HTF REVIEW: "Big Trouble" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 10, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Big Trouble

    Studio: Touchstone
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 85 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English, French & Spanish

    They have forty-five minutes to save the
    world. They need forty-six.

    It sort of troubles me that Big Trouble
    didn't fare that well with the critics during its
    theatrical run. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (Men
    in Black and Get Shorty) and boasting a huge cast
    of recognizable faces, this movie had me laughing
    aloud for nearly its entire 85 minute run.
    In fact, the only problem I see anyone could
    possibly have with this film is trying to follow
    all the characters that are constantly walking in
    and out of the story. Let's see if I can put it
    all together for you. The story involves a
    former newspaper columnist (Tim Allen), his son
    (Ben Foster) and friend (DJ Qualls), a corrupt
    businessman (Stanley Tucci), his wife (Rene Russo)
    and daughter (Zooey Deschanel), two police officers
    (Patrick Warburton and Janeane Garofalo), a hitman
    (Dennis Farina), a wandering spirit (Jason Lee), and
    two FBI agents (Omar Epps and Heavy D) out to stop
    two morons (Johnny Knoxville and Tom Sizemore) from
    smuggling a nuclear bomb into a Miami airport and
    taking off to the Bahamas. Phew! Got that all?
    Many of the gags here are totally off-the-wall,
    representing the best kind of stuff you would find
    in a Zucker Brothers movie. Perhaps the biggest
    laughs from this film are those that poke fun at
    the terminally stupid and how they make life
    difficult for everybody else. With its ensemble
    of colorful characters and the actors who play them,
    Big Trouble becomes an endless array of
    zany antics that keeps hitting you round after round.
    How is the transfer?
    Generally, Big Trouble looks pretty decent
    with its clean and bright transfer that holds its
    vivid colors quite well. You'll be impressed how
    well Rene Russo's pink shirt stands out as well as
    how colorful an airplane full of Gator fans can be.
    It is those moments that come across quite pleasingly.
    The only problem I saw here was the inclusion of
    film grain that shows up in many of the brighter
    scenes, primarily in any shots that involve sky.
    Otherwise, this transfer averages out to be as
    good as any other DVD release of a recent comedy.
    The 5.1 surround sound mix seems to be a little
    uneven here. While sound is clear and robust across
    the front soundstage, it's the rears that fell
    virtually silent through the first half of the film.
    Oh, they were on, but the levels were a little too
    low to be noticed. As the action picked up
    considerably in the second half, I started to notice
    the effect noises coming behind me. These included
    bullets that whizzed past my head, and airplane
    flyovers that seemed to cross the entire listening
    What is most unusual here is the use of the LFE
    channel. I have never seen its use dedicated to
    one single prop in the film. That prop is the movie's
    focal point of attention, the suitcase. Every
    time that suitcase is opened or moved, you can
    practically feel the floor shake beneath you. It
    is so cool to see such an emphasis put on this one
    Special Features
    As much as I loved this film, I was rather
    disappointed in the lack of extra materials
    included here.
    I am not sure what exactly the folks at Disney
    had in mind when they put together Five minute
    movie. Basically, this is the entire 85 minute
    film condensed to a running time of just over 7
    minutes. Was there a reason for including something
    like this? It may be considered clever, but I greatly
    question its usefulness.
    A full-length commentary by Director Barry
    Sonnenfeld is quite interesting to listen to
    especially for the fact that Barry doesn't hesitate
    to give every intricate detail -- fully dissecting
    everything that went on in each of his scenes. We
    learn how the actors were picked, what went on during
    the day's shoot, and some of the interesting camera
    angles Sonnenfeld chose to use. The director has a
    story for everything and everyone, and though his
    voice comes across as being rather unemotional, his
    delivery is fluid and informative.
    What is really sad here is that no trailer is
    included, although we get Sneak Peeks of
    Out Cold and Corky Romano.
    Final Thoughts
    I love off-beat, zany and clever movies like Big
    Trouble, that manage to be stylish and different
    while delivering huge laughs. It's the sort of film
    that you take out at social gatherings amongst your
    coolest friends. At the very least, I urge you to
    rent this one. I'll be interested to see how many
    of you opt to purchase this afterwards. This is
    certainly a movie that I will watch again and again.
    Release Date: Now
  2. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

    Jun 30, 1997
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    Good review Ron, as usual. I wanted to see this at the theater, but I just didn't make it. I am going to give this a rent very soon to see what I think about it. It has an excellent cast and I'll watch anything with Jason Lee in it.

  3. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Good job Ron on the review, as I was wanting to watch in the theaters the first time it was purpose to premire, but when it got delay, I forgot about it times. Glad the DVD is good, as I might rent it sometime to buy it (would get it blindly, but I got a limited budget).
  4. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

    Nov 2, 2001
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    I'll add that anyone who enjoyed reading Dave Barry's original novel will probably enjoy the movie. It has some minor changes, but overall it's pretty faithful to the book.
  5. Brent Bridgeman

    Brent Bridgeman Second Unit

    Aug 12, 1999
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    To Joe's comment I'll add that anyone who enjoyed reading Dave Barry's novel should definitely pick up any and all of Carl Hiassen's novels. Barry, a friend of Mr. Hiassen's (they both work at the Miami Herald), does a good imitation of Carl's off-the-wall South Florida oddball criminal shenanigans, but no one can duplicate "the Master" IMHO. I haven't gotten to see the film yet, but am really looking forward to renting it soon, especially since Patrick Warburton looks like he is still channeling Puddy from Seinfeld. I miss Puddy and Newman.
  6. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    May 12, 2000
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    Personally, those who enjoyed the movie should read the book. It is actually much better than the movie. There are plenty of Dave Barry-isms that really best come across best in the book. Course, reading it, I had these actors going in my head and saw how good of a fit they were for the parts.

    The only unfortunate thing about the movie was the timing of it, which was originally was going to be released about a month after Sept 11 last year. Course, since then, people still aren't comfortable about humor about airport security and nuclear bombs...

  7. Jason Hughes

    Jason Hughes Supporting Actor

    Oct 17, 1998
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    Real Name:
    Jason Hughes
    I'm disappointed there are no deleted scenes, with such a short movie and large cast, there has got to be a lot of extra footage. I still plan on getting it, but I will wait a few weeks and get it used for $10.
  8. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

    Apr 19, 2000
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  9. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    May 12, 2000
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    There also isn't much missing from what was in the book, so I wouldn't expect much as far as deleted scenes.

  10. Chris M

    Chris M Second Unit

    Apr 15, 2000
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    Heh, this movie was funny, I'll definately pick it up previously viewed.

    I saw it in a theater with my then girlfriend, and we had the entire theater to ourselves, which was fun for us, but disapointing that this movie wasn't more popular.

  11. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

    Nov 2, 2001
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  12. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

    Dec 1, 1999
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    Disney World and Universal Florida
    Real Name:
    Tony D.
    i just watched the dvd and thought it was alot funnier then i expected it to be.

    stanley tucci was funny as always. and farina was great as well.

    andy richter as 2 people was a funny surprise and and patrick warburton was a riot too.
    plenty of "cameos" to go around heavy "d" myers, johnny knoxville, omar epps,janeane garofalo,
    look for a funny naked running through the airport scene by warburton near the end.
    also a small one by martha stewart that some may feel is appropriate for her as things are now.

    plenty of funny scenes.
    a dog who is stoned from a frog squirting on him,a goat getting hit by a car and not even being phased by it.
    "it looks like a garbage disposal"
    and the guy who calls in the radio staion to talk about the "gators"

    i had forgotten that it was directed by barry sonnenfeld until the end credits and it was based on a book written by dave barry.

    i'd say it was/is an under-rated comedy.

    about 3 out of 5 *'s for me
  13. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

    Sep 28, 1998
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    Real Name:
    Thanks for the review Ron. May have to give it a rent someday.

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