Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 3/10/00
1999 (2000) - Paramount
review by Chris Maynard of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
105 mins, R , letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:00:13, in chapter
10), Amaray keep case packaging, behind the scenes featurette,
theatrical trailer, film-themed menu screens, scene access (16
chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 and DD 2.0) and French (DD
2.0), subtitles: English, Closed Captioned
In the spirit of The
Fugitive and U.S. Marshals
comes Paramount's Double Jeopardy.
It appears that the winning formula of Tommy Lee Jones in a "catch
the bad guy/girl who might be innocent" is replayed here for
the viewing audience.
Tommy Lee Jones plays Travis Lehman, an ex-lawyer who now runs a
halfway house for recent parolees. Ashley Judd plays Libby Parsons,
who was convicted of killing her husband to cash in on his 2
million-dollar life insurance policy. Things get interesting when
she finds out that her dead husband is still quite alive and he's
framed her for the murder. Once out on parole, she skips town and
sets out to get back her son and take care of her slime of a
husband. You see, she's already been convicted of killing her
husband - since she can't be tried twice for the same crime, she
could kill him for real now and walk away scott-free. Travis is hot
on her tail the entire time, not realizing the tremendous
determination that drives Libby on. Is this story really that
original? The short answer is no.
I found it all to be quite predictable, possessing merely limited
elements of surprise. I am afraid it didn't really live up to all
the hype drummed up by the media prior to its release. That being
said, I still found it enjoyable enough to sit through and
appreciate the movie as one of Hollywood's recent candy covered
offerings to the masses.
This disc looks near perfect. Some of the only flaws I saw were
flecks and nicks on the print in the opening credit sequence. After
that though, I found it difficult to find any defects in the video
presentation. The wonderful cinematography takes us from the Pacific
Northwest to the Rocky Mountains and all the way down to the French
Quarter in New Orleans. The color rendition on the disc is really
top notch. Some notable scenes start about a minute into chapter 14.
There is a beautiful shot of street in the French Quarter which has
some of the most unique colors I have had the pleasure to view in an
outdoor shot. As we make the way into the interior, with a properly
calibrated television, you will pick up some eye-catching but subtle
changes in the reds of the walls and the wood grains of the
furniture and doors. There are numerous dark-lit interior scenes
that exhibit excellent shadow detail and a solid black level. I
think a lot of thought went into the cinematography of this feature
film and it shows. This movie transferred quite well to DVD.
Paramount's picture quality lately is among the best with their
dedication to anamorphic widescreen and top-notch video transfers.
The audio is not the highlight of this movie, although it does not
fail to impress where needed. There are numerous action sequences
but the movie is mostly dialogue based. The musical score is very
expansive and presented with notable quality. The sound effects are
well recorded and compliment their respective scenes accordingly.
There is a scene in New Orleans where a thunderclap really catches
you off guard. It required me to take a look outside (since it was
raining while I was reviewing this) and verify that it was from the
The extras on the disc are not much to rave about. There is a "making
of" featurette that proves to be interesting enough. My biggest
complaint would have to be that the featurette is shot in 4:3 and
also 1.78:1 widescreen. This presents a problem for most widescreen
television viewers, making us change display modes more than once.
The alternative is to switch our sets to standard 4:3 and watch it
this way. I would like to see them shoot the documentary portion
also in 1.78:1, so the entire extras section has the same aspect
ratio. There is also a trailer found on the disc which is presented
in non-anamorphic 1.78:1. While I would love to have extras in
anamorphic widescreen, I know this is not always possible. Keeping a
consistent aspect ratio would be an excellent middle ground.
If you liked The Fugitive and
U.S. Marshals, then this
should be a sure winner for you to chase down yourself.