WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

Message In A Bottle

Reviewed In Issue 34 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn, John Savage, Illeana Douglas, Robbie Coltrane, Jesse James, Paul Newman

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 4
Sound Rating: 4
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
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DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): Warner Home Video
(Catalog Number): 16989
(MPAA Rating): PG13
(Retail Price): $39.98
(Running Time In Minutes): 131
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1999
(LD Release Date):
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

Credits Information
(Director): Luis Mandoki
(Screenplay/Written By): Gerald DiPego
(Story): NA
(Music): Gabriel Yared
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Jeffrey Beecroft
(Visual Effects): Cinesite Digital Studios
(Costume Designer): Bernie Pollack
(Editor): Steven Weisberg
(Supervising Sound Editors): Bruce Stambler, MPSE; Richard E. Yawn, MPSE
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): NA
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Denise Di Novi, Jim Wilson & Kevin Costner

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Panavision
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 2.40:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 2.35:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Dolby Digital Surround
(Theatrical Sound): DTS, SDDS & Dolby Digital
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital): No
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround): No
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Lonely widower Garret Blake (Costner) stays connected to his beloved wife by sending love notes out to sea tucked in empty wine bottles. Lonely divorcee Theresa (Wright Penn) finds one such Message In A Bottle while vacationing, and is so touched by the writer’s sentiments that she goes through painstaking research to find him. Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks.

LaserDisc Picture:
The LaserDisc picture is beautifully rendered, with natural colors, accurate fleshtones and deep blacks. Images are sharp and detailed with nicely rendered contrast and shadow delineation. The overall visual experience is easy on the eyes. The LaserDisc aspect ratio measures 2.35:1.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
The Dolby® Digital discrete 5.1 soundtrack is overly bass-emphasized with a veiled quality, while the matrix PCM LaserDisc sounds dramatically more natural and spatially dimensional. Dialogue, on the discrete version, sounds closely miked or ADR-processed with very poor spatial integration and an unnatural muffled quality. The matrix version is not characterized by this muffled quality. The music score is nicely recorded except for the unnatural bass that underlies the discrete presentation. Surround envelopment is both subtle and aggressive with the matrix exhibiting a more open, enveloping quality. Bass is unnaturally presented on the Dolby Digital presentation, while the matrix PCM version is better balanced.
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz): Yes
(Aggressive System Surround): Yes
(Intense 25Hz Bass): No
(Deep Bass Challenging): No
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield): Yes
(Aggressive Split Surround): Yes
(Center Back Surround Imaging): Yes
(Directionalized Dialogue): No
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition: