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DVD Reviews

HTF Review: What A Girl Wants (Highly Recommended)



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#1 of 33 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted July 30 2003 - 06:43 PM

Posted Image

What A Girl Wants




Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 2003
Rated: PG
Film Length: 105 Mins.
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish




The Feature:
This is definitely a pre-teen/teen feel good movie for girls. Daphne (Amanda Bynes) is a young girl who wishes year after year on her birthday that her father, Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth) would come to find her. Her mother Libby Reynolds (Kelly Preston) has told her the story of their romance and how they were separated due to her father’s aristocratic family. Finally, Daphne takes fate into her own hands on her 17th birthday and leaves her home in Chinatown NY to fly to London to find her father who is a political candidate for Prime Minister. Daphne is thrown into a whirlwind of garden parties and balls where she must fight to keep her own sense of who she is and be true to herself finding romance along the way. Throw in an interfering political advisor (Jonathan Pryce) with his own agenda, his daughter who is engaged to marry Henry Dashwood and a soon to be, extremely jealous, step-daughter just for fun and you’re left with a not so aristocratic family who try to dash the dream of the young girl. Daphne shakes the aristocracy to its very core and comes out a winner.


Audio:
Simply put, the audio for this disc is terrific. At the start of the movie there is a brief narration and the dialogue is very clear. Much of the film is shot in a castle with creaky floors, large wooden doors and everything sounds very realistic. There are many social parties and the background noise is very apparent with good use of the surrounds. Another example of surround use is a good rain storm upon her arrival to England. There is moderate LFE which is apparent during a plane scene (landing in London) and during some music scenes. The movie is loaded with music which comes across as very clear and solid. Many of the introduction scenes are filled with classical music which is clear and very airy. This is a solid DD 5.1 mix which I was quite impressed with.


Video:
Once again Warner has given us an outstanding transfer that is crystal clear and extremely sharp. The colors almost came alive as they were so incredibly vibrant. Contrast was very good with excellent black levels. As one would expect with a new release, I did not detect any video noise or dirt and no sign of any EE. The video presentation really doesn’t get much better than this.


Special Features:
There are a number of special features which include:

-Commentary by Amanda Bynes
-Commentary by Director Dennie Gordon
- Commentary by Screenwriters Jenny Bicks --Fashion & Etiquette 101
-What’s A Girl To Wear? (interactive fashion quiz)
-Additional Scenes
-Theatrical Trailer
-Cast & Crew

Finally, I stumbled upon an easter egg (did I mention that I hate easter eggs?). When the top of the laurel leaf on the chair is highlighted in the Special Features section, you get a screen test for two teens (Peach & Pear) who appear in the movie.


Final Thoughts:
While I’d never admit this to most of my friends or co-workers, I actually enjoyed the movie and I think most teens will as well. Warner has presented a solid disc with outstanding audio and video. Highly Recommended.



Release Date: August 5th, 2003
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#2 of 33 OFFLINE   ThomasC

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Posted July 30 2003 - 07:59 PM

Never would I have thought that a movie like this would've garnered a "highly recommended" stamp of approval, but there it is. Posted Image This movie was much better than I expected it to be, but I probably won't buy the DVD, as its presence in my collection might be too damaging to my ego if anybody other than myself were to spot it there. Nevertheless, it'll definitely get another look sometime in the near future. Posted Image Thanks for the review!

#3 of 33 OFFLINE   Josh Sieg

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Posted July 30 2003 - 08:20 PM

Awesome review. You've sold me on this disc! Posted Image Is it in a snapper case?
My favorites:

#4 of 33 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted July 31 2003 - 03:24 AM

After having just watched the Lizzie McGuire Movie, I think I could pretty much handle any pre-teen/teen-girl movie that comes my way. Glad to hear it was a fun film and a great transfer. I just may have to do a rental and check this one out.

Great job on the review!

dave Posted Image
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#5 of 33 OFFLINE   Adam Tyner

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Posted July 31 2003 - 05:31 AM

Quote:
Awesome review.

I dunno. My criticism would be:

(1) there's a list of supplements, but absolutely no comments whatsoever about them. What did you think of the commentaries? What are the deleted scenes about? Are the deleted scenes in anamorphic widescreen? Is "Fashion & Etiquette 101" a description of the third commentary?

(2) There's no mention at all as to whether or not the disc is in anamorphic widescreen. Ideally, this information would be in the first sentence or two of that section and/or at the top of the review, perhaps along with where the aspect ratio is noted. I mean, it's a review of a brand-new release from Warner, so we know it's 16x9-enhanced, but that may not be the case for other titles...

(3) next to nothing is said about the movie. There's a synopsis, sure, but only a fraction of a sentence about what the reviewer thought of it. Why did you like it? What did you like about it?

#6 of 33 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted July 31 2003 - 08:05 AM

Josh:
Quote:
Awesome review. You've sold me on this disc! Is it in a snapper case?


Thanks for your kind words. They did a good job with the disc. Yes it's in a snapper (it is WB...). I like snapper cases though.... Posted Image


Herb.
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#7 of 33 OFFLINE   Simon_Lepine

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Posted July 31 2003 - 08:11 AM

Gotta agree with Adam, some comments on the supplements would be a welcome addition to your reviews, Herb. I was thinking the same after reading the Casablanca review.

#8 of 33 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted July 31 2003 - 08:28 AM

Adam:
Quote:
I dunno. My criticism would be:

(1) there's a list of supplements, but absolutely no comments whatsoever about them. What did you think of the commentaries? What are the deleted scenes about? Are the deleted scenes in anamorphic widescreen? Is "Fashion & Etiquette 101" a description of the third commentary?

(2) There's no mention at all as to whether or not the disc is in anamorphic widescreen. Ideally, this information would be in the first sentence or two of that section and/or at the top of the review, perhaps along with where the aspect ratio is noted. I mean, it's a review of a brand-new release from Warner, so we know it's 16x9-enhanced, but that may not be the case for other titles...


(3) next to nothing is said about the movie. There's a synopsis, sure, but only a fraction of a sentence about what the reviewer thought of it. Why did you like it? What did you like about it?



Hi Adam:

Thanks for your concerns. Please allow me to address them individually. With regards to the supplements, yesterday I had a Fed-Ex truck pull up with almost a dozen titles with another dozen expected next Thursday or Friday. Since we've had only one review of a WB title in the past month or so on the forum, I felt my time was better spent focusing on the movie itself. By the time I finally got signed up, we were already a few weeks behind. Personally, I'm not a big fan of extras. There are movies with extras that begged to be watched, I don't feel this title is one of them.

Regarding your third issue, remember, I am reviewing the DVD. There were numerous concerns voiced when past (recent) reviews didn't contain the A/V info that most of us members want. It is my intent (and perhaps desired style)to focus on that aspect.

Lastly, regarding your second issue and the mention of "anamorphic" release. Fair enough! It was an oversight on my part and should have been included. I have amended my template so future reviews will indicate it's inclusion or exclusion.

If there are any other issues that you think could improve future reviews.... PLEASE, let me know.

Herb.
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#9 of 33 OFFLINE   Adam Tyner

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Posted July 31 2003 - 08:44 AM

Quote:
Regarding your third issue, remember, I am reviewing the DVD.

Considering that you didn't review any of the supplements, though, are you really reviewing the DVD? Your other reviews, including Casablanca (is it unworthy of having its extras reviewed as well?) have been similarly uninformative. I don't mean to sound rude or anything, but aside from a handful of sentences about the quality of the presentation, there's nothing in your review that's any more detailed than the copy on the back of the disc's packaging.

I don't think there's anything wrong with focusing on audio/video quality, but a review that says nothing about the movie is incomplete, at least in my mind. The "Highly Recommended" note is meaningless if you say why a movie is highly recommended. I'm not suggesting that you should writing seven or eight paragraphs about the movie, but more than three or four words in the conclusion would be nice. I would expect a DVD review to cover the entire DVD, not just the way it looks and sounds. The presentation is important, of course, but that's not the sole reason why I read DVD reviews. I'm interested in learning about movies I may be unfamiliar with or those I may have unfairly dismissed at a glance. A title I'm undecided about buying can be pushed one way or the other if the quality of the extras really stand out. Your reviews as written are unhelpful in both of those respects. Judging by the number of "great review!" comments scattered throughout your reviews so far, apparently a number of HTF members don't feel the same way I do, though.

#10 of 33 OFFLINE   James Edward

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Posted July 31 2003 - 10:31 AM

I didn't expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Posted Image
Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I'm training to be a cage fighter.

#11 of 33 OFFLINE   Martin Fontaine

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Posted July 31 2003 - 01:51 PM

I loved this movie and will buy it! I have a thing for british girls so anything involving people going there and jokes about differences between American English vs. English Englihs are a winner to me.

About the review, I agree with all that was said before, here's my suggestion (And that goes to other reviewers too) When stating the aspect ratio, it would be great to specify the existance of a wrong aspect ratio version using a format such as this:

Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1, a Pan & Scan 1.33:1 version is also available as a separate release, be sure to get the correct one.
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1, a Pan & Scan 1.33:1 version is available on the other side of the disk
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1, a Pan & Scan 1.33:1 version is available on the same side with a selection upon insert
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1, a Pan & Scan 1.33:1 version is available on the other disk in the set
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 2.35:1, a Pan & Scan 1.33:1 version is available by setting your DVD Player in 4:3 Pan & Scan.

(Depending on which one applies)
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#12 of 33 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted August 01 2003 - 01:07 AM

No mention of 16x9/anamorphic in any of those examples... Posted Image
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#13 of 33 OFFLINE   Martin Fontaine

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Posted August 03 2003 - 12:47 PM

Ah, yeah, I don't think of Anamorphic since I have a 4:3 screen (Which I sit rather close too since it's not filled hehe)

But what I meant, is that if a Foolscreen version is available to indicate it in your review so we know if we need to be careful upon purchase.
My DVDs | My Equipment
No OAR = No Sale!
If you don't want black bars, then you don't want DVD!

#14 of 33 OFFLINE   Steve K.H.

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Posted August 04 2003 - 07:32 AM

Highly Recommended Teen Flick... I suppose that makes sense... we don't all live on an island, and it's refreshing that we look to find something that is highly recommended to add to our libraries, even if it *gasp* is for some OTHER member of our families.

Just cuz the majority of the HTF membership doesn't subscribe or endorse certain genres doesn't mean it isn't a great addition to the library.

Props for having the stones to stamp this with an approval rating!!!

Props again for not reviewing the film.

(The "Software Forum" is not the place for a review of the film. There are exceptions of course, such as new material and how it impacts on the original theatrical presentation.)

Suggestions:

1) If you are rushing a review out the door, perhaps place a disclaimer on it to warn the readership/membership that this is a "reader's digest" version.

2) (or is this 1a?) The film may sell itself. The kicker here is whether the presentation and additions put it over the top one way or the other. You'll find that's what we're looking for... "what do I get for my investment?"

Good job.Posted Image

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#15 of 33 OFFLINE   Luis A

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Posted August 04 2003 - 07:43 AM

I honestly have no desire to see this movie, but I did order it for my girls since they have their own little theater setup in their room.

Liked the review BTW.Posted Image

#16 of 33 OFFLINE   ThomasC

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Posted August 04 2003 - 07:55 AM

Quote:
Props again for not reviewing the film.

(The "Software Forum" is not the place for a review of the film. There are exceptions of course, such as new material and how it impacts on the original theatrical presentation.)
The movie is the sole reason why the DVD exists, so why shouldn't it be reviewed as well? While I'm fine with Herb's decision not to review the film, I don't think anyone should hold him back if he'd like to do one. All you have to do is skip over that part of the review, no one's forcing you to read it. Ron convinced me to buy some DVDs of some movies that I had never seen before, and it was mainly due to the quality of the film. The fine quality of the video and audio presentation were perks.

[/rant] Posted Image

#17 of 33 OFFLINE   Adam Tyner

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Posted August 04 2003 - 08:14 AM

Quote:
Props again for not reviewing the film.

(The "Software Forum" is not the place for a review of the film. There are exceptions of course, such as new material and how it impacts on the original theatrical presentation.)

If I saw a restaurant review that only commented on the ambiance -- that didn't comment on the quality of the food at all, perhaps only providing a brief list of some of the entrees -- I wouldn't take it very seriously. I feel the same way about a DVD review that comments only on the presentation, ignoring the most important reason why someone may or may not be interested in the DVD in the first place.

I disagree about the forum placement as well -- there's not a "DVD Review" forum, DVD reviews have to go somewhere, and Home Theater Software is the most logical spot. Just because the reviews reside in the Software forum doesn't mean the movie itself should go unreviewed.

Just to be clear, though, this isn't really directed at Herb any longer. His reviews written since have taken some of the criticism into consideration.

#18 of 33 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted August 04 2003 - 08:19 AM

I definitely agree that the most important aspect of any DVD review on the HTF forum is to discuss the technical merits or short-comings of the disc. Was the image transfer up to par? Audio mixing/mastering? Extra features worth investigating?

However, as long as those objectives are met, I don't mind reading (or writing) a review of the film to compliment the review and make it more complete. Naturally it's just one person's opinion but as others have already mentioned it could always be skipped. If somone were to review *only* the movie then I agree 100% that this belongs in the "movies" section. But as long as a sanctioned review is being posted that covers all aspects of the disc...the inclusion of a "movie review" has more going for it than against it...often Ron's review of the *movie* was what prompted me to purchase many films that I had never had the chance to see prior.

Just my 2 cents Posted Image

-dave
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#19 of 33 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted August 04 2003 - 08:40 AM

Quote:
(The "Software Forum" is not the place for a review of the film. There are exceptions of course, such as new material and how it impacts on the original theatrical presentation.)


Hi Steve, thanks for your comments. Are you suggesting that we should not be including a brief synopsis of the movie, prior to discussing the DVD and it's technical merits...? Or is your concern the placement of the review itself? If your concern is of the latter, Ron recently posted in a thread stating the reviews would stay in the Software Section for two weeks and then be archived to a review page. That is his call.

As for the recommendation, as I stated in a recent thread on the HTF Help & Feedback section, the content of the movie itself, may not warrant the HR moniker. What A Girl Wants is a perfect example. Not only was it entertaining, but the AV was top notch. And, I suspect is a movie that is not going to appeal to the masses of the forum.

The forum is made up of many members, all different shapes and sizes and it is my intent to cover a wide range of product so there is a little something for (hopefully) everybody.

Herb.
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#20 of 33 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted August 04 2003 - 08:45 AM

Quote:
Just to be clear, though, this isn't really directed at Herb any longer. His reviews written since have taken some of the criticism into consideration.


I think that may have been a compliment.... Thanks Adam.
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...


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