DISNEY'S THE KID
Reviewed April 8th, 2001 by Brian White
The Kid is a family comedy starring Bruce Willis. Willis said at the premier that he was happy to have finally made a movie that his kids could go to see. The Kid is a great and very warm movie that audiences of all ages can enjoy. Spencer Breslin, a seven-year-old cast as the young Willis, contributes a lot to the success of the film.
The movie starts with a view of Russ Duritz (Willis)'s life. He is a stereotypical yuppie: single, rich, powerful, and somewhat nasty. Russ is on the verge of his fortieth birthday, when a strange kid shows up around the house. Russ is annoyed by the unwanted intrusion, and is then quite shocked to discover that the boy is his younger self. Of course he thinks he's crazy, but when he realizes that others can also see Rusty, Russ hesitantly accepts the boy and tries to figure out why he's around.
There is a psychological depth to the relationship between the two that might have been more powerful if the story hadn't been squeezed into the form of a family movie. Russ hates Rusty. The kid's appearance and demeanor embarrass him. It is a little weird and no less fascinating, to watch Russ yell at and criticize his younger self. Spencer is so real and convincing that Russ' attitude toward him has a real emotional impact. It is quite something to see a man confronted with everything about himself that he hates. However, this is a Disney family movie, and such things don't wear down on the fun at all. All is well that ends well, and you can bet your popcorn that there'll be tears of joy here.
How does the video look? It looks like Disney spent a generously on this movie. The anamorphic, 1.85:1 transfer is about as good as they come. The movie is quite colorful, and there is some great cinematography of a red biplane flying around. In keeping with the budget of major Hollywood pictures, this disc looks quite good.
The disc also has a nice 5.1, Dolby Digital mix. It isn't overwhelming, but the mix gives the music the required depth. While hardly a mix to showcase your system, it more than adequately compliments the film.
As for extras, it seems that Disney is on a value for the money kick, because there is a great behind-the-scenes piece that focuses on Breslin's casting and acting in the film. The filmmakers were quite taken with the boy, and took a chance casting someone so young into the part. All of this is documented, and Breslin tells you all about the process. This documentary also boasts the nice feature of being navigable, so you can just see your favorite parts down the road. Also included is a “conversation” with the film's director, Jon Turteltaub, and a great scene-specific commentary with the director and Breslin. The boy's presence on the track really makes it come alive. Turteltaub seems to keep him going, and it is a really different sort of commentary track.
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