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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
    English, English - Hearing Impaired

    The Mosquito Coast

    Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 114 mins . PG . PAL


    Within the first moments of this film we begin to admire Allie Fox’s rebellion and true understanding of modern America. However, as the film progresses, Allie’s ideals begin to crumble away and the decay that remains is suddenly not so charming anymore. Couple that with the fact he takes his young family on his downward spiral and he just looks like a selfish prick.

    While Allie’s point is quite valid to begin with, and indeed most of the way through, it’s the application of his ideals onto the innocents in his family that causes concern. Insisting everyone must think like him is both impossible to achieve and impossible to police, yet Allie’s overwhelming self-righteousness in the face of everything else becomes burdensome for us as viewers by the end.

    "Goodbye America! Have a nice day!"

    Allie Fox is a genius inventor, seeing the warning cracks of a society slowly destroying itself. After inventing an ingenious method of almost instantly freezing something, he becomes enamoured with the idea of moving away from the decaying civilisation of America. So, without further ado, he picks up the family and they move to southern America to the Mosquito Coast. Upon arrival he buys a town from a drunken gambler and they set sail for their new home of ‘Geronimo’. Expecting a thriving hub, they instead find a dilapidated collection of shacks and must set to work to build their Utopia.

    Once complete, Allie builds a massive version of his freezing machine and they start making ice for the natives of the region. However, Allie becomes bored and decides to take ice to the jungle people who have never seen white people. With the length of the trip into the jungle, however, nothing turns out the way he wanted and a series of events then unfold as Allie’s pursuit of his dream crumbles to ash around him and his family.

    This is a well-made film from director Peter Weir, capturing the essence of the family unit slightly removed from Allie’s vision and getting further away with every new idea. Metaphors for the gulf between Allie’s ideals and reality are strong throughout (the ice trip, the growing alienation of his family) and help tell the deeper levels to the story. Ford’s performance is magnificent as Allie Fox, barely recognisable at times, yet perfectly Ford at others. River Phoenix shines as Charlie, Allie’s oldest son, playing both supporter of Allie’s vision and denouncer of his ideals. Helen Mirren, too, is fabulous as the downtrodden and overlooked Mother (known by no other name), long suffering wife of Allie.


    Delivered in widescreen 1.85:1 with 16:9 enhancement, the luxurious jungle shots are delivered to us magnificently. There are limited film artefacts throughout, although there are occasional noticeable ones, while the colour palette is rich and vibrant. Flesh tones are realistic and natural (including a wide variety of tones, even sunburn on white people) and look completely even throughout.

    The night shots, however, aren’t the best, with limited detail evident a lot of the time. Mostly this doesn’t matter too much, but there are moments later in the film that get a little confusing, albeit briefly. Blacks are natural though, regardless of the shadow detail problem.


    Another Warner delivery of an older film gives us Dolby Digital 2.0. Some places here would have benefited well from a surround package, like the jungle nights or the storm later in the film, but being made in 1986, I guess they didn’t have what we do today. Stereo is still fine for the film, however, with dialogue being delivered clearly and the myriad sound effects being even and well balanced.

    Music too, is nicely delivered, and features an awesome score from Maurice Jarre. He has built a soundtrack that balances all the different moments of the film and finds a mood to suit each accordingly. Very nice stuff that suits the film perfectly.


    Lost in the jungle they were, but for the interactive menus and scene access of course. Meh.


    Still resonating clearly in our world of over 15 years later, this film has many timely points to make today. Awesome production work all around delivers this magnificent tale onto DVD looking as good as it ever has. There’s even a quick before-they-were-stars part from Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) when he actually had hair.

    For fans of any of the major cast, this is one well worth owning, particularly as Ford hasn’t played many roles like this, or as well as he does here. Definitely at the top of his game in The Mosquito Coast, his performance truly makes the film as good as it is.

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      And I quote...
    "Harrison Ford is awesome as the strong heart of this film, in a role that certainly didn’t win him any new fans."
    - Jules Faber
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