WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review


Reviewed In Issue 21 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, John Heard, Julie Kavner, Penelope Ann Miller, Max Von Sydnow

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 2
Sound Rating: 2.5
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
Internet Links


DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): Columbia/TriStar Home Video
(Catalog Number): 81526
(MPAA Rating): PG13
(Retail Price): $39.95
(Running Time In Minutes): 120
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1990
(LD Release Date): 5/96
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

Credits Information
(Director): Penny Marshall
(Screenplay/Written By): Steve Zaillian
(Story): NA
(Music): Randy Newman
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Anton Furst
(Visual Effects): Process Projection Effects & Navestar
(Costume Designer): Cynthia Flynt
(Editor): Jerry Greenberg & Battle Davis
(Supervising Sound Editors): Jerry Ross
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): Penny Marshall, Anre Schmidt & Elliott Abbott
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Walter E. Parks & Lawrence Lasker

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Academy Standard Flat
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Dolby Surround
(Theatrical Sound): Dolby Stereo SR
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital):
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround):
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Based on the book by Oliver Sacks, M.D. Awakenings tells the story about a neurologist who uses an experimental drug to awaken a patient who has been “asleep” for 30 years. Inspired by the true story, it stars Williams as Dr. Malcolm Sayer, who, in 1969 created the drug L-DOPA, which lifts the surviving victims of the encephalitis lethargica pandemic from their zombie-like trances. A strong bond forms between the doctor and Leonard Lowe (De Niro), one of his primary patients.

LaserDisc Picture:
The picture is matted at 1.85:1. The picture quality is problematic with poor color fidelity and inconsistencies. It appears that there is a brownish hue to the scenes which cause a general distortion of colors, particularly noticeable on fleshtones. Shadow detail is poor with some scenes overly dark. Slight noise and minor artifacts also are apparent.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
The sound is veiled and bright, especially in the dialogue, and bass is wanting. The fine music score’s surround presence is subtle.
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz):
(Aggressive System Surround):
(Intense 25Hz Bass):
(Deep Bass Challenging):
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield):
(Aggressive Split Surround):
(Center Back Surround Imaging):
(Directionalized Dialogue):
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition: