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Jim Carrey is one of the most popular actors in Hollywood. However, he also has just as many people who don’t rate him. Love him or loathe him, he has starred in a string of successful movies which include the likes of Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber and The Mask. As you can see, his movies are mostly comedies, so with the release of The Truman Show there was a large degree of apprehension about his decision to star in a drama. The movie proved to be a relative success, but even his role in that film was a little tongue-in-cheek. The Majestic is his first attempt at a completely serious drama movie, and the signs are promising. Tipped for Oscar success, it seems that he really can act. Read on to find out more about this region two release of the movie.

Majestic, The
Movie
The Majestic is set in the early fifties and follows the life of Peter Appleton. Peter is a Hollywood screenwriter, who has written a script for a B-movie. He has greater ambitions, and would one day like to write his own full length movie. Things seem to be working out for him with the upcoming release of his first production ‘Ashes to Ashes’. That is until he receives the news that his movie is being pulled from production. Peter has been accused of being a communist and is told that he no longer has a job with the film company if he continues to mingle with communists. Obviously gobsmacked by being blacklisted, he decides to get drunk and take a quiet drive to calm his nerves. While driving across a secluded bridge he looses control of his vehicle and crashes off the bridge.

Peter awakes to find himself on a beach being licked by a dog. The dog’s owner Stan Keller (James Whitmore) helps Peter to his feet, and helps him walk into town. Peter has no recollection of how he ended up on the beach. As he arrives in town it becomes clear that he has stumbled across the quiet town of Lawson. The streets are deserted, and in every other shop there are memorials to people who were killed during the war. The town of Lawson has lost a lot of people to the war and people show their emotions by displaying pictures of the people who died. As Peter gets to know some of the locals, it is obvious that they seem to already know him. Harry Trimble (Martin Landau) is the owner of the run down theatre called ‘The Majestic’, and is most surprised by Peter’s arrival. However, it soon becomes apparent that Harry believes Peter to be his MIA (missing in action) son Luke who has not been seen for nine and a half years. Upon hearing the news, the locals also start to welcome Peter as their hero. We find out that Luke was awarded war medals for his actions in the war, and so Peter gets a hero’s reception.

Majestic, The
Due to his memory loss Peter is confused as to his real identity. He does not recognise the locals, but also does not remember anything about his past. Gradually he starts to believe that he is Luke and begins to accept his situation. His new life becomes rosier when he hears of his past relationship with Adele Stanton (Laurie Holden), a woman he was supposed to have left behind when he went to war. Peter is instantly attracted to Adele and is keen to see how strong their relationship used to be. As the pair get to know each other, they both realise that there is still a spark there and love may still blossom. In the meantime Harry enlists the help of his son to renovate the Majestic Theatre, and in turn reinforce the community spirit of the town. Peter’s new life couldn’t really be any better, but as in every good movie, there is always a twist. Will Peter’s past return to haunt him and destroy his new-found happiness?

As mentioned in the introduction, The Majestic is Jim Carrey’s first real attempt at a serious role, so not surprisingly the success of this movie relies on how convincing Carrey is in the lead role. I had my reservations before watching the movie that Jim Carrey was simply too one-dimensional and couldn’t deal with a more emotional role. In fact I was proved wrong, with the actor putting in a convincing performance which deserves the praise that he has received for it. The movie has a running time of over 2 hours and 20 minutes and so can sometimes drag, but Carrey’s screen presence ensured that the film kept my attention and never became dull. The Majestic is a strong drama, which should bring a smile to your face by the time it finishes.

Video
Warner have provided an immaculate transfer of The Majestic on this disc. It is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and suffers from very few flaws. Slight edge enhancements are noticeable, but don’t generally distract from viewing pleasure. The main thing that struck me with this transfer was the level of clarity of the image. Flesh tones are accurate and colours are vibrant and lifelike. A perfect example of this can be seen with the accurately portrayed scenery in chapter six. Black levels are also solid and are put to the test in several of the movie’s night scenes. There was no sign of grain, and compression artefacts were also non-existent. Another impressive transfer of a recent movie by Warner, which shows the true capabilities of DVD.

Audio
The Majestic has an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which you would expect to be a purely front-driven dialogue soundtrack but thankfully it exceeds expectations. For 90% of the movie only the front speakers are used, but when the rears are called upon they are put to effective use. A perfect example of this is in chapter five, when Peter crashes his car. A sudden thunderstorm is portrayed accurately by the rear speakers and made me feel like I was in the middle of it. Dialogue is also clear and precise through the front speakers. There are also French and Italian soundtracks. Overall a perfectly adequate track from Warner.

Majestic, The
Extras
I am not sure whether to be disappointed with the extras on this disc, or just to be grateful for what is provided. The most impressive extra is the extended scenes. There are seven in total, which were left out of the final cut. Each scene is roughly about a minute long, and the overall running time for the seven scenes is just under ten minutes. The scenes are taken from various points in the film, and vary in usefulness. As the film is already quite long it was probably a good decision to remove them.  Also included on the disc is ‘Sand Pirates’ – movie within the movie. This is a short film which is actually shown to some extent in the actual movie. It is supposed to be the B-movie that Jim Carrey’s character wrote. It is in black and white and is a swashbuckling adventure movie. In the film itself, certain parts of this movie are not shown, so this gives people a good opportunity to watch the entire movie.

The theatrical trailer is also included on the disc. It is an anamorphic widescreen trailer, which does quite an effective job of selling the movie. The trailer gives a lot of the plot away, but should also leave the viewer intrigued and wanting to watch the movie. Finally, a Cast & Crew section can be found on the disc. Sadly this only consists of a list of the cast and crew, with no further information included.  


Majestic, The
Overall
The idea of Jim Carrey in a serious role may not be everyone’s opinion of an evening’s entertainment, but surprisingly it is a worthy effort. Jim Carrey delivers the best performance of his career, which strengthens what is already a strong storyline. Warner have once again pulled out all the stops to supply us with a first class transfer and soundtrack. Extras are a little disappointing, and it’s a shame a Jim Carrey commentary wasn’t included. Overall though a good release which should keep fans of the movie content.  


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