Patch Adams Collector's Edition Patch Adams - Collector's Edition
Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen
16x9 Enhanced
5.0 Dolby Digital English
5.0 Dolby Digital French
Commentary with Director
Captioned in English
Film Highlights
Production Notes
Talent Bios
Theatrical Trailer
Documentary
Outtakes
Universal Web Links
Dual Layered
1998
116 Minutes
Rated: PG-13
Catalog #: 20546
Alpha Keep Case Packaging
Average Bitrate: 6.80Mb/s
UNIVERSAL PICTURES Presents A BLUE WOLF-FARRELL/MINOFF-BUNGALOW 78 Production   ROBIN WILLIAMS
'PATCH ADAMS'  MONICA POTTER  PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN  BOB GUNTON  DANIEL LONDON  PETER COYOTE
Creative Designer JUDY RUSKIN-HOWELL  Music by MARC SHAIMAN  Co-Producers STEVE OEDEKERK
DEVORAH MOOS-HANKIN  Film Editor DON ZIMMERMAN a.c.e  Production Designer LINDA DeSCENNA
Director of Photography PHEDON PAPAMICHAEL  Executive Producers MARSHA GARCES WILLIAMS  TOM SHADYAC
Produced by BARRY KEMP  MIKE FARRELL  MARVIN MINOFF  CHARLES NEWIRTH   Based on the book
"Gesundheit: Good Health is a Laughing Matter" by HUNTER DOHERTY ADAMS with MAUREEN MYLANDER
Screenplay by STEVE OEDEKERK  Directed by TOM SHADYAC   A UNIVERSAL PICTURE


Patch Adams (Robin Williams) is a man lost. After committing himself to a psychiatric ward after an attempted suicide, he has a rare ability. He can help people feel better by not being afraid of their problems. His experience convinces him that he should become a doctor. He wants to help people. He begins his medical studies at the Medical College of Virginia. While there, he begins to entertain hospital patients at bedside - a practice which is strictly forbidden as first year medical students are not to have contact with patients. His outrageous antics put him in conflict with the dean of the school. Although Patch has high grades, the dean declares him not cut out to be a doctor and accuses him of practicing medicine without a license. Patch's graduation and future as a doctor are at risk.


At the risk of running in direct contrast to many reviewers, I found Robin Williams performance in Patch Adams to be among his best work. I found it warmly engaging and one of his finest performances since Dead Poets Society. The film was successful in holding my attention through numerous interruptions of an 18 month old and his older siblings - enough for me to watch it twice in one evening; once to enjoy the film and again to listen to the commentary track. The film also presents a first for director Tom Shadyac - known for his comedy films with Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy - a film with a real drama behind it. The film does have its moments of laughter however and both are woven together into a film which represents what the real Patch Adams is all about.


Universal Studios Home Video has presented Patch Adams very well with this Collector's Edition. I found the 16x9 enhanced video transfer clean and free from artifacts. The score by Marc Shaiman is beautiful and well represented. I found the sound imaging in the 5.0 soundtrack excellent as well. Universal has on occasion produced a soundtrack without the .1 LFE track. Waterworld and Major Payne also are without the LFE track. During the viewing of the film, the absence of the LFE track did not bother me.

As with many of Universal's Collector's Edition titles, the title features a commentary track with Director Tom Shadyac. It is recorded rather oddly. It is in stereo, with Tom Shadyac located in center channel for the most part. The film soundtrack is presented during the commentary in the left channel and at some points is so loud and/or distracting it's difficult to focus on the commentary. By twenty five minutes into the commentary I physically turned off the right channel to protect my sanity. Content wise, I found the track revealing and informative. As in his previous commentary program, Universal's Liar Liar, there is so much material he presents, including his reasons for using anamorphic 2.35:1 for the first time. I enjoyed this commentary track, once I turned off the film soundtrack in the right channel. There is more than one instance where Mr. Shadyac references and actually speaks to the DVD viewer. I'm interested to find out if the track is unaltered on the LaserDisc. Accessing the track can be done as with most Universal titles through the "Bonus Materials" menu and from the "Languages" menu. A bit of advanced warning, if you've never seen the film, don't listen to the commentary on first viewing. There are a few story spoilers presented very much ahead of their time.

The disc also features a documentary, The Medicinal Value of Laughter. It is a 17 minute program discussing the making of the film and includes interview clips with the real "Patch" Adams. It is not anywhere near as in-depth as is the commentary and is shockingly short. There is a beautiful score included on an alternate audio track which actually runs 4 minutes longer than the documentary and as a result is accompanied by a black screen. The trend for shorter and shorter documentary programs concerns me and this one is no exception. Much of what made special editions special back in the early 90s on LaserDisc are vanishing as quickly as the LaserDisc itself. Also included as part of the supplements is a series of outtakes which runs just under 5 minutes. What we have here is very funny, but as was done with the Signature Collection of Liar Liar is painfully lacking based on the amounts of improv that Williams is known for and are made reference to in the commentary track.

There is a LaserDisc edition, part of Universal's Signature Collection, which includes all of the same materials available on this DVD. Universal also is issuing a Pan & Scan version of this DVD which does not include many of the supplements. A DTS encoded widescreen edition on DVD is also available. None of the other editions were available for review at the time of this writing.

Overall, I enjoyed this edition of Patch Adams. While I'm not thrilled with the length of the documentary and the outtakes are a bit on the skimpy side, the commentary track is worth the extra cost over the Pan & Scan version. This film shows the wide range of Robin Williams as an actor and is worth a look.


Updated: June 15, 1999
Send comments and mail to: LD & DVD Reviews
Copyright ©1999 Blam Entertainment Group