Warner Bros. // 1998 // 119 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // February 2nd, 2011
At odds in life...in love online.
It's pretty safe to say Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were the onscreen dream couple of the '90s, and one of those charming films they collaborated on was Nora Ephron's 1998 romantic comedy You've Got Mail, in which the main characters showed the world that exchanging anonymous e-mails could in fact be the new way of finding your soulmate. E-mail and online chatting have come a long way since then, but the movie's still delightful and the chemistry between Hanks and Ryan remains irresistible, which is why Warner Bros. has decided to finally give the flick the high-definition treatment it deserves and release You've Got Mail (Blu-ray).
Inspired by Ernst Lubitsch's 1940 classic The Shop Around the Corner, Ephron's You've Got Mail tells the tumultuous tale of Joe Fox (Tom Hanks, The Da Vinci Code) and Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan, When Harry Met Sally), two Manhattan bookstore owners who pretty much despise each other in real life but unknowingly fall in love online.
Even after all these years since its theatrical release, You've Got Mail is still quite enjoyable to revisit. After all, the film boasts all the ingredients of a good, old crowd-pleasing '90s Hollywood romance: a rather simplistic love story, beautiful locations, attractive and talented actors, a group of silly side characters, and, most importantly, guaranteed smooching right before the end credits.
While the script by Nora Ephron and sister Delia Ephron is by no means perfect, the movie does a pretty solid job feeding viewers exactly what they want to see. At least for a while, the simple fact that Joe and Kathleen have no clue they are e-mail buddies puts a refreshing spin on the traditional story of two characters who hate each other at first and later realize they were meant for each other all along. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet may be yawning, but that story never gets old, right?
Needless to say, this movie is all about Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, and the fabulous chemistry they share onscreen continues to be the main reason You've Got Mail works so well even after repeated viewing. Not only do they look the part, but they also manage to successfully balance both the goofy and serious sides of their characters. Let's be honest: not many big-screen characters out there are as likable as these two.
It may take Joe and Kathleen a while before they uncover the truth behind their anonymous online romance, but luckily for us spectators, the film features enough goodies to keep us in a superb mood for its two-hour running time. From a classic soundtrack that blends in perfectly with the beautiful images of New York City, all the way to a couple of memorable, well-acted supporting characters (led by Greg Kinnear and Dave Chappelle), You've Got Mail is filled with charming little (and at times sappy) moments perfectly designed to warm our hearts. What can I say? The formula works.
So, how does this '90s romance classic look in high definition? Warner Bros. gave this one a solid treatment, offering the feature in a nice 1.85:1 non-anamorphic presentation boasting strong colors, decent contrast, and nicely balanced crushed blacks and clean whites. Some scenes do look a tad grainy every now and then, but that certainly doesn't interfere much with the majority of this overall excellent viewing experience. In terms of audio, the disc offers the original English version with a superb DTS HD Master Audio track.
The special features haven't changed that much from the previously released version of the film. Besides an informative audio commentary with Nora Ephron and producer Lauren Shuler Donner, the bonus section includes two pretty engaging behind-the-scenes featurettes, an HBO special look at the flick, a music video, a look at the prime locations in the film, and a music-only track. The big bonus here is a second disc that contains the original The Shop Around the Corner starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. That feature is presented in standard definition, and it's definitely a treat for all those interested to see the film You've Got Mail is based on.
The Blu-ray release of You've Got Mail is keeping the film alive, reminding all of us that the '90s were indeed quite an interesting time period for Hollywood romances. If you're in the mood for some Hanks/Ryan goodness in solid high definition, make sure you add this one to your Blu-ray collection. Even today, this one doesn't disappoint.
Review content copyright © 2011 Franck Tabouring; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (German)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Italian)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Polish)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Portuguese)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 119 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Music Video
* Isolated Score