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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Blank Check
Blank Check
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG // March 4, 2003
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 1, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

A somewhat entertaining Disney fantasy, "Blank Check" stars Brian Bonsall as eleven-year-old Preston. Beaten up by his brothers, feeling ignored by his parents and bullied by the other kids at school, Preston is having a hard time getting any attention. When Preston gets run over by a crook named Quigley (Miguel Ferrer) who's in a hurry, the crook signs him a blank check to pay for the bike he's just run over.

The kid runs the check through his new computer, making it out for a cool million. He heads off to the local bank, where the crooked banker (Michael Lerner) cashes it, thinking that the kid is actually a messenger for Quigley who's there to pick up laundered money. Moments later, the real messenger, Juice (Tone Loc), shows up.

Meanwhile, the kid buys his own giant house, gets himself a chauffer and buys whatever cool gadget he runs across. Of course, Quigley, Juice and others are after the kid's million bucks. Obviously an attempt to make a "Home Alone"-ish comedy by Disney, the film does succeed in providing some (although the idea should have made for a lot more inspired moments than what's on display here) fun moments as Preston finds himself with more money than he'd ever dreamed of. However, Ferrer and Loc play their villian characters a little too intensely, which might scare the youngest viewers.

The performances are good, if rather bland. Bonsall is fairly good as the lead, while Rick Ducommun (who played Tom Hanks' neighbor in "The Burbs") is amusing as the chauffer. Former MTV VJ Karen Duffy is also sweet as a bank teller Preston gets a crush on.

Overall, the film has a few moments, but there's a few flaws, including the way it eventually presents its message against materialism isn't convincing. Overall, an average Disney effort.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Blank Check" (apparently, along with the other family catalog titles this week, unfortunately) is only presented in 1.33:1 full-frame (even though the film's laserdisc was even in 1.85:1 widescreen). The picture quality is generally fair, with respectable (if inconsistent) sharpness and detail.

Some issues are present throughout a handful of scenes. Mild edge enhancement is visible here and there, along with a couple of slight compression artifacts. The print used also shows some dirt, as well as a mark or two. While nothing major, the minor faults still took away from the overall presentation.

Colors looked good, if inconsistent; while the film's warm color palette looked crisp and well-saturated, colors could seem a little flat at times. Black level remained decent, while flesh tones looked natural and accurate. Bill Pope ("The Matrix")'s cinematography would likely have looked better with a new anamorphic widescreen presentation.

SOUND: The DVD offers the film's soundtrack in English, French and Spanish 2.0. Although not a 5.1 track, a few scenes early on (such as the scenes at the theme park) offered somewhat effective surround use when played back in Pro Logic II. The film's energetic score sounded somewhat dynamic and punchy, while dialogue remained clear. A decent soundtrack.

EXTRAS: Nothing.

Final Thoughts: An average Disney effort, "Blank Check" could have made a more memorable film out of its plot. Disney's DVD is, unfortunately, not widescreen and lacking any supplements. Rent it.

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