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The latest screen incarnation of NANCY DREW ($29) provides for a family/’tween friendly update on the timeless character. Taking a softened version of the lesson taught in THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE, the creators of this modern version of NANCY DREW inject the film with a bit of fish-out-of-water humor by taking the old-fashioned, small town character and dropping her into the middle of present day Los Angeles. The premise of NANCY DREW finds our girl detective temporarily relocating to Lalaland, when her attorney father takes on a short-term position in the City of Angels. Although Nancy (Emma Roberts) promises her father Carson Drew (Tate Donovan) to give up solving mysteries and act more like a typical teenage girl, Nancy rents a house with a mystery already attached. It seems the rental was once home to a famous actress who died under mysterious circumstances. Of course, Nancy’s snooping into an almost three-decade-old mystery lands her, and some new acquaintances, in peril. The cast of NANCY DREW also includes Josh Flitter, Max Thieriot, Rachael Leigh Cook, Marshall Bell, Barry Bostwick, Amy Bruckner, Pat Carroll, Eddie Jemison, Chris Kattan and Bruce Willis.

Warner Home Video has made NANCY DREW available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. A full screen version is also offered on a separate layer of the disc (not reviewed here). However, the inclusion of the full screen presentation was probably a very poor idea, as the compression of the wide screen version suffers as a result. Much of the time the presentation displays video noise, as well as rather obvious compression artifacts. Image sharpness and detail is only adequate, as if the image were softened to lower the necessary bit rate. Colors have a good level of saturation and flesh tones tend to be natural. Blacks appear accurate, as are the whites. Shadow detail is below average. The film elements appear clean, but there is some graininess in places. The afore mentioned compression problems are less noticeable on smaller displays.

NANCY DREW comes with a fairly standard dialogue driven sound mix encoded into its 5.1 channels of Dolby Digital. The forward soundstage remains dominant throughout, with the rears primarily delivering ambient sound and some musical fill. Occasional active sound effect pop up, but there is nothing here to produce a wow factor. Fidelity is just fine, with the music sounding nice and the sound effects being reasonably convincing. The bass channel has limited chances to make its presence known. Dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. French and Spanish 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Nancy Drew: Kids At Work is a nine-minute look behind-the-scenes with the youthful cast. Nine Mini Featurettes are also included, as is a Gag Reel and a film clip based music video for the song Pretty Much Amazing.

NANCY DREW is enjoyable family fare, although the poor compression on the DVD is a mystery that could have been solved by omitting the unnecessary full screen presentation.



Nancy Drew (2007)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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