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Bursting with imagination and having seen her share of tragedy and fantasy, Amélie is not like the other girls. When she grows up she becomes a waitress in a Montmartre bar run by a former dancer. Amelie enjoys simple pleasures until she discovers that her goal in life is to help others. To that end, she invents all sorts of tricks that allow her to intervene incognito into other people's lives, including an imbibing concierge and her hypochondriac neighbor. But Amélie's most difficult case turns out to be Nino Quicampoix, a lonely sex shop employee who collects photos abandoned at coin-operated photobooths.
For more about Amélie and the Amélie Blu-ray release, see Amélie Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on October 26, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Yolande Moreau, Artus de Penguern, Urbain Cancelier
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
» See full cast & crew
Amélie Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, October 26, 2011
Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" a.k.a "Amelie" (2001) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Momentum Pictures. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; Q & A with Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet; Q & A with Director and Cast; screen tests; making of featurette; audio commentary by Jean-Pierre Jeunet; screen tests; and more. In French, with optional English and English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Somewhere in the Montmartre district of Paris. Amelie (Audrey Tautou) leads an uneventful life. Often times, she finds herself drawn back to the childhood fantasy world she once shared with her father.
While watching a news report about Princess Diana's death, Amelie drops a bottle cap which trickles down and cracks loose a small stone in a wall of her room. In the tiny hole she finds a rusty box with "treasures". Intrigued by her discovery, Amelie decides to track down the owner of the box and give it back to him. The man, an overworked Parisian who has long forgotten about his once precious box, is amused when a piece of his childhood reappears. And so is Amelie. She has finally found something that would give meaning to her life - bringing happiness into other people's lives.
An amazing feast of colorful images, brilliant camerawork and spectacular acting, Jean-Pierre Jenuet's Amelie took the world by storm in 2001. Strong early reviews, unprecedented interest from various distributors around the globe, and a much publicized scandal revolving around the film's exclusion from the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival proved to be exactly the type of promotion Jenuet and Co. needed. The rest, of course, is history - Amelie went on to become one of the greatest exports French cinema has produced.
So what was Amelie's secret? The short answer is perfection. The longer answer would be the unparalleled imagination of Jeunet whose flashy visuals infused with a strong dose of Gallic sentimentality proved too irresistible for the crowds. The endless panoramic vistas from Montmartre complimented by the soothing melodies of Yann Tiersen also added a special flavor that effectively transformed Amelie into one delicious bonbon of a film everyone wanted to taste.
Amelie also had a spectacular cast -- Mathieu Kassovitz, the controversial director of La Haine (1995) and star of Assassin(s) (1997); Jamel Debbouze, who after Amelie would appear in Luc Besson's Angel-A (2005) and Rachid Bouchareb's Oscar-nominated Days of Glory (2006); Dominique Pinon, who had already appeared in Jeunet and Caro's Delicatessen (1991); Yolande Moreau from Philippe Galland's Merci mon chien (1999).
Technically, Amelie impresses primarily with its innovative camerawork. Various overshots, fast zooms, and CGI effects are used to create a dreamy Paris where anything and everything is possible. Amelie's repetitive charming bursts of quiet anger, which always get replaced by unbridled joy and satisfaction, are also filmed with an appropriate sense of balance.
Lastly, film editor Hervé Schneid, who would go on to work with Tautou on A Very Long Engagement (2004), made sure that Amelie never went overboard with the various enhancements. From the charming chase scenes between Tautou and Kassovitz to L'autre Valse d'Amelie, the film's beautiful leitmotif, everything is stylishly balanced and polished to perfection.
Note: In 2002, Amelie won a number of different awards, including four Cesar Awards for Best Film, Best Director (Jean-Pierre Jeunet), Best Music Written for a Film (Yann Tiersen), and Best Production Design (Aline Bonetto); BAFTA Film Awards for Best Screenplay – Original (Guillaume Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet) and Best Production Design; and the Audience Choice Award at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Amélie Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Momentum Pictures.
The high-definition transfer is not identical to the one Alliance used for the Canadian Blu-ray release of Amelie, but it appears practically identical to the one Lionsgate Films used for their U.S. Blu-ray release. Unsurprisingly, detail is excellent from start to finish, contrast levels solid, and clarity excellent (if you still have a DVD release of Amelie in your library, compare screenshot #3 with the corresponding scene from the DVD to see what a massive upgrade in quality the Blu-ray offers). The biggest difference between the Canadian release and this UK release is in the area of color saturation. On the Canadian release colors are slightly toned down while on the UK release they appear slightly boosted. As a result, on the UK release the image is often marginally thicker, but I doubt most viewers would be able to tell unless they played both releases at the same time. Furthermore, compression is also marginally better on the UK release, so if you are projecting your films on a very large screen and are yet to add Amelie to your library, you should probably consider the UK release over the Canadian release. But if you already have the Canadian release, it is probably best that you consider a more important upgrade of a favorite film as the compression benefits are indeed quite small. Lastly, I did not see any evidence suggesting that problematic noise corrections have been performed. All in all, this is a fine Blu-ray release that should make a lot of English-speaking fans of Amelie residing in Region-B territories very happy. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Amélie Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Momentum Pictures have provided optional English and English SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
I did a few quick comparisons with my Canadian disc and as far as I am concerned the two French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks are identical. The bass is thick and well rounded, the surround channels intelligently used (with the various ambient effects standing out), and Yann Tiersen's music score getting a decent dynamic boost. The dialog is always crisp, clean, and very easy to follow. The English translation is excellent.
Amélie Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Amélie Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
English-speaking fans of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie residing in Region-B territories finally have a solid Blu-ray release which they could now add to their collections. The high-definition transfer the release uses is not identical to the one Alliance used for their release in Canada, but it is identical to the one Lionsgate Films used for their release in the U.S. As far as supplemental features are concerned, the UK release gets everything from the Canadian release minus the various U.S. trailers and TV spots, and adds The Amelie Scrapbook. It also comes with a nice slipcover. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Amélie Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Amelie Gets a UK Blu-ray Release - August 17, 2011
The United Kingdom is the last major market without a Blu-ray release of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain a.k.a Amelie (2001). But on October 17th, a local Blu-ray release will finally be available via Momentum Pictures. Exact technical ...
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