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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Next Stop, Wonderland
Next Stop, Wonderland
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 12, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

"Next Stop, Wonderland" is a small, romantic comedy that I first saw when it was in theaters a couple of years ago. I enjoyed the lead performance immensely, and liked a lot of things about it - but there's just something about the movie that bugs me, and after watching it again, still bothers me.

What I love about the film is Hope Davis. Davis plays Erin Castleton, a twenty-something nurse who, as the film opens, has just broke up with her boyfriend(a hilarious performance from Phillip Seymour Hoffman). During a meeting with her mother, Erin finds out that she's placed a personals ad for her daughter without her asking. The ensuing plot plays out the string of oddballs that parade into her life. The other half of the story revolves around the biology student (Alan Gelfant) who we know will be Erin's eventual match. We find out that Alan owes money to a local crime boss, and to pay him back, he must kill a fish at the aquarium where he works. If it sounds like the weakest part of the movie, you're right.

It's the main reason why "Next Stop, Wonderland" occasionally gets tiring. These are enjoyable characters that are well-written, but the problem is that the comedic situations that characters are placed in don't serve the story, they only delay the obvious and try the audience's patience.

Davis is wonderful, and the one thing that carries the audience through. She runs the range from moody and depressed to comic and is very funny when turning down some of the potential mates that line up to meet her. It's just that the film takes a little too long and stumbles a few times in the attempt to get the obvious conclusion.


The DVD

VIDEO: When it looks good, it looks good, but overall, I wasn't terribly pleased with Miramax's anamorphic transfer for "Next Stop, Wonderland". Sharpness is adequate and sometimes varies a little from scene to scene. Colors seem a little muted, but accurate and fairly natural. Flesh tones are accurate, as well.

There isn't any instances of shimmering, but occasionally, there are some traces of pixelation and the image looks a little grainy.The print used could have been cleaner, as well - there are a few scenes that have more marks than I'd care to see on a movie that's only a couple of years old.

SOUND: The film is almost completely dialogue driven; aside from the very interesting score, there's nothing else besides conversations. Even the pleasant score which includes samba music really isn't used as well as it could be in enveloping the listener. Dialogue is clear and never sounds edgy or harsh.

MENUS:: As usual, Disney has invested no creativity in the presentation for their menus, which, in this case, is simply the cover art re-used.

EXTRAS: Nothing, nada, zip.

Final Thoughts: "Next Stop, Wonderland" is an enjoyable little film, but Disney's DVD edition is lacking in many aspects. The film really is a fine rental, but I don't recommend Disney's DVD.


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