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post #1 of 5 Old 10-25-2009, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Paramount - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 107 minutes
Genre: Family/Comedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English. English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Yara Shahidi, Ronny Cox, Thomas Haden Church, Nicole Ari Parker, Martin Sheen
Directed by: Karey Kirkpatrick
Music by: Mark Mancina
Written by: Ed Solomon & Chris Matheson
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 6, 2009

"All you need is love"

Film Synopsis:

What if your daughter’s imagination was the secret to your success? When a highly competitive money mogul (Eddie Murphy) finds his financial kingdom slipping, he turns to his 7-year-old daughter (Yara Shahidi) and her fantasy world of imaginary princesses for help. Embarking on a whirlwind journey of comic proportions, father and daughter are about to discover that sometimes all you need is a little imagination – and a lot of love.

My Take:


Those that follow my reviews know of my soft spot for feel good movies. That is to say feel good movies that are well done. I like Eddie Murphy and have for many years. It seems that his latest efforts haven’t been very memorable which has been disappointing. I recall seeing the trailer for this one but really had no desire to see it during its theatrical run. It didn’t do very well but I am not so sure that the reason has anything to do with its worth as a film. I found it to be charming, fun, well directed and heartwarmingly entertaining. While it is supposed to be a comedy I found that its dramatic elements is where it excelled. Its story about a divorced father that makes a connection with his 7 year old daughter after he discovers that her imaginary friends can accurately predict the course of events in the financial world (where he works). It takes them both on a journey that will ultimately allow him to understand the importance of his relationship with his daughter and that when it comes down it, all you need is love. Murphy seemed to regain his form in this role and gave a genuine, and charismatic performance. He and newcomer Yara Shahidi had wonderful chemistry onscreen and her alluring charm and cutesy looks made her a complete scene stealer. The cast was loaded with some of my favorite character actors, several of whom only had cameo appearances. If you look carefully you will see, Bruce McGill, Richard Schiff, Mel Harris, Stephen Root and Martin Sheen. Ronny Cox and Thomas Haden Church had supporting parts and while I am a fan of the latter I found this character to be annoying and a poorly written antagonist. Other than that the script was cohesive and smoothly paced. I also appreciated the fact that its focus remained on the relationship between Olivia (Shahidi) and Evan (Murphy) rather than trying to also incorporate a romantic aspect for him that might have detracted from it. This being director Karey Kirkpatrick’s first full length feature film I think he did a commendable job. Imagine That is a delightful and touching film that is made all the better by the charming performances of its two leads in Murphy and newcomer Yara Shahidi. I enjoyed it and imagine that you will too.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for some mild language and brief questionable behavior. There is nothing contained here that would be inappropriate for young viewers.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 80

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Video: 88

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Imagine that comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3 mbps.

This is an excellent high definition presentation that is on par with most newer release films that come to Blu-ray disc. It boasts plenty of high level detail, strong contrast, warm, well saturated colors, and three dimensional acuity. Blacks are stable with good dynamic range and punch when onscreen with mixed light/dark elements. Visual perspective in low/uneven lighting is estimable which enhances dimensionality. An example of this can be seen in chapter 10 as Evan enters John’s house during the middle of the night in search of Olivia. Plenty of discernible detail can be seen in the shadowy filled background in the upstairs hallway and in Ella’s bedroom. Images onscreen are dynamic, clearly drawn, eye catching and perfectly suited for the film’s source material. The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has good dynamic range and detail rich clarity that enables the detection of subtle background sounds within the acoustic environment created by the surround mix. The soundstage is wonderfully balanced as it realistically replicates the various settings depicted in the film. Mark Mancina’s eclectic music provides an energetic and expansive presence that brings the sound field to life. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel which clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and tonal balance across the front of the room. Low frequency effects aren’t intense but the subwoofer is kept busy as it works in tandem with the rest of the system to appropriately convey the low level bass associated with the film’s recorded elements and music.

Bonus Features:

  • Commentary with director Karey Kirkpatrick and Yara Shahidi

  • (HD) A playground of the mind featurette - 9 minutes

  • (HD) Getting that part - 2 minute featurette on Yara Shahidi

  • (HD) Yara Shahidi set tour - 7 minutes

  • (HD) Star blanket: Native American influence featurette - 3 minutes

  • (HD) The king and his jesters - 7 minute featurette on director Karey Kirkpatrick

  • What were they really saying? - 5 minute feature on the faux BFFN (Big Fake Financial Network) and associated financial analysts/people that ran in the film‘s background

  • (HD) Johnny Whitefeather outtakes - 5 minutes

  • (HD) Evan and Olivia outtakes - 5 minutes

  • (HD) 4 Deleted scenes and alternate ending

Final Thoughts:

Eddie Murphy is in good form and 7 year old newcomer Yara Shahidi will steal your heart in this well conceived, fun, and family oriented dramedy that can be enjoyed by all ages. Imagine that comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring pristine quality high definition video, lossless sound and an average but pertinent set of bonus supplements that look behind the scenes and include production staff /cast interviews. This makes for great family entertainment and is worth checking out.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
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Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
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APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
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Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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post #2 of 5 Old 10-25-2009, 03:37 PM
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80's Eddie Murphy = comedy gold, which makes his slide into family friendly feature hell all the more depressing to witness. I'd go so far as to suggest that Bowfinger was his last great film in the "classic Eddie" sense. Sure, we all had some yuks with his Jerry Lewis retread and its sequel, but they were pale reminders of the high points in his career. Does he still have it in him to pull it together and get his edge back? I believe so. But not as long as he keeps phoning it in with mediocre (at best) nonsense like this.

Bring it, Eddie. We're beggin' ya.

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post #3 of 5 Old 10-25-2009, 04:37 PM
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I think if he got together with some hitters... he'd be fine ...but I agree
his flicks with kids are getting boring...that seems to be his gig now...partnering up with cute kids to carry him.
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-26-2009, 07:58 AM
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Ralph, thanks for the review. I'll give it a chance, but like you I have been disappointed so many times with Murphy's movies that I've just about given up on him.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten Movies
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-26-2009, 05:34 PM
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I was really going to skip this movie due to Eddie Murphy being in some terrible movies as of late. I just did not want to waste my time with another one of his movies. I have heard some really good things about this film though. Looks like I will have to give it a rent. Very nice review.
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