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    Life - Collector's Edition

    Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 75 mins . PG . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    It's been a while since I've heard Eddie Murphy really letting loose. He's gone the way of the family movies of late with his rendition of the Nutty Professor and Dr Dolittle. I've admired his talents ever since I saw his RAW and Delirious stand up shows. He has a gift that I haven't seen in any other African American of late. I suppose his childhood has alot to do with his grasp of the hardships life has to offer and I'm sure this helped when he teamed up with Martin Lawrence for this picture.

    Con Artist Ray Gibson (Eddie Murphy) has gotten himself into trouble with the local mob again and this time he's brought innocent banker Claude Banks (Martin Lawrence) down with him. To get themselves out of trouble the two embark on a journey of bootlegging to pay off Ray's debt and earn some quick cash. Just when you think all is looking up, things get even worse when they are accussed of a murder because they were found at the scene and are black.

    Now faced with the truth that they are in prison for Life, Ray and Claude have to get over their differences and try to survive the 65 years of hardship and fun until they finally depart the world that has treated them as slaves.

      Video
    Contract

    Oooh, this is one of those great Universal transfers. You know how some are great and some are ordinary, well this right up there with the best.

    This 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer produces an immensly crisp transfer. Sometimes we get an edge enhanced image that lacks sharpness, this one is crisp, very cool and crisp.

    The main palette in the movie is of earthly tones with deep browns and rich greens. Is it me or is this characteristic of the palettes for alot of Universal titles? At times the image takes on a gold look that only dvd could render perfectly. Don't take this the wrong way but black levels are excellent in this movie. Shadow detail benefits from this excellent transfer providing some nice detail in the darker shots.

      Audio
    Contract

    It's amazing to hear a great soundtrack when you didn't expect it.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack makes use of all channels throughout the movie. Surround activity is present and provides both directionality and ambience to a scene. For example, in chapter six there is some nice ambient music playing whilst Eddie is galmbing away. As seriousness evolves in some scenes, there's always an ambience to provide a dramatic tone which is a nice touch.

    Dialogue is always clear throughout the film allowing the comedic talents of the main actors to shine through. Bass response is minimal but when it does appear, it appears with a bang which gives a nice dynamic oomph to the soundtrack.

      Extras
    Contract

    This collectors edition of Life is just that. A nice selection of extras to compliment the movie.

    • Spotlight on Location - A 20 minute or so semi making-of feature which provides behind the scenes footage, mixed with interviews with cast and crew and also takes a look at clips from the movie itself. A nice extra.
    • Outtakes - Now these are funny. During the end credits there are a small handful of extras that will make you laugh and these outtakes are an expanded 6 minute set with lower quality footage and time-codes. Funny stuff.
    • Deleted Scenes - Here are 2 'extended' scenes that are what would have been included if this were a directors cut. Director Ted Demme provides introduction commentary to explain what the seen 'he' wanted was supposed to be.
    • Audio Commentary - This is a great commentary with a large amount of tidbits. There's enough information here to make 2 commentaries and director Ted Demme is very enthusiastic about his commentary which will keep your attention span wide open.
    • Trailer - The original theatrical trailer backed by a rock track. Hmm, doesn't suit the tone of the movie at all but is very nice looking.
    • Music Highlights - a nice feature that simply uses the existing movie to setup new chapter marks where the music occurs in the picture.
    • Production Notes - 16 pages of useful information if you can be bothered sitting and reading it all. Personally, listen to the commentary and watch the spotlight feature to get similar info.
    • Animated menus - A nicely themed menu based around a calendar and time.
    • Cast Crew biographies - Only 3 options for Eddie, Martin and director Ted Demme.
    • Interactual Feature - The cover states this as being an extra but I couldn't find this on the disc at all. BUT, there is dvd-rom content not mentioned on the cover so I'm assuming this is their new terminology. The DVD-ROM content is simply a text based look at the movie, the extended cast and the ability to play the movie itself. Not much more than that.

    Wow, a nice array of extras when you think about it.

      Overall  
    Contract

    I really, really enjoyed this movie. I went into it without any expectations of the level of comedy to come out of Eddie and Martin. I wanted to enjoy it as a story about friends. I wasn't disappointed in both aspects.

    Alot of people didn't find what they were looking forin this movie. I wasn't looking for much and got more than I expected. A great movie and some classic Eddie Murphy.


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