Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 1/18/00
1999 (1999) - 20th Century
review by Todd Doogan of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B+/B
Specs and Features
82 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), single-sided,
single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, "making of"
featurette, 3 television spots, theatrical trailer, cast and crew
bios, film-themed menu screens with animation and sound, scene
access (25 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0) and
French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and Spanish, Closed Captioned
There's something in
Maine's Black Lake, and it's not friendly. From Ally
McBeal creator David E. Kelley comes a funny flick with a
literal bite. Lake Placid
takes place on a lake in Maine, where a Fish and Game official has
just bitten in half (a pretty cool scene that opens the film). A
group of investigators are called in, including a prudish
paleontologist (Bridget Fonda), a stoic Fish and Game warden (Bill
Pullman), a wise-ass and quite disgruntled Sheriff (Brendan Gleeson)
and a eccentric and thoroughly wacky expert (Oliver Platt).
Together, they must go head to tooth-filled head with a giant Asian
crocodile, that can eat a cow as easily as a sheriff can scarf down
a Twinkie. The best thing about this film is the interplay between
the characters. The tongues in this film are as sharp as the teeth,
and both go together quite nicely. No, this film isn't going to win
any awards, although some of the effects are pretty good (thanks to
a merging of CGI and Stan Winston creature effects). But that hardly
matters -- what does matter is that you watch it and enjoy it for
what it is, a popcorn flick. I think Lake
Placid took an unfair beating in the press based on
too-high expectations of David E. Kelly's other work. I hope it
finds a wider cult audience on DVD and video and it should.
This DVD is not too much of a special edition. In terms of quality,
it lands squarely in the "okay" arena. The video is fine
-- there were no problems that I could find. But there's a lack of
anamorphic widescreen, which I have a small problem with. I don't
think it hurts the picture much, but it's still disappointing. The
colors are sharp and the underwater scenes are pretty crisp. It's an
adequate picture. The sound is about the same. The menu screens have
some sound effects that seem a bit sharp, but the film's soundfield
is pretty dead on. There are two sound options to choose from (Dolby
Digital 5.1 and 2.0) and both sound good for the work that they do.
There are a few additions as extras, including a standard "making
of" featurette pulled from the electronic press kit, three
television commercials (each with their own flavor) and the film's
theatrical trailer. It's a good offering from Fox, although I really
hope they start doing 16x9 on a regular basis.
If Lake Placid is a flick
with bite, this DVD is missing a few teeth. Still, it's better than
video and that's what matters most. If you love the film, it's worth
checking out on DVD. If you heard it sucked, go against the status
quo and check it out anyway. Ally
this ain't -- but it never wanted to be in the first place. It's
actually a very funny movie, with enough scares in it to be
worthwhile. I stayed away from it in theaters and I found myself
laughing with the movie and never at it. Except at the bear scene.
That was pretty silly.