Studio: Columbia TriStar
Film Length: 99 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Screen
Subtitles: English, French & Korean
Release Date: September 16, 2003
Worms…yes…that is what eats you up when you die. The body decomposes, and the bugs eat you as you rot…not the prettiest picture, is it? But that is what happens to people unless cremation is the next thing in line. The thought of being dead and eaten up may not satisfy the thoughts of all people. I’m not sure of what I want for me when I die. I’d probably be buried since I have this gut feeling that if I burn on earth I’ll somehow burn in hell…or whatever happens to me in this life will be reflected in the afterlife. That is probably far from the truth since the word is if you lead a good life in this world, you should see the same in the next.
As told in this tale, Viking legend says when a man dies and his body is cast out to the ocean in a boat shot with flaming arrows from the shore; and if the sky at dusk glows red and orange, that man has led a good life. One night, on the beaches of his home of Saggaponack, New York, Levi Rockwell (Burt Lancaster) recites this story to his grandchildren at his 77th birthday party weekend. This is Levi’s wish after his death - to be cast out to sea like the Vikings, or else the worms will come in and eat the flesh off his bones…how nice…
His four children and eight grandchildren visit Levi for his birthday. Each of his children has clearly grown up and lead very different lives, but all still have a love for “dad”. They are a close family despite living far apart.
The grandchildren find the perfect gift for Levi but a little work is needed. They are determined to finish it before the big birthday celebration. Each of Levi’s children also has special gifts for him too. Despite the love, fun, and cherishing of each passing moment, there is a sense of something not quite right. Only Levi’s youngest grandson (Macaulay Culkin) has the closest attachment to his grandfather and has an idea about the events to immediately unfold.
I don’t know how else to put this, but this picture is full of love. Featuring a cast with some familiar younger faces of Kevin Spacy and Bill Pullman, Rocket Gibraltar exhibits the tightness of the family and the importance each of them had in life. No one escapes the odd quarrel, but what family is perfect? As age creeps up on us all, it is only the right thing to respect and love one’s elders because time isn’t forgiving of age. Live and love I say, or else you may have regrets the next day…
Picture Quality? /
The FULL SCREEN version picture (of what seems like was filmed in 2.39:1) is decent in image quality. Blacks can be deep and colours can be vivid at times, but on average this film is more decently-mediocre in quality. There is some film grain throughout, but not exceedingly noticeable. At times there seems to be a light ‘spot’ noticeable about a quarter up from the bottom in the middle. I don’t know where in the chain this came from – whether it’s from the original film transfer or the many transfers in between - but it's noticeable on occasion. At last, resolution is consistent scene to scene but is wanting for more detail considering it’s a blown up 4:3 image. I don’t think that this release will please everyone given that there is no original aspect ratio and the fact that I've said "but" after almost every decent comment...
Audio Quality? /
The keepcase’s insert is incorrect in audio information not once, but twice. It has a “Dolby Surround” logo but there is no such soundtrack on the disc. This is odd because the picture on the back shows Dolby Digital 1.0, but that is also incorrect. The audio is presented in 2.0 mono. It is weak, but clean of distortion and hiss. I felt that the music was very cheesy for the majority of this movie (and almost made me not enjoy it), and it also sounds weak. The opening sequence grabbed me for a few quick minutes, but proved to be over-confident in the length of its presentation.
You won’t find any extras here…
The movie was enjoyable for the latter part of the film, mostly because it took me by surprise and re-kindled my interest. I thought there were some good performances but also some not-so-good performances. Burt Lancaster did well in this movie. The film does make me appreciate my family a little more, not that I ever didn’t. It also helps me envision how I'd like my future family to be towards each other, although I'd give my kids a good whallop if they ever did what these kids during the film's climax. Hopefully this film will touch a child, teenager, or adult, to reach out a little more to their families if they haven’t already…