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WSR Detailed DVD Review
Cast Away

Genre: Drama

Reviewed In Issue 50 (July 2001) Of Widescreen Review®

Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt & Nick Searcy

WSR Review Scores
WSR Picture Rating: 4.5
DD Sound Rating: 4
DTS Sound Rating: 4.5
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score: 3.5
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Special Features
Note to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment: Yes, we are ready for Fox DVD. Now will you please get that annoying commercial off of your discs? Okay, the two-disc set includes audio commentary with director Robert Zemeckis, cinematographer Don Burgess, visual effects supervisors Ken Ralston and Carey Villegas and sound designer Randy Thom on the movie disc. The second Bonus Features disc offers The Making Of Cast Away documentary, three interesting and fun featurettes, six special effects vignettes with commentary, a Tom Hanks interview with Charlie Rose, a behind-the-scenes image gallery, three storyboard galleries, (There

 DVD General Information

(Studio/Distributor): 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
(Catalog Number): 2001790
(MPAA Rating): PG13
(Rating Reason):

(Retail Price): $29.98
(DVD Type): DVD-9 x 2
(Widescreen Edition): Yes
(Full Screen Edition): No
(Anamorphic Widescreen): Yes
(Running Time In Minutes): 144
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Regional Coding): 1
(Theatrical Year): 2000
(Theatrical Release): Yes
(Direct-To-Video Release): No
(DVD Release Date): 06/12/01
(THX® Digitally Mastered): Yes

 Credits Information

(Director): Robert Zemeckis
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  DVD Picture Information

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  DVD Sound Information

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  WSR Narrative Review
Special Notes:
DVD jacket erroneously states a 2.35:1 aspect ratio (

Story Synopsis:
Chuck Noland (Hanks) is a oft-traveling systems engineer for Federal Express who is consumed by the seconds that tick away on the clock. Even a phone call to his girlfriend Kelly (Hunt) is tic-tock, tic-tock fast. To be fair, that is what his job

DVD Picture:
The anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 DVD (also THX Digitally Mastered, though not credited on the jacket) picture is very nicely rendered. Images are sharp and detailed, with good contrast and shadow delineation. Viewing in a completely blackened room is recommended to allow for optimal visual information in the darkest scenes, like those seemingly lit by only moonlight. When the plane crashes into the ocean in the middle of the night, the picture is appropriately very dark, but just enough lighting is provided to see what is going on along with the incredible audio. Actually, many scenes set on the island were shot day-for-night, but rather than using filters, the filmmakers digtitally created incredible night skies and darkened the scenes to match, drawing out the shadows for a deeper, more realistic appearance that might closely resemble what the eye would see in the same circumstances. The result is a realistic, chilling visual experience, with many scenes nearly totally black. When the film progresses to the island, colors are lush and rich, with gorgeous blues in the sky and water. Unfortunately, edge enhancement is apparent, giving the picture a hard-edged character. (Suzanne Hodges)

The 5.1-channel discrete sound mix (said to be with Surround EX encoding) is certainly a sonic achievement, in terms of creativity, sound design and the sheer capability of Randy Thom and the team at Skywalker Sound to create multi-textured, various soundstages as essential elements in the storytelling through the use of sound. It therefore makes sense to analyze the soundtrack not as a whole, but rather piecemeal in correlation with the different stages of the movie. For the opening and concluding sequences, the audio is generally balanced toward the screen, with scenes consisting of a wide, nicely expansive sonic image, along with dialogue-centric, indoor scenes for which the audio is mostly oriental toward center channel. For the settings at the airport, there is the pleasing, holosonic sense of being in the midst of planes in motion around you. The back surround channel also figures effectively with creating the sense of expansiveness and panning in the surround soundstage. But the critical storm sequence during the ill-fated FedEx flight is what really energizes the soundfield, and in this respect the listening experience is absolutely captivating, emotionally gripping, and awesome. The surrounds are prominent almost throughout this sequence, and the back surround channel really adds of the sense of space and envelopment. Bass is penetrating and extremely deep at times with substantial intensity, and the roar of the aircraft engines, particularly prior to the explosion as one of them makes impact with the sea, is downright dramatic. The .1 LFE is only used sparingly (though at substantive levels), so be sure to have fully capable, full-range main speakers, or else proper bass management in order to fully appreciate the low-end prominence. And then for the primary focus of the story, on the desolate island, the soundfield originates primarily from the front channels, apparently to help impart the sense of being totally isolated. The selection, creation and placement of sound effects have been purposefully executed to accentuate the sense of being in a solitary environment. There are certain effects in particular that serve to effectively tune to the listener into the

This Disc Contains The Following WSR-Rated Superb Qualities:
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