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Click above to purchase "Zelig" at amazon.com

 

Zelig

review by Zach B.

 

Rated PG

Running Time: 79 minutes

Starring Woody Allen, Mia Farrow

Written and Directed by Woody Allen

Studio: MGM

Retail Price: $19.98

Features: Theatrical Trailer, Collectible Booklet

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Mono, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (16 Scenes)

Released: November 6th, 2001
Also part of The Woody Allen Collection 3

"Zelig" is a mockumentary from Woody Allen that's rather enjoyable. While it's not my favorite film of his, it's truly enjoyable. The mockumentary follows a man named Leonard Zelig who seems to go in and out of places and jobs. He's pretty much a human chameleon. As Zelig goes across history, it seems Dr. Eudora Fletcher can only cure him. And then as she does, things happen. The two are meant to be together... and it's up to her to save their relationship.

"Zelig" may be one of Woody's lesser realized work, but it's pretty good. The concept is pretty original and the way Allen has written and shot it, it gives a rather nice pure documentary effect to it. Still, it's a movie that does frusturate me. I don't know why though. It does have a good focus as we learn more and more about Zelig and the relationship with Eudora. Yet something about it, I don't know what exactly. The setup? It's uneven-ness at certain points? Perhaps. But there's a lot to like about the movie. I's very enjoyable, even satirical like. It has good laughs and again, I really like the documentary style. Even if it's a fake subject, Allen pulls of a professional documentary. I bet shooting this and planning it all out was a great challange, yet Allen makes it seem like it was done with much ease. From the narrator, the music and the wonderful visuals, it's executed incredibly well. Allen captures so much here in a short amount of time. It's pretty impressive if you ask me. We all know it's fake, but how he makes it seem real is the great and usual Allen touch. The movie scored two Oscar® nods even, for the cinematography and costume design (as there is a rather interesting time span here).

Zelig seems to meet many famous figures as he's put into footage that's real, sorta like Forest Gump. While this experiment from Allen isn't as good as his more traditional styles, it's worth seeing if you have an open mind.

 

The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen is suitable. Yes the film looks old, grainy and dirty and is in pure black and white... it's supposed to be that way. It's a "documentary" as if it was real. As if this footage was actually shot and it all happened. That's why it all works so well. Black levels and detail are good too. It's hard to judge this transfer, since it's supposed to be imperfect... but the elements that I can tell are not exactly supposed to be a part of it are in fine shape.

 

There are good elements to the sound mix, and it's English mono, which fits perfect as with the "old" footage and documentary style of the film. Elements can be tinny, damagaed and the like, but it should be like that. Fidelty is good though. Overall, a fine mono fix that isn't supposed to sound how it should all for sake of the film. Spanish, French and English subtitles are included, plus English closed captions.

 

The Theatrical Trailer in anamorphic widescreen... this is one of the worst trailers I've seen (right up there with that "Jurassic Park III" teaser!). It plays like an arthouse film trailer... yet with a snippet of footage. Uch. There's also a decent collectible booklet in the keep case insert.

 

To me, "Zelig" fascinates and frusturates. It's a different movie for Allen, yet it does work. For those who like Allen and unique cinema, this is a must watch.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)

(4/5)

(3/5)

(.5/5)

(3/5, NOT an average)

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