Where has Robin Williams gone? The Robin Williams I once knew has definitely turned a corner and seems completely absent from the roles that made him a household favorite. Patch Adams falls right in the middle of his transition, and thankfully Robin Williams delivers a solid performance, maybe even the last performance as his old self.
After hitting rock bottom and checking himself into a mental hospital, Patch Adams (Robin Williams) discovers that he has a gift...the ability to reach out, touch people's lives, and make them better. He goes to medical school to learn how to help people even more. Patch enjoys "bending" the rules and goes behind the dean's back to see patients before he is actually allowed. He entertains the patients and families, knowing that laughter, love, and a compassionate ear is truly what people need when they are sick. With the dean now threatening to kick him out, Patch has to figure out a way to keep doing what he loves and graduate with a medical degree. Along with his two friends, Truman and Corinne (Daniel London and Monica Potter), they open up a free medical clinic, a new, radical concept in healthcare. Each of their lives are dramatically changed as they see that being a doctor is more than just figuring out what is making someone ill...it is caring for the person instead of just treating the illness.
What really blows me away is that Patch Adams is actually based on a true story. Patch Adams is a real man and went through what we see on the screen. It is an absolutely incredible story, and Williams easily translates it to the big screen. Just the thought that one man can be so genuine and care so much, is reason alone to watch this film...he is different and believes he can make the world a better place. Patch is a quirky, light-hearted, lovable character, which is a perfect fit for Williams.
With a great supporting cast of Daniel London, Monica Potter, and even Philip Seymour Hoffman, Patch Adams is an easy watch. It is fun, witty, and an emotional roller coaster. I had a great time watching everyone fall in love with Patch as he ran around the hospital helping people and making them laugh and smile. It seems like every person that was somehow part of Patch's life, just had a better life while being around him. They laughed more, thought more, and learned more, all because of one man and his dream of helping people.
Universal has given us a 1080p VC-1 codec with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Unfortunately I just couldn't get into this transfer. Don't get me wrong, it isn't a bad transfer, but it definitely isn't even close to the best I have seen. The skin tones in particular are very spotty, sometimes they are too warm, sometimes they are too cool, and then they look great. The colors are good, especially outside, and the detail seems to hold fairly strong throughout. The blacks are also very nice and only light detail is lost in darker scenes. Again, there are times when the transfer is very good, but it just doesn't remain throughout the film. If Patch Adams had remained consistent, then I could have easily given it a better rating.
Here we have two tracks almost identical to each other. One 5.1 Dolby Digital True HD and one 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus. Each track is very dull and never really impresses. The dialogue seemed to be pretty even throughout, but there are times when it gets a little quiet and I had to keep turning it up. The surrounds are sometimes filled with ambient noises, but definitely not the entire time. Highs are good but lows are rarely used. Unfortunately, like the video, another just mediocre track at best.
These extras say 1080p on my player, but they feel like 480i/p, and are MPEG-2 codec.
The Medicinal Value of Laughter: Making of Patch Adams: This is a very standard making of with cast and crew speaking out, even Patch Adams himself talking about the film. Overall, just an okay feature that talks a lot about the creation of the film, with some nice touches from Patch Adams.
Photograph Montage: Yep, boring pictures set to music.
Outtakes: Good for a few laughs.
Deleted Scenes: There are a few interesting scenes here, especially with Patch Adams' mother.
Storyboards & Final Feature Comparison: Actually kind of a neat feature where you see the storyboards and how close the final feature was to them.
Commentary with Director Tom Shadyac: You know, I really enjoyed this track. Shadyac does a fantastic job filling us in on tons of details. He is very careful to not only make it entertaining for those who want more back story, but also the techies as well. Definitely worth a watch for fans of the film.
So, Patch Adams is a fun and entertaining film. It is definitely not Robin Williams' best film, but he does a great job in it. The story alone is extremely touching, and worth a watch. The video and audio are average at best, and same goes for the extras. I just can't recommend this one to everyone. Go rent it and give it a watch.