King Of California

Featured In Issue 130, April 2008

WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
First Look Studios
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(MPAA Rating):
(Rating Reason):
For some strong language, mature thematic elements, and brief drug references.
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Single Side, Single Layer (HD-15)
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Not Indicated
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(THX® Digitally Mastered):
David Robbins
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(Disc Soundtrack):
Dolby Digital+ 5.1, Dolby Digital+ 2.0 Stereo, DTS 5.1
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Charlie (Douglas) is a straight-out-of-the-mental-hospital father who is released to the custody of his legally emancipated teenage daughter, Miranda (Wood). Poor Miranda's peaceful life is turned upside down when Charlie begins a treasure hunt right in the middle of their suburban Los Angeles neighborhood. Charlie believes he has found the final location of the ancient Spanish treasure he has been searching for...right under the foundation of their local Costco. Skeptical Miranda believes it is more likely her dad is the King Of California than there is treasure buried under the neighborhood warehouse store. (Stacey Pendry)

The additional supplement to that on the DVD is commentary with Writer/Director Mike Cahill, Cinematographer Jim Whitaker, Production Designer Dan Bishop, and First Assistant Director Richard L. Fox. All other features are the same: the ten-minute featurette The Making Of King Of California, five minutes of outtakes, the original theatrical trailer, and previews.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD exhibits a warm color scheme, composed mostly of browns and golds, but there are occasions when bold, brighter hues are presented that look natural. Fleshtones show good delineation, but they are also slightly washed-out, looking somewhat pallid. Black levels are solid and details in the shadows are easy to make out. Resolution is good, but there are times when pixilation can distract from the image. Edge enhancement is noticeable, but not a major problem. The VC-1-encoded Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD both show a good sense of dimensionality and colors are nicely rendered. Blacks are solid, as in the DVD release, and while resolution is good, it is not quite on par with the best high-definition releases. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital and DTS® Digital Surround™ 5.1-channel soundtrack can have a broad front stage with good dialogue fidelity, helping create a realistic experience. Surround envelopment can be fairly limited, though, basically relegated to sporadic effects without any true envelopment. Fidelity is quite good, save for a few instances of clipping distortion, which makes for an enjoyable experience. The DTS encoding provides a subtle improvement in overall fidelity and is preferred. The Blu-ray Disc's and HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding sounds closer to the DTS encoding, which is also included on the disc, to the point that both sound nearly identical, fidelity wise. (Danny Richelieu)