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My Favorite Martian

My Favorite Martian
A Walt Disney Home Video Release
1999, 94 Minutes, Color, Rated PG

Starring:  Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Daniels, Jean-Luc Martin, Elizabeth Hurley, Darryl Hannah, Wallace Shawn, Christine Ebersole, Ray Walston
List Price:  $29.99 USD, released 09/21/99
Packaging:  Keepcase, Region 1 NTSC
Disc Format:  Single Sided, Dual Layered (DVD-9)
Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1 Widescreen
Audio Formats:  English 5.1, French 5.1
Subtitles:  English
Features:  Featurette, Theatrical Trailer, Interactive Menus, Scene Selection

Disney’s remake of the TV show My Favorite Martian starts off with the promise of a great cast and fantastic special effects, but doesn’t quite achieve the rolling-in-the-aisles humor that made other Disney movies, such as George of the Jungle, so enjoyable. Jeff Daniels plays Tim, a TV news producer, who witnesses a spectacular UFO crash on a deserted beach… but when he gets to the site there’s nothing left but a tiny toy spacecraft which he takes home. Little does he know that he’s walking off with the alien’s (Christopher Lloyd) rental spacecraft! The alien of course follows him and ends up making a huge impression with Tim and his girlfriend. Even though he tries to keep the alien under wraps, SETI gets wind of the arrival and goes on the hunt. But little do they know what interesting technology that alien has!

Disney’s video presentation is quite good with a 1.85:1 ratio widescreen transfer. Even lacking anamorphic enhancement I was hard pressed to find any jagged edges or other compression artifacts. Flesh tones are rich and accurate and the original print seemed extremely clean. Noise, saturation and black levels seem ideal while brightness is maintained at a comfortable level. Even though there is only 4.6 gigabytes worth of data Disney still chose to master My Favorite Martian on a dual-layered disc, with the change occurring at 0:47.39, or 7.50 into chapter 10. The disc contains 20 chapters and English captions.

One of the most outstanding features of the 5.1 audio track is solid – and plentiful – bass. The rear effects channels are used a fair bit for ambient and musical cues, however the mix didn’t appear as active as I would have expected considering the outrageous special effects occurring on screen. Dialogue is clear and easy to make out, although it suffers from noticeable clipping. Also included is a French language track.

Disney still hasn’t quite received the word on the merits of extra features. You’ll find the prerequisite menu and scene selection screens, as well as a four-and-a-half minute long promotional "featurette" and theatrical trailer, both with full-screen video and 2.0 audio. If you or your family enjoyed the film the DVD is certainly worth picking up over the VHS version.

- Reviewed by Daniel Tonks on October 3, 1999.

Video Quality:
Audio Quality:
1-Poor 2-Fair 3-Good 4-Excellent
System Equipment
Sony DVP-S500D DVD Player
Sony STR-GA8ES 5.1 Receiver
Sony 32" XBR250 WEGA TV using Component
Nuance Spatial & Star Series Speakers

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