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HTF REVIEW: "Kate & Leopold" (with screenshots)

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#1 of 15 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 29 2002 - 08:40 AM

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Kate & Leopold

Studio: Miramax
Year: 2001
Rated: PG-13
Film Length: 118 minutes/122 minutes (Director)
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)

If they lived in the same century,
they'd be perfect for each other

Kate McKay (Meg Ryan) is an on-the-go marketing
executive whose career is on the rise. She lives
in a New York City apartment and constantly has
to put up with the noise upstairs caused by her
ex-boyfriend would-be inventor Stuart (Liev Schreiber).

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One day Kate discovers a guest in Stuart's apartment.
The man's name is Leopold (Hugh Jackman), a very
proper British noble whom Stuart has snatched from
history (1876, specifically) and brought forward
through a naturally occurring time portal. He also
happens to be Stuart's great grandfather.

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Stuart tries his best to contain Leopold in his
apartment until the next portal opens where he
can be returned to the 19th century (if he
continues to exist, he may inadvertently alter
the course of history). An unfortunate
accident, however, lands Stuart in the hospital,
leaving Leopold to venture out into the dangerous
world known as New York City.

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Through all of this, Kate and Leopold hook up
together. Though Kate doesn't believe for a second
that Leopold is from a totally different century,
she can't help but fall head over heels for a man
who is as kind, and well-mannered as he.

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When I received this DVD for screening, I was
a bit afraid that this would be one of those
films that only women would enjoy. What I found
instead, was a rather enjoyable feel-good movie.
The only problem I really found with the movie
was that Leopold too readily accepts this new
world, and somehow Kate is convinced to make the
most inane sacrifice within the final 15 minutes
of the movie. However, suspending all disbelief,
the movie does remain entertaining.

How is the transfer?

For the most part, the transfer looks very good.
The print is clean without blemish. Though the
movie was filmed rather softly, the colors of
Summer are very well pronounced from the colorful
trees in Central Park to the array of flowers in
a nearby shop. Flesh tones tend to run more red
than looking natural. The only gripe I have is
that there is an underlying presence of video noise
that can be seen throughout the film. While it's
not very pronounced, it's one of those things that
prevents me from raving about the transfer.

The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is very active. I
was quite impressed with how good this movie
sounded. In fact, I have half a page of scribbled
notes that I took that talk about the mix. First
of all, the film has a nice deep, full sound.
The rear channels take on a great responsibility
by providing ambient effects like taking a rainstorm
and enveloping the sound of rain and thunder
around you. The surrounds also give you a feel
for the many sounds of New York City. The
soundtrack is also a bit on the "bass" side,
which is fine, as my subwoofer was pounding out
the beats not only to the film's score, but
techno-music from inside a nightclub.

Special Features

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Kate and Leopold comes in two flavors:
a theatrical cut and a Director's Cut. You can
select either right from a menu screen that appears
shortly after inserting the DVD.

For review purposes, I watched the Director's cut.
Don't ask me how either version differs from one
another -- perhaps members who have seen the film
theatrically will tell us that when the DVD comes
out. It is interesting to note that both versions
only differ in running time by 4 minutes.

Both versions feature commentary with Director
James Mangold.

Let's start with the supplements, shall we?

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First up is On The Set, a cable-produced
featurette that begins with Director James Mangold
referring to the film as an "urban fairy tale".
Through interviews with Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman
and the filmmakers, we get an overview of the film.
Jackman recalls how star-struck he was to have the
opportunity to make the film with Meg Ryan, who he
refers to as the biggest star in Hollywood who
doesn't act like a star. Many behind-the-camera
antics are included that show the cast having a
great deal of fun on the set. Director James
Mangold was very specific in showing the beauty
that exists in New York City from the 19th Century
to the 21st Century. There's a greatly interesting
segment about how the Brooklyn Bridge scenes were
filmed on a soundstage.
(length: approx. 13 minutes)

There are 7 Deleted Scenes, some of
which include:

* While chasing Stuart, early on, a ball-point
pen is dropped. Leopold is seen sitting in the
bathtub admiring the foreign object while talking
to Otis.

* We return to the elevator shaft that Stuart
has fallen into. This scene was to establish
the fact that Stuart was not dead.

* Leopold, sitting on the couch in front of
the TV, imagining that his 19th century friend,
Otis, is with him.

* J.J. (Bradley Whitford) giving a hilarious
and rousing improvised extension of his speech.

The deleted scenes run approximately 8 minutes
in total, and should be heard with optional
commentary by Director James Mangold.

Dozens of stills are available for viewing in
the Photo Gallery, most of which are
publicity shots, candid moments from the set
and conceptual drawings for both costumes and

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Meet Costume Designer Donna Zakowka. In the
Costume Featurette, Donna talks about
the eye-opening experience that Director James
Mangold had with this film, having to rely on
sketches to shoot his scenes. We see many of
the conceptual drawings of costumes that were
transformed into final product on film.
(length: approx. 3 minutes)

While the DVD does include the Golden Globe
winning Best Song, "Until", Music Video
by Sting, there is absolutely no theatrical
trailer included.

Final Thoughts

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Kate and Leopold is nothing exceptional
by any means, but whatever it is reduced to
remains a fun romantic adventure that makes
for the ideal double date.

Certainly worth a rental!

Release Date: June 11,2002


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 15 OFFLINE   Gavin_L


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Posted May 29 2002 - 08:47 AM

thanks ron for the review, as always wonderful job. Still not sure about buying this dvd, but i guess i have a few more weeks to decide Posted Image

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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Posted May 29 2002 - 08:54 AM

I kinda like these fish out of water movies, but after seeing those screen caps all I can say is that Meg Ryan is getting a bit long in the tooth dontcha think? She kinda loks like the Joker from Batman in the above shot. Yikes
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#4 of 15 ONLINE   JohnS



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Posted May 29 2002 - 03:28 PM

Ron, as I don't have the DVD yet, but these may be the DIR CUT scenes in question *
References suggesting that Kate(Meg Ryan) has a genetic relationship to Stuart(Liev S.)
a scene were Meg Ryan appears in the background of a 19th century party

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#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted May 29 2002 - 03:31 PM

Good news, Ron. This is a must-buy in order to keep the girlfriend happy. To be honest, I liked it too, so that reduces the pain. Posted Image

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#6 of 15 OFFLINE   Luis Cruz

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Posted May 29 2002 - 06:55 PM

Awesome review. I really enjoyed this movie and will be picking it up when it comes out. Gotta love those sappy romantic comedy movies sometimes...lol. Posted Image
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#7 of 15 OFFLINE   Scott Weinberg

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Posted May 29 2002 - 07:32 PM

Solid review, Ron. I also enjoyed this one a bit more than I expected to! I'm surprised to hear that there are two versions on the disc, but this movie did have a lot of last-minute snips.

I remember one scene that was excised (about a week before the movie opened!) where there was a much longer conversation about how market testing is "ruining" movies. The version I saw had a little snippet of this exchange, but most of this scene was cut.

Looks like I may have to rent it to find out. For some reason, I'm fascinated by cut scenes! If you liked this one (even a little), I bet you'll also like Serendipity! Posted Image

#8 of 15 OFFLINE   Martin Fontaine

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Posted May 30 2002 - 03:08 PM

Is this one safe to buy in Canada? I mean, did they quit doing does half-french on both sides cases? Or is this one going to be ordered from the states instead?
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#9 of 15 OFFLINE   BrianB



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Posted May 30 2002 - 04:06 PM

JohnS, you've got massive spoilers in your suggested scenes... May I suggest you blank them out - a lot of people reading this thread have not seen the film.
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#10 of 15 OFFLINE   Jenna


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Posted June 02 2002 - 07:32 AM

Definitely gonna add this title to my collection. I unforgivibly missed it during it's theatrical release, despite being a fan of both Ryan & Jackman, so I can't wait to view it on my 57" widescreen with a glass of White Zinfandel.

There've been so many "action/adventure/fantasy" releases this year...so I'm in need of a light, romantic comedy. And, YES, "Seredipity" was very enjoyable, despite the "chic flick" stereotype. Posted Image

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#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Adam Sanchez

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Posted June 03 2002 - 04:01 AM

Thanks for the Review Ron! This is a must-buy for me. Mainly for a personal reason. It's the first movie I saw with my girlfriend, it was our first date together actually. Now we are in love and expecting our first child. So I have to get it. But besides all that, I actually did enjoy the movie. Looking forward to the new scenes.

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   Gary W. Graley

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Posted June 17 2002 - 09:43 AM

Enjoyed it as well as Serendipity, will be buying it when my favourite rental store has it up forsale...also where I bought my copy of Serendipity...Posted Image

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#13 of 15 OFFLINE   AnthonyR



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Posted June 23 2002 - 12:47 PM

I rented this movie last night and my wife and I thought this movie was horrible! We tried toothpicks in our eyes too stay up but they did'nt work!

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Julian Lalor

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Posted June 23 2002 - 02:50 PM

Well, as hard as this movie tried it was just plain sloppy. I mean, the guy is transported from 1876, yet knows who Jack the Ripper (1888) is and can quote Puccini's La Boheme (1896). Poor work, by any standard. And the ending was quite ludicrous.
I mean, what indepedent 21st century working woman wouldn't want want to go back and live in the 1870's where women are treated like chattels, are not entitled to vote or work and, basically, are baby factories. And don't get me started on the potential incest angle with her ex-boyfriend who also happens to be her great, great grandson.
I'm all for artistic licence, but this film wasd just insulting to anyone with a bare understanding of 19th century history.

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Richard Ruffner

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Posted June 23 2002 - 04:16 PM

As James Mangold points out in his commentary, he was not striving for historical accuracy, he was going for an idealized past, a time of innocence, etc. My wife and I love the movie, it's one of her all time favorites now.
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