Kate & Leopold: The Director’s Cut on Blu-Ray

| April 17, 2012

When my friend Jef and I were in high school, we often visited a rundown old movie theatre in Paw Paw, MI called The Strand.  It’s a disgusting old building, and it feels like the balcony could come crashing down on your head at a moment’s notice; as we state in the lyrics for the jingle we wrote for the old building.  It’s possible we had too much time on our hands.  Anyway, The Strand had one theatre and every week they show one movie; usually one that was popular in theatres at least a month before, and is rated no higher than PG-13.  Jef and I would sometimes go to the theatre without having any idea what was playing, and that’s how we first saw Kate & Leopold.  The prospect of sitting through a generic Meg Ryan romcom didn’t frighten us – we can sit through pretty much anything, but we didn’t expect how much we were going to enjoy it.

Now, Kate & Leopold is not a great film.  It’s not important or timeless, and I probably could have easily gone the rest of my life without ever thinking about it again, but it was nice to revisit it here as the Blu-ray version is set to be released.  In many ways, it’s a standard romantic comedy; to the point where the film doesn’t even try to keep it a secret that our two titular characters will end up together.  Instead, the film works to be unique in other aspects.  The science fiction elements of time travel don’t feel forced in, and the screenwriters even work in some 4th dimensional, timey wimey fun into the film’s structure.

This is the director’s cut of the film, and since it’s been over ten years since I’ve seen it, it’s hard to comment on the changes that were made from the theatrical cut, because I couldn’t tell you what they are to save my life.  I will say though that I don’t remember there being any incestuous implications in the film’s premise when I saw it the first time.  Basically, Stuart (Liev Schrieber; X-Men Origins: Wolverine) is Kate’s (Meg Ryan; You’ve Got Mail) ex-boyfriend.  Stuart has discovered a portal to 1876 New York, where he meets Leopold (Hugh Jackman; X-Men), who follows him back to the present day and falls in love with Kate.  The problem being that Leopold is Stuart’s great great great grandfather, so when he and Kate end up together, it’s clear to the audience that Stuart spent four years sleeping with his great great great grandmother.  This definitely poked fun at the perfect, fairy tale world most romantic comedies take place in, but it’s a little too out there for me as a viewer – especially since they could have so easily written around it so that it paid off in a meaningful way.  Instead, they just ignore it, except for one line in one of the deleted scenes, which is then of course immediately ignored.

Overall, it’s a good film.  Hugh Jackman is charming, and Meg Ryan is less insane as she has been in other films, and Liev Schrieber and Breckin Meyer (Rat Race) add a lot of sincerity as well as comic relief.

Special features include commentary by co-writer and director James Mangold, deleted scenes, a behind the scenes featurette and a costume featurette.  The Blu-ray transfer looks really good too, especially given some of the 1876 sets and costumes.

Available on Blu-ray from Lionsgate on April 10

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
Filed in: Film, Video and DVD
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