I Dreamed Of Africa

I Dreamed Of Africa (2000)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Kim Basinger, Vincent Perez, Eva Marie Saint, Liam Aiken
Extras: Documentary, Isolated Score, Trailer, Biographies, Production Notes

Whenever a film shows up that brings us the scenario of a female stranger in a strange land, comparisons to spectacular films such as ’Indochine’ or ’Out Of Africa’ are inevitable. As such, ’I Dreamed Of Africa’ comes with a stigma that makes it quite had for the film to stand on its own. The film tells the real-life story of Kuki Gallman, played by Kim Basinger, who decides to live in Kenya with her new husband. Once settled in, she sees how cruel poachers destroy the animal wildlife of the country and drain the valuable animal resources. She becomes an animal rights activist in Kenya, an exposed position that has dire consequences. Like many others before her, Gallman faces the harshnesses of life and politics as her opposition continually attempts to break her.

’I Dreamed Of Africa’ is a brand new film and as such it is hardly surprising to find a very clean transfer of the movie on this DVD. Presented in an anamorphic widescreen presentation that restores the film’s theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the double-sided disc also contains a heavily cropped pan and scan version of the movie, which diminishes much of the film’s articulate photography. The widescreen presentation is generally good looking, but the transfer appears surprisingly soft and lacking detail in many instances. Edge-enhancement has been applied to the transfer, creating visible ringing artifacts in many shots, and many of the nighttime shots appear washed out. On the other hand, some of the daytime outdoor shots are nicely detailed and have good depth, due to a good black level. The compression has been done carefully and the transfer is free of pixelation or other compression artifacts for the most part.

The DVD contains a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track that is very active and aggressive. Being such a new film, the frequency response of the movie’s audio is very wide with a very good bass extension that gives the film sonic dimensionality. Surround usage is very active and discrete surround effects can be found almost throughout the entire film, creating a bustling and lively ambience for the film. The audio is without distortion and dialogues are also free of sibilance, hiss or other distracting noise. Dialogue integration is very good, leaving all spoken lines clearly audible and understandable. On a separate track, you will also find the movie’s isolated score in a Dolby Surround presentation.

With its extras and the good-looking movie presentation, ’I Dreamed Of Africa’ is a nice release but sadly the film does not live up to the expectations put into it. It is an entertaining and informative film, but it appears cluttered and rushed at times.