This release has added interest now for the later careers of its director and star: Stephen Sommers is now best known for his Mummy films, and Elijah Wood is currently sporting a British accent as Frodo Baggins.
Based on Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the original American picaresque, the film follows Huck Finn, fleeing his terrifying father, and Jim, an escaped slave, as they travel down the Mississippi in search of freedom, encountering no end of colo…rful characters along the way.
As with Sommers’ other films, subtlety is not the big draw. But there is also a genuine love of the source material, and some satisfyingly gothic moments.
Very little to find fault with here. The sweeping music is given a full-bodied surround mix, and the sound effects have a definite rear speaker presence. The quality of the transfer is impeccable, and there is no distortion. The left-right separation could be stronger, however, and the overall effect stops short of being enveloping.
Excellent picture, with vibrant, sharply defined colours and strong blacks throughout. The colours are sometimes almost too sharp – there is a slightly (very slightly) artificial feel to the picture and flesh tones, but I’m picking nits here. The picture is in 1.85:1 widescreen.
The main extra is the commentary by Sommers and editor Bob Duscay. The two cover a lot of ground, discussing the script development, technical aspects of the shoot, thematic elements, production anecdotes, and so on. The other features are of minimal interest: the usual promo featurette and the trailer. There are also trailers for upcoming Disney releases such as Return to Neverland and (God help us) The Hunchback of Notre-Dame 2. The menu is fully animated and scored on the main page, and has some animated transitions. The further you go into the menu, the more basic the presentation becomes.
The truly perfect Huck Finn adaptation has yet to be made, but Sommers has made a truly honourable attempt here, with a strong cast and great photography.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Theatrical Trailer
- Featurette: “Huck Finn: An American Classic”