HTF REVIEW: "Amelie" (Highly Recommended) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 2, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    Amelie




    Studio: Miramax
    Year: 2001
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 122 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)



    She'll change your life
    From the moment it begins, Amelie bursts
    with a surge of joy and energy. It's a fable of
    sorts about a young girl who finds happiness by
    coming out of her shell and reaching out to others.
    [​IMG]
    Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is an innocent,
    imaginative girl raised in isolation by her father,
    full of shyness and seemingly lacking in social
    skills despite her waitress job at the Deux Moulins
    in Paris.
    [​IMG]
    One day Amelie discovers a small box of childhood
    trinkets hidden her bathroom wall and vows to find
    its owner. The success of this venture inspires
    the young woman to help others, anonymously
    influencing and altering their lives.
    [​IMG]
    Director Jeunet populates his film with a splendid
    array of colorful characters like Raymond Dufayel
    (Serge Merlin), an old man with an illness that
    causes his bones to shatter like glass or Lucien
    (Jamel Debbouze), a guy who finds beauty in
    vegetables, or a landlady (Yolande Moreau) who
    continues to dwell on the husband who left her
    thirty years ago. As for the grocer(Urbain Cancelier),
    who is cruel to his assistant, Amelie has special
    plans for him.
    [​IMG]
    Amelie is a wonderfully uplifting motion picture
    that features a sparkling performance by Audrey
    Tautou in the lead role. You can't help but to
    be mesmerized by her large brown saucer-shaped
    eyes that transmits such loving innocence. The
    film shows such an affection for it's lead character
    as well as all the characters she meets.
    How is the transfer?
    Trust me on this , Amelie is as close to
    transfer perfection as you can get. In fact, not
    since Moulin Rouge have I seen a film with
    such eye-popping color against a pristine transfer.
    This film is an absolute treat for the eyes.
    Although green dominates the film's color pallet
    (it can be seen in every scene), the film is filled
    with eye-popping saturated colors with unimaginable
    intensity. The colors are so vivid in some scenes
    that I found the slightest bit of over saturation in
    some of the reds. Still, this is one of the best
    transfers out there featuring a crisp, clean picture
    and not a hint of any video noise.
    [​IMG]
    The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is quite good, but not
    overly aggressive. The front channels feature
    strong and distinct stereo separation with a crisp
    robust sound that brings out the film's tiniest
    sounds with amazing clarity. The rears are
    effectively used for adding ambient effects. As
    Amelie and her father talk in the garden, the sound
    of howling wind envelopes the listening area. The
    rears provide ambience to the many train station
    scenes, with sounds of crowd and PA announcements
    amongst reverberating echo.
    There is extremely strong, intense LFE channel
    activity, but it only kicks in a few times during
    the course of the film. There are a few heavy THUDS
    that occur at key points of the film, and at
    moments emphasis needs to be used in the film's
    soundtrack. What becomes the BEST use of the LFE
    channel comes at a point in the film that I will
    keep a surprise. Let's just say it occurs during
    a toilette scene and the bass really adds to the
    scene's hilarity. This is the first time I have
    noticed the subwoofer channel used so creatively
    in this manner.
    Special Features
    Miramax has released Amelie as a deluxe
    2-disc Special Edition.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Amelie arrives in an attractive green slipcase
    packaging. A porthole on the front case shows
    Amelie's smiling face. The innards slide out to
    reveal a 3-pane gatefold that contains the two
    DVD discs stationed in plastic hub housing.
    [​IMG]
    Disc One contains the 122 minute film.
    Be sure to click on the SETUP menu to
    choose your choice of English or Spanish subtitles.
    A full length commentary by Director
    Jean-Pierre Juenett is featured in both English
    and French.
    A Sneak Peek area contains a promo for
    the film's soundtrack, trailers for Behind
    The Sun; Life is Beautiful; Il Postino
    and
    The Closet. There is also a very nice
    promo for Miramax titles.
    [​IMG]
    Disc Two contains the wealth of supplemental
    material. Let's take a look at it....
    [​IMG]
    The Look of Amelie explores Director
    Jean-Pierre Juenett's vision of making a film
    that stands out as being bold and bright, filled
    with saturated colors. Cinematographer Bruno
    Delbonnel gives us many examples of how color
    is used throughout the film to effectively bring
    out the character's mood. Director Jeunnet is
    noted for his precision in filmmaking as we watch
    him meticulously go through photos and storyboards
    in preparation for the following day's shoot. The
    Cinematographer and Director talk about scouting
    out locations in Paris, which were essential in
    bringing a certain point of reality to the film.
    Jeunette talks about the advantages of digital
    editing where he was able to greatly alter the
    color of the film and have an explosion of colors
    available at his command to do as he wished.
    (length: approx. 12.5 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    Fantasies of Audrey Tautou contain about
    2 minutes of the actress giggling, making faces
    and cracking up. This is a short collage of all
    the goofs that didn't make it to the screen.
    [​IMG]
    There are three Screen Tests for the
    principal cast members, Audrey Tautou, Urbain
    Cancelier (the grocer) and Yolande Moreau
    (red-head landlady upstairs). It's quite a
    pleasure to watch Audrey out of character as
    she is such an adorable young female. Watch
    Urbain deliver his lines with such anger only
    to totally lose it and crack up at the very end.
    [​IMG]
    Taped in front of a live audience at the American
    Cinematheque in Los Angeles earlier this year, a
    Q&A with Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet brings
    the Director on stage in a very upbeat and funny
    interview. It's startling to see how good the
    Director's command of the English language is,
    given the fact that two years earlier, he didn't
    know the language. The Director does misunderstand
    one of the questions concerning the financing of
    the film, giving a totally irrelevant answer, but
    nonetheless this is a really candid interview where
    the Director takes questions from the audience in
    attendance. One of the most interesting questions
    is how the stone skipping sequences were shot
    given the fact that Audrey could not do them herself.
    (length: approx. 24 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    A Q&A with Director and Cast brings Director
    Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Audrey Tatou, Mathieu Kassovitz
    and Jamel Daebbouze (grocery boy) on stage in front
    of the French press. A very lively interview
    fields questions from the press, with some very
    humorous answers from the cast, including Kassovitz
    who humorously describes the problems of shooting
    a train station sequence with a car in view that
    was not supposed to be there. Be certain to turn
    on the SUBTITLES as this entire sequence is in French.
    (length: approx. 5.5 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    A Storyboard Comparison brings us to the
    fun fair scene where Amelie rides through the spook
    house. Using dual windows, we see a split-screen
    of the film's original storyboard drawings set against
    the final cut of the film.
    [​IMG]
    An Intimate Chat with Jean-Pierre Jeunet shows
    that the Director is a very cool individual -- he
    collects and appreciates DVDs! He so absolutely
    impressed with Director Shyamalan's commentary
    on The Sixth Sense DVD that he wanted to
    do the same for his film. So, here we are, a sort
    of video commentary of the Director giving us all
    the inside facts about bringing together this film,
    including how he chose the film's title, how he
    chose the actors involved, the various test
    screenings in the United States, and the initial
    ambitious reviews by the press.
    (length: approx. 20.5 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    I found this really fun to watch. Home Movies
    takes us inside The making of Amelie, with
    raw footage taken on the set and in preproduction.
    We begin with watching the beautiful long-haired
    Audrey Tatou getting her hair cut. Next, we watch
    groups of people huddling inside a photo machine
    that snaps the small images that are later seen in
    the film's found scrapbook. Next we watch Director
    Jeunet going through the many storyboards and
    planning his shots. A cute segment with Jamel
    Debbouze shows us the kind of humor the actor
    has, as he makes fun of Director Jeunet. Now
    THIS is interesting... we watch Jeaunet
    filming the various orgasm sequences with couples
    in bed or leaned up against a table. All of this
    concludes with some funny skewed auto portraits
    that were taken of the cast.
    (length: approx. 12.5 minutes)
    In Trailers and TV Spots there is the
    original U.S. theatrical trailer as well as the
    original French theatrical trailer. There are 12
    U.S. TV spots and 5 French TV spots.
    [​IMG]
    The Amelie Scrapbook are filled with
    publicity and promotional photographs. There
    are many stills taken behind the scenes, as well
    as a short storyboard of the spook house sequence
    and french poster concepts. The most interesting of
    all these are the many photographs of the garden
    gnome's travels.
    Final Thoughts
    Quirky, inventive and visually amazing, Amelie
    is the kind of film you rarely see coming out of
    Hollywood these days.
    This is the type of film that most people probably
    ignored during its theatrical run despite the praise
    of critics worldwide. I realize how tough it is to
    sell foreign films to the members of this forum,
    but I also have faith that there are many of you
    who will look outside the mainstream mentality and
    take a chance on a film that will ultimately
    surprise you.
    Can't recommend this one enough!
    Release Date: July 16, 2002
     
  2. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    Awesome review Ron !!

    I'm all over this one.

    2 weeks till this is finally in my collection.
     
  3. Nick Sievers

    Nick Sievers Producer

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    I'm glad this got the (Highly Recommended) tag, this is truly a gem of a film. Jeunet created such a stunning and beautifully shot film here and I can't wait to actually own it on DVD and show some of my friends and family just what they missed in the theater. Audrey Tatou was just gorgeous in the role and its certainly going to be interesting to see what she will be doing next.
     
  4. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    Nice job, Ron. This is one of my favorite movies of all time--now I just have to decide which version I'm gonna pick up.
     
  5. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Like the other posters have said, this is a fantastic movie. And one of my favorites of last year, if not of all time. It's dissapointing that we only get a two disc set. I recently picked up the TVA Canadian Amelie set, which has all sorts of goodies along with the movie. The TVA set is french only though, no english subtitles.
     
  6. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    I did the same thing. I will be picking this one up as well for the English subtitles. I won't think of this as "double-dipping" as much as that I will have a four-disc super-deluxe set, plus the CD soundtrack.

    I highly recommend a purchase on this one.
    You will fall in love...
     
  7. Mario Bartel

    Mario Bartel Stunt Coordinator

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    >>I won't think of this as "double-dipping" as much as that I will have a four-disc super-deluxe set, plus the CD soundtrack.
    Same here; I like that spin, Chris [​IMG]
    I'm thrilled to hear Miramax did a good job. I'll be at the door of my nearest dvd retailer right at opening in two weeks to pick this up. And then I'll finally be able to share this most wonderful film with some of my more dubious friends, who look at me askew when I tell them it's even fun to watch completely in French, with no subtitles!
     
  8. Brian Kaz

    Brian Kaz Second Unit

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    Excellent! So glad to hear that the transfer is awesome. This was by far my favorite movie of 2001. And like Mario said above, now I can force all my friends and family who have never seen it to come over and experience this absolute gem of a film.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Chris Xolotl

    Chris Xolotl Second Unit

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    Ron. Thank You! I have one coming on Thursday. One of my few pre-books this year.
     
  10. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Ron, very nice review and some nice screenshots also. I'll be honest and say I let this one slip through the cracks when it was at theaters. I love Jean-Pierre Jeunet's style, especially what he did with City of the Lost Children . I'm putting this on my purchase list, looks absolutely gorgeous!
     
  11. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Good review, Ronbo.... more so with the glorious Amelie score playing behind me here. [​IMG] Looking forward to this release very much.
    Quick curiosity... Do the subtitles stay within the film frame, or do they slip into the lower widescreen bar?
    Dan
     
  12. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

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    Very nice looking and sounding set, Ron. I will definaity get it for my birthday (24th of July), so can enjoy a very nice movie as I eat ice cream cake. I wonder if we got the first normation for DVD of the Year?
     
  13. Tim RH

    Tim RH Second Unit

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    No DTS track on this release, is that correct Ron?
     
  14. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    No DTS track. It's a shame as I expected
    Disney would at least offer one on this
    2-disc set.

    The subtitles, as I remember, stay in the
    bottom of the picture not the bars area.
     
  16. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

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    Watched the R2 a few weeks ago, if I remember it had a dts track. Great picture, glad the director is hanging in Europe and not in Hollywood making things like Alien 4!
    Don't understand the lack of dts on R1 discs [​IMG] By far the most inventive film in the last few years.
     
  17. Seymour Uranowitz

    Seymour Uranowitz Stunt Coordinator

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    Fans of this film should also check out Happenstance (2000), in which Audrey Tautou gives another charming performance as a young woman looking for love. Only this time fate plays a much bigger role (as the title implies). Definitely worth a look if you like Amelie, and already available as an R1 release.
     
  18. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    What extras make the Canadian TVA set worth getting? I know there are supposed to be ~3 hours of interviews, but if they're in French with no English subtitles, it's not of much use to me.

    DJ
     
  19. Dana Fillhart

    Dana Fillhart Supporting Actor

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    Amélie was my 3rd-favorite of 2001, but the more I think about it the more I really put it as a tie with Memento for 2nd (both behind Fellowship of the Ring). I'm looking forward to picking this up more than any other DVD outside of the 5-disc FOTR special later this year. I wanted to pick up the French-only lunchbox set I saw advertised but as I know I'd never find it in stores (and not wanting to order online), I passed up on the opportunity. Now I wonder if I shouldn't just go ahead and bite the bullet and buy both versions.
    Audrey Tautou is a goddess! (well, to me she is [​IMG]) I saw Happenstance at a Barnes and Noble, but WAY overpriced; I passed on it in hopes of finding it cheaper elsewhere but no such luck...
     
  20. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

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    Thankfully Ron's confirmed that the R1 DVD will in fact have the commentary track (and looks like 2 commentaries, actually) that it was previously rumored it will lack.

    Can't wait!
     

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