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In Short: Picture quality is excellent, nice menus, everything. It's too bad the movie itself is pretty bad.

The Movie:

"The Love Letter" manages to pull off a fairly impressive task, making all of it's 88 minute running time feel about double that. The plot revolves around the inhabitants of a seaside town trying to figure out who was the author of a mysterious love letter. It's not a bad idea for a movie, but unfortunately, it's a good idea stuck in a poorly done picture.

Kate Capshaw stars as Helen, the owner of the town's bookstore, who initially finds the letter. She believes that her co-worker Johnny(Tom Everett Scott) is the sender, then other people wind up with the letter, and for a few minutes, this actually seems like it might be a cute little comedy of errors. Nah. It quickly slows down to a snail's pace, which highlights how little thought went into the writing of these characters. This is supposed to be a comedy, but the only character the least bit funny is Ellen Degeneres's Janet. She was also the only thing worth watching in another flop this year, "Goodbye, Lover". Apparently, the lesson for Degeneres is to stay away from movies with "Love" anywhere in the title.

I'd say that this felt more like a sitcom than a movie, but I've actually found many sitcoms that are not as slight as this feature film was. Being that Capshaw was the producer, and that studio head Steven Spielberg is her husband, one wonders why Spielberg would ok a film like this, rather than finding something of more substance. The basic plot as is is ok, but we're not given a single reason to care about these characters- they're not at all genuine, and with the exception of Degeneres's performance, they're not at all interesting.

The DVD

VIDEO:
Just like "The Haunting", which also came from Dreamworks during the same week, "The Love Letter" may be a poor movie, but the image quality on this DVD is almost unbelievably goregous. The movie was filmed in beautiful Rockport, Massachusetts, with warm, rich, almost "postcard-worthy" cinematography by Tami Reiker, who also filmed the very different "Urban Legend". Images like the ones in this film almost always translate well to DVD, and this film is no exception: the warm, bright picture looks almost flawless and contains excellent detail. It also never ends up looking "flat", containing a pleasing "three-dimensional" feel to it.

Colors are rich and natural, looking well-saturated and clear. Flesh tones also remain very natural. This is one of those DVDs where you find yourself being more impressed by how good the picture quality is rather than paying attention to the movie. It's a beautiful looking movie, and the DVD is wonderfully done. There are no problems to speak of in terms of shimmering, etc. There's also no problems at all with the print. All in all, a very impressive effort from Dreamworks.

SOUND: "The Love Letter" is just what you would likely expect from a small-ish romantic comedy; all dialogue, with occasional slight sound effects and light music. Dialogue is clear and without problems, and although there isn't much to this soundtrack, it gets the job done nicely. .

MENUS:: Major animation, with the letter moving around the screen, then various scenes from the movie combined with voices from the movie reading the letter, as well as the main menu options being typed out.All very nicely done.

EXTRAS:
Deleted Scenes: There are 11 deleted scenes, some of which seem more like alternate takes. The deleted scenes aren't terribly worthwhile, and would have only added more length onto a movie that already seems too long as is. Nice to have them added onto this disc, but after watching the movie itself, they wouldn't have added anything onto the movie.

Trailer: The original trailer is included




Final Thoughts The movie is definitely not very good, but the DVD quality is certainly excellent. Still, as good as the DVD is, with how bad the movie is, I really don't recommend it as anything more than a possible rental.





The Film 65/D = (325/500 possible points)
Video 95/A = (380/400 possible points)
Audio: 84/B = (336/400 possible points)
Extras: 75/C = (225/300 possible points)
Menus 85/B = (170/200 possible points)
Value: 83/B = (249/300 possible points)

TOTAL POINTS:1685/2100
Average:80%/B-



DVD Information



Love Letter
Dreamworks Home Video
1.85:1
5.1/Dolby 2.0
English Captions
Dual Layer:No
Rated:PG-13
88 Minutes
Anamorphic:Yes
Region:1

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