Discs Are Rated
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 2 Hours, 4 Minutes
Starring Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville,
Emma Chambers, James Dreyfus, Rhys Ifans, Tim McInnerny,
Written by Richard Curtis
Directed by Roger Michell
Retail Price: 24.99
Features: Theatrical Trailer, Feature commentary with
director Roger Michell, writer Richard Curtis and producer
Duncan Kenworthy, Hugh Grant's Movie Tips, Deleted Scenes,
Music Highlights, The Travel Book, Trailers for "The Bone
Collector" and "The Story Of Us", Cast and Filmmakers' Bios,
Recommendations, DVD ROM: Behind the Scenes
Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital
(English), Dolby Surround (French), English and Spanish
Subtitles, Chapter Search
In 1994, a little Brit film by the name of "Four Weddings
and a Funeral" got a lot of attention. It established Hugh
Grant as a household name, and introduced us to the team who
made it: Richard Curtis, Roger Michell and Duncan Kenworthy.
While their names didn't become so household as Grant,
people knew it would not be the last we heard from there.
In May 1999, the team launched "Notting Hill", a highly
succesful and wonderful romantic comedy. The film made over
100 million dollars domestically, and went on to succeed
overseas as well. I enjoyed the movie, and I also really
enjoyed the premise.
William Thacker (Grant, who's perfect) is a divorced
"chap" who owns "The Travel Book Co." in Notting Hill, right
in London. It's a small shop though, which only sells books
on travel and exotic locations. However, the shop is doing
poorly and William is getting more and more stressed out,
especially with his roommate (the hilarious Rhys Ifans). Yet
one day, Hollywood's biggest star, Anna Scott (Julia
Roberts) enters his shop. She buys a book, no big deal. Or
is it? This chance enounter really changes William's life
forever. They soon meet again thanks to a little accident,
and William realizes he's in a lot more than he bargained
for, especially when he comes to terms he is in love.
"Notting Hill" is a very enjoyable romantic comedy, a
perfect date movie too. Though I thought some of the story
was uneven, and some really did seem to drag on and was not
nesscary at all, this film features some excellent direction
by Michell, a solid script by Curtis and wonderful scenary
and performances by a nice ensemble cast, though Grant,
Roberts and Ifans steal the show. The chemistry between
Grant and Roberts is there, and is very good. It really adds
more to the film and makes it easier to swallow. Despite
some minor flaws, "Notting Hill" is a wonderful movie, and
can be watched over and over again. Luckily, Universal
hasn't failed us this time by giving us a nice DVD.
"Notting Hill" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic
widescreen, and the transfer is pretty good. I really wanted
to give this transfer higher, but it really is not perfect.
Detail is incredible, and a lot of the film has a crisp look
too it. However, there are quite a few specks and artifacts
throughout the film, as well as unsaturated colors and soft
images. Colors did smear occasionally, but only a little
when they did. There is some slight shimmer too. All in all,
the transfer is decent, but with a little extra care, it
could have been reference quality.
"Notting Hill" is really not a film meant for 5.1, but it
is included on the disc as your only option for English. I
felt a surround or stereo would have been enough, but, 5.1
it is. The movie is really mono, just divided up between
channels. The .1 LFE is very minimal, and the rear channels
are only really used when music plays. 5.1 is there, but
really is not needed, and I guess a mix for it would be hard
to create due to the lack of surrounds. A French surround is
included too, and there are English and Spanish subtitles.
Universal has given "Notting Hill" the prime "Collector's
Edition" treatment. I feel this edition features a bit more
than most "Collector's Edition"s do (most include a little
extra supplements with a commentary. Heck, some standards
have more than Collector's).
First off is a commentary with producer Duncan Kenworthy,
writer Richard Curtis and director Roger Michell. The two
are pretty confident, and sit back discussing the movie. It
is not the best commentary I've heard, but it is informative
and not so painful to go through. Nothing too spectacular,
but overall, nice.
Next is "Hugh Grant's Movie Tips", which features Hugh
Grant in a different kind of interview, showing us the set
and making of the film, while providing some unusual
insights (plus we get to see Hugh's parents!). Very
interesting and entertaining.
There are then some Deleted Scenes. They are editied, and
slightly rough (complete with markers on the top and
bottom). Most notably though is that there is a scene with
William's parents in the trailer which did not make the
final cut, but is in this collection. The scene is presented
in a rough cut, while in the trailer, it did look complete.
"Music Highlights" features all the songs in the movie
and where they are featured, and you can jump right to them.
Not really important or anything (unless you really loved
the music), but it is there if you need it.
The next feature I found to be a great one, especially
for all you tourists. "The Travel Book" provides a great
amount of information about the real Notting Hill, as well
as when to go and some maps. An interesting and clever
The "Universal Showcase" has two trailers, both in 5.1.
One is for "The Bone Collector" and the other for "The Story
Of Us". They both sound great!
The original theatrical trailer for "Notting Hill" is
also included. I found it pretty interesting about the
parents scene (see "Deleted Scenes"), and the fact that some
of the shots in the trailer are different than the ones in
the actual movie.
Rounding out the features are some excellent extensive
Production Notes as well as detailed Cast and Filmakers'
Bios. For you DVD-ROM users, there is a Behind the Scenes
section about the making of the film as well as the
"Notting Hill" perfectly blends romance and comedy into a
nice package, and this DVD should not disappoint either.
While the video is flawed and the sound is decent, the
features are pretty plentiful. Reccomended for sure.
(4/5, NOT included in
NOT an average)