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Case Number 00285

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Six Days, Seven Nights

Touchstone Pictures // 1998 // 102 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Norman Short (Retired) // January 24th, 2000

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All Rise...

The Charge

After this week in paradise, they're going to need a vacation.

Opening Statement

Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Stripes, Dave) directs another quirky comedy with some extra elements and name stars. Not his best film, but a romantic comedy/action hybrid that still manages to entertain; sometimes despite itself. As for the disc…it's from Disney.

The Evidence

Six Days, Seven Nights isn't a movie I'm supposed to like. As a film critic I'm supposed to turn my nose up at poorly written lines and gaps in the flow of the story. It's also a story that doesn't quite know what it is. But for some reason I just watched it for the 4th time and still enjoyed it. I even had it on VHS before getting the DVD, though I confess I didn't have to pay for the disc.

The story is certainly nothing new. A man and a woman don't like each other at first sight, then get thrown together; this time by crashing on a deserted island. Eventually they fall for each other despite of, or because of their differences, after a scare or two to make you think they won't end up together.

Harrison Ford, who is famous for his Star Wars movies, his Indiana Jones trilogy, Air Force One, and other action adventure films, has also delved a bit into romantic comedy, such as in Sabrina. He plays Quinn Harris, a grizzled pilot who has ditched the civilized life for running a shoestring budget commuter airline in the South Seas. Anne Heche, best known for being Ellen Degeneres' significant other, plays fashion magazine editor Robin Monroe, who's busy New York life is interrupted for an island vacation with her boyfriend. To be fair to the lady, she has done film work, notably Return to Paradise, Volcano, and Donnie Brasco. Her boyfriend is played by David Schwimmer of Friends fame. They first meet when they find out it is Quinn's aging airplane that is to take them to their final island destination of Makatea. The couple is frightened of what seems a crash waiting to happen, but take the trip with Quinn and his gorgeous girltoy Angelica, played by Jacqueline Obradors (Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Soldier Boyz).

After a couple romantic island days and becoming engaged to the puppy dog-eyed Schwimmer, Robin is called back to Tahiti on business, and Quinn agrees to fly her. A storm comes up unexpectedly (they have a nasty way of doing that) and they are forced to crash land on the first island they see, smashing the passenger side landing gear. They are stranded. This island is beautiful, far too beautiful actually to be deserted (It was actually filmed on Kauai), but it makes an idyllic setting for a man and woman alone. They hate each other at first, but of course get to know one another better. This by itself would have made for a romantic comedy, but we can' stop there. Add in some pirates who happen along and want to kill the pair, and they are now thrown into danger together, hastening the process of falling in love. A few hair-raising scenes, and the two manage to escape, only to have to come to grips with what has transpired between them. The chemistry between them is the best part of the film.

The disc is the usual Disney mixture of good and bad. The non-anamorphic 2.35:1 aspect transfer looks great on my 4:3 television. There are few artifacts or other defects, though a bit of shimmering is present here and there.

The 5.1 audio track is better than the video, with nice ambient sounds and the score taking advantage of the surrounds, and rolling thunder and the pirates gunfire giving quite a rumble from the subwoofer. The score is a running jungle beat while on the island and spreads across the front soundstage, adding to the immersion into the film, and dialogue remains clear and intelligible throughout.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Well, I mentioned I shouldn't like the film. The plot is all borrowed or stolen; with scenes straight out of From Here to Eternity and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Harrison Ford's character is well known with other actors in other films, dating back to Bogart in The African Queen. David Schwimmer's character is just a whiny puppy through the film, and can't work up enough emotion when the time calls for it. He is fairly funny in the one scene where Angelica decides matter-of-factly they should sleep together since their prospective beaus are lost and presumed dead. What man could resist?

The rest of my complaints can be summed up in one word: Disney. The only extra is the theatrical trailer, along with their "Reel Recommendations" plugging a few of their other films. The lack of extras, along with the non-anamorphic transfers, is the biggest problem with Disney. In addition, the disc retails for 29.95, $5 more than other companies charge for anamorphic transfers with extras. This disc came out a while back though, and they claim they are going to get on board with anamorphic transfers and extra content in the future. I eagerly await that day, since Disney has so many great titles.

Closing Statement

This isn't an important film. The best you can say about it is you can feel good for a little while and smile afterwards. Harrison Ford and Anne Heche are charming together, and even the age difference doesn't disgust you, in fact it's explained pretty well. I think it's a pretty good film to show off your home theater to a female member of the species as well. I can't recommend it as a purchase though, not for the price and the lack of anamorphic transfer or extras. It would certainly make a good rental.

The Verdict

Harrison Ford and Anne Heche are acquitted, and I'm sure both have a fine future in film. Disney is roasted on the coals of the burning pits of hell for not giving adequate treatment to their films, though the sentence will be commuted when they do start treating their titles in a way the format allows and deserves.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 80
Audio: 88
Extras: 20
Acting: 80
Story: 80
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile

Studio: Touchstone Pictures
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (French)
• English
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
• Comedy
• Romance
• Romantic Comedies

Distinguishing Marks

• Theatrical Trailer


• IMDb

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