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Hearts in Atlantis

Hearts in Atlantis on DVD

It's really a shame about movies like this. They have all the right elements in place for a great movie: a good script, solid directing, excellent acting - the whole nine yards.

Unfortunately, they're just so-o-o-o-o-o-o boring.

Hearts in Atlantis is about a young boy, Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and his cash-strapped mother (Hope Davis) who rent out the top floor of their house. The tenant is none other than Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins), a strange old man who gives some very odd advice.

Throughout the course of the movie, Ted and Bobby become very close, though Bobby's mother thinks Ted may be a sick old man. She's one to talk, since she's clearly willing to do anything (nudge nudge) to help with her financial troubles.

The idea behind Hearts in Atlantis is a good one. Based on the book by Stephen King, it's a heartwarming story about life and love. If something remotely interesting had happened at any point in the movie, it may have been a lot more enjoyable. As it stands, there's just not really anything to keep you involved.

Anthony Hopkins does a good job of talking his way through the movie. I'd like to say he does an excellent acting job, but the role doesn't require anything other than sitting and talking or standing and talking. This is the kind of role even Keanu Reeves could do (okay, that's probably pushing it).

If you don't mind being bored for 100 minutes, this is definitely your cup of tea. Otherwise, your time would be better spent watching something a little more exciting.

The DVD, however, is quite good, particularly for an unsuccessful title. The picture (2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen) is sparkling, with not a single trace of any flaws. The colors are bright, but don't cause any halo effect or drown out the actors' faces. The video is actually better than the movie warrants. The sound is equally good. It's presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, though stereo would have had the same effect. Not a lot goes on in the movie, so there's little need for surround. But again, it's there if you want it.

There are only two real extras on the disc, but the highlight is an interview of Anthony Hopkins by director Scott Hicks. This is a very good interview (more interesting than Hopkins would have been in a commentary, I'm sure), talking about some things related to the movie (like his own psychic ability) and some things not. Running for nearly half an hour, the interview is much more intriguing than the movie itself.

Next up is a feature-length audio commentary by director Scott Hicks. He makes for a fairly engrossing listen, talking about his methods of filmmaking, the actors, and a whole whack of other stuff.

And of course, there's the trailer.

Hearts in Atlantis, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
101 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16X9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin, Hope Davis and David Morse
Produced by Kerry Heysen
Screenplay by William Goldman, Directed by Scott Hicks


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Updated May 13, 2006