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Review: Meet Joe Black

Old 04-09-99, 08:49 AM
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Meet Joe Black
Dolby Digital 5.1/French 2.0
Captions:English For The Hearing Impared
Running Time:176 Minutes(Dual Layer Disc)

The Film:
A remake of "Death Takes A Holiday", this remake contains performances that I enjoyed, but the fact is, the film is stretched out to an almost strangely long running time till it becomes fairly thin.

Anthony Hopkins stars as William Parish, a rich businessman who suddenly finds himself at the end of his life. He begins to hear a voice in his head, telling him about what to expect; I liked the concept of the Hopkins voice over, but the concept goes on far, far too long, like the rest of the film's concepts. All of the ideas and concepts that this film presents are enjoyable at first, but they're brought up so many times that after a while, it becomes a tad annoying.

Parish's younger daughter has a conversation with a perfect stranger at a local coffee shop; she can sense something from him and although they don't continue their conversation, she begins to fall in love with him. The young man is killed after the coffee shop conversation, though.

Death comes for William in the form of the young man who has just died, coming as a suprise to his young daughter who comes home to see the young man she'd just met sitting at the dinner table. The performances of both Claire Forlani and Brad Pitt as the two who fall in love are fairly good; the only problem is that, even during 176 minutes of screen time, the film doesn't give us enough reason to believe that these two would have a reason to fall in love. I can understand love at first sight, but here, between these two, I just didn't quite believe it.

Hopkins is, like most films he's in, the best thing in the film. He plays the role of the dying businessman with the sort of grace and strength that we've come to expect from his performances. His part is the most fully written and the scenes where he is negotiating with Pitt's "Death" are enjoyable and well acted.

Again though, the problem here is that the director, Martin Brest, should not have had the final cut. There are many, many minutes here and there where looks between actors go on for far too long and there are other parts that just seem quite excessive. As it is, I didn't mind the film, but I think it could have been far, far better if it had just been edited further. There are good performances here from the supporting cast as well, but the screenplay and plot are just stretched far beyond their limits.

IMAGE: Universal delivers another outstanding transfer with this film. Colors are rich and vibrant; contrast is perfect and beautiful. Colors are rendered wonderfully and are vibrant throughout. Color saturation is excellent, there is no bleeding in the colors at all throughout the movie. The anamorphic transfer is sharp, clear and frequently, quite stunning. Flesh tones look excellent as well. There are no instances of grain, pixelization or other artifacts. This was taken from a clean print and it looks beautiful throughout. Although Universal hasnít had the best of luck lately, they still do a consistently excellent job in terms of the transfer on their DVDs. This is consistently a very excellent image quality throughout. Detail in the image is especially wonderful in what is overall a very pleasing presentation.

SOUND: Mainly used for dialogue and to bring the beautiful score to life. Although there isnít much in the way of action, the score sounds crystal clear, full and rich and the dialogue is perfectly clear and integrated very well. Ambient sounds are also very nice and clear throughout providing for a very enjoyable experience.

EXTRAS: Unfortunately, with all this movie here, there probably wasn't too much more room for extras, but we do get a very nice(although kinda short) featurette, some bios on the cast and crew, production notes and of course, the trailer.

MENUS: The main menus are fairly basic, but the scene selection is animated which is always a nice touch and much appreciated.

Value: Well, you certainly get a lot of movie for your money. Although extras are lacking, the movie is fairly good(although too long) and the audio/video are quite good.

The Film:82/B = (410/500 possible points)
Video Quality:90/A- = (360/400 possible points)
Audio Quality:88/B = (352/400 possible points)
Extras: 72/C = (216/300 possible points)
Value: 78/C = (234/300 possible points)
Menus: 81/B- = (162/200 possible points)
Presentation: 82.75/B = (82.75/100 possible points)
(Presentation is the average of the audio, video, extras and menus grades)

Total Points: 1816.75/2200
Overall Score:82.57%/B
Stars:*** 1/2
Recommendation: If you saw the film and liked it, it's worth a possible purchase. If you didn't see the film in theaters, I'd definitely recommend renting the DVD.

A Guide To Current DVD

Old 04-10-99, 12:30 PM
Posts: n/a
So what you're saying is that this movie could have been called "Death Makes A Movie", right?

I haven't seen it yet - I wanted to but was scared off by all the reports of it being long and, uhmmm....deathly boring

Might be worth a rental but I'm not sure I would want this one in my collection.

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