Plot: What’s it about?
Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is a loving husband and great father, but he tends to focus more on having fun with his kids, instead of being a more responsible parent. This causes conflict with his wife Miranda (Sally Field), who wants to see more routine in the family’s household. Daniel works as a voice actor, but he isn’t getting much work these days. When he throws a huge birthday party against Miranda’s wishes, it proves to be the final straw and she takes steps toward a divorce. This devastates Daniel, who is given only infrequent visits and he misses his children to no end. When his wife takes out an ad for a nanny, he calls on his makeup wizard brother, who turns him into Mrs. Doubtfire, a British nanny with immense experience. But can Daniel pull off this insane plot and if so, what impact will the truth have on his family if he is discovered?
Not all movies hold up well over the years, but I do think Mrs. Doubtfire has held up quite well. I saw the movie in theaters, then again when the DVD was released, and now I revisited it for this high definition edition. Mrs. Doubtfire is by no means a classic, but it is a more than solid effort, with ample laughs. Robin Williams is no longer the comedic animal he was in this film, but it is great to go back and watch him unleash his talents here. Williams is a madman in Mrs. Doubtfire, he carries the movie with his performance and does so with great skill. The story is decent and his costars are solid, but Williams is the reason to watch and his performance still pulls out the laughs. This Blu-ray release looks superb and has a nice selection of supplements, so if you are a fan of the movie, this is the Mrs. Doubtfire you’ll want to own.
Video: How does it look?
Mrs. Doubtfire is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I wasn’t impressed with the original DVD release, but this new high definition version is impressive. The transfer is much better than I expected, with a clean print and solid clarity, so time hasn’t taken too much of a toll here. In truth, the movie has little signs of age and could pass for a much more recent production, which is a credit to this presentation. The depth is good and detail is sharp, with a lot of subtle touches visible, whereas on the DVD, they were lost in the shuffle. Colors look bright and contrast is accurate, a terrific catalog transfer from Fox.
Audio: How does it sound?
This lossless DTS HD 5.1 option sounds good, but this movie doesn’t offer much in terms of audio presence. A few scenes do power up a little, mostly in regard to the music, so there is some life. The Jump Around scene in specific has great punch, but aside from those few instances, the audio is rather reserved. While laid back, the dialogue driven audio still comes across well, so no vocals are muffled or hard to understand. In other words, this soundtrack isn’t going to dazzle anyone, but all the basics are covered and the movie sounds fine. This disc also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 option, Spanish and French language tracks, and subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
All of the extras from the Special Edition DVD have been ported over, but the audio commentary from the original DVD release has not been carried over. Even so, there is some good stuff here and we’ll start in the Cutting Room section. This area is home to over half an hour of deleted scenes, plus some additional alternate scenes. Not bad at all, with some interesting stuff to be found in the deleted material. Animation Studio focuses on the animated segment from the film, with a brief interview with Chuck Jones, the finished cartoon, alternate backgrounds, and the original pencil test. For such a small scene, it is cool to find so many extras devoted to the animated sequence. Stage A has only one supplement, a featurette titled Improvisation of Mrs. Doubtfire, which runs over thirty-five minutes and collects some of Williams’ hilarious improvised moments. Next is Production Office, which has a solid half hour or so featurette titled From Man to Mrs., a brief retrospective featurette, and some behind the scenes photos. The next section is Make Up Department, with a brief Robin Williams interview with transformation footage, some makeup tests, and photos of the makeup process. The final area is Publicity Department, which houses two promotional featurettes, poster artwork, television spots, promotional photos, and three of the film’s theatrical trailers.