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FLY AWAY HOME ($30) is a very entertaining and inspirational family film- one that is certain to be enjoyed by the entire family. FLY AWAY HOME is a fictionalized account of a true incident where wild geese are taught to migrate south. The film’s story concerns a young girl from New Zealand, who looses her mother in an automobile accident, and goes off to live with her eccentric inventor father in Canada. The girl has nothing to tie her to her new home and feels estranged from her father, who was absent during much of her childhood.

Things change when the girl adopts a brood of orphaned goslings, and they come to accept the girl as their mother. As the geese get older, a ranger wants to clip their wings since they have no way of learning how to fly south for the winter. The girl doesn’t want her geese maimed, so her father devises a way to teach the flock to fly south by following her in a small single person aircraft. The cast of FLY AWAY HOME features Jeff Daniels as the father, Anna Paquin as the girl, and Dana Delany as the father’s girlfriend. By the way, Delany passed on a role in INDEPENDENCE DAY to make FLY AWAY HOME. She certainly made the right decision by staying out of that overproduced piece of garbage.

I have to admit that I am somewhat disappointed by the DVD release of FLY AWAY HOME. For some strange reason Columbia TriStar Home Video has chosen to issue FLY AWAY HOME pan and scan only on DVD. Even stranger is the fact that there exists a perfectly good 1.85:1 Letterboxed transfer, which was used for the film’s Laserdisc release. In direct comparison of the Letterboxed and pan and scan transfers, the pan and scan has more information at the top and bottom of the frame. Unfortunately, the pan and scan transfer sacrifices a good bit of information on both the right and left sides of the frame. Characters tend to drop off the extreme edges of the pan and scan transfer, giving the image a very cramped feel. The Letterboxed transfer is more visually and esthetically pleasing. The compositions on the Letterboxed transfer are balanced and they focus the viewers eye to the director and cinematographer's intentions. When one compares the Laserdisc to the DVD, the DVD makes up some of the ground it lost to its ill chosen transfer. The Laserdisc is noisier and a bit softer looking than the DVD. Colors on the DVD are rock solid and are slightly better saturated. Without video noise, the DVD also appears a good deal sharper than the Laserdisc. One has to imagine how good FLY AWAY HOME could have been on DVD with the Letterboxed transfer of its Laserdisc cousin. I had difficulty detecting digital artifacts on this DVD, so they won’t be noticeable during normal viewing.

The digitally encoded Dolby Surround soundtrack has a pleasing little mix which tends to favor Mark Isham’s musical score. The DVD audio also includes a Dolby Digital soundtrack, in addition to French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available in Spanish.

FLY AWAY HOME really is a marvelous film. If you would like to see FLY AWAY HOME issued in the Letterboxed format on DVD, please take the time to contact Columbia TriStar Home Video.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 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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