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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants.



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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 Herb Kane

Herb Kane

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Posted September 27 2005 - 01:55 AM

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The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants






Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 2005
Rated: PG
Film Length: 119 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Enhanced Widescreen
Audio: DD 5.1
Color/B&W: Color
Languages: English & French
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
MSRP: $28.98
Package: Single disc/Keepcase





The Feature:
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants might be an easy film to pick on however, doing so, would be boorish. The film is a fresh, eager-to-please movie based on Ann Brashares' best-selling young adult novel. Like the four teenage girls at its center, the film makes up in charm, what it lacks in sophistication.

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The sisterhood of the title is formed as the girls, best friends since childhood since their mothers met at a pre natal exercise class. Despite their differing backgrounds and privilege, the girls have formed a tight bond, one which is being challenged as they all go their separate ways in life. On a shopping trip, they find a pair of thrift-store jeans that mysteriously flatters all of them, despite their different shapes and sizes.

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Before embarking upon their July and August adventures, the four girls form the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." Their charter lists ten rules, all of which must be followed. These include: "You must never wash the pants," "You must never pick your nose while wearing the pants," "You must never let a boy take off the pants (although you may take them off yourself in his presence)," and "You must pass the pants along to your sisters according to the specifications set down by the Sisterhood." The last rule mandates that, after having the pants for a week, each "sister" must FedEx them to the next one on the list.

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These peripatetic pants connect the four separate stories as we follow the girls through their summer adventures. Carmen (played by America Ferrera), the writer of the group (who also narrates the film in voice-over), is the half-Puerto Rican child of divorced parents. She's over the moon about spending a summer alone with her father (played by Bradley Whitford), until she discovers that he's moved in with a lily-white Southern woman (played by Nancy Travis) and her two annoyingly perfect children.

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Painfully shy Lena (played by Alexis Bledel) is off to visit her grandparents in a village in Greece, while flamboyant Bridget (played by Blake Lively), a star athlete, is heading to soccer camp in Mexico. The cynical Tibby (played by Amber Tamblyn - and before anyone asks, yes, Amber is the daughter of the great Russ Tamblyn - Gun Crazy (1949), The Haunting (1963) and West Side Story (1961), is the only one stuck at home for the summer, working at a Wal-Mart-like superstore and making a video "suckumentary" about all the losers in her hometown.

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Of these four plots, the story of Carmen's blended family is by far the most consistently engaging and complex, largely because of the vibrant presence of Ms. Ferrera, who turns in an explosive performance as the young woman trying desperately to connect with her departed father. The Lena and Bridget story lines, centered as they are on ill-starred puppy love, will have less emotional resonance for anyone over 12, while the tale of Tibby and her video documentary founders in bathos after the introduction of a young child, Bailey (played by Jenna Boyd) who slowly breaks down Tibby's sarcastic and cynical facade. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has plenty of plot twists that grownups will see coming a mile away, but that's no reason to deny its pleasures to the less jaded younger set.

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The Feature: 3.5/5
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Video:
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this enhanced for widescreen transfer looks terrific. In fact with the many vistas seen throughout the course of the film, this picture looks like a collage of picturesque postcards showing off Mexico, Greece and beautiful British Columbia. Virtually every color imaginable from the palette can be seen here showing off great vibrancy and perfect levels of hue and saturation. Filters are used effectively to show off the golden look of Mexico (and B.C.) while blues are used in many of the Greece scenes. Skin tones also looked real and accurate. Blacks were deep and whites were crisp and clean. Contrast was just right.

The level of image definition was very pleasing, often showing nice detail, particularly during many of the close-up scenes. There is virtually no film grain noticeable whatsoever. What stands out here in terms of this video presentation is the level of depth and dimension. In many cases the film has an almost 3D quality to it, looking mighty impressive projected on a 96" screen. As we would hope for such a new film the print appeared to be immaculate and free of any dust or other blemishes.

The authoring seems to have handled perfectly as neither compression or edge enhancement were an issue. A very nice job, all around.

Video: 4.5/5
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Audio:
The audio here is an encoded DD 5.1 track and though it is adequate it rather unremarkable at the same time.

Most importantly, the track is clean and free of any hiss or noisy distractions with an overall natural fidelity. While the dialogue was clear and intelligible, at times, was rather thin – sometimes sounding echolike or even hollow. My only real complaint.

There is a fair amount of music here throughout the film and the soundstage is satisfactorily wide, although not all that pleasing-so till about 1/3 of the way in. The music is never an issue with respect to the dialogue – never overbearing. There isn’t much to speak of in terms of dynamics or heft, as the track is fairly basic.

I was disappointed with the lack of surround material as the track is basically devoid of anything from the rear end – even the music is barely enhanced. While not your common garden variety action-flick, this is somewhat disappointing – even for this type of film. Needless to say, LFE never factors into the equation.

Not up to the same high standards of the very impressive visual presentation.

Audio: 2.5/5
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Special Features:
The disc includes several special features starting with:
[*] Fun On The Set which includes a number of behind-the-scenes look into the gags and laughs that the various cast members had on the set during the film's production. Duration: 4:42 minutes.
[*] Suckumentary. "What does a teenage girl do in a town swarmed with losers...?" They shoot a "suckumentary"... er... a documentary. This is the end result of how Tibby spent her lonely summer. Duration: 6:59 minutes.
[*] Sisters, Secrets and the Traveling Pants: A Video Commentary. The girls meet in a candle lit dance studio to watch selected scenes and comment while eating junk food. Blake missed her plane and could not attend but a bittersweet phone call to her on camera accentuates how close these girls really are. Duration: 17:22 minutes.
[*] A Conversation With Author Ann Brashares. How does author Brashares feel about the finished product? She reports being happy that the filmmakers depicted her characters as she envisioned them – “with warts and all” – and that they avoided the temptation to wrap things up neatly. “I never want to tell a story that’s leading up to a lesson learned,” Brashares says. “If that’s what’s drawing you through a story then you’re not listening to the characters the way you need to. In life, not everything is resolved.” This very sentiment is also discussed by Kwapis in the deleted scenes feature. Duration: 8:59 minutes.
[*] A total of 8 Deleted Scenes are available here with optional commentary from director Ken Kwapis. All of which are somewhat interesting, one or two of which I felt may have added nicely to the film. Duration: 7:17 minutes.
[*] And finally, the Theatrical Trailer has been included and as we would expect is in perfect condition. Duration: 2:25 minutes.

Special Features: 3.5/5
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**Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**



Final Thoughts:
Through their various experiences, the film explores poignantly, under the sympathetic and patient guidance of director Ken Kwapis, the emotional vulnerability of being a teenage girl. It deals with loss, love and identity. Away from each other, they begin to discover themselves. But they also suffer bouts of loneliness, which is why they are always so excited when it's their turn to wear the jeans and they are reconnected with their sisterhood. The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants is a sweet and moving drama with strong performances from all four girls who each bring a very different presence. The film contains its share of flaws and manipulations, but they are not significant enough to mute my enthusiasm for it. Aimed squarely at the female market, there's enough in Traveling Pants to make it a good fit for even a wider audience.

The disc itself should please fans of the film as the presentation is very good and is trimmed with a healthy complement of interesting special features.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 (not an average)
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Release Date: October 11th, 2005
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 9 Michael Osadciw

Michael Osadciw

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Posted September 29 2005 - 04:43 AM

Wow, Herb...I thought you were kidding about this title!!

Mike
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Anchor Bay/Starz Entertainment Blu-ray Reviewer

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#3 of 9 Mike Wadkins

Mike Wadkins

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Posted September 29 2005 - 04:51 AM

mmmm Alexis Bledel may have to pick this one up

#4 of 9 John*D

John*D

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Posted September 29 2005 - 06:25 AM

I'm a JOAN of A' fan so I've been looking forward to giving this disc a rental.

#5 of 9 Aaron Silverman

Aaron Silverman

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Posted September 29 2005 - 06:41 AM

Still waiting to hear whether Herb was able to squeeze into those pants. . .Posted Image
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

#6 of 9 Rob Gillespie

Rob Gillespie

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Posted September 29 2005 - 07:44 AM

They *really* should have changed the name of this film for the UK market. The trailer had half the audience laughing just at the name Posted Image
No longer here.

#7 of 9 Aaron Silverman

Aaron Silverman

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Posted September 29 2005 - 07:48 AM

Does "Traveling Pants" mean something different over there?
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

#8 of 9 Mike Wadkins

Mike Wadkins

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Posted September 29 2005 - 08:13 AM

pants are underwear like y fronts and a jokey name at that thanks to one dominik dymond

#9 of 9 Herb Kane

Herb Kane

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Posted September 30 2005 - 12:08 AM

Quote:
Still waiting to hear whether Herb was able to squeeze into those pants. . .

Hey, nevermind the pants, I'm in the middle of the Batman Begins review and you should see how good I look in a cape... Posted Image
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),...