Posted in Disc Reviews by Joshua Noyes
Lady in the Water is the latest film offered from M. Night Shyamalan. In its opening weekend (21-23 July 2006), the film grossed a total of $18.2 million, placing third in the United States box office results for that weekend. It was M. Night’s lowest opening for any of his five major films. Due to negative reviews and poor word-of-mouth, its second week fell sharply to $7.1 million, pushing its total to only $32.2 million. Its third weekend was no better, falling another 62.1% to $2.7 million. As of September…14, 2006, its total was $42.285 million. In addition, the film only made $30.5 million in the foreign box office, pulling its tally to approximately $72.785 million internationally. The movie had an estimated budget of $70 million for production and a further $70 million in advertising costs.
Cleveland Heep, a modest building manager, rescues a mysterious young woman from danger. He discovers she is actually a narf, a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the treacherous journey from our world back to hers. Cleveland and his fellow tenants start to realize that they are also characters in this bedtime story. As Cleveland falls deeper and deeper in love with the woman, he works together with the tenants to protect his new fragile friend from the deadly creatures that reside in this fable and are determined to prevent her from returning home.
For this 1.85: transfer, Warner Brothers went with a VC-1 encode using a HD-30 disc. This also is a combo release, so the DVD version appears on the other side of the disc. This transfer has solid color accuracy; skin tones were spot-on and blacks were very well reproduced. Much of this movie includes dark scenes, so the accuracy in the dark images was a nice improvement over the DVD version. I did feel this transfer was very inconsistent in terms of sharpness. Some scenes, such as those which took place outdoors were very sharp, whereas other scenes were very soft and almost out of focus. This is however most likely as the Director intended, so I will not hold this against the overall transfer. Even with these shortcomings, the video on this release is a solid improvement over the DVD version.
The audio on this release was marginal at best. I listened using the TrueHD option so that I could hear the soundtrack in a lossless fashion. The film consists mainly of dialog and this soundtrack delivered in that respect. However I rarely if ever heard the surrounds being used. There were many scenes which could have made good use of the surrounds in a 5.1/7.1 surround system. I also heard little to no use of the LFE channel. Again there were several scenes which could have been nicely enhanced by using this feature.
Lady in the Water offers a scarce amount of extras. First we are given the opportunity of see “Lady in the Water: A Bedtime Story.” This is a 35-minute documentary on how Lady in the Water was written and made in to a movie. We get to hear M. Night Shyamalan tell us over and over again how much of a genius he is and he continue to tell us this until the viewer is ready to walk themselves to the nearest bathroom and relieve themselves of the most recent meal they consumed. Seriously though this is perhaps the worst documentary I have ever seen. Avoid it at all costs. Next we have several other options for extras. You can watch the casts auditions, there is also a nice little gag reel and finally there are several deleted scenes. The extras portion of the disc wraps-up with both the teaser trailer and the theatrical trailer.
Lady in the Water was probably the best M. Night Shyamalan film I have seen since “The Sixth Sense,” mainly due to the great acting of Paul Giamatti. The video was for the most part nice, although very soft and out of focused at times. The audio was done well but was also not used to really enhance the viewing experience at all. The storyline was decent but not great. Do you see where I am going with this? This is one of those “middle of the road” viewing experiences. Essentailly I would say rent this and do not buy this and rent only when other better options are not available.
Special Features List
- Lady in the Water: A Bedtime Story
- Cast Auditions
- Gag Reel
- Deleted Scenes