Discs Are Rated
review by Zach B.
Starring: Joseph Mazzello, Ian Michael Smith, Oliver
Platt, Ashley Judd, Jim Carrey
Written by Mark Steven Johnson
Suggested by John Irving's Novel "A Prayer For Owen
Directed By Mark Steven Johnson
Retail Price: 29.99
Features: Theatrical Trailer
Specs: 1.85:1 Non Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1
Dolby Digital, French Surround Track, English Captions,
Although it was not so warmly recieved by critics, I have
to say Simon Birch is one of the most enjoyable cinematic
expierences I have had in a long time. Loosely based on a
novel by John Irving, this movie is very underrated. The
story is sweet, though somewhat predictable. The acting is
top notch, especially by newcomer Ian Michael Smith and
combines a nice mix of comedy and drama.
Simon Birch is a young boy who looks like a little dwarf.
Growing up in a small town, Simon's parents are very
disappointed in their son, all due to his physical nature.
But Simon's condition doesn't stop him from anything. He
believed the Lord has a "plan" for us all, and that he is
the Lord's instrument, and everyone has a use for something.
Simon, even though he's so tiny, has a heart which is huge.
Joe is his best friend, and they have gone through a lot
together. However, one day, at a baseball game, Simon's
called up to home plate to hit the ball. Simon finally hits
the ball, and that ball goes flying, accidently killing
Joe's mother. With his mother gone, Joe and Simon now want
to learn the identity of Joe's father, who he never met and
his mother refused to tell him who. Along the way, there are
many misadventures, right down to the edge of your seat
climax, which is somewhat depressing yet has this nice feel
to it, where you feel anyone can make a difference.
Simon Birch is somewhat of an uneven movie, but it's
really, really enjoyable. The drama and tension which builds
is very good, and there are a lot of funny moments in this
movie which you'll remember. If you avoided this movie due
to the panning, please go out and rent it. You'll be
pleasently surprised on how good this movie is. It's warm
and touches on a good lesson the audience can benefit from.
Simon Birch is presented in 1.85:1 non-anamorphic
widescreen. Blacks are very solid, and detail is good,
though not great. My main complaint however is that some
colors are unsaturated. There is also some artifacts and
grain, which are noticeable throughout the film. Other than
that, despite it is not 16x9 enhanced, the transfer is very
The audio is decent, the 5.1 Dolby Digital is nothing
very creative, but perfectly fits the film. The movie is
pretty dialogue driven, however, there are some crashes and
smacks which bring life to the mix. The music shows off this
mix quite nicely. Sounds are also very clear. Nothing
totally original, but perfectly suitable. A french language
track is also included.
The only extra is a theatrical trailer, presented in
non-anamorphic widescreen. This is the standard Disney
release, and I was really hoping there would be some
interviews and a commentary of some kind, or at least a
Simon Birch may be lacking in features, but has a very
nice presentation. I find the price point of 29.99 retail a
bit steep. If you liked the movie, pick up this disc. If you
have not seen it, I urge you to rent it, sit back and enjoy
a very entertaining movie.
(4/5, NOT included in
NOT an average)