Plot: What’s it about?
This is an Italian movie written, directed and starring Roberto Benigni. It is about a waiter, Guido, (Roberto Benigni) who bumps into the girl of his dreams, Dora, (Nicoletta Braschi) literally on a number of occasions. Guido wants to get to know Dora better and he finds out that she is going to get married to someone that she doesn’t want to. So Guido rides in on a horse and saves the day. The movie then fast forwards about six years, although it doesn’t say. Guido and Dora are now marriend and have a child, Joshua, that is five years old now.
It is now in the middle of the second world war and Guido and his son are taken away to a concentration camp becuase they are Jewish. Even though Dora is Italain she wants to be with her family and asked to be put on the train with them. (talk about courage or being crazy) Guido tells his son, Joshua, (Giorgio Cantarini) that this all part of his birthday present and that they are going away to play a game. He tells them that they have to do work and then they will get points and when they reach 1,000 they will get to go home and they will win the first prize, a tank. Joshua has a toy tank that he loves to play with so this is why Guido tells him this. In all of the hard times at the camp Guido keeps telling Joshua that it is just a game even as things start to unravel and all of the jewish children end up missing. Guido must continue to hide his son and try and find a way to escape or just to continue to lie to his son to give them both hope. This seems to be the only way that they can be a family once again.
I enjoyed this movie and it was worth reading the subtitles for two hours and believe me that is the only reason why I put off on seeing this movie for a year. I heard some great things about it, but just couldn’t sell myself on reading subtitles for two hours. I recommend renting this if you can get by the dubbing or the subtitles. Otherwise I don’t feel that you are missing anything special. I enjoyed the movie, but I just don’t feel it is as good as most would have you believe. If you like this movie you should be able to pick it up for about $20 over the internet or for a few dollars more at a conventional store.
Video: How does it look?
This is NOT 16×9 enhanced, but it still looks pretty good. There is nothing great that really stands out about the picture, but then again nothing really stuck out negatively either. Just a pretty good job from Disney although it could have been better with the 16×9 enhancement.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is a pretty good 5.1 soundtrack. I could only last about the first five minutes with the English dubbing. I had to go to the original soundtrack with the cast speaking their natural language of Italian. It was easier for me to read subtitles than to watch Italian actors speak dubbed English. It just didn’t match. It reminded me too much of the old kung fu movies. The musical score is the feature that stands out and your subwoofer and surround speakers don’t get much attention at all. Not really a problem here since it is a drama.
Supplements: What are the extras?
You get a rather interesting 30 minute making of featurette here. It talks about how the movie was made and it takes you back to some of Roberto Benigni’s earlier work as well. You also get a theatrical trailer in full frame and 2.0 sound and some televsion spots as well.