Welcome to Mooseport
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Donald Petrie
Film Length: 115 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitled in English and Spanish
-Full-length audio commentary by director Donald Petrie
-6 Deleted scenes with optional Director’s commentary
Release Date: May 25th, 2004
I have to admit, I had my doubts about this movie at first. I don’t think I even saw one trailer for this movie when it came out. This very DVD was the first I had even heard of this movie. Considering it only raked in $15 million at the box office, this may be why I never heard of it. Regardless, its star power alone was worth giving it a shot. I am glad I did! This was a great movie, and how could I have doubted otherwise! I mean, Gene Hackman and Ray Romano…of course it had to be good, and it sure was!
Romano and Hackman are of course great, and really make the movie entertaining. Gene Hackman plays the egocentric ex President of the USA, constantly hounded my his money grubbing ex, “First Lady” Christine Baranski. He is running for the mayor of Mooseport against Romano, who plays the genuinely honest town plumber who is the typical “clueless about love” schmuck that most of us guys are. Romano is in danger of losing his girlfriend of 6 years, the lovely Maura Tierney, because he just doesn’t “get it” that she wants a commitment. Not to mention that the Hackman has the hots for her as well.
Throw in the “doormat” of an assistant to Hackman, Fred Savage, and Hackman's "right hand" women, Marcia Gay Harden, who is also secretly in love with him, and you have a great couple of hours to fill your night at home with the DVD player and the boob tube. This was really a cute movie and I am actually surprised that it didn’t do better at the box office. It must have come out against some stiff competition. Might I add, my Girlfriend loved this movie, and she is usually very critical of movies in general.
Here is the synopsis from press release:
Welcome to Mooseport.
The sleepy Maine community has all the accoutrements of idyllic small town life: a little park and gazebo, quaint architecture, a moose that wanders through the streets, and lots of friendly townsfolk, including the proprietor of the local hardware store, Handy Harrison (Ray Romano) and his veterinarian girlfriend Sally (Maura Tierney).
Mooseport also just happens to be the vacation home for the leader of the free world: Monroe “Eagle” Cole, the President of the United States (Gene Hackman). Following two successful terms, the wildly popular President is ready to retire to his “Mooseport White House,” publish his memoirs and embark on a series of lucrative speaking engagements. “The Eagle Has Landed!” proclaims the Mooseport headlines when Cole arrives in the Maine town, along with his devoted executive secretary Grace Sutherland (Marcia Gay Harden) and young PR director Bullard (Fred Savage).
But Eagle’s retirement is delayed when the folks of Mooseport convince the former President to run for Mayor. At the same time, he sparks to Sally unaware that she is Handy’s girlfriend. And Sally, frustrated by Handy’s inattentiveness, doesn’t resist Eagle’s flirtations.
When a jealous I-Tandy announces HIS candidacy for mayor, Eagle is dumbfounded. “I’m running for mayor against the man who’s installing my toilets!” he rails. And in the heat of his toughest campaign to date, Eagle’s first date with Sally receives the kind of media scrutiny usually reserved for a summit meeting. (“Eagle Lays an Egg” say the pundits when she rejects his goodnight kiss. Ouch!) Handy, in turn, sees himself in a race for Mayor and boyfriend.
As the campaign kicks into high gear, things get even wilder in this once quiet town. Eagle and Handy’s closely-watched debate seems to hang on a game of Rock/ Paper/Scissors, the former president’s Secret Service agents suggest that he have Handy “eliminated,” and Eagle’s ex-wife (Christine Baranski) is campaigning for Handy. Even Eagle’s veteran campaign manager, Bert Langdon (Rip Torn), can’t make sense of this “David and Goliath” battle.
But one thing both the Handy and Eagle camps can agree on: Mooseport isn’t small enough for both of them! America’s favorite television comedy star — Ray Romano — and one of the most acclaimed actors in motion picture history — Gene Hackman — fight it out for love and small-town glory in Welcome To Mooseport.
Picture quality for this DVD actually very good!
The colors in the movie are bold and vibrant and jump off the screen. They have this great smoothness to them that blend well with no bleeding. Skin tones were perfect as far as I could tell. The detail on this video was very impressive, as the image just stands out and commands attention. It is very detailed. I was double impressed because since the movie kinda flopped at the box office, I didn’t expect as good of video transfer.
The actors in the background of scenes didn’t lose a whole lot of detail, which was nice. I saw no compression artifacts, and very little video noise. At one point I couldn’t believe the picture was that good, so I sat only a few feet back from my 40” Wega to see if I could catch anything really noticeable. The answer was, no!
Black levels were very solid and looked fantastic. I also could not catch any edge enhancement going on when I watched it, but I do notice it a bit in the screenshots. About the worst video offender for this DVD I could find was the occasional pop up of film dirt here and there.
SEE FOR YOURSELF!: (click on the picture for a bigger version of the screen-shot)
More screen shots here
Picture Quality Rating:
Picture: 4 / 5
The DVD is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1.
Audio for Mooseport was great. The dialog came out clear and bold, although a tad hollow at times. Dialog was good at being firmly anchored on screen. One thing that stood out to me was the music. There is a lot of “Presidential” type music throughout the movie that shows up in Gene Hackman’s scenes. The music is clear and bold, and packs a good low end to it.
Surround sound is used sparingly, mostly popping up every time the “Presidential” music chimes in. It adds a fullness and ambience to the scene. There is also a helicopter scene where the surrounds kick in for a few seconds. Most of the ambience you hear however besides the music, is all of the crowd scenes at the political rallies and debates between Hackman and Romano.
LFE does show it’s presence a bit. It rears its head every time the music kicks in, and the many scenes with Hackman’s cavalcade of big black SUV’s.
Sound Quality Rating:
Sound: 3 / 5
This DVD has great extras for not being such a big movie. I was impressed by the amount of extras that I gave them 4 1/2 stars based on I would’ve expect the bare minimum for this DVD! A Great effort by Fox I think. [/b]
The one and only person on this commentary was the Director Donald Petrie. Now although I thoroughly enjoyed this Director's other hits like “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” and “Miss Congeniality”, I didn’t enjoy his commentary all that much. It is very insightful, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a tad on the dry side. He does a lot of praising of Gene Hackman for what a genius actor he is, and points out every line or ad lib that Ray Romano contributed to the film.
Obviously if you want anyone’s commentary you want the Director of the movie, but I would have loved to see either Hackman or Romano sit in with the Donald. I think for me that would have made it much more interesting. Even though Mooseport is a great movie that I liked a lot, I am not so sure watching it with the commentary is a “must”. Try Donald out for a good 15 minutes and see what you think.
Scene 21 – Grace gives Handy check
Total Running Time: 01:34
Scene 22 – Alternate Ending – Monroe leaves Morris’ office
Total Running Time: 01:01
Scene 23 – Reporters hound Handy
Total Running Time: 01:15
Scene 24 – Extended – Sally and Grace talk over coffee
Total Running Time: 01:33
Scene 25 – Alternate – Longer cut with Sally voting
Total Running Time: 02:08
Scene 26 – Bullard gets a phone call
Total Running Time: 00:23
There are some ones in here. Definitely check it out!
Total Running Time: 02:34
Fox Flix: The Clearing
Preview for a new film starring Robert Redford and Helen Mirren, and Willem Dafoe. It looks as though Willem Defoe kidnaps Robert Redford and they are wondering about in the woods. WD demands a ransom from RR’s wife played by Helen Mirren. It’s going to be put out by Fox Searchlight which I find interesting when you factor in the star power of the two leading actors.
Total Running Time: 02:26
Now this is quite funny and it has to do with the movie Welcome to Mooseport. Fred Savage tries to get Hackman to do an advertisement for a new car from a Norwegian Manufacturer. This is the mock commercial that the ex “Prez” did for them. You get two flavors, one in English and one in Norwegian.
Total Running Time: 01:20
Again the new Fox “thing” where they highlight and give brief behind the scenes of new movies coming out. This time we get some footage from the new “Garfield” movie. Also we get a preview of Day After Tomorrow (which I personally can’t wait to see!), and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Total Running Time: 03:13
Extras / Bonus Features Rating:
Extras: 4 / 5
CHECK OUT THE NAVIGATION!:
"Welcome to Mooseport" is a very good DVD offering. For a not so blockbuster movie, it has great video quality, great sound, and better extras than I would have expected.
I can surely RECOMMEND buying this DVD! For everyone else, when in doubt, rent first!
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