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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 66:15)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Spanish, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras

    Beaches

    Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 118 mins . PG . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    When you think of “chick flicks” a few titles spring to mind. There are Thelma and Louise, Boys on the Side and Bridget Jones' Diary to name but a few. But when asked what their absolute favourite “chick flick” is, many will say Beaches. Since its cinema release in 1988 it has rated highly with many women. This is a great accolade for the film, but it is also sad that more men have not seen it. Like it is some form of weakness to sit and enjoy a film such as this, many men avoid it like the plague with a fear that their manhood may be questioned. The sad thing with that is many men are really missing out on what is a moving story of friendship. Make the main characters male, throw in some guns and fast cars and men would watch this in droves. Quite simply, this is a film that should appeal to everyone, so for those that haven’t yet seen it, here is a brief story synopsis.

    While on summer holiday in Atlantic City, two young girls meet by accident. Hillary comes from a well to do family in San Francisco and is very prim and proper. CC Bloom is the complete opposite; she is from the Bronx and aspires to become a star. CC is brash, very forward and is hiding under the steps on the beach having a cigarette when Hillary happens upon her. Hillary is lost and CC offers to show her back to her lavish hotel. CC’s domineering mother then appears and takes CC to an audition, taking Hillary along with them. Hillary is awe inspired when she sees CC perform. She thinks CC is the best singer she has ever heard and due to CC agreeing, their friendship is quickly established.

    "Enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?"

    Due to meeting on holiday and living on opposite sides of the country, they agree to become pen pals. Through many years they continually write to each other and their friendship grows stronger day by day. One day Hillary decides to leave her affluent life in San Francisco and heads for New York. They begin living together and CC begins working in a small theatre, gaining rave reviews and becoming a huge hit. Hillary’s father is taken ill and she is forced to return home to San Francisco to his bedside. Distance would normally be a problem in a friendship but the bond between these two women is so strong that the distance factor is never an issue.

    This really is a story of friendship, the trials these two characters face and the bond that holds them together. There are plenty of good times enjoyed by both, but it is the struggles that tug on the heartstrings. Like many friends they argue, have major falling outs and endure jealousy, but the friendship stands strong.

    The Divine Miss M is simply perfect in her role as CC Bloom. Being one of the producers you could say the role was written for her. You could also say it is biographical in many ways. Her talent as a singer and comedian truly shine and she excels in what I would class as her second best acting performance. This is not to say her performance is second rate by any means, but who can look past her brilliant performance in The Rose? Barbara Hershey is also well cast and gives a solid performance. She is what you would class as the straight woman to Midler’s comedienne and does this superbly. The other notable performances are from the young actors playing the two as children. Mayim Bialik as the young CC is perfect. She not only looks like a young Midler but displays a similar personality. Marcie Leeds as the young Hillary is also well cast, playing the young, innocent rich kid to perfection.

    Last but not least is the outstanding soundtrack. This was a smash hit during the film’s cinema release and even those who didn’t buy the album will recognise many of the songs. Wind Beneath My Wings is the standout track and was a worldwide hit in its own right. Other songs featured include Under the Boardwalk and The Glory of Love. These are all highlight tracks that boost an excellent musical score from Georges Delerue.

      Video
    Contract

    The video transfer for this release is a little aged, but is better than expected. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16:9 enhanced for those with widescreen capability. Picture is generally sharp throughout, although there is some evidence of softness in a few scenes, mostly due to the intentional use of a soft lens, not through the fault of the transfer. There is some grain evident, but this is due to age, also causing a problem on some scenes with the depth of blacks. Colours in general are true and natural and used to great effect. Aliasing and edge enhancement both cause quite a few problems, being seen on many occasions. Most of these problems can be excused due to the age of the source material and are still an improvement on those old VHS copies. Subtitles are supplied in several languages and the English ones sampled are reasonably true to what is said on screen. There is a very well placed layer change on this dual layer disc at 66:15 that passes by almost unnoticed.

      Audio
    Contract

    Audio is supplied in both English and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Although this is a dialogue driven film and there is little to find fault with in clarity in that respect, the surrounds are not utilised to their full capacity. Sure this is not a film that requires full use of directional effect or excessive subwoofer use, but this is so subtle it could quite easily be confused with a stereo mix. The surrounds do get used, as does the subwoofer, but the use of either here is minimal. There are a few synch problems early on in the film, which seem to be more a matter of miming of songs, but this is not a major problem overall. As stated before, this is a dialogue driven film and for this purpose the audio is very good.

      Extras
    Contract

    Not a thing in the way of extras, not one! Surely they could have included a commentary track from the Divine Miss M herself or even a theatrical trailer, but this release contains nothing.

      Overall  
    Contract

    Overall this film is a classic. The question for those that already own a VHS copy is whether to replace it with the DVD, and the answer is an emphatic yes! The picture quality is good for a film of this age and the audio does all it needs to. Any extras are sadly lacking, but luckily the film is good enough to warrant purchase on its own. Now for those that have never seen Beaches, you are missing out on a truly endearing film, so get out there and check it out.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2120
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      And I quote...
    "Grab the tissue box and enjoy, one of the best chick flicks ever made is now on DVD!"
    - Adrian Turvey
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS305
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-29S55AT 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DE685
    • Speakers:
          Sony SAVE815ED
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SAVE815ED
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SAVE815ED
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SAVE815ED
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