DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Chasing Liberty

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Herb Kane, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

    May 7, 2001
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    Chasing Liberty

    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 2004
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 101 Minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Enhanced Widescreen
    Audio: DD 5.1
    Color/B&W: Color
    Languages: English & French
    Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
    MSRP: $27.95
    Package: Snap Case

    The Feature:
    Warner Brothers presents Chasing Liberty, a film directed by Andy Cadiff, written by Derek Guiley and David Schneiderman. The film stars singer-actress Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode, Jeremy Piven, Annabella Sciorra, Mark Harmon and Caroline Goodall.

    In Chasing Liberty, Anna Foster, (code-named Liberty), is the only child of U.S. President James Foster (played by Mark Harmon) and his First Lady (Caroline Goodall). Unfortunately, Anna’s social life is virtually non-existent due to the circumstances with her father and all, and even though she has the desire, rarely does she get the opportunity to date. She does get taken out by one of her classmates but after a group of restaurant goers are attacked by Secret Service Agents for pulling out a camera, the young fellow is freaked and wants no part of this.

    The President is planning to attend a G8 summit visit to Prague in the Czech Republic and Anna decides this is a good opportunity for her father to prove he actually trusts her. She’s become a close friend to the French Ambassador’s daughter who’s a wild and free spirited young socialite and they plan a trip to a concert and then on to Berlin for the annual Love Parade. The President obviously concerned for his daughter’s well being, agrees to allow her and her friend to attend a concert in Prague with just two bodyguards, however, unbeknownst to the girls, he assigns a number of agents to be located throughout the concert hall to protect her.

    Things suddenly go amiss when Anna notices the agents and decides to lose them by sneaking out of the concert hall. After bumping into a photographer, Ben Calder (played by Matthew Goode), she persuades him to help her flee from the agents by riding on the back of his motorcycle. The girls attempt to meet up again at another popular Prague club, but agents locate her and Anna becomes even more determined to flee. Through a series of mishaps and miscommuniques, Anna and Ben wind up traveling halfway across Europe; a trip which takes them through Venice Italy, Vienna Austria, and eventually to their originally intended destination, Berlin, Germany.

    What Anna doesn’t know however, is that the obliging young man, Ben, whom she believes is helping her break from the grips of her over protective father is also a Secret Service Agent who has secretly been assigned to watch over her and protect her. The problem is, along the way not only has she fallen for him but he too has fallen for her. After Anna learns of Ben’s true identity, she is devastated and decides to go on without him… but will he allow his feelings to get in the way of his duties…?

    Equally interesting is the love interest between two other agents that have been assigned to go after Ben and Anna. The two agents are Weiss (played by the hilariously funny Jeremy Piven), and Morales (played by Annabella Sciorra, a name that Sopranos’ fans are sure to recognize). The two have a love – hate relationship where it seems pretty obvious that both want something to happen but neither of them is willing to make the first move. Their interaction throughout the movie is as entertaining as anything the film has to offer.

    If you like Hugh Grant (and I’m sure he’s probably sick of this comparison), you’ll like Matthew Goode. This young actor has a very similar wry and sarcastic delivery, one that’s very deliberate. It seems as though one characteristic many of these romantic comedies fail to have is chemistry. Both Moore and Goode have that necessary quality allowing this Roman Holiday wannabe to be a delight. And while Mandy Moore might not be the next Audrey Hepburn, she definitely has a sweetness about her that is wholesome and charming to watch. A much older looking Mark Harmon is well, just Mark Harmon. He doesn’t really bring much to the show (pun intended) and as the President, he says very little and when he does, rarely is it profound.

    Lastly, and on a disappointing note, this is my second recent encounter where WB has included a forced trailer which plays upon inserting the disc. The trailer is for their recent release of Love Don’t Cost A Thing which is easily skipable using your FF button. So far at least, these forced trailers have only popped up with light romantic comedy - teen fare, although that’s not justification. I hope Warner has read enough of the anti-Universal threads here to know that these are not welcome regardless of the perceived artistic value of the feature film.

    This is a pretty solid video transfer. Shown in its native 2.35:1 aspect ration which is enhanced, this is a transfer that’s sure to impress. With the vast majority of this film shot all over Europe, much of film this plays out like a series of picture postcards. The cinematography is breathtaking.

    Colors were always vibrant and nicely saturated. It would appear that some of the scenes that were shot in Prague had a bluish look to them, presumably shot using blue filters. Black levels were extremely dark and whites were always clean and stark.

    Image detail was, for the most part, sharp although there were instances of some of the facial close-ups being slightly soft. Hard to say, but perhaps another example of some over filtering. There was a decent sense of dimensionality to this film. Film grain was virtually non existent.

    As we would expect from such a new release, the transfer is absolutely clean and free of any dust, dirt or debris. I wasn’t able to detect any problems of compression errors nor was there any edge enhancement to speak of.

    I would have hoped for a slightly more defined image during the close-ups, but overall found this transfer to be quite pleasing.

    Beware – There is also a FULLSCREEN version available.

    Similar to the video transfer, the audio transfer is every bit as impressive, if not slightly even more so. The track was free of any hiss or unwanted noise and sounded very natural. Dialogue was always clear and bold and always remained intelligible even during much of the music that accompanied the film – and it’s filled with music.

    The track has a rather wide soundstage as there is a ton of beautiful classical music that also accompanies the film as well as a healthy deployment of surrounds which allows the track to be quite enveloping. There is also a decent range of dynamics. You’ll notice some LFE during a few of the few music numbers, but that’s basically it.

    What stands out about this track is the enveloping music which is very tactful and very effective. A very nice job.

    Special Features:
    There are a couple of special features located on this disc starting with:
    [*] A Commentary with Mandy Moore and Matthew Goode. Feel like a nap…? Well, there is a ton of dead time on this commentary. Most of what is discussed is “oh, I remember doing that”, or “wow, I forgot about him”… This really offers very little.
    [*] A Passport To Europe contains a number of travel tips and tourist suggestions if and when you decide to visit. Duration: 5:54 minutes.
    [*] Up next is The Roots Concert which is a performance of The Seed by The Roots. Duration: 4:25 minutes.
    [*] Additional Scenes. There are approximately 6-7 scenes that have been included, none of which really would have added all that much to the final cut. Duration: 9:01 minutes.
    [*] Gag Reel. If you watch no other special features on this disc (and I’d probably suggest you didn’t), watch these. It should come as no surprise that all of these feature Jeremy Piven and contain a number of hilarious rants and ramblings from the funny young star. Some very funny stuff here. Duration: 5:12 minutes.
    [*] The last special feature is the Theatrical Trailer.

    Most of this stuff is rather light and fluffy… if you do get the chance, take a look at Jeremy Piven on the gag reel.

    Final Thoughts:
    This is one of those Sunday afternoon films that has a fair amount going for it and admittedly, I liked it probably more than I should have. Besides the obviously beautiful settings, several of the characters offer up decent and witty performances. While the plot might not be the anchor for the film, the on-screen persona of Moore and Goode make up for it with plenty of charm and chemistry.

    If you’re looking for a light hearted romantic comedy to snuggle up with your significant other, you might want to take a look at Chasing Liberty. Even if you hate the film, I guarantee you’ll feel like you just returned from a great European vacation.

    Release Date: May 4th, 2004
  2. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

    Dec 29, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Herb, thanks for the review. Don't know if I will rent or buy yet.

    Oh, who am I kidding, when was the last time I RENTED a DVD?!?

    BTW, should that read GOLF, LEAFS, GOLF? [​IMG]

    Miss the Oilers of old....
  3. ClaytonMG

    ClaytonMG Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 27, 2002
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    I have a question about forced trailers. Does everyone hate them because they're forced or because people don't like trailers? I personally love the idea of having trailers for other films on the disc and I wish it would happen more often (that's why I like CTHV so much) however I hate it when they're forced.

  4. Dave_P.

    Dave_P. Supporting Actor

    May 20, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I only like the trailers when you have a choice to view them through the menu. I don't want to see a trailer starting up for a movie I never had interest in and will be five years old next time I play the disc.

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