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THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER

THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER ($30) is an entertaining, albeit farfetched mystery/thriller set on a military base in Georgia. Personally I enjoyed THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER because it is slick and well acted by a very strong cast. This is not to say that the movie is perfect. The plot has a couple of holes in it that one could drive a Hummer through, plus the movie contains a very disturbing rape scene that is certain to put off some viewers. Additionally, THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER leaves an established plot thread completely unresolved. That is, unless one bothers to take a look at the deleted scenes included on the DVD. THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER stars John Travolta as Warrant Officer Paul Brenner, a member of the military's Criminal Investigation Division. Brenner is brought in to investigate a rape/murder of a female officer that occurs at Fort MacCallum.

Unfortunately, Brenner finds himself under a deadline; given only thirty-six hours to solve the crime before the investigation falls to the jurisdiction of the FBI. Further complicating matters is the fact that the murder victim is the daughter of General Campbell (James Cromwell), Fort MacCallum's commanding officer. If that wasn't bad enough, Brenner also finds himself saddled with a second investigator, one who could be a potential distraction for him. That distraction comes in the form of Warrant Officer Sara Sunhill (Madeleine Stowe), a woman from Brennan's past with whom he still has unresolved issues. As Brenner and Sunhill try to piece together what actually happened to the general's daughter, they discover that the case is far more complicated than it appears on the surface.

Since THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER is a mystery, I don't want to give away any more of the plot than the bit I’ve already divulged. As I stated above, the cast delivers very strong performances that really draw the audience into the movie. Travolta is especially good as Brenner, however James Woods delivers the film's most powerful performance as Col. Robert Moore. Travolta and Woods play off each other exceedingly well, their confrontation scene proves to be the film’s most electrifying moment. Madeleine Stowe also deserves high praise for one of the best performances of her career. Additionally, special mention must go to Leslie Stefanson for tackling the difficult and potentially thankless role of Capt. Elizabeth Campbell- the general's daughter. Stefanson really does a good job with the small, but critical part. The cast of THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER also includes Timothy Hutton, Clarence Williams III, Daniel von Bargen, Peter Weireter, Mark Boone Jr., John Beasley, Boyd Kestner, Brad Beyer, John Benjamin Hickey, Rick Dial, Ariyan A. Johnson and director John Frankenheimer in a great little cameo.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER available on DVD in a superb looking wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER is framed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is absolutely stunning. There are moments on this DVD when the image is genuinely demonstration quality; other times the image is merely excellent. The crisp, richly defined picture brings out the beauty of Peter Menzies Jr. stellar cinematography. Color reproduction is absolutely spectacular; deeply saturated hues are flawlessly recreated without even a minor hint of chroma noise or bleeding. Flesh tones are exceedingly healthy without looking pumped up. Blacks are a perfect inky black, plus the image provides outstanding shadow detail and very smooth contrast. Digital compression artifacts never make their presence known, thanks to first rate authoring and the use of dual layer technology to maximize the bit rate.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack boasts a terrific mix, which makes effective use of the discrete nature of the format without being overly showy. There is excellent channel separation in both the front and rear. Directional effects never draw attention to themselves, which enhances the films realistic sonic environment. Dialogue is very clean and very well recorded, retaining the natural timbre of the actor's voices. Bass is strong and full sounding without being overblown. Music is very well integrated into the mix. The music that has been placed under the opening and closing credits sounds remarkably good in Dolby Digital. English and French Dolby Surround soundtracks have also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English subtitles.

The interactive menus contain animation and sound and are very nicely designed. Through the menus one can access the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the DVD's nice complement of supplements. Director Simon West provides and informative audio commentary that fans of the movie very interesting for the level of background detail it provides. West is obviously well prepared for his talk, covering every aspect of the production quite thoroughly. Also included are four deleted scenes that would have given a more Hollywood flavor to the relationship between Travolta and Stowe’s characters. The scenes include comments from the director who explains why they were dropped from the movie. Filling out the supplements are two theatrical trailers and a twenty-minute production featurette.

THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER isn’t a perfect movie, but it sure is an entertaining one. Paramount Home Entertainment delivers a first rate DVD that is certainly worth acquiring by anyone who enjoyed the movie. Recommended.

 
THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER 



ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 

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DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 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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