I remember my Junior High teacher reading us excerpts from the novel I Am David in English class. Raising social consciousness was not something we into at that age. Looking back, I can see what my teacher was trying to do. The novel, and this movie adaptation, follows the story of 12 year old David, who escapes a Communist gulag in order to deliver a letter to Copenhagen. David is equipped with nothing but a compass, a bar of soap, and a loaf of bread. His quest across the continent is a journey of enlig…tenment and “growing up” the hard way.
How is the movie version? Well…let’s just say…sometimes a novel should stay a novel. The director Paul Feig has good intentions, and the movie sports solid performances by Ben Tibber (as David) and Jim Caviezel (beware of the misleading DVD cover…Jim only has a supporting role). The problem is Feig’s adaptation and the handling of the material. The flights of fancy and overt sentimentalism get in the way of an engaging film. In other words, the movie just doesn’t work.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 mixes are fine, if not a little bland. Most of the track is very front heavy, with not a lot of directionality on rear speakers. I would’ve liked to see more from this mix. Dialogue is cleanly heard throughout, however.
There is some beautiful cinematography in this film. The 1.85:1 widescreen transfer is well done, for the most part. Colors and flesh tones are natural. There are moments of fuzziness; some sharper detail could help. Overall, the transfer is consistently watchable. Nice work here.
The “compass” menu device is a little confusing at first. But you get the hang of it. Paul Feig gives a very engaging audio commentary. Lots of little tidbits of production are revealed. Feig is the writer/creator of a little gem of television called Freaks and Geeks. He’s a funny guy, so the commentary flies by. This is a rare case where the commentary is better than the movie. The featurette “Discovering David” is also a fairly comprehensive look at the film. There is a healthy portion of deleted scenes, as well as unadvertised footnotes about “real life David’s” (political escapees). Interesting.
Movie so so, sound and video good, features good. I wonder if my junior high teacher saw this adaptation. I should give him a call…
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted scenes
- “Discovering David” featurette