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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Fantasy > Surrealism > French > Amelie (2001/Lionsgate Blu-ray/U.S. Release)

Amélie (2001/Lionsgate Blu-ray/U.S. Release)


Picture: A-     Sound: A-     Extras: B     Film: A-



French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet has quietly yet consistently compiled a diverse and interesting filmography since his feature debut in 1991 (Delicatessen).  Amélie, his most critically and commercially successful film, is now finally available on Blu-ray in the United States thanks to Lionsgate’s acquisition of key titles from Miramax’s now independently owned catalog.  Jeunet’s first film after his misunderstood Alien Resurrection (reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) is a return to form and to the French language.


Amélie is the type of film that Hollywood is afraid to make.  Most times when a film is sold as “guaranteed to put a smile on your face” you can be certain that it will feature a former lead from Sex and the City limping her way to another paycheck.  That being said, I am going to say that this is truly the type of film that will put that smile on your face.  Original, colorful, fun, and heartwarming are the first words that come to mind if I had to sell someone on Amélie.  You might get one of those adjectives from most Hollywood productions, but as soon as more then one of them are used the result is a kid’s movie with Jason Lee and some CGI blobs.  We get the experiences and life of the title character shown in a witty way that sets the film apart from so many female-lead films that are just phony and often obviously made by men who do not know what they are talking about and Audrey Tautou is great throughout.


Jeunet, who takes great care when preparing his films for Blu-ray, is irate with Fox for not asking him to be involved with mastering of Alien Resurrection for the Alien Anthology Blu-ray set.  Luckily for fans of Amélie, he was involved in the remastering for Blu-ray and it shows.  Bruno Delbonnel’s Oscar Nominated Cinematography shines in Lionsgate’s new MPEG-4 AVC 1080p transfer.  The 2:35:1 golden-green stylized image pops off the screen with the detail one might expect from a newer release.  This US release seems to have used the same source material as Jeunet’s officially approved French release with a few minor differences.  I have been fortunate to compare this release side by side with the French disc.  The US release is just slight bit brighter and warmer as well as having just a bit more digital noise. Both the French and U.S. releases look excellent, but I would choose the French (TFI Video) over the U.S. due to Jeunet’s direct involvement.  Unfortunately, the French release does not have English subtitles, which may distract many enthusiasts from importing the superior transfer.  I would like to thank Jeunet for staying true to the film’s original theatrical presentation by not changing the color timing as other directors have unfortunately been doing with recent remasters.  The French Lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is excellent and ranges from subtle to active surround.  The dialogue is crisp and Yann Tiersen’s memorable score is well represented.


All of the extras from the Miramax’s two-disc DVD have been ported to the new Blu-ray in standard definition.  This disc is a must own for fans of the film who appreciate the Blu-ray format.  Listed at $19.99 upon its initial release, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Lionsgate catalogue title.  I am ecstatic at the treatment it has been given and look forward to rest of the Miramax films to be released in the future form them.  Note some titles are going to Echo Bridge for Blu-ray and the results have been awful so far.


One final note regarding this release: Amélie has previously been released twice in Canada and many people are going to be upgrading from the Alliance and TVA Films releases.  If you are planning on picking this title up at a movie exchange type store, please make sure to not purchase the inferior TVA Films 1080i version as it is universally regarded as a disaster.  The Alliance version is 1080p and generally regarded as comparable to the new Lionsgate/Miramax disc.



-   Jimm Needle



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