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WHAT DREAMS MAY COME ($35) is an entertaining fantasy film that proves to be both spiritually uplifting and visually stunning. This film takes digital imagery to the next level- a place where the effects are integral to storytelling. No longer are filmmakers limited to conventional notions of reality; any imaginable environment can be created in the digital realm. Actors can be placed in these perfectly visualized environments, thus creating a seamless motion picture world that will not shatter an audience's suspension of disbelief (the way that fake looking special effects once did).

WHAT DREAMS MAY COME stars Robin Williams as Chris Nielsen, a recently deceased physician who has to come to grips with his new state of being. Cuba Gooding Jr. portrays Albert; the heavenly guide assigned to help Chris make the transition to the afterlife. Unfortunately, Chris has trouble of letting go of his mortal wife Annie (Annabella Sciorra). Annie is also unable to let go of the recently departed Chris. In fact, Annie’s life without Chris becomes so unbearable for her that she ends it. When Albert brings Chris the news of his Annie's death, he also tells him that her spirit is condemned to spend eternity in hell because she committed suicide. Chris refuses to accept Annie's fate and is determined to rescue her soul from damnation- something that has never been accomplished. Unable to break Chris’ resolve for this impossible task, Albert agrees to take him to a tracker (played by Max von Sydow) who will be able to help Chris locate Annie amongst all the other lost souls in hell. In addition to the very strong leading performances, the cast of WHAT DREAMS MAY COME also features Rosalind Chao, Jessica Brooks Grant and Josh Paddock.

Polygram Video has made WHAT DREAMS MAY COME available on DVD in a spectacular THX certified wide screen presentation. The Letterboxed transfer accurately recreates the film’s 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio, plus the DVD includes the 16:9 anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. WHAT DREAMS MAY COME is an amazing looking movie, which this DVD faithfully recreates. The image is razor sharp and fully detailed; even the level of shadow detail is highly impressive. Color reproduction on this DVD is jaw dropping. The film’s over-saturated could have caused endless problems, yet the DVD recreates them with near perfection. There are a few instances where the most intense hot colors bleed a bit, but the way the constantly shifting chromatic landscape is deployed in the film, I doubt anyone will notice. Chroma noise is virtually non-existent on this disc. Blacks are true black, and the DVD offers wonderful contrast. Superb DVD authoring, plus the use of dual layer technology disguised all traces of digital compression artifacts.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack perfectly complements the film’s impressive visuals. There is a complexity to the mix that those with a good sound system are certain to enjoy. All of the discrete channels are exploited to create a fully developed sound field that envelops the viewer. Channel separation is very precise across the forward soundstage, creating a very wide environment. Additionally, natural sounding voices emanate primarily from the center channel, plus there are a number of occasions where split surrounds are called into play. A great deal of ambience also issues forth from the surround channels. Bass reproduction is deceptively powerful, yet it never overwhelms the track’s other intricacies. Michael Kamen’s haunting musical score is also well integrated into the Dolby Digital mix. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, in addition to French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus are animated, contain music and are stylishly designed. Through the menus, one can access the standard scene and language selection features, as well as the DVD’s extras. A full-length audio commentary with director Vincent Ward is the DVD’s primary supplement. Those who enjoyed the film will find Ward’s talk worthwhile. Other extras include a "Making Of" featurette, a look at the film’s special effects, an alternate ending to the film, two theatrical trailers, a photo gallery and cast biographies/filmographies.




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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