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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Disney's ''The Kid''
Disney's ''The Kid''
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 29, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

I wasn't particularly compelled to see this film during its release this past Summer. The film's title seemed rather generic and the trailers didn't particularly do anything for me, either. Watching this film, it's look from the outside does cover-up a moderately entertaining light comedy, but it never completely ends up taking off aside from parts here and there.

The film stars Bruce Willis as Russ Duritz, an image consultant who's rich and good at what he does, but like most businessmen in movies like this one, he's not really happy on the inside. There's the possibility of love with Amy(Emily Mortimer), but he never really allows her completely into his life. One night, he finds an 8-year old kid named Rusty living in his house. As it turns out, Rusty is actually the 8 year-old version of himself.

There's a lot that could be done with the plot, but it's actor Spencer Breslin that works better than Willis does for some of the movie. The little kid takes a survey of what his life has become; after running through the list of cool things he doesn't have, he states "I grow up to be a loser!". He asks Amy if she's "our girlfriend". And yes, the film does have the two Rustys (Rusties?) attempt to teach each other and help one another figure out where they may have went wrong in their lives. Assisting them both is adult Rusty's assistant, played wonderfully by Lily Tomlin in a small role.

As for the performances, there's a bit of a mixture here. Breslin is very funny and will hopefully have a future in other films. Willis, on the other hand, is funny but a little bit forced at times; it seems like a rather sitcom-ish role. Tomlin and especially Mortimer are more natural. Mortimer especially seems like the most realistic character in the film. As for director Jon Turteltaub, he does okay here. I've always had mixed feelings about his movies; I was one of the few who seemed to generally enjoy "Instinct". "While You Were Sleeping" and "Cool Runnings" were okay, as well. Like "Sleeping", "The Kid" begins to pour on the sweetness a little too much, added to by Marc Shaiman's score.

It's not a film that's without enjoyable elements. The acting is pretty good, if working with material that varies - sometimes a little too sappy, sometimes a little too silly - but occasionally getting it just right.


The DVD

VIDEO: For "The Kid", Disney puts out an effort that's similiar to most of their other recent releases; very good looking and almost great at times, but there's a few flaws that pop up from time-to-time. Not that "The Kid" has particularly a lot going on visually that's going to look great, but the cinematography by Peter Menzies, Jr. does provide some nice visuals from what the film has to work with. The movie is presented in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and it is anamorphic. Sharpness and detail are generally fine; there are some scenes that took on a slightly soft look, but not terribly so. Some of the darker and dimly lit scenes seemed slightly on the murky side, as well - but definitely not to the point where I couldn't see detail.

Colors are very pleasing throughout the movie. Much of the film offers bright, vibrant colors that come across looking natural and without flaw on this DVD edition. Although colors don't seem flawed, there are some other problems that occasionally pop up. Some slight pixelation occasionally appears and a couple of very minor instances of edge enhancement are visible. Print flaws though, are very minor. I onlt noticed a speckle or two throughout, certainly not enough to cause any sort of distraction.

Overall this is a slightly above-average effort from Disney; watchable, but I think the studio is capable of a smoother-looking presentation.

SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation for "The Kid" didn't present any concerns in terms of quality, but it also didn't present much in the way of activity, either. Normal for many similar films of the genre, there isn't a great deal of sound use. Most of the audio for "The Kid" comes from the front, and only rarely is there any surround use. The score sounds crisp and clear, and occasionally is offered by the surrounds. Dialogue, and there does seem to be lot of yelling on occasion in this film, sounds clear and easily understood.

MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, with very basic images serving as backgrounds.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary track from director Jon Turteltaub and actor Spencer Breslin. The track isn't hugely informative, but it does end up being highly entertaining due to the enthusiasm from the director and especially Breslin. The two chat about the making of the film, talking about everything from the other members of the cast to the catering and what they think about the story. Their comments are mainly "scene-specific" as they react to what's going by on-screen, or as Breslin asks how the director was able to achieve certain shots.

Breslin talks constantly throughout the track and it often very funny, especially once he gets into the movie and starts talking about his experiences shooting the movie and occasionally starting a debate or two with the director on what happened during filming and asks how the commentary is going to work once its on the DVD. At one point during the track, he even starts eating. The two are great together and make for a very enjoyable listen. After bringing together the Coyotes for a track on "Coyote Ugly" and these two for "The Kid", I hope that Disney can continue to put together tracks as fun and entertaining as these two.

How a kid becomes "The Kid": This is a 20 minute documentary that takes the viewer through the casting process for "The Kid", with interviews from Spencer Breslin who talks about his experience in acting. But, we actually hear from other members of the crew who talk about what they were looking for as we see footage of the casting calls and Spencer's audition and screen test.

The rest of the documentary shows what Breslin had to go through during filming as he and the crew talk about the experience. Last, but not least, the viewer follows Spencer to the film's premiere. It's a really well-done feature that shows what it's like for a kid to be in the middle of a major motion picture.

Conversations With Jon Turtletaub: A fluffy, if moderately funny little featurette that centers on interview footage with the director, but also takes a look at footage of the director working on the sets of his various films from "While You Were Sleeping" to "Phenomenon" to "The Kid". He generally discusses the way he works and the experiences he's had during his career - and more specifically - some of the stories from "The Kid".

Theatrical Trailer: The film's theatrical trailer, in Dolby 2.0 and full-frame.

Also: Biography for the director.

Final Thoughts: If you're looking for a nice, light comedy, "The Kid" may be worth looking at as a rental. Disney's DVD edition offers pretty good image quality, unremarkable audio quality and some fun extras. Disney may not have everything quite worked out with presentation, but they're doing some entertaining and creative things with extra features, and I hope they continue.

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