Amélie Blu-ray Steelbook Review

4 Stars Not for everyone
Amélie Steelbook Review

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film Amélie returns to Blu-ray courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment with attractive steelbook packaging.

Amélie (2001)
Released: 08 Feb 2002
Rated: R
Runtime: 122 min
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Cast: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus
Writer(s): Guillaume Laurant, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Plot: Despite being caught in her imaginative world, Amelie, a young waitress, decides to help people find happiness. Her quest to spread joy leads her on a journey where she finds true love.
IMDB rating: 8.3
MetaScore: 69

Disc Information
Studio: Sony
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Other
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: R
Run Time: 2 Hr. 2 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: Blu-ray Steelbook
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 03/26/2024
MSRP: $39.99

The Production: 4/5

Amélie is a rather bizarre and strange film from France directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, Alein: Resurrection) that explores the magical imagination of a young French girl played by Audrey Tautou (The DaVinci Code) who, after an odd and secluded upbringing by her physician father, finds her direction in life to help others in rather extraordinary ways after discovering an old discarded tin box full of toys and trinkets hidden in the wall of her apartment. When she sees how delighted the owner of the box is when leaves it in a phone booth for him to discover, she takes it upon herself to help others in her life find love, closure, and happiness, but while doing so, is unable to find her own happiness. The film is quirky, although may not be to everyone’s taste.

The following is from Ronald Epstein’s review of the 2002 Miramax/Disney DVD release:

From the moment it begins, Amélie bursts with a surge of joy and energy. It’s a fable of sorts about a young girl who finds happiness by coming out of her shell and reaching out to others. Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is an innocent, imaginative girl raised in isolation by her father, full of shyness and seemingly lacking in social skills despite her waitress job at the Deux Moulins in Paris. One day Amélie discovers a small box of childhood trinkets hidden her bathroom wall and vows to find its owner. The success of this venture inspires the young woman to help others, anonymously influencing and altering their lives.

Director Jeunet populates his film with a splendid array of colorful characters like Raymond Dufayel (Serge Merlin), an old man with an illness that causes his bones to shatter like glass or Lucien (Jamel Debbouze), a guy who finds beauty in vegetables, or a landlady (Yolande Moreau) who continues to dwell on the husband who left her thirty years ago. As for the grocer (Urbain Cancelier), who is cruel to his assistant, Amélie has special plans for him. Amélie is a wonderfully uplifting motion picture that features a sparkling performance by Audrey Tautou in the lead role. You can’t help but to be mesmerized by her large brown saucer-shaped eyes that transmits such loving innocence. The film shows such an affection for its lead character as well as all the characters she meets.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

Licensing for Amélie here in the United States has changed hands since its previous home video releases – Miramax/Disney on DVD in 2002 and Lionsgate (via a licensing deal with Miramax) on Blu-ray in 2011 – finding a new home with Sony Pictures Classics and released on Blu-ray once again thru Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Sony’s 1080p AVC encode is bursting with color to capture the fantasy elements of the story. Detail is excellent, providing rich textures like fabrics, stone, and facial features. Contrast is also very good, providing deep blacks with strong shadow details.

Audio: 4.5/5

The only available audio track on the disc is a nice French 5.1 mix in lossless DTS-HD MA with optional English or English SDH subtitles. Surrounds are used where needed, never feeling gimmicky or overwhelming. LFE adds some nice low-end to the mix.  Dialogue is clear throughout (I do not speak French, so I cannot truthfully say it was intelligible).

Special Features: 3/5

**NEW** Jean-Pierre Jeunet Looks Back (1080p; 5:00): All-too-short interview with the director as he looks back on the making of the film.

The Look of “Amélie” (upscaled 1080i; 12:47): Ported from the 2002 DVD release, this featurette takes a look at the film’s production design.

Fantasies of Audrey Tautou (upscaled 1080i; 2:07): Some of the actress’ outtakes, ported from the 2002 DVD release.

Audio Commentary with Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet: The English commentary track from the 2002 DVD release.

Screen Tests (upscaled 1080i; 6:28): Ported from the 2002 DVD release, including screen tests of Audrey Tautou, Urbain Cancelier and Yolande Moreau.

Q&A with the Director (upscaled 1080i; 24:36): Taped in front of a live audience at the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles in 2002.

Q&A with the Director and the Cast (upscaled 1080i; 5:55): From a French press screening in 2002.

An Intimate Chat with Jean-Pierre Jeunet (upscaled 1080i; 20:48): From the 2002 DVD release.

Home Movie: Inside the Making of “Amélie” (upscaled 1080i; 12:45): From the 2002 DVD release.

Storyboard Comparisons (upscaled 1080i; 0:57): From the 2002 DVD release.

The “Amélie” Scrapbook (1080p): Photo galleries of production photos, poster concepts, storyboards, and the Garden Gnome’s Travels.

Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 1:11): The US re-release trailer with the Sony Pictures Classics studio logo.

Overall: 4/5

While not to everyone’s taste, it is nice to see Amélie return to Blu-ray thanks to a new licensing deal with Sony Pictures Classics and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

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Bartman

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The first Blu-ray was 1080i MPEG2, that put me off buying it. The second was 1080p AVC with improved picture quality, I must have missed that one & it's still available in Region B.
For this Sony are the subtitles synched well to the dialog?
There will be no 4K release because of director objections.
 

Todd Erwin

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The first Blu-ray was 1080i MPEG2, that put me off buying it. The second was 1080p AVC with improved picture quality, I must have missed that one & it's still available in Region B.
For this Sony are the subtitles synched well to the dialog?
There will be no 4K release because of director objections.
The Sony release has white subtitles with a faint shadow, making them more visible and about as well-timed as you can get, as some of the dialogue flies by.
 
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