The most important question with this re-issue of Murielís Wedding is going to be what the difference is between the previous incarnation and the current 10th anniversary edition so I will address that right up front so you can scroll to the end of the review and see the summary.
This limited specially package edition of Murielís Wedding is not a remaster of the original which we originally reviewed in November 1999. This edition is a repackage of the previous release with some extra features that fans of the movie will definitely get a kick out of.
If youíre looking for a higher quality master of the movie you already own donít bother with this DVD (both versions are pretty good already), but if youíre a fan who canít get enough of Toni Collette, ABBA or Muriel (or all three) then this disc is probably Hibiscus Island for you. Read on.
As previously stated the audio and video presentation on this disc is no different to the 1999 edition, but this isnít necessarily a bad thing.
The original theatrical aspect ratio for Murielís Wedding is listed as 1.66:1 but this video transfer (as the last one) is 1.78:1. The slick states that 1.78:1 is the original theatrical aspect ratio but IMDB states 1.66:1, so who knows what the actual original ratio was. Either way, there are no obvious points in the film where an open matte has been used or where the sides have been cut off so itís not really a big deal.
The overall quality of the transfer is excellent for a movie of this age and original budget but it is far from perfect. Some notable problems exist, mainly to do with the original film transfer in the opening scene where some film flecks are visible and the image is generally very grainy. Later in the film at about the 94 minute mark there is a noticeable scratch down the entire length of the image but this fault exists in the original DVD as well as this new edition.
Other than these minor problems the image is sharp and clear for the most part, black levels and colour saturation is good and no other major video glitches are obvious.
Audio wise Muriel and ABBA have never sounded better. As stated in the original review, it is fantastic to listen to ABBA with a 5.1 mix and the remainder of the sound mix is pretty much spot on with the exception of the sub woofer channel which doesnít get as much a share of the sound stage as it could have and should have.
Given that this latest incarnation of this DVD is identical in the audio and video departments, what we are really here to read about is the extras.
Murielís Wedding Album
A fully automated and animated album of photos from the actual wedding day presented complete with turning pages and wedding album look and feel.
On Set Interviews (1984)
A full set of cast and crew interviews from the original on-set locations in 1994. This extra features most of the key players and crew including Collette and P.J. Hogan.
Running for just under 3 minutes this feature is almost entirely raw and informal behind the scenes footage taken during the shooting of the actual wedding day. This is definitely not your usual promotional behind the scenes fluff and worth a watch for an insight into how this scene was filmed.
Rachel Griffiths interview on Andrew Dentonís Enough Rope
A short 5 minute snippet from what would have been a longer interview, but itís obvious that the full length has been edited so that only Muriel/Collette focussed sections have been preserved. This is fine for fans of Muriel and Collette but it would have been nice to see the whole interview, still worth a watch.
Cast and Crew Filmographies
The same biographies/filmographies featured on the previous edition of the movie, updated to contain the works of each actor and crew memberís work from the last 5 years.
The same trailer which was featured on the 1999 edition of the DVD.
Commentary featuring Toni Collect and Director P.J. Hogan
This is the real reason to buy this 10th anniversary DVD; Toni Collette and P.J. Hogan display a rare chemistry between Director and Actor in this commentary. While the commentary begins a little stunted and is punctuated by long periods of silence both participants soon find their stride and start discussing the usual costume, set design and musical topics along with a lot of friendly kidding around. This commentary is excellent and fans of the movie should buy this edition for it alone.
According to promotional material this 10th anniversary edition also includes an addition disc with music from the movie but it was not provided for review so no comment can be made on the content or quality of the disc.
Overall this edition of the movie may be viewed as a minor disappointment for anyone expecting a remaster but since the previous 1999 version was already a remaster it could be argued that the movie didnít need another reworking. The 5.1 soundtrack is great and while the video portion does have some issues it is entirely watchable as it is. The extras are definitely cream on this wedding cake and any fan of the movie will be happy with their purchase of this 10th anniversary edition.