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MOUSE HUNT ($30) opened to mixed review when it hit theaters. Now after viewing the film for the first time on DVD, I have to wonder if I saw the same film as those critics who didn't like MOUSE HUNT. I don’t know how they didn’t have fun with MOUSE HUNT; it made me laugh out loud. Let me say this up front, I'm a sucker for slapstick humor and MOUSE HUNT has it in abundance. Of course, many of the film's jokes are in bad taste, but I only laughed because I found the jokes funny. Does it make me an overgrown child? Probably. MOUSE HUNT is a film designed to please both children and the perpetual child inside almost all of us. If certain critics didn’t like MOUSE HUNT, it leaves me with one question: when one becomes a professional critic (one who actually earns their living from such pursuits), does their inner child go away?

MOUSE HUNT plays like a live action cartoon- one where the mouse is a lot smarter than the cat pursuing it. Instead of a bumbling cat, MOUSE HUNT supplies two inept brothers who try repeatedly to evict a mouse from the house they recently inherited. Nathan Lane stars as Ernie Smuntz and Lee Evans portrays his brother Lars Smuntz. Both Lane and Evans have moments of inspired lunacy that make MOUSE HUNT funnier than it would have been with less skilled comedians. As the film opens, the brothers Smuntz are nearly destitute when they inherit their father's seemingly worthless assets, which consist of an antiquated string factory and a dilapidated old house.

The house, however turns out to be quite valuable when it is discovered that it is an unknown work of a famous 19th Century architect. Ernie and Lars see dollar signs and hope to cash in on the home's new notoriety by renovating it, then auctioning it off to the highest bidder. There is only one catch- there is a mouse in the house that can't be eradicated by normal methods. The brothers try everything to rid themselves of their resident rodent, however each attempt backfires because the mouse is always a couple of steps ahead of the bungling duo. The cast of MOUSE HUNT also features Vicki Lewis, Maury Chaykin, Eric Christmas, Michael Jeter, Debra Christofferson, Camilla Søeberg, Ian Abercrombie, Annabelle Gurwitch, Eric Poppick, Ernie Sabella, William Hickey and Christopher Walken in a hilarious supporting performance. The other star of MOUSE HUNT is of course, the title rodent, whose performance is a brilliant combination of real mice, anamatronics and CGI.

DreamWorks Home Entertainment has done a marvelous job bringing MOUSE HUNT to DVD. The film is offered in both full screen and wide screen versions on opposite sides of the DVD. Full screen is fine for the kiddies, but the adults are going to want to see MOUSE HUNT in beautiful anamorphic enhanced wide screen. The wide screen presentation recreates the film’s 1.85:1 aspect ratio almost perfectly. Colors are richly saturated and are faithfully recreated without a bit of chroma noise or distortion. The image is sharp and features a startling level of detail. Digital compression artifacts were never bothersome on this well authored DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is wonderful fun. All of the discrete channels are used to create a wild mix that is fully directional and aggressively deployed. The mix adds to the cartoon-like environment. Bass is deep and certain to rattle your windows, while the dialogue is clear and sharp. The mix also enhances Alan Silvestri’s delightful score. Spanish and French language soundtracks are also available, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus are actually entertaining, with animation sound effects that enhance the entire DVD experience. Through the interactive menus one can access the nice supplemental features that include a number of scenes "From The Cutting Room Floor", theatrical trailers, production notes and cast biographies.

MOUSE HUNT is a funny and entertaining film for both children and adults alike. DreamWorks has produced a super DVD that collectors will want to own. Recommended.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 1999 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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