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The Incredible Mr. Limpet Blu-ray Review



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#1 of 12 Cameron Yee

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Posted August 15 2012 - 01:02 PM

Henry Limpet, played by the inimitable Don Knotts, gets his wish to be a fish, and finds things are indeed better down where it’s wetter. The presentation on Blu-ray release is a decent one, though the bonus material is limited to a handful of pieces that are mostly promotional in nature.


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The Incredible Mr. Limpet

Release Date: August 7, 2012

Studio: Warner Home Video

Packaging/Materials: Blu-ray EcoBox

Year: 1963

Rating: G

Running Time: 1:39:11

MSRP: $19.98


  THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES
Video AVC: 1080p high definition 1.78:1 Standard definition
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 1.0 / Dolby Digital: Spanish 1.0 Mono
Subtitles English SDH, Spanish English

The Feature: 3.5/5

Timid bookkeeper and ardent pescaphile Henry Limpet (Don Knotts) would love nothing more than to be a fish. As a fish, Limpet’s life would be carefree; as a human all he knows is disappointment and humiliation.


Hoping to serve his country and impress his wife Bessie (Carole Cook), Limpet signs up for the armed forces, but gets classified “4F” – unacceptable for military service. And then his blowhard of a friend George Stickel (Jack Weston) rolls into town on furlough from the Navy, boasting about his supposed military adventures while inching ever closer to Bessie.


Eventually, Limpet wishes hard enough to escape his miserable existence and becomes the creature he’s so long admired. And notwithstanding a few run-ins with some predators of the deep, it’s also everything he’d hoped it would be, complete with new friends (both platonic and romantic) and a rather unique defense mechanism.


Taking to his new environment like a – well, fish to water – Limpet is more than ready to settle in for the long haul, but then a critical discovery on the ocean floor, and the United States’ subsequent entry into WWII, reminds him he can’t separate himself from the land just yet.


As a man, Limpet may have been “4F,” but as a fish he’ll prove to be the Navy’s most secret (and rather unbelievable) weapon against the Nazis and their dreaded U-boats.


Essentially a reverse Little Mermaid story, “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” has its undeniable charms, not least of which is the incomparable Knotts who is equally effective in live action and animated fish forms. A great supporting cast also helps sell the script’s broad, TV sitcom-like humor, though the narrative could stand to be streamlined by about 15-20 minutes (the back-and-forth communication between Limpet and the Navy is clunky at best and the pacing in the climax is rather sluggish). Though the animation isn’t high caliber (and wasn’t even so back in the day), the appealing main character and his heroes’ journey make this somewhat underrated family movie worthy of introduction to a new generation of viewers.


Video Quality: 3.5/5

Presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer approximates the 1.85:1 aspect ratio by filling the entire 16:9 frame. The picture’s major issue is one of consistency, with the live action material tending to fare better than the animated sequences, which are predominantly soft and murky looking (many scenes of both types do like quite good, however, with strong contrast, black levels, color depth, and all around detail). Considering the film’s vintage and likely lower production budget, the image problems are likely inherent to the source material. Fortunately, any attempts to remedy its shortcomings with digital processing tools have been applied with a light touch.


Audio Quality: 3.5/5

Dialogue in the 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp and detailed, with no hint of strain or distortion. Though low frequency effects and surround activity are non-existent, the track has satisfying dynamic range and breadth in its sound stage.


Special Features: 2/5

A handful of extras, ported from the previous DVD release, provide some glimpses into the promotional efforts and making of the film, though ultimately there’s not a great deal of depth.


Introduction by Don Knotts (2:47, SD): Knotts talks about his experience working on his first animated film and its initial critical and public reception.


Weekend at Weeki Wachi (10:25, SD): The vintage promotional piece describes the film’s premiere that took place in Weeki Wachi Springs, FL, where it was screened on a special underwater projection setup complete with mermaid attendants.


Mr. Limpet’s Fish Tank: Knotts comments on the film’s various characters and the actors portraying them.

  • Bessie Limpet (:36, SD)
  • George Stickel (:58, SD)
  • Ladyfish (1:09, SD)
  • Crusty (:56, SD)
  • Limpetfish (1:10, SD)
Theatrical Trailer (4:50, SD)


Recap

The Film: 3.5/5

Video Quality: 3.5/5

Audio Quality: 3.5/5

Special Features: 2/5

Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5


Warner Brothers’ charming, but a bit overlong, “fish in the water” movie receives a decent, true-to-source Blu-ray presentation from Warner Home Video. The bonus material is a bit meager, but includes some nice moments with Knotts as he reflects back on his first animated movie experience.


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#2 of 12 NY2LA

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Posted August 15 2012 - 02:35 PM

Regarding the aspect ratio: Does your monitor have a "just scan" option? Mine does, and when a 1.85 movie comes up short, this option brings up just enough black bars to get us to 1.85, or at least a wider picture than the normal setting.

#3 of 12 Cameron Yee

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Posted August 15 2012 - 03:15 PM

Framing a 1.85 at 1.78 is standard operating procedure for Warner, for whatever reason. My issue remains that they should really print 1.78:1 on the packaging to accurately reflect what's on the disc.


http://www.hometheat...n-warner-titles


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#4 of 12 NY2LA

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Posted August 15 2012 - 03:37 PM

Framing a 1.85 at 1.78 is standard operating procedure for Warner, for whatever reason. My issue remains that they should really print 1.78:1 on the packaging to accurately reflect what's on the disc. http://www.hometheat...n-warner-titles

And yet Warner is the worst culprit for unnecessarily windowboxing credits on cartoons and movies like Willy Wonka. I could see maybe pulling back a hair or two if some material comes right to the edge of the frame, but that doesn't happen often, and today's sets don't overscan anywhere near as much as CRTs do. I am not thrilled with LG for their apparent programmed zoom default, either.

#5 of 12 bigshot

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Posted August 15 2012 - 05:05 PM

The animation on this film was certainly very good for its day, and it blows most modern animation out of the water. You can't sneeze at Hawley Pratt, Robert McKimson and Bill Tytla. The compositing is the only thing that is primitive compared to today here.

#6 of 12 Adam Gregorich

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Posted August 15 2012 - 06:12 PM

This is my favorite Don Knotts movie.  Thanks for the review Cameron!



#7 of 12 Reed Grele

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Posted August 16 2012 - 04:09 AM

Saw this at the neighborhood Strand Theater when first released. One of my childhood favorites. Bought the blu. Now anxiously awaiting the blu ray announcement of my all time favorite Don Knotts film The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. If this doesn't see the light of day on blu soon, the horribleness and the awfulness of it will never actually be forgotten.

#8 of 12 John Hermes

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Posted August 16 2012 - 04:21 AM

Saw this at the neighborhood Strand Theater when first released. One of my childhood favorites. Bought the blu. Now anxiously awaiting the blu ray announcement of my all time favorite Don Knotts film The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. If this doesn't see the light of day on blu soon, the horribleness and the awfulness of it will never actually be forgotten.

Atta, boy, Reed!

#9 of 12 Reed Grele

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Posted August 16 2012 - 04:28 AM

It's to Don Knotts credit that many of the now classic catch phrases of this cult film weren't even uttered by the star himself. He surrounded himself with some of the best writers and character actors in the business, and gave them some of the best lines. Didn't matter who got the laughs, as long as it contributed to the whole. And they used Bon Ami!

#10 of 12 Rob_Ray

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Posted August 16 2012 - 07:01 AM

"You're C of C and you're OK.... You're C of C and you're OK. You're not C of C, but you're OK!" "I'll take good food over bad food any ol' day of the week!" "My wife came home and vibrated for a month!" "Heggs, just who do you think you are?" "Drop dead! That's who!"

#11 of 12 Dan_Shane

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Posted August 16 2012 - 07:32 AM

Originally Posted by Reed Grele 

It's to Don Knotts credit that many of the now classic catch phrases of this cult film weren't even uttered by the star himself. He surrounded himself with some of the best writers and character actors in the business, and gave them some of the best lines. Didn't matter who got the laughs, as long as it contributed to the whole.
And they used Bon Ami!

I am not sure how much influence Knotts would have had on the lines in the film or who got to say them, but I will at least agree that everyone shines in this, my favorite haunted house comedy.  Don certainly had to feel at home with the dialog written by Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum, the team who wrote the absolute funniest episodes of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW and M*A*S*H.


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#12 of 12 Mark Walker

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Posted September 23 2012 - 09:24 AM

Thanks for the review! I saw this for $7.99 at Fry's and did not want to buy it until I checked here. Thanks Cameron!!!

Paramount, please release DRAGONSLAYER on Blu-ray

Dragonslayer_1981HTF_zps4e370848.jpg

 

 

Vermithrax Pejorative deserves to be seen in high-def.






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