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Introduction
The publicity bandwagon was in full swing for the theatrical release of Catch Me If You Can. Steven Speilberg movies are normally well received, but when you also include the talents of Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christopher Walken, it was no surprise that the movie became a success worldwide. Although the movie’s premise wasn’t what you would expect from the director who brought us the likes of E.T, Jaws and Close Encounters, positive word of mouth ensured that the film performed briskly at the box-office.

Catch Me If You Can
Movie
Catch Me If You can is based on the extraordinary true story of 15 year old Frank Abagnale, Jnr (Leoardo Dicaprio), a young lad who lived during the 50s. At the point where we pick up Frank's life, he is not having the best of times at home. His parents are having financial problems which eventually lead to them splitting up and his mother (Nathalie Baye) leaving the family. The split strengthens Frank's relationship with his father (Christopher Walken), and inspires the youngster to leave home with the sole aim of making enough money to help his dad. With just $50 in his account Frank has no idea how he will succeed, but he soon learns!  

It is during his stay in New York that Frank stumbles across a master plan, which he thinks will offer him a bachelor lifestyle, while at the same time earning him a wedge of cash. His idea is based upon becoming an airline pilot, a profession which is treated with respect. Frank sets about impersonating a pilot, and the financial reward, built in with the trust that comes with the job soon sees him taking advantage of his position. The success proves too much of a temptation for Frank and he abuses the trust placed in him in order to cash fraudulent cheques. His dodgy dealings continue over many months, but it soon becomes apparent to him that he must change his identity frequently to avoid being apprehended, so Frank cons his way into several new professions, including a medical doctor and a lawyer (none of which he is qualified for!)

Catch Me If You Can
Even the cleverest criminals cannot keep their behaviour secret for long and the FBI are soon hot on Frank's trail. Their team is headed by Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), an agent who is pioneering the investigation of cheque fraud, and has made it his main priority to catch the high profile con-artist. The rest of the film focuses on the cat and mouse chase between Hanratty and Frank, which results in a series of near misses for the FBI agent but can even a criminal mastermind like Frank run from the law forever?

Steve Spielberg has created a film which is easy to watch, but at the same time has underlying issues, which would make for some interesting discussions if you want to spend time exploring them. This was my second viewing of the movie, and I have to admit to being slightly disappointed first time around. However, after watching the movie again I noticed some interesting subplots, which I missed the first time around. At times the pace of the film appears to be slow, but at the same time you can never accuse it of being dull. This is largely due to the strong performances from the lead actors (Hanks and DiCaprio in particular), who carry the film during some of its quieter moments. There were strong rumours before filming started that Frank Abagnale was not convinced by the casting of DiCaprio in his role,  I am sure his reservations were quickly dispelled after the first day on set! In my opinion DiCaprio gives one of his strongest performances yet, and I would probably go as far as to call it a career best. Tom Hanks once again canters through a movie and shows that he is presently one of the best actors in Hollywood. Is there any role he wouldn’t be able to fit into like a glove? A special mention must also be made for Christopher Walken, who received an Oscar Nomination for his role in this movie. Summing up, Catch Me If You Can is a fun and clever movie, which you would be foolish to miss.

Video
Dreamworks have presented Catch Me If You Can in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which is also anamorphically enhanced. This transfer is everything you would expect from a recent release. The image was very detailed, clear and speckless, while the sharpness was also spot-on. Colours also appeared to be strong, true and fresh, while skin tones also appeared lifelike. The movie has a wide range of contrasting scenes and the transfer seemed to deal with them all effectively. Black levels didn’t come into play too much, but when called upon they were solid.

Grain levels were not a problem, and for most of the movie grain appeared to be kept under control. Edge enhancements were also kept low-key, while compression artefacts were unnoticeable. Dreamworks have produced a first class transfer which I would probably class near to reference quality.

Audio
Four soundtracks have been included with this release. Three of those soundtracks are Dolby Digital 5.1, with English, French and German languages being accounted for. The other soundtrack is an English DTS track, which seemed to slightly have the edge over the others. It is fair to say that Catch Me If You Can is not a movie which will make full use of a surround system, but what it does portray well is background and ambience noise. Little things like aeroplanes taking off in the background and crowd noises are all portrayed impressively, while the musical score also bellows effectively through the full range of speakers. Dialogue levels are also spot-on and never become lost in the mix. The soundtracks provided with this release compliment the movie well and probably couldn't be improved upon.

A range of subtitles are also provided on each disc. The main movie features five sets of subtitles (English, French, German, Bulgarian and Arabic), while the second disc (the extras disc) has subtitles in English, French and German.

Catch Me If You Can
Extras
The extras for this release can be found exclusively on the second disc and are primarily based around documentaries and featurettes. There are some obvious extras which have been omitted, but I will discuss those later. Anyway first up is an extra entitled Catch Me If You Can- Behind the Camera. This is the longest documentary on the disc and has a running time of just over seventeen minutes. It begins with some information about how the film made its way to the big screen, which is presented to us by Steve Spielberg, the screenwriter and various members of the cast. They all talk about their love for the film, and how they came to work on the project. Interwoven between the dialogue is 'behind the scenes' footage, which strengthens the claim by the actors that they had a good time making the movie. This documentary is extremely detailed and covers most areas of the film, ranging from descriptions of the characters to how the sets were created.

The next section is called Cast Me If You Can - The Casting of the Film and encompasses seven of the main characters in the movie. Each character can be selected separately, and when chosen a mini featurette is played which discusses the character and also elaborates on the actors who played the roles. As mentioned, each character can be viewed separately, but there is also the option to play all the clips consecutively.

The featurette Scoring Catch Me If You Can takes a slight detour. This featurette focuses on the musical score accompanying the movie and starts off with a discussion with John Williams, who was responsible for the music. Most people will know of John Williams as he has been involved in producing soundtracks for many famous movies. In this featurette he talks about how this movie was different to anything that he had previously worked on. He also goes on to talk about his friendship with the director and how the film introduced some new challenges, e.g. the movie was mostly set in the fifties and sixties. Steven Spielberg also has some input into this featurette and talks about the ideas he had for the music and how he wanted certain tracks included. This featurette lasts for just over five minutes.

Next up is a section called Frank Abagnale: Between Reality and Fiction. This section has four extras, all of which elaborate on the life of Frank Abagnale. The first extra is called 'Meet Frank Abagnale' which serves as an introduction to the man himself. Steven Spielberg starts off by discussing the reasons why he was instantly drawn to Frank's life story, and he then moves on to give an in-depth description about the character’s past and how he was innocent in some of the ways he acted. Leonardo DiCaprio also backs up that opinion by talking about how Frank was actually not a bad person. Even though he was a thief and robbed banks, he would only steal from large corporations. This featurette lasts for just over five minutes and leads in well to the next extra which is entitled Frank Becomes a Pilot. As the title suggests, this featurette deals with how Frank managed to become a Pilot. The real Frank Abagnale speaks in detail about why and how he chose this profession to impersonate. During this explanation, clips and pictures from the movie are shown in the background. This is a very detailed featurette and lasts for just over four minutes. The next part of Frank’s life is covered in a featurette called Frank’s Careers. The same format is used as for the previous explanation, however this one is a lot shorter and only runs for two minutes. Even so, there is still a lot of interesting information on offer. The final extra in this section is called Frank Gets Caught and Turns His Life Around. This is probably the most interesting featurette in the group. The 'real' Frank once again gives a detailed descriptions, but this time talks about how he was caught and how much money he stole in total. The court process sounded quite complex as Frank was wanted in many countries and had to face sentence in all them individually. The featurette ends with Frank talking about how grateful he is for his past, which he describes as 'fun', but he also admits that he wouldn’t do it again. This featurette lasts for just over three minutes.

Next up on the extras list is The FBI Perspective which concentrates on the role the FBI played in the movie. Steven Spielberg hired ex-FBI agents to help with the production. Their job was to advise about the authenticity of the script and to make sure the actors who played the agents did it in a realistic manner. There is also a brief discussion about how easy it was to conduct crimes in the 60s and the fact that to some extent it is still a problem these days. This extra lasts for just over seven minutes

Catch Me If You Can
Rounding up the featurettes is an extra called Catch Me If You Can - In Closing. This extra starts off in a bizarre manner by showing Leonardo having his hair cut! It then moves onto a further interview with Frank W. Abagnale (author / Consultant) who talks about how accurate the movie was and also predicts it to be a success. Throughout this feature we are also shown behind the scenes footage. This is basically a shortened ‘making of’ (just under five minutes), which includes lots of material from Steven Spielberg and others.

The final section on this disc is the galleries, which consist of three galleries in total (cast, behind the scenes and costume design). The combined galleries cover over sixty photographs from all areas of the movie. The most interesting one is the costume design, as it shows sketches of the costumes. If you then click the movie icon you are shown a relevant still from the film, with the person wearing the actual costume.

That leads me onto what is missing from this 2 disc set. It’s hard to criticise the extras as there is a wide choice, however there are no trailers and the inclusion of a commentary would have been nice. Never mind, I suppose we should be grateful for what is included, and at least it is on par with the recent region one release!  

Overall
Catch Me If You Can was a major hit when released earlier this year and it is easy to see why. Steven Spielberg has taken an interesting story and added his own personal touch to create a movie which is engrossing, yet incredibly easy viewing. The movie also has a cast to die for, which is another reason why it succeeds in every possible way. Dreamworks are steadily building a strong reputation in the world of DVD, and this release will go some way to adding to that reputation. They have produced a release which has an impressive transfer, a good selection of soundtracks (including DTS) and a wide selection of extras. Do you need any further persuasion? All that’s left for me to say is that Catch Me If You Can is a DVD which should be in everyone’s collection!


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