Much like Alan Parker’s film, Paramount’s DVD presentation of Angela’s Ashes is solid and respectable if not exactly spectacular. Any hopes of anything more are dashed by the Paramount’s typically still, silent menu design, which is functional and just about nothing more. The special features are also fairly business-as-usual; included are the theatrical teaser and trailer; Ashes to Ashes, a nice if standard 30-minute “making-of” special (including subtitles for this feature is, however, a rare and welcome move); and a collection of interviews with Parker and the stars from the film’s press junket.
The common comment made about Parker in the interviews and the behind-the-scenes feature is his passion for Frank McCourt’s book and the film, but you wouldn’t get that impression from his snooze of a commentary. Dry and humorless, Parker appears to be speaking against his will, often returning to the same comment about how one should not aggressively direct child actors for sometimes something “magical” spontaneously happens. More valuable is the disc’s second commentary, with McCourt. His book being a memoir, his comments give some added insight and background into the events that are enacted on the screen. McCourt isn’t a really big talker; there are stretches of silence where he is obviously caught up on what’s taking place onscreen. But whenever he does speak up, it’s far more interesting than anything Parker has to say.
Specifications: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen; English Dolby Digital 5.1; French Dolby Surround; English subtitles for the hearing impaired.