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I CAPTURE THE CASTLE

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Marc Blucas, Rose Byrne, Sinead Cusack, Tara Fitzgerald, Romola Garai, Bill Nighy, Henry Thomas
Director: Time Fywell
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Surround
Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Format & 1.33:1 Standard Full Screen
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 113 Minutes
Release Date: December 23, 2003

ďYou canít choose who you fall in love with!Ē

Film ***

I Capture The Castle is the journey of many through the eyes of one young girl struggling to over come the hurdles life places in your way on the road to becoming an adult.

Cassandra Mortmain vividly remembers her last truly happy day.  It was when her father had driven them out to see the castle that would become their new home.  That was twelve years ago, and unfortunately, the majestic castle she remembers from so long ago did not turn out to be the stuff of fairytales.

Cassandraís father has writerís block (twelve yearís worth!), her stepmother is a nudist constantly seeking release, and her brother is, wellÖheís an annoying little brother.

Her older sister Rose is definitely the beauty in the family, which leaves poor Cassandra with nothing but her pen and wit! 

They have no money for food, and the rent is two years past due.  It the early part of the twentieth century, and they havenít invented those nifty lock out boxes yet.  You know, the kind when you donít pay your rent and you come home from begging handouts to find your doors locked with no way in to get your stuff out!  

They are at the end of their rope, but before they get hung out to dry, the winds of change blow their way, and with it, a couple of American men who just might be their salvation. 

First let me say that I did enjoy this movieÖit wasnít deeply moving, but it was fun to watch, plus it was entertaining, and isnít that what movies are supposed to be anyway?  

Now having said that, the story was way too predictable.  I donít believe for a minute that every story that can possibly be told has been told.  I think that Hollywood writers in general have gotten lazy.  Original ideas are hard to come by and hard to sell, but the same old stories of love, and loss donít become brand new by adding different actors and actresses.

Speaking of the people behind the characters, I was well and truly impressed by the amount of talent and acting skill that I witnessed while watching this film.  The actors and actresses put a lot of effort into this production, and you can tell that these people know their craft, and know it well.  Each person brought their character to life, and gave them all such definitive personalities.  I could almost swear that Garai, who plays 17-year-old Cassandra, was really related to Bill Nighy who plays her father in the film.  They worked so well together it was a true testament to their abilities.

Rose Byrne didnít really impress me as the handmaiden to Natalie Portmanís Padme in Star Wars Episode II, but as the moody, older sister in this film, she absolutely shined.

I could easily fall into the up and down rhythm of her character.   She showed a whole other side to her personality than I have ever seen before from her.  I hope she has many more opportunities in the future to develop her skills because she is definitely one to watch in my opinion.

If not for that adorable Vampire Slayer Buffy, I probably wouldnít have a clue as to who Marc Blucas was.  But after watching him portray Buffyís boyfriend Riley Finn for two seasons, I can safely say I know him well.  Well, okay, I donít know him, but I liked him enough to name my dog after his character on the show!  

Blucas is definitely a raw talent.  Heís got plenty of charm, and that devilish smile he loves to flash is enough to make any girl go weak in the knees.  I hope to see more from him in the future. 

Finally, we have that E.T. loving little boy whoís grown up into quite a man.  Henry Thomas all but dropped off the radar maps after the release of E.T.  I can remember being impressed when I realized he was starring opposite Brad Pitt in Legends Of The Fall.  The movie was truly wonderful, but he didnít get enough screen time in the film for me to determine how far he had come as an actor.  While I Capture The Castle isnít a blockbuster that will sail his career back into outer space, it is definitive proof that he is a great actor with star quality written all over him. 

This movie is back to basics good, without all the special effects that Hollywood has become too dependant on.  Does Rose get her man, and will Cassandra finally find love?  Iíll never tellÖgrab the DVD and take it for a spin, so you can try to capture the beauty and mystery of the castle for your self.

Video ***

This DVDís was presented for your viewing pleasure in two distinct formats.  A 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format gives you the full access to the picturesque landscape surround the castle itself.  The colors were bright and vivid, without any hazing, or softening around the edges.  The 1.33:1 Standard Full Screen does lose a few points for the narrow picture it presents.  After viewing both itís easy to note that quite a bit of picture is lost with the narrowing of the aspect ratio.  Having said that the color, and quality of the DVD in this format was just as crisp and vivid as the Anamorphic Widescreen presentation.

Audio ***

The audio quality on this disc was quite good.  The balance between the music beds and dialogue was seamless.  There were no dropouts or varying audio levels during any of the extra features or the film itself.  

The soundtrack was a very nice mix of classical piano and 1930ís crooners.   I really enjoyed the music of this disc almost as much as the movie.

Features **

The filmmakersí commentary is very nicely done, and when viewed along with actress Romola Garaiís interview, it helps to bring a lot of the subtle aspects of this film to light.

Some extra movie trailers, along with deleted scenes and an alternate ending, are only a click away when using the fully interactive menus. 

Summary:

The extra features and good quality of this disc help to make up for the predictable nature of the story itself.   Solid acting, and some good attention to detail in the packaging make this DVD great to have on hand, when itís time to entertain.