTV, the picture looked great! It's so nice to finally see this classic as the director intended. Especially with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. I caught the end of this movie on TV two nights ago, and you can see the camera pan from one character to another when it's supposed to be a two shot of the main characters on either side of the screen. A travesty, but finally corrected for any who really care about the movies now that we have the DVD.

The audio's been remixed to a 5.1 DD surround, but I mainly noticed the surrounds only being used for the score and not much at that. The sub gets a light work out during the volcano scenes, but I thought they could've punched it up a bit more, as well as used more low end for the storm scenes. Still, this is a film that's all about the center channel, and even with some odd distortions (from ADR? not sure) the dialogue is always clear and understandable.

I didn't go through all the language and subtitle options, so can't really cover that.

Extras are sadly, very thin for this title. There's a Cast & Crew section, but it only lists select cast and crew member names and functions and you can select Tom and Meg's names for selected filmographies.

There's also a trailer (which is in good condition and 1.85:1, didn't check to see if it was anamorphic) and a music video for Sixteen Tons, which is amusing if only because of the lead singer's overacting and sometimes odd looking getups.

Lastly, is a 4 minute featurette with interviews of the two leads and the director. If you've watched the movie, there's really nothing much here, but it is nice to see the actors talking about their interpretations of the roles. A full documentary would have been nice.

If you're a fan of the movie, it's finally here, with a great picture and good sound. If not, it's MSRP is $20 and while not for everyone, it's definitely not your normal everyday Hollywood fare. Rent it at least.

If you haven't been here before, this is a great site about the movie, with essays, sound clips and pictures. It recently changed servers and "curators." http://www.mindspring.com/~waponi/

I'm just very happy to have one of my favorite films finally on DVD!

Joe Banks: ...I forgot...how big...Thank you
Old 04-04-02, 12:45 PM
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"I have a brain cloud!!" Hehheh!!!!

That is one of the funniest lines EVER!!!!
Old 04-04-02, 01:03 PM
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Thanks for the review...a very underrated film, IMHO!
Old 04-08-02, 01:51 AM
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I love this move and I was so upset when i went to my local Best Buy and THEY DIDN'T HAVE IT! I gotta find this movie!
Old 04-08-02, 02:10 AM
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Circuit City had it for about $15/16 the week it came out. Not sure what they're charging now.

DVD Savant, has just put up a great review of the movie and DVD. He's a long time fan of the movie, and does a much better job describing it than I did.

Check out his review: http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s457joe.html

-David
Old 04-08-02, 09:34 AM
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Thanks for the review. I'll be getting this disc sometime this week for sure.
Old 04-08-02, 10:29 AM
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The Savant review was cool.. This is my favorite movie also. I had to try 3 stores before I finally found it at Wherehouse (local Best Buy only ordered 5 copies!)
Old 04-11-02, 09:56 AM
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Thanks for the review, Blade. Definitely a great movie and I'm very glad it's finally out on disc.
Old 04-15-02, 11:10 AM
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How good of a DVD is this movie? Special Features etc?Nudity? Swearing? How good of a plot does it have?Worth a purchase?

Thoughts?
Old 04-15-02, 11:14 AM
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Originally posted by Aaron Amos
How good of a DVD is this movie? Special Features etc?Nudity? Swearing? How good of a plot does it have?Worth a purchase?

Thoughts?
Umm...weren't all these questions already answered above?

Old 04-15-02, 10:19 PM
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I got it....finally! Now you guys can stop worrying about me
Old 03-28-05, 10:04 PM
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Just watched this again tonight, which is about my 5th or 6th viewing overall. I absolutely adore this film and it's a crime against cinema that it's so underrated and readily dismissed by so many. I guess too many people just take it at face value (in which case, then of course, it does all seem rather silly), without realising that the entire film is actually incredibly symbolic. Every time I watch the film, I spot something new. Tonight, I was struck by the parallels between the three characters that Meg Ryan plays and the three ghosts that visit Scrooge This film is DEEP!

Also just read the great review by DVD Savant. I always knew he could get the job, but now I know he could do the job

Last edited by Squirrel God; 03-28-05 at 10:07 PM.
Old 03-29-05, 04:37 PM
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Holy thread revival!
Old 03-29-05, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Randy Miller III
Holy thread revival!
Well, you know, forum etiquette dictates that you should never start a new thread when one exists already on the very same topic
Old 03-30-05, 08:30 PM
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Charlie Rose interviewed John Patrick Shanley recently about his new play, but at the end, out of the blue, he asked him about the movie. Shanley said it was a great experience and he was lucky to be given the opportunity to direct. It's too bad he had zero involvement in the DVD, I would've liked to hear a commentary from him.

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