Reviews for region 1 discs From Ultimate DVD #20

Cast Away

Panic

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Cast Away Rated: PG-13

The Movie

Hanks stars opposite a volleyball named Wilson in this appealing story of time-pressured Fed Ex exec Chuck Nolan, the lone survivor of a mid-Atlantic plane crash. Washed up on a secluded island, Chuck must learn to stay alive and hang on to his sanity, as the years pass by and Wilson remains his only ‘friend’…

It takes a star of Hanks’ stature to pull off the Cast Away conceit. There’s minimal dialogue, but Chuck’s trials and tribulations are compelling, as he becomes skilled at making fire, catching food, finding shelter and carrying out basic dentistry. The actor’s dedication to the role included losing 50lbs (filming halted for a year to allow the weightwatching), lending physical form to Chuck’s spiritual journey. Ravishing to look at (the island location is sumptuous), this Robinson Crusoe for the new Millennium stays afloat through the 143-minute duration – and to its credit 4 stars - Damn Good Discdoes not sell out to a phoney upbeat ending.

The Extras

No back to basic approach here: Fox extravagantly offers a double disc set, the first containing a typically plush transfer of the film, with the option of a compilation Commentary track. Zemeckis, director of photography Don Burgess, visual effects supervisors Ken Ralston and Carey Villegas and sound designer Randy Thom all chip in here, and it’s rather dry but does the job.

Learn how Hanks devised the concept, why the script went through 125 rewrites, and how Zemeckis placated the studio by knocking out What Lies Beneath during the gap in shooting. It’s also sobering to discover that filming was a nightmare for the production crew, as none of them could set foot on the sand in case they left footprints…

Disc two has a host of Documentaries and Featurettes (see issue), plus six Special Effects Vignettes – rough footage of the CG shots, with optional commentary by Ralston and Villegas. The Videos and Stills Gallery has a Behind the Scenes slideshow, Storyboard Comparisons, and Conceptual Artwork (almost akin to viewing a graphic novel of parts of the film). Hanks makes amends for his absence in the Commentary with an intimate interview by Charlie Rose, and there are two Trailers (sadly only in 1.33:1) and eight TV Spots.

A strong 4 stars - Damn Fine Disccollection, but why no Deleted Scenes?

David Richardson

Life’s a beach… and then you diet

Credits
Cast Away on DVD

Cast
Tom Hanks
Helen Hunt
Director • Robert Zemeckis
Year • 2001
Duration • 143 mins
Screen Ratio • 1.85:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby
Digital 5.1 / DTS
Chapters • 32
Languages •
English, French
Subtitles • English, Spanish
Release Date • June 12
Distributor •
20th Century Fox

 
 

Highlight

Chapter 7 – Mayday!
The scene that will haunt those with a fear of flying, as the airplane decompresses and plummets towards the ocean… Oxygen masks not included.

 

Behind the Scenes
sections (The Making of Cast Away and more) covered in issue

From Ultimate DVD #20

Panic Rated: R

We are family

The Movie

Compelling, understated character study about a married hitman (the always wonderful Macy) going through a mid-life crisis, falling for a young girl (Campbell) and trying to leave the ‘family business’. An outstanding, unknown film, full of quietly powerful moments and characters that ring true.

A fantastic cast too, headed by Macy’s internal edginess and matched by Donald Sutherland and Barbara Bain (great to see her again) as the devil in parental form. A thoughtful, affecting drama from début writer-director Henry Bromell - the producer of TV cop 4 stars - Damn Good Discshow Homicide - and well worth seeking out.

The Extras

The main menu’s elegant dissolves of restless Macy captures the essence of the film, which is complemented by some good extras. In Bromell’s low-key Commentary, he explains how all his cinematic techniques were based around focusing attention on the characters and that the star cast agreed to work for next to nothing on this low-budget, swiftly-filmed movie.

Five interesting Deleted Scenes expand upon some of the central relationships (Neve fans will relish her saying some very naughty things) and most heighten the film’s recurring themes of anxiety and discontentment. Also available are 12 3 stars - Worth A Watchextensive Biogs and Filmographies, plus a Trailer.

Jason Caro

Credits
Panic on DVD

Cast
William H Macy • Neve Campbell • Tracey Ullman • Donald Sutherland
Directors • Henry Bromell
Year • 2000
Duration • 93mins
Screen Ratio • 1.85:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 2.0
Chapters • 32
Languages •
English, Spanish
Subtitles • English, Spanish
Release Date • June 19
Distributor • Artisan

Highlight

Chapter 11 – The Family Business

Troubling flashback in which Sutherland casually asks his pre-teen son to shoot a squirrel. It has resonance later on.

From Ultimate DVD #20  

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